Tejas Resuscitates Ethos

Indian optical vendor gives kiss of life to packet optical hopeful Ethos Networks with an all-stock takeover deal

June 8, 2010

3 Min Read
Tejas Resuscitates Ethos

Transport network equipment firm Tejas Networks India Ltd. has grown a little bigger with the acquisition of Israeli packet optical technology vendor Ethos Networks Ltd. , which had been trying to break into the highly competitive carrier Ethernet market in recent years.

Bangalore, India-based Tejas isn't revealing any financial details, but senior VP of International Business Development, Harmeet Singh, tells Light Reading that the all-stock deal has been completed, with Ethos's investors, Evergreen Venture Capital and Vertex Venture Capital, now holding unspecified stakes in Tejas.

It was widely known in the Carrier Ethernet sector that Ethos had run out of cash (though Singh said he couldn't comment on that issue), so the value of the transaction is unlikely to be more than a few million dollars.

Whatever the value, Tejas is getting about 25 staff (mostly engineers, but not the senior management), the Ethos E-series transport switches, several ongoing trials in Europe (but no actual customers), and, most importantly for Tejas, the Domain Management System (DMS).

The 10-GigE switches (12-slot and 6-slot chassis models) give Tejas an Ethernet-over-fiber platform to complement its existing Ethernet-over-SDH portfolio. (See India's Tejas Joins PBT Club, Ethos Claims First, and Ethos Adds E-80.)

That offers Tejas, which is growing and looking to branch into new markets, another portfolio option as it promotes itself as a provider of mobile backhaul transport solutions. (See Tejas Preps Managed Services Launch, Tejas Wins Mexican Deal, and ADVA, Ethos Enter Ethernet Backhaul.)

The jewel in the Ethos crown (for Tejas, at least) appears to be the DMS software. This was designed specifically to provide traffic engineering, planning, and provisioning capabilities for Carrier Ethernet transport deployments. (See Ethos Manages Nortel's PBT and Ethos Claims Ethernet Answers.)

That's an area that has attracted a lot of interesting developments (but little in the way of concrete commercial success) during the past few years, with specialists such as Soapstone and Gridpoint failing to build sustainable businesses. (See Gridpoint Going Off-Grid?, Extreme Puts Soapstone to Work, and Extreme Lathers Up Soapstone Plans.)

"The key for us is the software suite for managing Ethernet services end-to-end," says Singh. "We have a large NMS [network management system] team, but we felt this would speed up our developments."

Ultimately, says Singh, the Ethos DMS will become the de facto network management system across the Tejas portfolio, and enable the vendor to roll out new features to its existing customer base as well as provide a rich suite of Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) capabilities to new customers.

On the hardware side, Singh says Tejas and Ethos are a good fit as both companies had a similar approach to product development, basing their platforms on FPGA (field programmable gate array) chips that enable the relatively speedy implementation of new capabilities and standards -- for example, MPLS-TP (MPLS Transport Profile).

That Tejas, which will be showing off its wares at the CommunicAsia 2010 show in Singapore next week, is even talking about MPLS-TP is a sign of the times. Both it and Ethos were among the most vocal supporters of Provider Backbone Bridging – Traffic Engineering (PBB-TE), the alternative approach to connection-oriented Carrier Ethernet that has struggled to gain widespread carrier support. (See Asia/Pacific Warms to MPLS-TP, MPLS-TP vs. PBB-TE, Ethos Demos PBB-TE, PBB-TE = Standard, and Tejas Launches PBT Platform.)

Singh notes that the market has reached a stage where "there is definitely a lot of interest in PBB -- there's huge value there -- but people have questioned whether PBB-TE would be needed." (See PBB-TE Loses Favor in Packet-Optical.)

If it is needed, Tejas, along with a few others that have stuck with the technology, is ready and able to deliver, even more so now with Ethos on board. (See iBurst Deploys Ciena for Backhaul, Mzima Deploys Ciena, and Ciena Thinks Beyond PBB-TE.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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