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Martin Levy Explains Hurricane Electric’s Success in a Tough Economy

How does a California Internet company conquer the economy and Internet industry?

This is part two in a series of interviews with Martin Levy, Director of IPv6 Strategy at Hurricane Electric

Hurricane Electric is one of those rare companies that have survived, and grown in the past two years. A private company, Hurricane Electric has become one of the largest Internet Service Providers in the world, and is a leader in IPv6 deployment. In this article Martin Levy shares a few ideas on how Hurricane Electric approaches their business and continued growth.

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Pacific-Tier: It's been a really rough economy, and we've seen networks (Internet Service Provider networks) falling fairly rapidly over the last two years. How is it that Hurricane Electric continue to grow, continues to survive, and continues to expand your network presence?

Martin Levy on Internet Economics and SuccessMartin Levy: We're very conservative, which is a total counter statement to being a technology advanced company. But let me explain.

Hurricane Electric is a private company. We are funded internally, we are funded by growth, and as much as the company is 15 years old we have grown steadily, we have grown conservatively over those years.

The beauty of the company is that we haven't gone off and spent somebody else's money and randomly done stuff with the hope it would succeed. Everything we've done, has been done with methodical care – quite conservatively, and done when we know that it will help with our revenue stream, and we will grow the company.

We did that with our growth into Europe, we did that with our growth into additional and larger data center space, we did that with our growth into Asia - projects that have been going on for about a year and a half, maybe longer.

All of that, based on the fact the company is private, and the company is dedicated to just doing things that have lacked in the industry, and not just doing things that are at a random level have meant that we have been able to survive the initial; "host.com era," in the classic 2001, 2002, 2003 timeline.

But also the recession that we've had over the last year, year and a half, where we were set up to hunker down without any problem and didn't really change much of our day-to-day operations.

We also are very lucky in the sense that we have a customer base, that quite frankly has always grown, and has always grown in its bandwidth needs. In the data center business there has been a requirement to add more customers, more space for every customer, more bandwidth for every customer.

In the wholesale IP word we have the same thing. Because as much as we've had a recession from a banking and from a Wall Street point of view, we've not had a recession in a bandwidth point of view. The requirements of our customers have been to grow bandwidth continuously, throughout that time, and that has been to our advantage. Here in the United States, and also in our global locations.

Pacific-Tier: How important is it for Hurricane to be a global company, rather than concentrating your efforts on growing your points of presence in North America? How important is it to become a global company today?

Martin Levy: That's a great question!

I'll push it back as a question, but answer it myself!

Is the Internet local or global? We find that connectivity has in nearly every situation, a global component. There is as much interest in the updates on somebody's status on a Facebook or on a Twitter, or whatever social networking locally as well as globally.

The requirement, as we need to see it, for large amounts of connectivity, in Europe, in Asia, and the gateway cities within the United States, whether that be on the East Coast, the West Coast, or facing north or south, those bandwidth requirements have been forever increasing. And that has never been more so than the last couple of years where we've seen some amazing spikes (in traffic).

We as a company, because we run a global IP backbone, have always been in a great position to help service customers in those other geographies. It doesn't mean that we ignore our backyard, the Silicon Valley, or the Los Angeles, or the New Yorks, or Washington D.C. areas – far from it.

But the reality is that as bandwidth prices for transport go down, we also see the requirement for larger and larger bandwidth to be pulled in to some of the cities around the globe, and because we have a global network we are ready to service them (networks in global locations served by Hurricane Electric).

Previous articles in this series:

  • Part 1 - "Martin Levy Discusses the Global Urgency to Deploy IPv6"

More Stories By John Savageau

John Savageau is a life long telecom and Internet geek, with a deep interest in the environment and all things green. Whether drilling into the technology of human communications, cloud computing, or describing a blue whale off Catalina Island, Savageau will try to present complex ideas in terms that are easily appreciated and understood.

Savageau is currently focusing efforts on data center consolidation strategies, enterprise architectures, and cloud computing migration planning in developing countries, including Azerbaijan, The Philippines, Palestine, Indonesia, Moldova, Egypt, and Vietnam.

John Savageau is President of Pacific-Tier Communications dividing time between Honolulu and Burbank, California.

A former career US Air Force officer, Savageau graduated with a Master of Science degree in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas and also received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Asian Studies and Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland.