& cplSiteName &

EXFO Snaps Up Ontology for Network Visibility

Ray Le Maistre
3/2/2017
0%
100%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2017 -- EXFO has opened up its purse again to buy network visibility software specialist Ontology Systems, a move that it hopes will bolster its service assurance proposition to network operators as they embrace virtualization. (See EXFO Acquires Ontology Systems.)

Best known for its test and measurement tools, EXFO is adding to its service assurance capabilities with the purchase of UK-based Ontology Systems for US$7.6 million. That's not much to be paying for any company, but Ontology, which has been around for nearly ten years, is not going to move the needle on EXFO's financials. Its annual revenues are only at about the $4 million mark, whereas EXFO generated revenues of $232 million in the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2016.

EXFO Inc. (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF), though, is hoping that it can build on Ontology's existing customer base -- which includes the likes of BT, Level 3, Telekom Malaysia, Telenor, Vodacom, Vodafone and more -- and create a stronger proposition by combining Ontology's network visibility software with its own analytics capabilities.

Ontology certainly has something different to offer for operators wanting to get a real-time view of their services and associated network elements. That was noticed by EXFO when it started to hunt around last year for potential partners or targets that could enhance its service assurance offering, EXFO's Chief Operating Officer Philippe Morin tells Light Reading on the MWC show floor. (See EXFO Hires Philippe Morin as COO.)

Ontology developed a system based on semantic search capabilities that was designed to deliver an accurate view of network resources to operations teams in real time. "It's an IT concept that's been brought into the telecoms sector by Ontology and a much better way of gathering information than the federated approach of collecting data from multiple databases," notes Morin. (See Ontology Updates Its Semantic Search Platform.)

The two companies announced a partnership in December 2016 but it quickly became clear, says Morin, that the proposition was so strong that it made more sense to bring Ontology in-house. (Or perhaps Ontology needed to be acquired to survive? When asked if the low-priced deal was a mercy purchase, Morin dodged the question a few times before answering "I would not say that…").

Bringing Ontology in-house means EXFO gets 47 new staff and the chance to fully combine Ontology's discovery and visibility capabilities with EXFO's analytics system and probes. "We can get great root cause analysis by working in combination with Ontology," says Morin. He notes that while this will be relevant in today's mostly physical networks, it will become even more important in the hybrid physical/virtual networks that will exist in the coming years. "Once VNFs [virtual network functions] are in the network, imagine getting a real-time inventory view -- that would be very beneficial," notes the EXFO man.

Delivering a real-time view of such hybrid networks will be an important capability for operators but EXFO won't be alone in saying it can deliver such a useful management tool. That is also the core proposition of CENX Inc. , while such OSS giants as Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) and Netcracker Technology Corp. will also be pitching a similar story to network operations teams.

So does the move make sense? Heavy Reading Senior Analyst James Crawshaw had thought Ontology would be a neat fit for a fulfillment vendor such as Sigma Systems or "as a next-generation inventory system for one of the larger OSS companies. But Ontology's ability to discover and keep track of the network is highly complementary to service assurance too and it seems that the existing partnership [between EXFO and Ontology] was getting good commercial traction and exclusive ownership of Ontology was the logical next step," notes the analyst.

Ontology could well have ended up in the arms of a fulfillment vendor, specifically Sigma Systems . Light Reading learned that Sigma was in talks to acquire Ontology last year but clearly that deal never reached a conclusion. (See EXCLUSIVE: Sigma Lines Up Ontology Acquisition.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
CommScope – Meeting the Demands of Tomorrow's Networks

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Phil Sorksy, Vice President International at CommScope, discusses addressing the challenges faced by service providers today, and as future trends emerge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
AMS-IX & Huawei's OSN 902

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shows how its OSN 902 platform helps the Amsterdam Internet exchange to connect the world using multiplexing.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Smart Energy Innovation Center

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In Nuremberg, Huawei showcases its latest capabilities in the digitalization of Internet resources, network infrastructure and intelligence at its Smart Energy Innovation Center.
Valley Wonk
OFC & Hyperscale: A Good Mix?

3|24|17   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Cloud and telecom players want different types of equipment for their networks, as the chatter at OFC reveals.
LRTV Custom TV
Etisalat on NFV Journey

3|24|17   |   10:37   |   (0) comments


Etisalat is a service provider that prides itself on bringing innovative technologies to the markets it serves. It was one of the first operators to implement 3G and leads the pack in fiber penetration. Now, Esmaeel Al Hammadi, Etisalat's SVP of Network Development, explains the operator's journey to virtualization, beginning with the network core, as well as the ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
LRTV Documentaries
No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


The Citrix NetScaler mobile gateway is an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, NetScaler can be deployed on any hypervisor, on a ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: 2 Billion Adults 'Trapped' in Cash Economy

3|21|17   |   03:51   |   (1) comment


Despite advances made in the last several years, two billion adults around the world are trapped in a cash economy and lack what we take for granted -- a safe way to receive, save and use money. Shamina Singh, executive vice president of sustainability and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, chats about how Mastercard is developing new ways to ...
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Top Priorities for B/OSS Transformation
James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst – OSS/BSS Transformation, Heavy Reading, 3/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Neither Do We Click Here
Is that a prerequisite?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.