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CENX Reinvents Itself as Service Orchestrator

It might seem a bit of a stretch for CENX to go from operating an Ethernet exchange that never really took off to offering a service orchestration platform for SDN and NFV, but CENX CEO and President Ed Ogonek says the transition was a natural one that built on the company's experience in managing end-to-end services. (See CENX Unveils Service Orchestration Suite and Ethernet Exchanges Shift From Public to Private.)

More importantly in terms of product validation, Ogonek says CENX Inc. is already working with two large Tier 1 customers who are using its Cortx Service Orchestration platform in their mobile backhaul networks, as well as a Tier 2 operator and data center company using Cortx for end-to-end service orchestration of SDN and NFV.


For more on service orchestration for NFV and SDN, check out our dedicated carrier SDN page here on Light Reading.


Ogonek, who took over CENX management in January 2013 from former President and Co-Founder Nan Chen, says the company's expertise in automating the end-to-end services lifecycle for data services such as Ethernet gave it clear insight into the challenges of orchestration in the virtual world. CENX had specific expertise in interconnecting different networks to deliver a consistent service and had to address very similar challenges to what will exist in virtualized networks. (See CENX Selects a CEO.)

Many of those challenges relate to establishing what Ogonek calls a "clean and accurate view of the data from OSS and BSS around an advanced data service," which Cortx does by conducting a continuous data audit that, among other things, can continuously extract data from existing OSSs. The service information model is then built on that data to enable the automation of all the necessary processes in the service lifecycle, including ordering, provisioning and ongoing service assurance.

"A lot of companies are looking at this as an evolution of an outdated OSS architecture," he says. "We come at this from a different perspective. The continuous data audit builds a very clean and accurate view of the network. It also lets us build a single unified service information model and leverage that to automate the billing side of the network and provide orchestration that is multi-vendor, multi-network and multi-service."

Cortx has open REST applications programming interfaces (APIs) so it can integrate multiple different SDN controllers and NFV orchestrators and is designed to manage a range of IP and Ethernet services.

Ogonek acknowledges that there are still many moving parts to service orchestration in NFV arena, including multiple standards efforts and a push to create a single orchestration layer, but says CENX is carefully tracking the standards groups and participating where it can. (See Telefonica's Push for Open NFV Infrastructure, VIM.)

"In the drive to virtualization, we have provided a platform to meet the key market trends of increasing service agility and reducing capital and operational costs," he says.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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