Light Reading

Cyan Hires Video Game Developers for POW! BANG! ZOOM!

Mitch Wagner
3/27/2014
50%
50%

Managing networks will never be as much fun as blowing the heads off zombies, but Cyan is looking to make it as visually interesting. The company has developers with backgrounds in gaming contributing to its network visualization software.

"We have five guys that we've been able to find over time that have a backgrounding in gaming directly involved in visualization," Cyan Inc. president Mike Hatfield tells Light Reading. "What happens is that the best of that technology is applied to a closed environment in telecom."

The drive to make network visualization tools more rich comes from the changing nature of service provider networking, Hatfield says. Service providers previously relied on a few telecommunications tools. But now service provider network managers are required to deal with technologies that came in from the enterprise, including Ethernet, software administration, and operations.

"As these networks began to emerge, you have an opportunity to grab a lot of data -- how do you visualize that?" Hatfield says. Cyan turned to developers in the gaming industry to put their talents to use creating richer user interfaces for Cyan's Blue Planet management tools.

For example, Blue Planet provides multilayer network management, analyzing fiber, wavelengths OTM error correction and management, and Ethernet on top. "All of those have traditionally been run by separate organizations, and information from one has not been correlated," Hatfield says. "We felt that having visual correlation between those would be beneficial." If something breaks, a network manager using visualization tools can easily see if the problem is in their layer or a layer below.

Visualizing network layers.
Visualizing network layers.

"If you're at Layer 4, and it's just a straightforward fiber cut, you can waste a lot of time finding out what happened," Hatfield said. "When something goes bad everything turns red and it's easy to see that everything above it will go wrong."

Joe Cumello, Cyan chief marketing officer, says, "Traditionally, network management technology that vendors force network managers to use view data in a tabular way, as a flat file. It was very difficult to correlate in two dimensions what was happening in those layers."

Cyan also relies on gaming-like fly-throughs to allow network managers to move through an environment, turn the network on its side, and zoom in and out to individual cables. "You can see the layers and actual movement that you might not get with screen capture or two-dimensional implementation," Cumello says.

Visualizing activity on an optical link.
Visualizing activity on an optical link.

A small salting of game developers does the job for Cyan. The company has five developers with gaming background, out of a total 120.

The developers also helped with Cyan's transition to a loose corporate culture based on the agile development methodology. "The key in gaming technology is try something, see if it works, if it doesn't, adjust it," Hatfield says. "We’ve taken some of that fail-fast approach, which is very much a gaming approach."

Cyan also tries to bring a gaming approach to managers learning to use its tools. "With the older video games, you had to read the manual to play the game," Hatfield says. "Then later you could just turn on the game and learn as you go," he says. Inspired by games, Cyan tries to make its software as intuitive as it can.

Cyan's developers with gaming background also brought storyboarding, a gaming technique, into the development process. Cyan now maps out scenarios of what typical operators will do when attempting to diagnose problems.

Does the use of gaming techniques runs Cyan into trademark collision with the other Cyan, which made the wildly popular games Myst and Riven? No, says Hatfield. "Although they do have the domain cyan.com, so we're envious of that," he says. The networking company is at www.cyaninc.com.

Cyan put together a demo video of its visualization tools.

More about Cyan:

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to mwagner@lightreading.com.


Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.


(10)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
southernlight
100%
0%
southernlight,
User Rank: Moderator
3/27/2014 | 9:26:30 PM
Is this new?
Everything here looks exactly the same as their promo video from a year and a half ago (http://youtu.be/LTcASAVdw6A). What's new here?
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/27/2014 | 6:30:29 PM
Re: Great Idea
A networking vendor needs to walk the line between being so agile that they break customer networks, and so rigid that they are incapable of innovating. That line is more conservate than for, say, a game developer. 
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 2:38:23 PM
Nifty
DevOps+gamers=great network visualization. But it does sound cool!
derac7020
50%
50%
derac7020,
User Rank: Lightning
3/27/2014 | 12:25:21 PM
Re: Great Idea
Was said partly in jest but I just thought it was an odd thing for a networking company CEO to say.   
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 12:06:44 PM
Re: Great Idea
@derac7020...I think that he means tweaking based on user feedback as opposed to releasing pre-alpha software with a lot of flaws...plus I know a lot of their software team and they are way too anal to let that happen!
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 12:05:37 PM
Re: Great Idea
@brookseven,  the folks that I know at Cyan don't seem concerned, granted they are just engineers but they usually sense things.  I think that this move is really intelligent.  Adding "transparency" to the layers so that faults can be found quickly is super important.
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 11:06:48 AM
Re: Great Idea
I think the more interesting thing is that the Q4 Cyan call stated that (without a layoff that they have not talked about) that Q1 OPEX would exceed Q1 Revenue.  Now they didn't state it that directly....but if you flatline their OPEX and use the guided to Revenue, that is what you get.

 

Anybody else think that this is a major sign of trouble?

 

seven
derac7020
50%
50%
derac7020,
User Rank: Lightning
3/27/2014 | 10:35:28 AM
Re: Great Idea
It does sound cool and its needed but..  ""The key in gaming technology is try something, see if it works, if it doesn't, adjust it"..   I'm sure that very reassuring to network operators.
gregwhelan
50%
50%
gregwhelan,
User Rank: Lightning
3/27/2014 | 8:55:05 AM
Great Idea
Nice move by Cyan.  Network Management has been an oversight by vendors for decades.  I can imaging the cool displays in the NOC with their solution.  
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 7:59:38 AM
Let me be the first to disagree
You say:

"Managing networks will never be as much fun as blowing the heads off zombies..."

 

I say --depends on the network and the zombies!! Never say never..... (kaboom...)
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
Between the CEOs
EXCLUSIVE: Cisco's Chambers on Reinvention

3|3|15   |   8:24   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
LRTV Documentaries
The Three Cs of MWC15

3|2|15   |   2:33   |   (1) comment


My visit to this year's Mobile World Congress is going to dominated by three Cs – cloud, cells and coffee.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
Verizon Takes Radio Dot to Detroit, VoLTE Overseas
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/27/2015
FCC Adopts Title II Rules
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.