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August 1, 2018
Kontron has acquired open source software company Inocybe for an as yet undisclosed amount of money, thus continuing to advance its strategy to be a full solution provider of open source hardware and software. For Inocybe, being acquired brings scale to its open networking and OpenDaylight SDN controller software, opening up market possibilities.
The deal was completed on Monday and announced this morning, but financial terms won't be disclosed until Kontron AG parent company S&T announces its quarterly financial results on Friday. The two companies previously partnered on providing integrated solutions, and so are very familiar with what that will be required. By adding Inocybe's software to Kontron's Symkloud portfolio of white box hardware and integrated open source solutions, the joint operation expects to target service providers with NFV and SDN offerings and expand the customer base into enterprises, the Internet of Things market, smart cities and more. (See Kontron & Inocybe Partner to Build Open Networking Platforms and Kontron Uses Open Source to Move Beyond Bare Metal)
"This is really about making sure we can deliver on the customer experience because one of the challenges with disaggregation is how do you re-aggregate to actually have the right level of quality of service," says Mathieu LeMay, Inocybe Technologies founder and chief strategy officer going forward, in an interview. "We have seen it with some of the software stacks with the hardware appliance -- there are always technology challenges. What is exciting about this deal for us is that it allows us to have some level of control over the experience but not locking people into the different pieces of the stack -- it's still disaggregated, still open, but we know it works together."
Or as Robert Courteau, general manager of Kontron's communications business, puts it, "What we are basically offering is open over open; you want the ice cream, you take the ice cream, you want the cone, you take the cone, but you can also have an ice cream cone."
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Inocybe will now be better able to deliver on the market opportunities it has seen, says John Zannos, CEO of Inocybe, who becomes general manager of the new business.
"Anything that simplifies the onboarding, consumption and understanding by the customer is being viewed positively," he comments. "And we are feeling like we are right in front of a very big wave with what is going on with disaggregation. We see being able to have this conversation around business problems and not getting lost in technology as a big plus. We have had a conversation around software, but extending it to software and hardware, we think we can change the market."
Larger operators may still want to pick and choose which of the new Kontron's open source solutions they want to incorporate while smaller operators and newer players such as smart cities are more attracted to integrated open source approaches that will still evolve as open source does but come fully integrated, Zannos says.
Efforts to combine the two teams will begin immediately, Courteau says, beginning with back-office operations and then moving to the front office, with a joint go-to-market strategy for customers. He says the middle ground -- the product teams themselves -- will likely continue to operate independently, at least for the foreseeable future.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading
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