In a move to extend the reach and penetration of its Blue Planet management platform, optical networking vendor Cyan Inc. (CYNI) has added support for Cisco and Juniper routers.
By adding new “element adapters,” Cyan’s Blue Planet will be able to automate, provision, manage, and monitor Ethernet services across Cisco ASR 901, ASR 903, ASR 9000, and ME 3600 platforms as well as Juniper MX960, MX480, and MX2010 platforms. By using open standards, this beefs up Blue Planet’s status as a Software Defined Networking (SDN) product by extending its functions to a huge swath of the IP routing market, which is controlled by Cisco and Juniper.
Now Cyan’s optical switch customers can see the switches and routers together from within Blue Planet. Previously, Cisco and Juniper hardware required separate proprietary interfaces for configuration.
The deal shows how many of the concepts behind SDN technology, in which management and service orchestration can performed by open management tools outside of the proprietary hardware platforms, is taking hold in the market. Cyan is carving out a role as an provider of independent, third-party management tools with Blue Planet.
Cyan officials say the software shortens the time it takes to provision services and drive revenue. “The real powerful piece is that we are abstracting out the complexity of managing these devices,” said Cyan Chief Marketing Officer Joe Cumello in a phone interview. “Complex CLI codes and router configuration are completely abstracted.”
Another interesting twist is that Blue Planet provides some of the same functions provider by companies that Cisco has recently acquired, such as the orchestration funcationality of Tail-f Systems, which Cisco recently acquired for $175M. However, Cyan officials point out that Tail-f helps orchestrate and provision a service, but it does not monitor or provide service assurance after the fact.
“The problem is that [Tail-F) is a day-one utility,” said Cumello. “On day two Tail-F ends. There’s no real-time network intelligence. Once you push the service template on the network, it has no topology intelligence. [Blue Planet] has real-time analytics.”
The announcement shows that Cyan is starting to emphasize its SDN story, despite being known primarily as a packet-optical networking vendor. Cyan shareholders might want to see a stronger SDN story to see if that can provide its shares a lift. The stock has dropped from a high of near $14 in 2013 to near $3 in trading today.
The big problem for the company right now is that despite its strong technology, the stock reflects the fact that Cyan is still losing a lot of money. It showed a loss of $14.6M in the quarter ending June 30, 2014. The company still has $38M in cash on hand, but it’s clear that investors are getting impatient with the losses and want to see Cyan show a faster path to profit.
Read all about the battle between SDN startups and incumbents in our exhaustive 30-page report on the market, “The SDN Revolution: An Ecosystem Report.”