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        ADD A COMMENT
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
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/21/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
Cats with Phones