Masergy has been an early leader in SDN, and now the company has hired a new CEO tasked with growth. James Parker was hired as Masergy’s CEO in September. He succeeded Chris MacFarland, who transitioned to executive chairman and chief technology officer of the company.
Parker has more than two decades of experience in tech with prior leadership positions at Microsoft, CenturyLink, and most recently Tata Communications. He said his mandate at Masergy is “all about growth and the scale of our business.”
Parker’s elevator speech for Masergy is that it’s a “leading provider of hybrid networking, managed security, and cloud communications solutions to global enterprises.” But below those services, the network itself is critical as an enabler. “When you look at Masergy, the core value proposition is SDN,” said Parker in an interview with SDxCentral.
The company does not own any transport connections, itself. Instead, it uses third-party transport and the layers SDN on top. “Masergy from its core has been SDN from day one,” said Parker. “This gives Masergy an incredible platform, providing a secure set of capabilities on that network.”
It was pretty revolutionary of Masergy to create this SDN network on top of third-party transport before many others had conceived of this idea. Of course, a few years ago SD-WAN took off as a technology. And it uses the same concept, but for one particular use case — overlaying the WAN.
Masergy also provides SD-WAN, which is one of its fastest-growing services. But it also offers a variety of other services, including managed security, cloud connection, unified communications, and a selection of virtualized network functions (VNFs) offered through its f(n) marketplace. Those VNFs include virtualized routers, firewalls, and session border controllers.
Offering so many products means that Masergy has lots of competitors. Parker said the company competes against the likes of service providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Orange, and BT. And it also competes against all the SD-WAN vendors. But he said, “Having this broader offering is a huge differentiator. If it’s a very niche play that’s not going to run the test of time.”
Parker said Masergy’s products and services are offered globally. The company is providing services in 102 countries and expands to new locations based on customer demand.
Recently at an SDN event, Masergy’s Vice President of Global Technology Ray Watson said that the return on investment of NFV was taking longer than expected. Watson said that the company needed to deploy at least 2.2 commercial VNFs to a customer to break even. “If you can’t deploy 2.2 VNFs it’s not even worth sending out the equipment.”
Parker said, “My view is there is tremendous upside in the business; NFV is going to continue to grow. There’s a lot of learning that is happening, and this will continue. We are going to continue down that path to get it to work in a manner to gets the returns for customers and for us. There’s a lot of runway to get this to the point of mass-market adoption.”