Light Reading

MRV Looking to Regain Momentum

Dan O'Shea
3/4/2014
50%
50%

OFC 2014 next week will find MRV Communications expanding its packet optical vision, yet arguably still in a battle for relevance in a changing optical sector.

The vendor is almost two years removed from a period of upheaval that saw MRV change out several executives and board members, while considering selling out of the optical networking sector before reversing course, committing to packet optical, and deciding to sell other assets instead (See MRV Takes Packet-Optical Path and MRV to Sell Assets.)

"The company is much more focused now," says Scott Wilkinson, senior director of technical marketing at MRV. Dave Stehlin, an optical sector veteran who had been president of MRV's optical communications systems division, was promoted to CEO to steer the company toward the packet optical horizon, and last year, MRV launched its OptiDriver optical networking line for datacenter, cloud, and content providers, initially with a 10G system. Earlier this month, MRV unveiled a 100G muxponder to address varying bandwidth needs beyond 10G, as well as a new ROADM (See MRV Announces OptiDriver Platform.)

At OFC 2014, MRV will showcase the OptiDriver line, including the latest additions, but Wilkinson tells Light Reading the vendor also will announce a new HTML5 version of its ProVision service orchestration software for provisioning optical and Carrier Ethernet. Wilkinson says a Tier 1 carrier advised the company to completely make over what was previously Java-based software. The revamp was also inspired by the intelligence inherent in the OptiDriver line, as well as MRV's future product plans to expand into integrated packet optical solutions, Layer 3 switching and application awareness.

"We needed a more powerful platform to support these things," he says. "We're talking to bigger carriers now with bigger requirements. That Tier 1 was guiding us toward a more Tier 1-grade product."

Also at OFC 2014, MRV will talk about how it is getting more deeply involved in the standards fray by joining both the Open Network Foundation and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) 's network functions virtualization (NFV) Industry Specifications Group. Wilkinson says the company is well prepared for the imminent revolution in networking because it already uses a Linux-based operating system called MasterOS for its switching line.

"We're looking at separating the control plane from our switching to do a lot of other things," he says. "So, for example, our operating system itself could be a switch in a server between virtual machines."

These moves show that MRV, like many other vendors, is positioning itself for a future defined by software and virtualization. Yet, despite MRV's attempts to put organizational and strategic turbulence behind it, the small company still faces an uphill battle in the packet optical sector against a legion of giants. Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin says the company has lost momentum that will be difficult to regain.

"They are making moves to increase relevance in optics, including adding 100G and joining relevant standards groups, but none of this could be considered pioneering activity," Perrin says. "They are a very small player in a very crowded and competitive market, and a comeback will be a huge challenge. I don't see how it will be done."

Wilkinson acknowledges the challenge, but says MRV is playing a different ballgame from the larger vendors in the sector, and that customer reception to its recent moves has been positive.

"The Cienas and Alcatel-Lucents of the world are pursuing a different, broader tier of product," he says. "We talk to carriers specifically about metro and edge point-to-point packet optical transport needs, but even those customers are starting to want more, and we're following them up the food chain."

Still, with newcomer Coriant reintroducing the optical sector to the concept of consolidation in the last year or so, it's fair to wonder if a small firm like MRV can continue to remain independent and win its share of a rapidly changing market. For MRV's part, it declined comment on whether or not it could eventually revisit the notion of selling its optical assets.

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Iluzun
50%
50%
Iluzun,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/5/2014 | 11:24:37 PM
Re: "I don't see how it will be done."
Html5 version of Pro-Vision 3.0 APIs for the network edge... http://www.mrv.com/sites/default/files/brochures/us_pdfs/mrv_pro-vision_brochure.pdf
sterlingperrin
50%
50%
sterlingperrin,
User Rank: Lightning
3/4/2014 | 4:29:55 PM
Re: "I don't see how it will be done."
I belive there is more opportunity for them on the software side (SDN/NFV) than on the on the hardware side (100G), so maybe they have something unique to contribute in SDN/NFV. The same comment could be made about any non-tier 1 optical supplier. 

Sterling
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
3/4/2014 | 4:18:39 PM
Re: "I don't see how it will be done."
In regard to joining the standards groups, Wilkinson said MRV wants to "participate more formally," and it sounds like they have something to contribute or share in particular. Though I would agree that vendors also do this when they're in catch-up mode.
Iluzun
50%
50%
Iluzun,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/4/2014 | 1:18:06 PM
"I don't see how it will be done."
I don't know either, but they do appear 'focused' so perhaps the two years away from the publics radar has had some benefit.  Joining the two groups is either an atempt to catch up, or an oppotunity to share/lead.  What's the potential value in, "our operating system itself could be a switch in a server between virtual machines."?

Perhaps application aware networking is of value in the datacenter?  Does it provide 'context'?  Would this be of import to Orchestration?  How r the 'undrlay' & 'overlay' to be bound?  Would a SDDC require  for proper orchestration?  

Cloud, SDN, & NFV have opened the possibilities up to those "other things"...

 

 
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
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.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
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
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
Smarter 'Dumb' TVs Will Drive OTT Adoption
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/18/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
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, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones