Pacnet, the entity formed after a merger between Asia Netcom and Pacific Internet, is not only a leading Carrier in APAC, but they have a history of working with different CDN business models. Pacnet began as a reseller of Internap CDN services. The reseller CDN business model works well for many companies, including hosting companies, but it’s not the ideal choice for a large carrier. Large carriers are better off deploying CDN platforms from Akamai or EdgeCast, or just building their own. Pacnet then deployed the EdgeCast CDN platform throughout its infrastructure, and became a CDN in APAC. That was a big jump from being a CDN reseller. The benefits include increased control over the CDN infrastructure, pricing, support, and more. The biggest challenges are training sales, engineering, operations, and management on how to sell and support a global CDN platform.
Now Pacnet is using OnApp. Although I am unaware of the details, my guess is that EdgeCast being a part of Verizon probably had something to do with it. Regardless, is OnApp the right solution for a large carrier? OnApp works well for hosting providers that can leverage OnApp to sell extra capacity in a CDN package, or sell CDN services as a feature add-on to hosting. However, the real challenge lies in operating as a central CDN platform. KeyCDN, a leading European pure-play CDN, recently used OnApp. After some time they discarded the platform, and decided to go with Nginx. That was a smart move. The reason they switched is because OnApp has its limitations. While OnApp is an innovative company with lots of customers and a solid CDN-in-a-box solution, it doesn’t work well for pure-play CDNs. Every pure-play CDN has tweaked their caching and CDN platforms to their own needs, as there are literally dozens of features, and hundreds of different ways on how to cache, store, delivery, secure, and so on. Trying to package OnApp into a carrier network is going to be challenging. Whether this solution works for Pacnet is yet to be seen, but we say it probably won’t be a good fit.