broadband, video, mobile, cloud, networking
SDN: small networking firms race to build products

"I've never seen the Tier-1s move as fast as they are in looking at SDN technology"

The software-defined networking (SDN) wave, which promises to bring down capex and opex costs for data centers and telecom operators, has galvanized a fleet of smaller companies to plunge into the telecom equipment market in a bigger way.

Take Cyan, a small, fast growing, niche networking solutions provider. Founded in 2006, Cyan now claims to have over 100 customers globally, who have deployed its Blue Planet SDN platform to help them migrate to network automation and virtualization. It plans to launch its India operations in first-half 2014.

Cyan has also been synching its hardware products - switching and packet optical networking equipment - with its Blue Planet SDN software. According to CEO Mark Floyd, "In major content distribution hubs and large data centers, you have the opportunity to consolidate layers of the network and take some traffic off routers, reducing the cost by putting in packet-optical systems...We've combined the packet technology, the packet layers of the network, with the optical layers of the network into one system"

It's also targeting telecom operators with a carrier-grade version of its SDN software and hardware. Recently AT&T announced a "Domain 2.0" project that will focus on network virtualization. AT&T is vetting potential vendors to help them with Domain 2.0. "I've never seen the Tier-1s move as fast as they are in looking at this SDN three months, we have entered four tier 1 labs" says Cyan CEO Mark Floyd

A fundamental aspect of software-defined networking is making your products interwork with others'. Cyan is developing a consortium of partners (called Blue Orbit) to demonstrate Blue Planet's interoperability.Already, Blue Planet supports over 50 devices from 22 other companies. It encourages development of standard APIs by third party developers to make use of Blue Planet to develop applications. And it has developed software that simplifies the way network professionals can provision, operate and monitor services over a Blue Planet-driven network.

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