Cyan's Busy Week Includes NFV Demos, Acquisition News

The NFV and SDN tech vendor is being bought by Ciena, but it also added more partners and showed off its expertise at the NFV World Congress show.

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It's been a busy week for Cyan, whose Blue Planet platform offers software-defined networking and network-functions virtualization capabilities to carriers and enterprises looking for ways to more quickly and easily build and deploy services.

Officials with network technology vendor Ciena and Cyan announced May 4 that Ciena plans to buy Cyan for $400 million in an effort to boost its presence in the competitive and growing markets for software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV).

In announcing the deal, Ciena officials not only noted Cyan's SDN and NFV chops, but also its metro packet-optical solutions as well as software for multivendor networks, service orchestration and network management, saying Cyan's technology is complementary to Ciena's.

Ciena's portfolio is aimed at driving greater network automation, efficiency and agility, as well as an open ecosystem, in the networking industry, according to President and CEO Gary Smith.

"The addition of Cyan accelerates the availability of a complete solution for our customers to deliver virtualized networks and services on-demand," Smith said in a statement.

Mark Floyd, Cyan's chairman and CEO, said that the two companies together "will provide our customers with the technologies they demand for a software-controlled operational model, orchestrating services on top of a scalable network, with the ability to rapidly create revenue streams in the new virtualized, on-demand world. This combination enables greater monetization for network operators through more efficient utilization of network assets and faster time-to-market with differentiated and profitable services."

Cyan officials also announced that first-quarter revenues hit $36 million, an 89 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Two days later, Cyan officials announced seven new members to the company's 2-year-old Blue Orbit partner program, an initiative designed to enable vendors to develop interoperable SDN and NFV solutions to help accelerate network operation adoption of the network virtualization models. Cyan and Blue Orbit members can test SDN and NFV solutions at Cyan's Blue Orbit Lab.

Among the new members are Intel, VMware, Brocade, GenBand and Intel software subsidiary Wind River. Other new members include ADI Engineering, an original design manufacturer (ODM), and Aria Networks.

Meanwhile, Cyan had several demonstrations at the NFV World Congress show in San Jose, Calif., highlighting the company's Blue Planet NFV orchestration capabilities and its ability to offer customers flexibility and choice.

"NFV has opened up a new paradigm that encourages best of breed, multi-vendor solutions, as opposed to completely integrated, silo based deployments provided by a single vendor," Recep Ozdag, director of solutions marketing for SDN and NFV at Cyan, wrote in a post on the company blog.

Ozdag pointed to cloud management as an example, noting that some network operations opt for OpenStack, while others may go with VMware, create their own or go with multiple methods.

"Regardless of the underlying infrastructure however, what matters most is that the services that are provisioned, the SLAs are met, and that the end-customer experience is enhanced to propel more revenue for the operators," he wrote, adding that Blue Planet supports both OpenStack and VMware-based deployments, can orchestrate virtual and physical network functions, and can run in a multidomain environment.

The demonstrations at the show included running vCPE (virtual customer-premises equipment) on OpenStack and orchestrated by Blue Planet as well as running VCPE on VMware, Versa Networks and European operator Colt. Another demonstration leveraging Blue Planet, Brocade's Vyatta vRouter and Telefonica's OpenMano virtual infrastructure manager was designed to show how an NFV-optimized platform can improve network infrastructure performance by more than 100 times over a regular cloud-based deployment of the same hardware.