Level 3 Extends CDN Infrastructure Into Asia

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Level 3 Communications (LVLT) is expanding its content delivery network (CDN) into Asia, including three network nodes in mainland China, the company said today. Level 3 said the move is a response to customer demand for CDN capacity in Asia.

“As global demand for online video and other content continues to accelerate, the need to store and deliver content locally becomes increasingly important,” said Grant van Rooyen, president of Level 3’s Content Markets Group. “The expansion of our CDN service capabilities in Asia reinforces Level 3’s commitment to continue investing in our global CDN business.”

The expansion also helps distinguish Level 3 in an increasingly crowded market for content delivery services, according to Graham Williams, Senior Director of Product Management for Level 3’s Content Markets group. “The top tier of CDN providers – Akamai, Limelight and Level 3 – now have an Asian presence,” said Williams. “That really is a differentiator between major tier one players and everyone else.”

Level 3 bought the Savvis CDN network in January 2007, and has since launched CDN caching and streaming media services priced at the same rate as its high-speed Internet access service.

In North America and Europe, Level 3 uses its own backbone and data centers to support its CDN, offering a cost advantage. In Asia, Level 3 is deploying its nodes in colocation facilities operated by partners, with a footprint in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and China. Level 3 will have its nodes in China in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. ChinaCache is currently the leading CDN provider inside China.

Level 3 did not identify its data center providers, but said it was working with “premier colocation partners in the region” and focused on locations that offered peering opportunities.

CDN capacity in Asia is important because of cost issues, said Laurie Schrager, Director of Product Management, Content Markets for Level 3. “There’s a huge number of people already looking at this content,” she said. “It’s currently filling Trans-Pacific capacity, which is expensive, so an Asian CDN presence makes a lot of difference in both performance and cost.”

Among the customers taking advantage of Level 3’s expansion is Yahoo (YHOO). “Level 3 offers the CDN features and functionality we need to provide audiences in Asia with the same high-performing, end-user experience that is standard for Yahoo in more established markets,” said Raj Patel, vice president of network systems and storage engineering for Yahoo. “Content delivery in Asia is critical for our global business growth and we are pleased to continue working with Level 3 to meet this goal.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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