NFV (Network functions virtualization)

CENX Adds Investors, $12.5M to Funding

CENX today announced a new round of $12.5 million in funding, as it moves closer to commercial deployments of its virtualization lifecycle services orchestration (LSO) technology.

The $12.5 million round include new investors BDC Capital, Mistral Venture Partners and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), as well as all of CENX Inc. 's current investors.

CENX President and CEO Ed Ogonek tells Light Reading the company's LSO product is still in use by two of the four major US wireless operators -- though he can't name either publicly -- as they move to virtualize their mobile cores. He says it is also involved in multiple proofs of concept, all of which are expected to become product deployments beginning late this year with significant ramp-up in early 2016.

The customer information isn't terribly new -- CENX claimed the unnamed mobile operators and two other customers when it announced the Cortx Service Orchestration platform, but Ogonek adds that the wins to date have enabled CENX to both grow its business as expected and to be profitable. As a privately held firm, it doesn't release its numbers. (See CENX Reinvents Itself as Service Orchestrator.)

Read more about NFV strategies and the challenges of orchestration in our NFV section here on Light Reading.

CENX's expertise is in using a continuous data audit to provide an accurate view of the network and its resources in support of end-to-end services. It is being used by the mobile operators to do service orchestration from their virtualized core to the backhaul and radio access networks.

In many of its proofs of concept, CENX is involved in orchestration of virtualized controllers or customer premises equipment to support virtual private network services, delivering "end-to-end digitization and service assurance across those private line services," Ogonek says.

The company continues to carve out a space in service assurance, planning and fulfillment, rather than configuration and provisioning, where many of the other orchestration efforts are focused, he adds.

VMWare's participation in the funding round is notable, Ogonek adds, for potential partnerships between the two. CENX already partners with another of its investors, providing Cortx as an element of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)’s global Managed Services Delivery Platform.

It's easy to speculate that the parent company of another investor -- Verizon Ventures, owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) -- is one of the company's two mobile operator customers, but Ogonek again says those names cannot be released.

The other existing funders, who remain part of this round, are Highland Capital Partners, Mesirow Financial Private Equity Inc., DCM Ventures and Cross Creek Advisors.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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