Optical and Ethernet equipment maker Ciena is positioning itself to capture a big slice of India's future SDN and NFV market.
While SDN and NFV technologies are currently in their infancy in India, interest is likely to grow as spectrum limitations and soaring demand for bandwidth push Indian telcos to explore New IP. (See Indian Telcos Start Exploring SDN & NFV .)
Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) reckons it is ideally placed to address this opportunity thanks to its existing presence in India and strong product positioning. "We are conducting a number of pilots for the Indian telcos and some of these deals are likely to close this year," says Ryan Perera, a country head at Ciena Communications India. "It is definitely a focus area for us this year."
The company is banking on Blue Planet, an orchestration technology it picked up with its recent acquisition of Cyan. The multi-vendor capability of Blue Planet could make it ideal for the Indian environment. And the system has recently moved from a monolithic to a "microservices" design, boosting its flexibility, says Perera. (See Is There Life on Ciena's Blue Planet? and Ciena Absorbs Cyan for New IP Onslaught.)
Encouragingly, for Ciena, the rapid growth of a 4G ecosystem and the pressure to modernize existing networks mean Indian operators are thinking more about SDN and NFV. Greenfield telco Reliance Jio has said that all its equipment is ready for the introduction of SDN and NFV, while Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), India's biggest operator, is eager to invest in virtualization technologies as part of its $9 billion "Project Leap" initiative. But Ciena will clearly face competition from other New IP vendors targeting India's biggest service providers, including Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Hewlett Packard Enterprise , Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). (See Bharti's $9B Network Splurge in India.)
Commenting specifically on the outlook in India, Perera says the enterprise segment is the most relevant when it comes to virtualization.
Much like their global counterparts, Indian telcos are likely to adopt virtual enterprise customer premises equipment as the premier use case for NFV, says Perera. "This model uses more software on servers rather than more routers, in particular to deliver enterprise services such as VPNs, firewalls and even routing on servers, bypassing physical routers," he explains. "This would be especially apt for the Indian market, as it will allow them [operators] to address under-served Indian enterprises."
— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading