Cyan Wants to Help Bridge the Chasm

Packet-optical startup Cyan Optics Inc. is getting into the outsourcing business, offering to operate as a carrier's network operations center (NOC). The company introduced a service today, CyNOC, that involves watching over the network for alarms and/or making sure service level agreements are being met.

The most basic service tier has Cyan acting as an after-hours backup, ringing up the carrier's operations personnel if anything goes wrong. But Cyan says it's willing to go as far as taking over the entire NOC. The service pertains only to Cyan's own boxes, but Eric Clelland, vice president of North American sales, says Cyan hopes to extend the concept to other vendors' gear.

Cyan watches the network via a dedicated VPN connection and runs CyNOC in the cloud, on infrastructure rented from an infrastructure-as-a-service provider.

Why this matters
Look past the basics, and stretch the idea just a little -- and it's conceivable that Cyan could take over many service provider IT (SPIT) functions for a smaller operator.

That could be an interesting spin on Light Reading's Bridging the Chasm theme. Carriers that need a stronger IT element to their networking operations could just outsource most of that work to a vendor. In addition to watching the network, Cyan could do all the service provisioning, for instance.

Who would put this kind of trust in a startup? Clelland points to the municipalities and other non-carrier winners of broadband stimulus grants. "A good percentage of them are not traditional infrastructure people with lots and lots of people who can go in and work on equipment," he says.

The more basic reason why Cyan created CyNOC is because the startup's gear is relatively new and represents a merging of network layers. Clelland says potential customers have balked at the thought of learning how to operate a new type of box when they've already got a feel for other vendors' gear.

CyNOC would get even more interesting if Cyan starts to support other vendors' gear, but then again, that level of service has been the purview of the biggest global vendors, the likes of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Nokia Networks , and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763). Bigger carriers will want their operations vendor to have some staying power, and Cyan can't compete with those names on that front.

For more
In addition to being part of the packet-optical trend, Cyan has some interesting potential in SPIT. Here's what they've been up to. And here's more about our Bridging the Chasm theme:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:13:28 PM
re: Cyan Wants to Help Bridge the Chasm

Clearwave, a 30-person firm which won a $40-million-plus pile of stimulus money to build a 23-county fiber-optic network in downstate, is outsourcing some of their NOC operations to Cyan. My understanding from a conversation with Scott Riggs, president of Clearwave, that Cyan's ability to provide ongoing professional services as part of their customer support was one of the decision points in vendor selection. 

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