ADVA's new pure-play NFV division Ensemble is trying to hit the ground running by more sharply focusing on revenue creation for a range of service providers and potential new business models as well.
Ensemble, which is named for the orchestration platform created by Overture Networks, before it was bought by ADVA Optical Networking , includes software engineering from the parent company but is built on the NFV expertise that Overture brings, and is being positioned as a pure-play NFV solution that is capable of addressing orchestration challenges regardless of vendor or application. (See ADVA CEO: Overture Acquisition Adds to Our Open NFV Pitch.)
The immediate benefit for the Ensemble orchestration solution is broader exposure to more customers, including ADVA's existing base, and greater assurance for larger operators that might want to use Ensemble that they aren't putting major eggs in a startup's basket. Overture Co-Founder Prayson Pate, who is the CTO of the new Ensemble unit, admits his company had reached a point with Tier 1 and Tier 2 providers that liked its orchestration platform but were concerned as to whether a small company was the right supplier for such a strategic piece of next-gen technology.
But even under the ADVA umbrella, Ensemble needs to prove its street cred, so to speak, when it comes to the business case of virtualization. So it's coming out of the gate with a set of use cases that it sees as near-term winners. They include the familiar -- what is essentially a virtual customer premises or edge solution, the Ensemble Connector, to terminate Carrier Ethernet and include an accelerated vSwitch and server-based virtualized network functions such as firewalls. Ensemble teams with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and its Vyatta 5600 vRouter and Fortinet Inc. for its virtual firewall, that it's selling to Masergy Communications Inc. and others.
Newer to the party is an MPLS network upgrade that allows network operators to add incremental virtual services in an overlay on an existing MPLS network without upgrading either the network or the existing customer premises equipment.
"For operators wanting to drive incremental revenue with current customers over current network, that is pretty interesting," Pate says.
Another new source of potential revenue is the ability to microhost at the customer's premises. For network operators, this would allow them to sell those hosting services to managed services providers, particularly global players, that want to avoid any deployment of CPE. It's essentially an NFV infrastructure (NFVi) as-a-service play.
"The server would be put in place by the network operator, and they would be selling not only a connectivity service but a hosting service," Pate says. "They can offer their own services as well. And regulated operators, that can only offer connectivity, this is a new revenue stream for them."
What has been missing in providing that kind of service is multi-tenant orchestration, which Ensemble provides, to let the operator and each of its "tenant" customers see an end-to-end view of just what they are delivering.
And then there's a Micro Data Center use case, which basically collocates a data center instance with the end-user to provide network and secure cloud services. There is more on that to come shortly, but it fits neatly into the industry trend of pushing data centers to the edge of the network.
Payson admits some of the technology in play here has been in the Ensemble tool belt before but is being applied now to specific revenue-generation efforts, on behalf of operators.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading