Bhaskar Gorti, Alcatel-Lucent's incoming president of IP Platforms, will have a general responsibility for his new employer's NFV strategy, including control of the important CloudBand unit, the vendor has confirmed.
Gorti, who is best known for running the Communications industry unit at Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) for the past eight years, was earlier this week unveiled as Alcatel-Lucent's lead executive for cloud, NFV, OSS, policy management and charging, customer experience management and security: That's a big role at a company that is placing increasing importance on cloud and NFV market leadership for its future success. (See AlcaLu Hires Oracle Big Hitter.)
But while he has plenty of experience in the BSS and OSS sectors, where he can certainly bring a lot of experience and contacts to Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), there are questions about whether he has the right experience to be handling the vendor's overall NFV strategy.
In response to questions from Light Reading, Alcatel-Lucent has confirmed that Gorti will coordinate the cross-portfolio NFV strategy at the vendor and be responsible for CloudBand, the well-regarded NFV platform that has built a significant ecosystem of industry partners and which has attracted a lot of interest from network operators. (See KT Plans NFV Shift With AlcaLu, Let's Federate Our NFV Labs – Telefónica and How Alcatel-Lucent Set a Telco Cloud Example .)
What Gorti will not manage, though, are the individual virtual network functions (VNFs) coming from Alcatel-Lucent's various product units. That means Basil Alwan's IP & Transport division will control the emerging virtual router platform announced late last year, while head of wireless Dave Geary will be responsible for the virtual radio access network (vRAN) elements offered by the vendor. (See Alcatel-Lucent Joins Virtual Router Race.)
Gorti will have direct control of the virtual network functions that come under the IP Portfolio unit, which includes virtualized IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) functions.
There seems little doubt amongst industry watchers that Gorti will be a loss to Oracle and that he brings BSS and OSS strengths to Alcatel-Lucent, but there is some caution about his NFV credentials.
Gorti's exit leaves a major gap for Oracle. "He was the leader of Oracle Communications Global Business Unit and with Oracle trying hard to position itself in NFV and SDN, his exit will be felt," says Ari Banerjee, principal analyst, Service Provider IT, at Heavy Reading .
"He is a good hire for Alcatel-Lucent as it has lost some of its key [NFV] executives in recent months and has not generated much revenue from its NFV and SDN initiatives. However, will Bhaskar, who is an old school BSS/OSS guy, but not a virtualization or NFV expert by any stretch, be able to generate new revenues for AlcaLu?" asks Banerjee.
The NFV executives that Alcatel-Lucent has lost recently, as referred to by Banerjee, are Dor Skuler, who bowed out late last year, and CloudBand CTO David Amzallag, who left just recently, Light Reading has learned. (See AlcaLu Losing Key NFV Exec.)
While it's possible that NFV is not his main strength, the telecom software sector is Gorti's heartland and it's here that he could have an impact at Alcatel-Lucent, believes Heavy Reading's principal analyst for service provider cloud and SDN/NFV, Caroline Chappell.
"This is about Alcatel-Lucent beefing up its disparate set of Motive assets, including its new Motive Dynamic Operations OSS and extensive CEM portfolio, into a next-generation B/OSS suite that could rival those from Oracle, Amdocs, NEC/Netcracker, Ericsson/Telcordia and Huawei," states Chappell. "As Alcatel-Lucent is also currently the market-leading NFV MANO [management and orchestration] vendor, it is seizing the opportunity NFV represents to transform network operations and needs to have all the 'big picture' pieces in place -- and the right leadership -- to deliver a next-generation network management story," she adds. (See AlcaLu Virtualizes Mobile Malware Security, Alcatel-Lucent, Accenture Form Customer Care Unit and Alcatel-Lucent Unveils New OSS Strategy.)
So what about Oracle? How is it feeling about losing its long-standing Communications group leader? The company says it isn't commenting just now on the issue or about who will step into Gorti's shoes.
The other main individual affected by Gorti's appointment is Andrew McDonald, who was the incumbent president of IP Platforms at AlcaLu. The vendor says he is "exploring some initiatives internally," a phrase that could be interpreted in many different ways.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading