Virtualization might be the flavor of the decade but the shortlist for Best New Product (Telecom) in this year's Leading Lights awards shows there's still plenty of life left in the components and optical hardware markets.
There were almost 40 entries in this category, many of a very high standard, making it very hard to create a shortlist: As a result, the shortlist is quite long, with 12 companies making the cut. A snapshot of each shortlisted product can be found below.
The winners in all categories are to be announced at the Leading Lights Awards dinner on Monday, May 23, at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas. For more details about that, see this Leading Lights 2016 Awards page. The following day, the Big Communications Event 2016 opens its doors for two days of networking, learning and fun.
To find out which companies were shortlisted in all 26 Leading Lights categories, see Leading Lights 2016: The Finalists.
In alphabetical order, here are this year's shortlisted entries in the Best New Product (Telecom) category:
ADVA Optical Networking -- Ensemble Connector
The Ensemble Connector was inherited by ADVA when it acquired Overture Networks earlier this year and has become an increasingly popular choice as a virtualized infrastructure element for NFV Proofs of Concept as well as already being commercially deployed by Masergy and DartPoints. Ensemble Connector is ADVA's commercial alternative to Open vSwitch (OVS) as the VNF-hosting software platform in a NFV deployment, offering greater scalability and lower latency than the open source alternative. Importantly, Ensemble Connector is not tied to any proprietary hardware or software solutions, meeting the open, multivendor needs of network operators.
- Validating ADVA's Virtual Switch
- DartPoints' Micro Data Centers Use ADVA NFV
- ADVA Adds NFV Smarts With $35M Overture Acquisition
Affirmed Networks -- Affirmed Service Automation Platform (ASAP)
With its Affirmed Service Automation Platform (ASAP), this disruptive startup is targeting a very specific need of network operators – to make it much easier and cheaper to introduce new services in legacy as well as hybrid and virtualized networks. ASAP, states the Affirmed team, "helps in provisioning, de-provisioning, or obtaining the information for a service, using a custom-defined procedure called a Recipe," a procedure built around two tools, the vBuilder that creates a service and the vTransactor that orchestrates it, for which no service-specific coding or additional professional services assistance is needed as everything is enabled via a GUI.
By enabling network operations teams to introduce and manage services in such a simplified way, Affirmed is tapping into the core needs of modern communications service providers.
Amdocs -- Amdocs CES 10
With release 10 of its CES portfolio platform, Amdocs is tapping into one of the hottest trends in the industry – service provider digital transformation. Amdocs has designed CES 10 to enable CSPs to diversify their business opportunities across multiple digital channels, engage customers with personalized experiences and, using analytics functions, make business and operational decisions based on real-world data about their networks, services and customers.
As with all major back office systems these days, CES 10 is a hosted, cloud-enabled software system that also taps into the SDN and NFV needs of CSPs by offering them the opportunity to design, test and launch virtualized and hybrid services in weeks using the Service Design and Create tool embedded in CES 10, which also includes tools to onboard enterprise and vendor partners from the IoT world.
Amdocs has identified the key operational and business demands of today's CSPs and addressed them in CES 10.
Ciena -- Waveserver
Waveserver is Ciena's dedicated data center interconnect (DCI) platform, a stripped-down system based on the vendor's WaveLogic Extreme chipset, designed specifically for the heavy lifting needed between data centers. Initially launched in May 2015, the system was upgraded to support long-haul DCI in September last year.
Of particular note is the Waveserver's Emulation Cloud capability, a "prototyping environment" that allows customers, potential customers and even third-party application developers access to an emulated version of a Waveserver unit through a browser on their desktops.
Ciena is already recording revenues from the Waveserver system and while competition is tough from other dedicated DCI boxes and emerging specialist DCI modules, Ciena looks set to capitalize on demand for this platform from its established customer base that now also includes major Web services firms.
- Ciena Surfs DCI Wave With New Platform
- Ciena Outfits Waveserver for Long Haul DCI
- DCI Boxes Aren't Just for Metros Anymore
Cisco -- Network Convergence System 5508 (NCS 5508)
In a nutshell, Cisco's NCS 5508 is a physical router for the modern age, offering high density, low power consumption, intelligent connectivity to multiple support systems and interfaces, and designed to be implemented in programmable, cloud-friendly networks.
In addition to its density – Cisco claims the NCS 5508 offers "the highest density platform of routed 100-GE ports on the market" – the router offers a range of software-based capabilities designed for modern networks, including the automation of day-to-day operational procedures using YANG data models and the exposure of near real-time data that can be used by network optimization tools.
ECI Telecom -- Apollo OPT 9900 Series
ECI's Apollo OPT 9900 series, which consists of high capacity, multi-layer switching platforms, has been designed to offer a dense, energy-efficient, hybrid OTN/packet switch for core networks and submarine cable landing stations and comes in two versions – a 16 Tbit/s capacity platform and a 5.6 Tbit/s system.
In addition to its high density and optimized power consumption, the Apollo OPT 9900 series offers alien wavelength support, SDN control, fast and flexible provisioning capabilities to meet customer requests and changes in traffic demands and tools (such as rate adaptive coherent transmission, flexible spectrum, layer 2 statistical multiplexing, multilayer optimization) designed to maximize capacity utilization. That's the type of feature set that network operators need if they're to develop profitable business strategies for the coming years.
Next page: Inphi, Lumentum, Netronome, Nokia, RIFT.io and Wind River