Packet optical vendor Ciena is not known primarily for its customer premises equipment, so it might come as a surprise (well, it surprised us, anyway) that the company has more than 560,000 pieces of CPE deployed in enterprise locations, usually via managed service providers.
That figure came courtesy of John Hawkins, senior advisor of product and technical marketing at Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), who relayed it to show that Ciena's new 3938vi Service Virtualization Switch, announced in a blog post last week, is not the first CPE from the vendor. However, it is the first CPE from Ciena that supports virtual network functions, and it's the latest piece in the vendor's Agility Matrix VNF strategy announced late last year. (See Ciena Amps Up Software Play, Attacks VNF 'Agility Gap'.)
"The 3938vi… is the first solution that supports VNF integration out-of-box," Hawkins said in an email. "This platform was specifically designed to support Agility Matrix, but can be used to provide 10GbE services and VNF integration from third parties as well. It is intended to address the vCPE use cases where specific VNF functions, such as encryption and virtual routing, are needed at the customer prem."
While Ciena launched the Agility Matrix offering, at least in part, to give MSPs and enterprises more flexibility and choice to use standard x86-based commercial off-the-shelf hardware, this latest move demonstrates that Ciena still wants to have its own skin in the game -- especially if that's what its customers and its customers' customers want.
It also shows that Ciena isn't going to put its own virtualization efforts on the back burner as it waits to complete its acquisition of SDN/NFV pioneer Cyan. (See Ciena's Cyan Buy: It's All About the Software.)
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading