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Optical/IP

Cyan Makes Its SDN Push

Cyan Inc. is playing a role in the software-defined networking (SDN) revolution with a major upgrade to its CyPortal product that enables users to activate their own tests across metro networks.

The end goal is a virtualized network that lets a service provider's customers -- either end-users or wholesalers -- take control of the portion of the network providing their services. There is still major work to be done on that front, admits Frank Wiener, Cyan's VP of marketing, but this is a step in that direction.

"We have gone from offering view-only capabilities to allowing end-customers to also interact with their services, with the first capabilities giving them the ability to activate tests to benchmark performance parameters," Wiener says.

End-customers will be able to active authorized tests such as RFC 2544 through the CyPortal without having to access their service provider's element or network management systems.

Further down the road, CyPortal will enable those same customers to alter their network capacity based on real-time requirements.

Cyan is adding multi-vendor support to its control plane and in this latest upgrade announced compatibility with more than two dozen products from 10 vendors. How that will position a relatively small company to compete with the big guys that are also developing control planes to enable SDN remains to be seen. (See Ciena Opens Up to Software-Defined Networking.)

Other pieces of the CyPortal upgrade include expanding the services it monitors to include IP and ATM services in addition to Ethernet, and publishing APIs that allow service providers to write their own applications that tie CyPortal to their billing systems and other BSS and OSS tools.

The latter development is helpful because of the volume of different systems in play within service provider networks, says Wiener.

CyPortal is currently used to monitor 20,000 service endpoints for data and mobile backhaul SLA compliance, according to Cyan.

Why this matters
Cyan's initial foray into developing software for controlling multi-vendor, multi-platform networks was quite an ambitious step. By continuing to show progress in developing its SDN-related functionality and expanding compatibility with other vendors' gear, the company once known for its optical gear is building credibility in this new space. (See Cyan Aiming High With Management Play.)

The development is also the latest example of how SDN fever is catching in some parts of the vendor community.

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— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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