Ciena Bolsters Blue Planet With OSS Acquisition

Only days after CEO Gary Smith said some bolt-on M&A action might be in the offing to bolster its Blue Planet software stack, Ciena has announced it is acquiring inventory management specialist DonRiver for an undisclosed price. (See Ciena Eyes More Software M&A.)

The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

Austin, Texas-based DonRiver has developed a "federated" inventory system that captures and holds an up-to-date record of what technology is deployed and being used in a network and the services enabled by that network. Inventory systems have been around for a long time and all the major OSS players, such as Amdocs, NetCracker and Ericsson, have one. Now, though, with the increasing focus on automated processes by network operators, the need to have accurate and up-to-date information about a network is more important than ever -- incomplete or inaccurate information, a.k.a. "dirty data," stands in the way of any company wanting to successfully automate any process.

So it's interesting to note that Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) is not only stating that the DonRiver software, which is already being used by the likes of AT&T, Comcast, Consolidated Communications, Rogers Communications, Telstra and Vodafone (according to DonRiver's website), will enhance the capabilities of its Blue Planet automated network orchestration platform, but also enable it to provide a tool that delivers a "unified inventory view of all elements across a provider's network."

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The acquisition doesn't only bring software and existing customer relationships, which Light Reading understands generates annual revenues of $20-25 million: DonRiver, which boasts about 170 staff, offers professional services (consulting and integration) alongside its software.

"The combination of Blue Planet and DonRiver will enhance our ability to deliver closed loop automation of network services and the underlying operational processes across IT/operations and the network," said Rick Hamilton, Ciena's senior vice president of Global Software and Services, in the official statement about the deal. "With this new set of technology and expertise, we can help customers realize the full benefits of network automation by helping them move away from highly complex and fragmented OSS environments to those that accurately reflect the real-time state and utilization of network resources."

The acquisition of DonRiver is "a surprising one… but I can see how it makes sense," says James Crawshaw, Heavy Reading's senior analyst, CSP IT and Automation. "DonRiver started out as a professional services firm helping operators to modernize their OSS. Over time it 'productized' more of its offering, particularly inventory systems. Having a good understanding of inventory and topology is key to the automation of networks. Ciena can combine this with Blue Planet orchestration and analytics as part of a closed loop automation solution. Whether Ciena also needs to buy or partner with a service assurance specialist remains to be seen," adds the analyst.

The announcement comes days after optical networking and network management vendor Ciena announced impressive financial results and only hours after the vendor was surprisingly absent from Ericsson's roll call of 5G transport partners. (See Ciena CEO: We're Killin' It! and Ericsson Links 5G Hands With Juniper & ECI, Snubs Cisco & Ciena.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

James_B_Crawshaw 9/5/2018 | 1:27:41 PM
Who is DonRiver? If you'd read Heavy Reading's latest OSS/BSS Vendor Landscape report you could have found out all about DonRiver along with another 30 niche vendors in this space including CENX who was just snapped up by Ericsson.


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