I’m writing this on the long trip home to California from Singapore, where Cyan had participated in the 6th annual Carrier Ethernet APAC Conference – the largest Ethernet event in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. This year the show was also co-located with “SDN & NFV Asia”, a new event highlighting the exciting opportunities that software-defined networking and network functions virtualization present to regional network operators. As most of us have noticed over the past year, it’s a growing trend for telecom-related conferences to add an emphasis on SDN/NFV in order to capitalize on the intense interest surrounding these disruptive, rapidly emerging technologies. The combined event in Singapore did this as well as any other I’ve seen lately, and featured more than 45 operator and solution provider presentations and panels looking at Carrier Ethernet, SDN, and NFV technologies from the service provider perspective with a distinctive emphasis on the regional impact.
The content and speaker lineup at the show was first-rate, covering topics ranging from real-life implementations with leading regional operators, to detailed discussions on cloud, transport and data center networks, and literally everything in-between. For me, some presentations that really stood out were from Gint Atkinson (VP of Network Architecture and Strategy at KVH), who detailed the network efficiency drivers for moving to a software-defined architecture, Shahar Steiff (VP of Business Operations at PCCW Hong Kong), who presented on monetizing carrier Ethernet and SDN in the wholesale market, and from Jon Vestal (VP of product architecture at Pacnet) who delivered a live demo of OpenFlow-based, on-demand Ethernet service provisioning.
Cyan’s own Abel Tong (Director of Solutions Marketing) also delivered a compelling presentation on how SDN is being implemented today, as opposed to theoretically in the future, to overcome a number of network operators’ real-world operational and business challenges.
The in-depth conversations that members of the Cyan team had with network operators on the show floor were perhaps even more interesting. Whether the discussion was with one of the several regional tier-1 operators who attended, a competitive carrier, or a local Research & Education network provider, I absolutely got the strong sense that SDN, Carrier Ethernet and NFV were being embraced for the innovation they can, and do, deliver today. It was clear that these technologies, independently and collectively, are being viewed throughout the region as a key components of the solution needed to address the fundamental challenges that exist in the telecom environment by enabling new business models, lower costs, and superior customer experiences.
Of course, the APAC region has a very impressive history and tradition of embracing, and delivering, technology innovation as evidenced by industry-leaders like Sony, Samsung, NTT Communications and numerous others. Cyan’s own history of innovation also has several strong ties to the region. The first customer for our Blue Planet Platform (one year ago to-the-day today, as I write this) was none other than NTT America, a business unit of Japan-based NTT Communications. Further, our groundbreaking Enterprise-WAN-Datacenter SDN orchestration use case and Blue Orbit SDN/NFV Ecosystem were first unveiled during Interop Tokyo earlier this year.
Cyan is also deeply engaged at the current time with a number of leading carriers in the APAC region who are investigating how SDN, NFV and packet-optical technologies can be leveraged to transform their networks.
And lastly, another indication of how service providers in APAC are embracing these technologies also became clear while I was here in Singapore. As Cyan announced earlier today, our Blue Planet SDN and NFV Orchestration Platform was recognized as the “SDN Innovation of the Year” during the 2013 Telecom Asia Readers’ Choice & Innovation Awards. What makes this award different from others we’ve received for our Blue Planet platform is that the winner was determined by Telecom Asia’s service provider readers in a recent online poll, and not by a panel of judges or editors. I was able to attend the award ceremony here in Singapore on Thursday night, following the Carrier Ethernet APAC Conference (the two events were unrelated however). It was great to experience the ceremony first-hand, but it was even better to see our Blue Planet platform being recognized by service providers who have an impressive track-record of embracing innovation.