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Cyan Makes Some Headway in SDN

The startup, which completed its IPO in May, says it has 85 new customers since December 2012, officials say.

Cyan officials are saying they are making strides in the increasingly competitive software-defined networking space.

The company completed its IPO in May, and Chairman and CEO Mark Floyd spoke with analysts and journalists Aug. 6 in its first earnings calls as a public company. The company saw revenues come in at $31.7 million, a 37 percent increase from the same period in 2012, but also logged a net loss of $9.1 million.

Just as important, since the company launched its Blue Planet software-defined networking (SDN) platform in December 2012, Cyan has signed up more than 85 customers and is continuing to expand its reach into various regions outside the United States, according to officials.

During the call, Floyd noted that the Blue Planet platform is designed specifically for network operators, whether they're enterprises or service providers or government agencies. The platform has enabled Cyan officials to engage with some top-tier carriers, though Floyd noted that it will take time to get some of those carriers to become customers.

"Although we are excited about these new opportunities, sales cycles are likely to be long in converting these Tier-1s to customers," he said. "We also made inroads with data center operators, content providers and large enterprises. During the quarter, we saw initial revenue from one of the largest Internet franchises in the world."

Cyan officials also pointed to a number of other achievements during the quarter, from expanding the Blue Planet platform to include Planet Inventory, a multi-vendor network asset management application, to creating Blue Orbit, a collection of SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) vendors who officials hope will help create an ecosystem around Blue Planet.

In addition, at Interop Tokyo, Cyan and some Blue Orbit partners showed off a live, multi-vendor SDN demonstration. Cyan also joined the OpenDaylight Project, a vendor-led open SDN effort.

Cyan is among a growing number of startups that are looking to gain inroads in the burgeoning SDN movement, which promises greater network programmability, flexibility and scalability by taking network intelligence from the underlying hardware and putting it into software, and building network applications atop that.

Vendors big and small—from Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard to VMware and Oracle to Plexxi and Embrane—want a piece of an SDN market that IDC analysts say will hit $3.7 billion by 2016. Cyan will have to keep moving forward aggressively to keep up with the flow.