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Intel Adds to Its SDN Arsenal

Ray Le Maistre

Anyone having a quiet pint of Guinness in the Europe Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 25 might have wondered whose party they had inadvertently crashed.

The celebration was the post-acquisition revelry of Aepona Ltd., the telco API platform specialist that has been acquired by Intel Corp., a move that further boosts the chip giant's software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities.

For an undisclosed sum (which one report puts at US$120 million), Intel gets more than 300 staff based in Belfast, Dublin, Sri Lanka and the U.S. and years of development in telco platform APIs.

The Aepona team has been helping network operators expose their assets to third party developers so that new applications can be developed that will run over the operators' networks and utilize some of their inherent telecom and IT capabilities. Just recently, Aepona announced it is doing just that for Vodafone India.

The ability to securely expose operators' assets has been a work in progress for years by a number of companies and industry organizations, but Aepona is one of the few specialists that has stuck with it. Now the work has paid off. (See APIs Can Generate Billions for Telcos.)

For its part, Intel says it has bought Aepona to extend its "capabilities in areas instrumental to building and delivering future network and cloud services across the spectrum of computing." It certainly hasn't bought it for its revenues, which were about $40 million in 2011.

It makes sense that Intel would be the company to snap up Aepona, given Intel's strong position in the emerging SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) market where, according to one industry analyst, telco API management is going to be key. (See Intel Intros SDN/NFV Architectures and Packet Core Looks 'Ripe' for Virtualization.)

"This is excellent and much-deserved news for Aepona, which has kept the faith with telco APIs long after others have given up," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Caroline Chappell.

"And it shows Intel is getting serious about its play in the telco sector," adds Chappell, noting that the chip vendor recently acquired API management specialist and Aepona partner Mashery.

"Telco APIs are going to be a big part of SDN and SDN-enabled cloud services. Aepona plus Mashery gives Intel a strong presence in the Web/communications services mash-up domain," notes the analyst.

Intel is swallowing up Aepona into its Software Services Group, according to Aepona's chief marketing officer Michael Crossey. He tells Light Reading that Intel wants Aepona to carry on as an independent entity, retaining its brand name, further developing the technology roadmap and continuing to engage with telco customers such as Vodafone India.

Crossey notes that the Aepona team has mostly been kept intact, though CEO Al Snyder, who took the hot seat in 2008, has moved on. (See Aepona Expands for Telco 2.0 Assault.)

That was about as much as Crossey could say -- not because he's constrained by Intel's communications strategy but because the "traditional Irish-style party" (as he called it) was only a week ago and he hasn't (it seemed to us, anyway) quite recovered his full powers of speech just yet.

With the celebrations over and the party photographs deleted from various Facebook accounts, the Aepona team can get on with the next stage of the Northern Irish startup's development, as part of the Intel behemoth.

It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
5/3/2013 | 10:42:59 AM
re: Intel Adds to Its SDN Arsenal
Well done guys!
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