An interview with Ravindran Mahalingam, SVP International Business, HGC Global Communications Ltd.

Editor’s Note: Perhaps the most dominant theme we heard at last month’s ITW was “Innovation.”  Over and over again, we met with people who are looking at the needs of the telecommunications industry and finding ways to provide new solutions.  HGC Global Communications is one of these companies, providing a “Marketplace” concept to simplify data transfer on a global scale.  At ITW, I had the pleasure to speak with HGC’s Ravindran (Ravi) Mahalingam, SVP International Business, who described this concept and the global network of assets HGC is building.  His comments are below. 

Mr. Mahalingam: “Traditionally in the international telecom market, there have been different components and players – local loop, terrestrial fiber backbones, submarine cables, backhaul, etc.  Now with the advent of the cloud, data centers have been added to the whole connectivity journey from one continent to another.

You have the connected data center entering the equation now.  So the vision of wanting to be virtually and continuously connected can be achieved because you have an end-to-end equation.  You have your data on one side and data on the other side and you are connected on diverse and different submarine cable routes in a resilient “always-on” scenario.

I like to think of telecom networks as blocks of Legos that people put together.  At HGC Global Communications, we feel like we are coming up with new ideas to connect continents together and bring this world into a global village. 

As the data centers and the cloud become much more mature, you may have not two routes, maybe not four routes, but many, many routes and you will always have an always-on situation so you will have a truly connected world.  In that space, HGC have put a lot of emphasis into connecting data centers, linking our 30+ submarine cable investments together, connecting our own data centers and the data centers of others together, laying an architecture of SDN and giving our customers multi-service enablement by subscribing to our network. 

What we’ve done is to bring all of this together.  We haven’t decided on the branding yet, but I call it a “marketplace” where if you need connectivity between Hong Kong and London or Los Angeles, or you want to connect to the cloud, or to local access networks in Hong Kong or Singapore, you can come to our marketplace and you can connect these places by yourself, without any intervention from us.  And because we have created that network of submarine cables and data center connectivity, we are able to achieve that.  Our vision is to have globally connected, always-on customers. 

We just launched our marketplace several weeks ago and have gained a lot of interest.  We’ve connected the major public cloud players and also offer our customers some very interesting packages.  We’ve offered this to all of our data center customers, enabling them to go to the public cloud and connect to the Internet.  We also can provide connectivity from Hong Kong to all the major Internet exchanges when you come to our platform. 

As we able to increase connectivity in our network, we will, in the next phase, be able to place an orchestration layer that will allow our customers to move into higher layers within the cloud.  So we start with the Ethernet using VLAN.  After that, it’s what kind of services can you draw from that cloud.  This is our grand plan.  As more data goes into the cloud, we want to make it a software-defined, permanently connected platform. 

Once you have the connected network, the question comes up as how do we makes this available to different segments of the market.  We are in the corporate business space.  We are in the data center space.  We are in the carrier space.  And especially with the enterprises, they are looking at the transformation.  They have lots of layers of legacy network that are traditionally SDH and even some frame relay in Hong Kong.  So we see enterprises going through the transformation and we see the cloud adoption and network adoption really becoming a demand from their side.  We believe that our SDN and the marketplace that we are building will be something that they will want to be a part of. 

My vision is to have all major international carrier locations connected, joining all of the major data centers in Hong Kong and making available the HGC last-mile access network as the next phase of development.  We will move on to the next phase to allow customers access into the cloud service provider applications.  That will require us to place a cloud manager orchestration layer.  But we see it as a marketplace, where you can buy services without our intervention.  We are simplifying telecoms.”

Ravi HGC

Ravindran Mahalingam, SVP, International Business,

HGC Global Communications