Lumen aims to deliver 5 millisecond latency to U.S. enterprises

Lumen Technologies VP of Product Management, Cloud and Data Services Chris McReynolds says the company is proactively building out its cloud offerings in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets. 

McReynolds spoke at FierceTelecom’s Summer Blitz virtual event last week. He said, “By the end of this year, we’ll have 98% of the U.S. enterprise covered within 5 milliseconds [latency] because we are pushing into those Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets.”

He said Lumen is providing an array of choices to its enterprise customers for their cloud needs.

“I do think it’s really important that the application is hosted in the right execution venue,” said McReynolds.

For customers that absolutely must have their applications running with no down time, Lumen can provide on-premises connectivity and cloud services. McReynolds cited manufacturing as an example. If a company is running manufacturing lines on a shift-to-shift production schedule, those are mission-critical functions. “You want it to run real-time and quickly,” said McReynolds. “That stays on-prem for at least my lifetime.”

But for other use cases such as those used by a distributed retail operation, it makes sense to run most of its applications at metro edges or more centrally in public clouds.

“If you have 20 retail branch locations and you’re running video camera analytics to look for theft prevention, we don’t want to deploy that application in all 20 retail stores,” said McReynolds. “You would want that more central in a metro edge market. Plenty of apps make sense to run more centrally.”

Lumen aims to enable enterprise customers with the option to run their workloads with 5 millisecond latency on-premise or more centrally if the economics are better.

“Orchestrating these workloads across all clouds, providing the network connectivity and giving visibility into that performance is how Lumen is positioning to meet those market needs,” said McReynolds.

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He said Lumen sees two types of enterprise customers for its cloud services: those who like to do it themselves; and those who prefer Lumen to manage it.

The DIYers want a platform that is consumable as they want it. And while they may not want to manage the difficult physical integrations and the interconnectivity of the network to the branch locations, they do want to manage the configurations of the virtual network functions that are deployed on their premise. And they want to manage what applications they’re running and how they’re configured. “There’s a self-service model of that platform that meets one part of that market,” said McReynolds.

Conversely, some customers would rather focus on the core parts of their business and not deal with cloud complexity. “They’re looking for partners that help them integrate all of the complexity, managing the network and security applications and sometimes even further up the stack into the IaaS, PaaS environments and the applications that run on them,” said McReynolds.