The corporate transition to public networks is lighting up new areas of interest in dark fiber, said CenturyLink's president of enterprise and government markets during an investor presentation.
Enterprises need to maintain security levels as they slowly transition from on-premises compute connected by virtual private networks (VPNs) to managed cloud services running over broadband, said CenturyLink's Ed Morche, speaking at Cowen and Co.'s 47th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Manhattan. CenturyLink is one of the country's largest dark fiber providers, said Morche, who came to the company from its acquisition of Level 3.
As large enterprises split their businesses and adopt public networks, they're deploying multiple approaches with partners, he said. Branch or remote offices often use broadband and managed SD-WAN, said Morche. More critical sites, those conducting research or holding intellectual property, will stick with dedicated VPNs, he noted.
"And if they need fiber for that super security -- think of Big Pharma with that intellectual property -- we'll let them manage it or we'll manage it on their behalf with a managed optical-fiber network solution," said Morche. "We see that change from private to public also promoting a lot of our dark fiber opportunities. We love dark fiber. Where we have applications that require it, we certainly promote it. We are one of the largest dark fiber providers in the country."
Enterprise adoption of hybrid environments continues to rise: By one estimate, 80% of enterprises will no longer have traditional data centers by 2025, compared with 10% in 2018, according to Gartner. As a result, businesses need a portfolio of partners, to place workloads within digital infrastructures based on business need, and adopt the right tools for monitoring and managing processes and assets, wrote David Cappuccio, managing vice president and chief of research for the Infrastructure teams at Gartner.
Added Morche: "We want to stay away from reselling services and want to focus on owning services. When we own that and we own that cost structure we're very happy with that margin performance. [Enterprises] want a partner who will help them move into a hybrid environment ... Most want it broken up into various sites -- branch locations, critical and hypercritical locations -- and they want guidance."
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