Amazon will be using Infinera

Well, if Amazon was not using Infinera equipment in the past (via contract of Equinix data centers), they most certainly are now.…

BROOMFIELD, Colo., April 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ – Level 3 Communications, Inc. (LVLT) has been named an Advanced Partner in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) delivering AWS Direct Connect, a network service providing enterprises secure access to the AWS Cloud. Level 3 Cloud Connect Solutions deliver secure and reliable dedicated network connections as part of Level 3’s membership in the APN to bolster enterprise and public sector access to the AWS Cloud infrastructure and services. Attaining Advanced Partner status in the APN further demonstrates Level 3’s capabilities and expertise in delivering the secure, reliable and flexible solutions enterprises need today as they connect to AWS for their cloud-based business applications.

Key Facts:

Level 3 provides cloud connectivity to more than 20 percent of Fortune 50 companies.
In 2014 and 2015, Level 3 provided dedicated network connectivity to re:Invent, AWS’ annual show, supporting live demos, powering AWS developer boot camps and demonstrating Direct Connect tools on-stage directly into the AWS cloud before more than 18,000 attendees.
Level 3 is a leading connected global network service provider offering AWS Direct Connect. Customers can access any AWS region through Level 3’s high-performance network via the following AWS locations: Ashburn, Dublin, Frankfurt, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Jose, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
Level 3 enables enterprises to access Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) from anywhere around the world.
Level 3 offers new network consumption models with its Adaptive Network Control solutions so customers have the flexibility to change network capacity to support their changing workload requirements.
Key Quote:
Brian Hoekelman, VP Business & Cloud Ecosystem Development for Level 3
“We are proud to have achieved this level of partnership with AWS via the APN. Global enterprises rely on Level 3’s Cloud Connect service to access AWS for safe, secure and high-performance connectivity to and from the AWS Cloud. By working with Level 3, our customers benefit from the years of experience we’ve had developing unique networking solutions that make the cloud perform better. Level 3 is excited about our success working with AWS and promoting Direct Connect as a best practice in cloud adoption.”

For those that aren’t aware, Level 3 uses Infinera for their long haul deployments. Take a peek at my post on Internet2 if you want to understand more about how this relationship works for their end customer.

Exciting times.



Agree that this is good news as it is likely that Infinera will be used for Amazon by Level 3…however, it is also highly likely that Level 3, like other large communications providers, apply at least a dual vendor policy which means that the probability that Amazon will consume transport services by Level 3 over a network that is built with INFN competitor technology is equally likely.


however, it is also highly likely that Level 3, like other large communications providers, apply at least a dual vendor policy

Hi Bashaar, it is great to hear from you. Thanks for pointing out the policy norm where large communication providers typically utilize more than one vendor for different parts of their network.

I do have a question around that. I know it makes sense for an operator to use more than one vendor, but is this always true?

For example, it seems that a lot of the research and education networks do not employ a multiple vendor strategy. For example, the transport layer (layer 0) of Internet2 is managed by Level 3, but the agreement is for Level 3 to use Infinera equipment for their transport over the long haul. In this case, it looks like the customer (the government) mandated a particular technology be utilized.

I think this is also true of GEANT:…

On slide 4, it shows the Fiber/DWDM layer consists of a:
• Dark fibre lease
• Lit using Infinera DTN-X
• 19 XTC-4/10s
• 135 amplifiers
• 3 Alien wave sections

I guess what I’m asking is it also possible that some organizations pursue a single vendor strategy? It also seemed that Infinera was kicked out of RFPs in the past because some of those operators wanted a single vendor relationship (one throat to choke). Now that they have the metro portion covered through Transmode, being invited to be the single preferred vendor for operators is the aspect they had hoped to change.

Appreciate your insights.

Also, I think one of the things that is interesting about the Amazon deal through Level 3 is that Amazon was not a customer of the past. Now they are. Even if it is for only 25% of their business that is more than they had before.

Incidentally, does anyone think Amazon’s decision to roll out Amazon Prime Video as a standalone service had anything to do with bringing Level3 in as an advanced partner? That is, if they expect to up bandwidth demand they’ll also have to up their carrier relationships?



Hey Kevin

Let me answer your questions based on my experience:

Is it always true that an operator applies a dual vendor policy?:

No, it is not always true, but most of the time, it is. Sometimes it happens in phases: Service Provider (SP) launches a RFP. In the RFP they describe their intention to deploy a nationwide longhaul network in multiple phases. The RFP is only for Phase 1 which would cover, for example the West Coast. Service Provider selects Ciena for Phase 1.

Once Phase 1 is under way, Phase 2 of the RFP is launched for the East Coast deployment. During Phase 2 of the RFP Ciena will compete as hard as it can to capture 100% of the scope. In that process they further reduce the price and offer the Service Provider adjustment to their Phase 1 pricing under the condition that they get 100% of the network. Service Provider now knows that Ciena is willing to go deeper, uses that pricing as a benchmark to select a Ciena competitor such as Nokia or Infinera, so that they have dual vendors in their network that they can play against each other threatening to lose market share, and in parallel force Ciena to adjust the pricing for Phase 1 with which they either just collect the $$$ or use the savings on Ciena to fund part of the Phase 2 network built by Infinera…and the cycle continues.

I understand why you think there was a mandate that only INFN could comply with in your example, but most requirements can be achieved one way or the other. Depending on product set or availability of time to accelerate a certain feature on one’s roadmap.

Do some organizations apply a single vendor policy?
Yes, all the time…Enterprises, when they build their own networks tend to apply a different kind of dual vendor policy. For example, an OTT player builds its own long haul network to connect its datacenter, they will also need to build an IP Core at some point. Enterprises, again in my experience, are more likely to apply a Best of Breed (in their opinion) vendor policy. In this case, it could be that Enterprise 1 would build an INFN long haul network and a Nokia (through its ALU acquisition) IP Core, even though Nokia, also has a long haul solution. Utilities do that a lot too: For example, Juniper in the Core, Cisco at the IP Edge, Ciena for transport, former ALU for Microwave, etc.

I see that Service Providers tend to go with a single vendor in one of two cases usually:

  1. With very new or complex technologies. A few years back you would rarely see a dual / multiple vendor policy for IMS for example, but now you see service providers starting to at least consider this as the technology has matured.

  2. With smaller service providers whose networks are typically not big enough to entice vendors to go deeper than their floor price which prevents an effective dual / multiple vendor policy.

But in the vast majority service providers apply a dual vendor policy simply because it spreads the risk and it is the best way to reduce the total CAPEX investment.

Now, do i think a dual vendor policy in a network domain is the right way to go? No. I don’t think so. Each vendor has its strengths and weaknesses. Any customer, service provider, government, enterprise, should go with the technical solution that is the best fit for their business. The impact of a failing network that one ends up with because of a 5% or 10% price difference pales in comparison to the impact that this may have on the backend. Whether that is in terms of dollars of lost revenue because customers are unhappy with the service that is provided due to the selected vendor’s technology that did not fully fit the requirements that were set forth, or in terms of human lives when a first responder network fails at just the wrong moment.