Jeff Reedy, CEO, Overture Networks
Capping off the integration of the former Ethernet over Copper (EoC) pioneer Hatteras Networks into its fold, Overture Networks recently launched a new branding campaign for the company. Jeff Reedy, CEO of Overture Networks, believes the new branding, which includes a new logo and redesigned website, is all about reliability and being able to help its customers compete to win more business customer accounts. Reedy recently spoke with FierceTelecom Editor Sean Buckley to talk about the new brand and opportunities he's seeing for both fiber and copper-based Ethernet.
FierceTelecom: Jeff, so you have just completed your integration of Hatteras into the fold. Can you start with how that went and tell us about the past year?
Jeff Reedy: The transition has gone very well. We worked hard last year to complete the integration and that's gone very well. I think the thing we learned was that all of the synergies we thought were there in terms of customers, products and operations really were there. We learned that the new math works: 1+1=3.
FT: Obviously, Overture's products can accommodate various kinds of media, including copper and fiber, but what does Hatteras' Ethernet over Copper expertise bring to your fold?
JR: If you look at what EoC brings to Overture it is that service providers want to deliver a set of services and reach their customers over a variety of media: Some will be fiber, some will be over copper and some will be over TDM. They appreciate being able to get a complete solution set of connectivity solutions from a company like Overture. Beyond the connectivity piece, they can focus on the value add, which is the services management piece. That's helped us elevate our position in the minds of the carriers.
FT: Can you elaborate on the service management piece?
JR: As Ethernet services become a core piece of their service offerings, it's putting a lot of demands on the carriers. They need to be able to deploy services quickly and manage different types of traffic over the connection; they need to monitor the performance and report back on the SLAs that they have signed up for; they need to troubleshoot problems quickly; and they need to scale operations quickly to serve thousands of locations. The tools we put into our equipment--the edge devices, the aggregation devices, and the management systems--allow them to deploy services fast, verify services and prove to their customers they are delivering what they signed up for. It's arming our customers to compete by enabling them to differentiate their service against their competitors.
FT: Coupled with the completion of the Hatteras integration, Overture launched a new brand. Let's talk about that.
JR: The branding actually caps off the integration of Hatteras and Overture. It really is an important statement of our values and our reputation. It was not something we just made up. We actually went through a process of talking to customers and asking them, 'what do you think when you think of Overture?' They told us the message and it resonated with us and it also is what's resonated with what's important to service providers. The fact that we are reliable and we make it easy for our customers to compete. These are the things that are important to the service providers themselves. It's interesting how reliability is always the first one: they need to have a solution that works nonstop. It really isn't so much about who we want to be but rather who we are. It's really refreshing to go through that exercise and package it all together.
FT: With that new brand in place, what can we expect to see from Overture in 2012?
JR: We're focused on couple of areas. One is market expansion. We've always done well in the U.S. and have had good sales coverage. We are now focused on market expansion outside the U.S. in Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. We have a few benchmark customers in each of those regions, so we feel we know the success formula and we want to build on that. In the U.S. we have always covered the Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers very well because of the ubiquity of Ethernet; we think everybody wants it. We're also enhancing our channel management programs to reach very service provider out there that wants to offer Ethernet services. I am excited about the market expansion both inside and outside of the U.S.
Of course, the other thing is having new products and new solutions to feed that market. We are developing software with advanced service management techniques like zero touch and virtual aggregation that enables the service provider to move toward what we call a software-defined network. This software-defined network can be responsive to the changing environment out there that includes cloud-based services and dynamic bandwidth management. We think you need a smart onramp into the network make that happen.
FT: Although Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe and Latin America are all different in terms of scope and size, what opportunities do you see in these regions?
JR: Ethernet over Copper (EoC) is very hot. It's hot not only inside U.S., but also outside the U.S. A lot of our benchmark customers have Ethernet over Copper. It's a way of providing higher speed and smarter service to the enterprises. Ethernet over Copper itself continues to migrate and improve from a technology basis. It's great for 10 Mbps services and below, but now we're seeing our carrier customers offer up to 200 Mbps using bonded copper pairs. That's an interesting value proposition whether you own the copper or you lease the copper.
FT: So international service providers are adopting more EoC?
JR: That's right. It's very complementary to fiber, and they are all interested in fiber. It's very complementary to use fiber where you can, but also take advantage of the copper that's in the ground.
FT: With many international service providers having to expand their Ethernet footprint via carrier partnerships, do you see new wholesale opportunities?
JR: You do see the emergence of the wholesale services, which again is driven by the fact that Ethernet is so hot and you can't wait to build it on your own. There's opportunities to provide a wholesale service to other carriers if you own copper or own fiber, or if you're in a city where you don't own those facilities you want to take advantage of the wholesale providers in that region. That introduces challenges for the wholesale provider: how to deploy services quickly and how to scale that network very easily.
On the other side where you are using the wholesale services, there's the question of the External Network to Network Interface (E-NNI). E-NNI is standardized, but everyone has a different way of mapping their Class of Service (CoS) and doing troubleshooting so you need a smart aggregator device in order to map that kind of offering into your service offering. We're having great success in that area.
FT: What are some of the other Ethernet trends you're seeing?
JR: We talked a lot about the copper piece, but we're seeing on the fiber piece that rings are hot at 1 and 10 Gbps level. What's interesting to me is Ethernet for the longest (time) wasn't as good as SONET; it was best effort. But now people are realizing that Ethernet rings are better than SONET. It can do protection better than SONET. You get better performance management at the packet layer with Ethernet that you did not get with SONET. I have seen the trend where the carriers are saying 'this is the time for a SONET replacement strategy and I am going with Ethernet.' That's exciting for people like us.
FT: How are traditional carriers, which have a large embedded base of SONET gear in their networks, making the transition to Ethernet?
JR: It does depend somewhat on how much the installed base they have, but everyone, whether they have a large installed base or not much at all, is recognizing this trend of capping SONET and using Ethernet as the underlying infrastructure.