A visit to Alcatel's Lucent's Naperville, Ill. campus, west of Chicago, shed light on how the company is focusing its efforts around software and the cloud -- especially as the merger with Nokia nears.
While the Alcatel-Lucent execs that Sarah Thomas, editorial operations director of Light Reading, and I met with did talk about the merger and their place in it, much of the talk centered around how New IP technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) can work together to throw "the rules of networking out the window," to quote one of our tour guides, Ted East, VP of Alcatel-Lucent's CTO, NFV and CIC (Cloud Innovation Centers) team. With SDN and NFV, service providers can put traffic anywhere they want when they need to, said East.
As part of the tour, East showed us how easy it is to spin up services like firewalls in the cloud, thanks to SDN and NFV. Then he had us cause a network failure by playing Whack-a-Mole in order to demonstrate how fast the network can rebuild itself.
After wreaking havoc with Whack-A-Mole, we sat down with Bhaskar Gorti, president of IP Platforms. Gorti said Alcatel-Lucent currently has four business divisions: fixed networks, IP Routing and Transport, wireless and IP Platforms. Ironically, IP Platforms has "nothing IP or Platform" about it, said Gorti, laughing. "It's a software business where we have our IMS portfolio, our SDN portfolio, BSS and OSS portfolio, customer experience portfolio and analytics," he said. "It's a large porfolio that runs on fixed and wireless IP networks.
Post-acquisition, Nokia will have a similar structure with about four or five business groups. IP Platforms will be put into a business group called Applications and Analytics business, which Gorti will head up once the acquisition is complete.
I'll be writing up more about my field trip, including more on my discussion with Gorti and the business case for NFV and open source. But for a photo journal of my visit, click on the image below to launch my slideshow.
The Windy City
It was a very windy day in Chicagoland on the day of my field trip. Outside the Alcatel-Lucent complex in Naperville, Ill., the flags were very busy.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP