Pacific bandwidth specialist Pacnet is making a substantial move deeper into the CDN business. Two years ago, they stuck a toe into the CDN pool by starting to resell Internap’s CDN services. But as with many telecommunications companies efforts at the time, little had ever come of it. Today though that has changed, as Pacnet announced their intention to deploy a CDN of their own based on technology licensed from EdgeCast aimed at content creators in the media, entertainment, and gaming industries.
The new CDN offering will be in place by the end of 2011, with PoPs in the major Asian markets. Pacnet will leverage its submarine cable footprint, which crisscrosses the region. That will give them control over bandwidth costs, and while pricing is falling on Asian and Transpacific routes, it’s still higher than in the US and Europe. Perhaps those Data Landing Stations they have been working on over the past year will also come into play.
For EdgeCast, this is another large carrier partner to go with its announced partners DT, Global Crossing, Telus, and AAPT, as well as its unannounced but known foothold at AT&T. EdgeCast has aggressively pursued such partnerships with telecommunications companies, some being simple reselling deals with others licensing their technology in full. The company has been growing at a high rate lately – making a run at the sector’s leaders even as Limelight seems disenchanted with the whole thing.
A key feature here is that Pacnet’s CDN will be part of EdgeCast’s federation, allowing it to exchange CDN traffic not only with EdgeCast’s flagship CDN, but also with other EdgeCast partners who have licensed the same software. That means that Pacnet doesn’t have to build a worldwide CDN in order to make progress. All it needs to do is build nodes within its footprint, taking full advantage of its network and datacenter infrastructure. Likewise, EdgeCast can focus on its global footprint while depending on Pacnet’s deeper coverage in Asia for depth where it doesn’t make sense for them to build out.
Such federations are a growing topic of the CDN industry, however setting up a content peering system between disparate technological platforms is still at an early stage of development. EdgeCast’s wholesale approach seeks to build its own federated CDN ecosystem via this type of licensing, letting it share some of the benefits of owning the underlying network infrastructure through its partners. Pacnet’s assets seem perfect in this role, with nodes around the Pacific rim and relationships across the region that take a long time to duplicate.
There have been rumors now and then over the past few years that Pacnet’s private equity owners are looking to sell the company, but nothing has come of them yet.
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