ADVA, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, others to tout solution-based approach to NFV, SDN at MWC

Sean Buckley, MWC 2016As wireline and wireless operators look to virtualize more functions in their networks, they are turning to their vendor and integration partners for guidance and solutions to achieve those goals economically while enabling new service sets.

The service provider community's transition to SDN and NFV will be the focus of a panel I'm moderating at Mobile World Congress next week.

One of the interesting dynamics that has been taking place over the past year is a rapid wave of consolidation and partnering between a number of top optical and software-related players hoping to get a piece of the SDN and NFV action.

Perhaps not surprisingly, none of these vendors are taking the same approach. While there's likely to be more consolidation of this space in 2016, the most notable deals were led by ADVA Optical Networking, Juniper, Ciena, and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), which all decided to expand their SDN capabilities by purchasing other companies.

Out of this group, the largest deal was Nokia's move to acquire Alcatel-Lucent. Through this acquisition Nokia immediately reestablished itself not only as an optical and router player, but also in software by adding Alcatel-Lucent's SDN-focused Nuage Networks division.

Juniper finally fulfilled its dream to enhance its portfolio with optical capabilities by acquiring BTI Systems. Having mainly offered optical platforms via partnerships via Coriant and others, the BTI deal gives Juniper additional software and metro optical capabilities to address converged packet and optical opportunities.

Meanwhile, established optical vendors ADVA Optical Networking and Ciena boosted their SDN capabilities by acquiring Overture Networks and Cyan, respectively.

ADVA's acquisition of Overture Networks not only broadened its Ethernet capabilities, but more importantly it got Overture's Ensemble SDN assets.

Already, ADVA is putting the Overture assets to work. Just this week it announced the creation of its Ensemble division, the division combines ADVA's software engineering capabilities and Overture's NFV portfolio.

Prayson Pate, Overture's co-founder who will serve as CTO of Ensemble, told FierceTelecom that being part of a larger company like ADVA makes it more palatable to larger Tier 1 service providers that want to use their SDN and NFV capabilities.   

"What we were starting to see with some of the larger companies is they liked our technology and like the openness of the solution, but were starting to question whether they would trust the strategic piece of functionality like that to a company as small as Overture," Pate said. "Those companies were very positive about the acquisition because now they have access to this leading edge technology, but much stronger financial backing."

Likewise, with Cyan under its belt, Ciena will be touting Blue Orbit, an ecosystem of partners focused on delivering applications and infrastructure platforms for multi-vendor SDN and NFV deployments. The vendor announced that six new organizations have joined Blue Orbit, which it says are rallying to "demonstrate multi-vendor interoperability."

Breaking away from the pack are Cisco and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), which decided instead of purchasing one another to engage in a broader partnership program that they say will unveil SDN and NFV capabilities this year. Neither company has revealed any specific plans yet, but it's likely that both will have some announcements during a series of press conferences they have planned during the show.

Another vendor worth noting in building the SDN and NFV ecosystem, particularly in the optical market, is Coriant. Formed out of the combination of the former Sycamore Networks and Tellabs, Coriant will be showcasing its Smart Router, metro-to-core Packet Optical Transport, and Data Center Interconnect (DCI) Solutions.

FierceTelecom will address how service providers can overcome challenges using these technologies during our panel at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at the Fira Congress Hotel (located just a short walk from the Fira Gran Via). The event, "Answering the Big Question: When Will Deploying SDN and NFV Payoff for Operators?" begins at 12:30 p.m. and ends at 2 p.m.

My panelists include:

·             Rupesh Chokshi, Director, AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions;

·             Prodip Sen, CTO, NFV Business, Hewlett Packard Enterprise;

·             Marc LeClerc, Deputy Director Market Area, Open Networking Foundation;

·              Paul Obsitnik, VP of Service Provider Marketing, Juniper; and

·             Yves Bellego, Director of Network Strategy at Orange

To get a handle on what SDN means to you and your company, you'll want to be a part of my panel discussion. I'll allow plenty of time for you to ask the panelists all your questions. To register, click here.–Sean