CEO Chat With Jerry Guo, Casa Systems

The vision thing

SS: What's your long-term vision for Casa, like five years, ten years? Do you have one?

JG: Yes, absolutely. We believe that we're going to be providing the broadband technology for the whole communication industry. I see the industry evolving very significantly.

SS: Tell me what do you think is coming down the pike for people.

JG: When you look at the primary customers we have today, our cable operators, they provide two types of services: First, content, and content aggregation; second, communication broadband service. I think many of them -- all of them -- should be in that service category. And in that category, I see convergence to be unavoidable. There will be an evolved architecture.

Whatever we build today is going to change very dramatically in the next few years and we want to be the leader in that transition. And at the same time, we see a convergence of fixed and mobile broadband. Mobile broadband needs to get that level of bandwidth to be close to the fixed. There is an order of magnitude difference. There's going to be a huge need increase in bandwidth with limited spectrum. We see the way of getting there is by densification.

SS: What do you think the role of web-scale companies like Google and Amazon, Facebook will be in the communications industry over the next ten years?

JG: Well, some of them are getting to the communication services delivery. Some of them will be big players in content delivery and aggregation. Regardless, they're going to be very, very important, whether they’re getting to communication delivery directly or they are just doing the content delivery.

SS: The thing about companies like Google and Amazon and Netflix is that they're already developing the technology to be communications players; not service providers but actual -- they're their own equipment manufacturer, aren’t they?

JG: Yes.

SS: And you're impervious to that because of the specialty of what you do. Cisco, HP, Dell -- anybody who's making the data center devices is vulnerable to the fact that they have limitless money and almost limitless intellectual capital. So that's a dangerous combination. Originally it was the Tier 1s that were very worried about the Google and Amazon. Now it's the equipment manufacturers who are worried. Everybody's worried.

JG: They are not buying data center equipment from the equipment providers. They are building them themselves. As with anything, they are going to make the decision to build or buy. They actually thought the build part was much better for their own purposes. But nobody can do everything themselves. I see that there is always a market for equipment.

SS: You have to find the specialty which other people can't emulate and you've obviously done that in an incredibly successful way. Where the problem lies is for megacorp-sized companies that are under threat from sort of white box networking where there is an opportunity for generic solutions. If you talk to some of the people at Google who are working on SDN and NFV and they're saying we now have this data center hardware which is better than yours and it's almost free for us, and guess what, we can have open standard software which runs over it so why do we need anybody anymore?

So it's interesting, anyway. But I think we agree it's going to be really disruptive.

JG: It will be disruptive. They're going to be a big threat to some of the equipment makers. Especially on the data center side. But they are still buying communication equipment like the optical gear.

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