PCCW Global: Connecting multinationals, business partners, clouds, and apps all over the world

About PCCW Global

PCCW Global (https://www.pccwglobal.com) is a leading communications service provider, offering mobility, voice, and data solutions to multinationals, telecommunications partners, cloud, and application service providers. It builds best-in-class connections integrated and orchestrated by Console Connect, its on-demand digital Software Defined Interconnection® platform, one of the first global platforms to fully automate switching and routing of all communications for seamless interconnection.

Industries: Technology
Location: Australia

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About Clear

Clear was founded by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs who wanted to remove friction in complex B2B trade by enhancing efficiency in the industry. The company builds blockchain-based settlement and clearing networks for global industries, while prioritizing data confidentiality, allowing smart B2B contracts to be created and executed automatically.

PCCW Global uses the flexibility of Google Kubernetes Engine to deliver on-demand bandwidth for its enterprise customers and test drive compute-intensive projects that will support long-term growth.

Google Cloud results

  • Enables cloud-native containerized strategy to seamlessly migrate more than a million lines of application code in minutes
  • Eliminates capital expenditure by running on-premises applications on Google Cloud since day one
  • Scales automatically to support distributed ledger technology, which speeds up settlements from four weeks to four minutes
  • Minimizes application downtime from monolithic architecture

Enables releases every week, instead of every six months

The telecom industry is going through a digital transformation driven by changing customer behavior. Consumers are used to buying anything at any time with a tap of a button in their everyday lives. Enterprise buyers are looking for the same convenience to purchase bandwidth online, and on demand, instead of being tied to a long-term contract.

PCCW Global, a leading global telecom provider, is expanding its ability to provide bandwidth services on demand, with the help of Google Cloud. In 2018, PCCW Global launched the Console Connect platform, hosted in Google Cloud, that automates and simplifies the bandwidth provisioning and settlement process through an easy-to-use web platform. Businesses and other carriers can order data as a service from an ecosystem of interconnect and cloud providers with one click.

“When a customer requests for bandwidth on Console Connect, the critical components that orchestrate the process reside in Google Kubernetes Engine,” says Paul Gampe, Chief Technology Officer at PCCW Global. “The actual physical infrastructure that’s automated is PCCW Global’s robust global network. Google Cloud helps us bring innovation to the market with this industry-first bandwidth-on-demand platform.”

As enterprise demand for data continues to rise, Console Connect makes it easy for customers to deliver their digital business anytime, anywhere, and only pay for what they use. For example, a content provider may use Console Connect to spin up bandwidth in seconds for a live broadcast to millions of viewers from a remote location and scale it down when the breaking news event is over.

“By running microservices in Google Kubernetes Engine, our developers can innovate side by side and independently to achieve continuous integration and development. What that means for our customers is that we’re delivering features faster than we would have done in a large monolithic application.”

Paul Gampe, Chief Technology Officer, PCCW Global

Unlocking the power of containers to enable continuous development

Acquired by PCCW Global in 2017, the cloud-native platform was developed as microservices on Google Kubernetes Engine, enabling workload portability to other Kubernetes platforms across clouds and on-premises.

“When we were a venture capital-backed startup in Silicon Valley, the Console Connect platform lived in the US Google Cloud region,” says Paul, former Chief Technology Officer for Console Connect Inc. “Post-acquisition, we demonstrated the power of containers and Google Kubernetes Engine by seamlessly migrating the application, with its more than a million lines of code, to Hong Kong in minutes. That’s only possible because of our cloud-native containerized strategy focused on Kubernetes.”

“By running microservices in Google Kubernetes Engine, our developers can innovate side by side and independently to achieve continuous integration and development,” says Paul. “What that means for our customers is that we’re delivering features faster than we would have done in a large monolithic application, where there are too many dependencies that slow things down.”

“Consolidating on Google Cloud, instead of managing a mix of vendor environments, reduces our total cost of ownership. We now have engineers who can share knowledge and expertise with each other to manage our Google Cloud footprint.”

Paul Gampe, Chief Technology Officer, PCCW Global

Prior to Google Cloud, PCCW Global managed a network of different cloud and on-premises IT systems, due to acquisitions over time. That meant the technical community was divided into multiple teams with specialized skills to support different platforms. PCCW Global migrated most of its on-premises applications to Google Cloud in 2019, using direct connectivity via Console Connect to maintain low latency and secure access between on-premises and cloud. Legacy applications that are not designed to run in the cloud continue to operate on self-hosted infrastructure.

Before migrating on-premises applications to the cloud, Paul considered these questions: Can I offload this VM into Google Cloud as pure OpEx? What cloud-native services can reduce IT operations cost? Can I scale it down when it's not in use and scale it up?

“Consolidating on Google Cloud, instead of managing a mix of vendor environments, reduces our total cost of ownership. We now have engineers who can share knowledge and expertise with each other to manage our Google Cloud footprint,” says Paul. “For example, an engineer in Athens can come online to solve a problem for an engineer based in Australia and hand it over to an engineer in the United States.”

“Distributed ledger technology can be very compute intensive and variant in terms of its load. An advantage of our cloud-native approach is the ability to scale up infrastructure on Google Cloud for our distributed ledger technology partners.”

Paul Gampe, Chief Technology Officer, PCCW Global

Creating value for customers through a vibrant ecosystem of partners

As a tech player, PCCW Global adopts an ecosystem view to build new capabilities and accelerate application innovation. While PCCW Global manages its own team of developers to create and deploy new services, it also works with a broad range of partners to quickly and efficiently scale up services.

When PCCW Global identifies viable use cases, it runs a proof of concept on Google Cloud to test the application for commercial readiness. To set it up, the team spins up a Kubernetes cluster using Google Kubernetes Engine and deploys the application in a test environment that replicates the production environment. For this project, it worked with distributed ledger technology partner Clear.

“Now that we’ve solved the problem of automated connectivity, we’ve successfully developed a proof of concept with Clear to automate intercarrier settlement with a distributed ledger solution on Google Cloud,” says Paul. “Distributed ledger technology can be compute intensive and variant in terms of its load. An advantage of our cloud-native approach is the ability to scale up infrastructure on Google Cloud for our distributed ledger technology partners.”

Transaction volumes are dramatically increasing as businesses continue to adopt new technologies such as automation, internet of things, and machine learning to transform their businesses. In the past, a cloud service provider may procure 100 gigabits of capacity for a two-year contract. PCCW Global now receives requests from enterprise customers for 50 gigabits of capacity from Singapore to Sydney for two days.

“The traditional once a month billing routine doesn't work when you have highly scalable transaction rates,” says Paul. “Distributed ledger technology can speed up settlements from four weeks to four minutes by tracking concurrent multi-party transactions. We can potentially reduce transaction costs by using digital currencies such as stablecoin instead of third-party clearing houses.”

Supporting PCCW Global to enable business continuity for more customers

As a worldwide service provider, PCCW Global needs to ensure continuous and uninterrupted service availability and delivery to its customer base. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, PCCW Global experienced increased demand from customers and partners to scale up connectivity, particularly to support private access to critical cloud-based business applications such as storage and videoconferencing.

“To ensure end-to-end IP connectivity to customers, we rely on Google Kubernetes Engine to keep at least one instance of the Layer 2 orchestration microservices working,” says Paul. “If, for example, the Layer 2 microservice fails, customers won’t be able share data and business applications between branch offices or access cloud services, thereby hampering their employees’ ability to work remotely.”

“Behind the scene, it takes a sheer breadth of networks to orchestrate connectivity in minutes. Every click on Console Connect to create a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint connection could involve 10 to 20 different devices and systems,” says Paul. “Fortunately, we can deploy open-source app Elasticsearch on Google Cloud to capture every single transaction across every single device and every single subsystem with a correlation ID.”

To illustrate, when a user clicks on Console Connect and requests a connection to Google Cloud from Hong Kong to San Jose, PCCW Global uses Elasticsearch to record the API call to the workflow engine. The workflow engine microsservice then talks to a microservice to create an interconnect on Google Cloud for an inbound enterprise user that wants to connect in San Jose and hand it off at this network-to-network interface. The final step is for PCCW Global to configure several devices across the network, both an edge switch and a border router, and then add routers to complete the transaction.

Tech workers in an office setting

Helping customers process IoT data in near real time with Anthos

IDC predicts that there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices by 2025. Using Console Connect, PCCW Global aims to help businesses set up secure private networks to process and analyze IoT-generated data as quickly as possible.

“We see a dramatic increase in machine-to-machine traffic. Enterprise businesses are requesting IoT workloads, within 10 to 40 milliseconds from where data is generated,” says Paul. “Taking Anthos to the mobile network edge can help our customers process IoT data as close as possible to real time.”

“We believe Kubernetes is the future of container management,” says Paul. “Built on an open-source Kubernetes platform, Anthos for Telecom allows us to manage workloads, from edge to core on the same Google Cloud interface. We can reduce training costs and time by using our existing capabilities. That’s why we're strategically aligned and optimistic that Anthos for Telecom is the right strategy for our business moving forward.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About PCCW Global

PCCW Global (https://www.pccwglobal.com) is a leading communications service provider, offering mobility, voice, and data solutions to multinationals, telecommunications partners, cloud, and application service providers. It builds best-in-class connections integrated and orchestrated by Console Connect, its on-demand digital Software Defined Interconnection® platform, one of the first global platforms to fully automate switching and routing of all communications for seamless interconnection.

Industries: Technology
Location: Australia

About Clear

Clear was founded by a team of seasoned entrepreneurs who wanted to remove friction in complex B2B trade by enhancing efficiency in the industry. The company builds blockchain-based settlement and clearing networks for global industries, while prioritizing data confidentiality, allowing smart B2B contracts to be created and executed automatically.