Newly combined Sandvine to focus on AI, closed-loop network automationRead More
As a new Sandvine emerges following the combination of the company with Procera Networks, its focus is on enabling AI and automation for network visibility and control — and Sandvine plans to pursue very specific use cases that offer value to operators.
Cam Cullen, VP of marketing at the new Sandvine, said that with Sandvine’s new scale, the company plans to take the strengths of both companies and “push into the network intelligence space, and bring automation by integrating things like AI and machine learning to do a closed-loop offering for operators, to solve some very specific issues in traffic management, policy and charging, and managing congestion and network quality, as well as things like allowing them … to cope with the 5G and [internet of things]upgrades that are coming their way.”
Private equity firm Francisco Partners, owner of Procera, had been in negotiations for acquisition of Sandvine for some time, ultimately making a deal to acquire the Waterloo, Ontario-based network intelligence company for about $456 million. The transaction officially closed just weeks ago, resulting in a business that reaches more than 200 tier one service providers and more than half of the top 20 mobile operators. Lyndon Cantor, CEO of Procera (and former president at Tektronix), has taken the helm at Sandvine as president and CEO of the combined company.
Cullen said that the merged company’s increased scale, diversity in its global engineering team, and a lack of overlap in the Procera and Sandvine customer bases will allow it to push forward with new solutions that take advantage of both companies’ work in machine learning and analytics to developed “closed loop” solutions that automate network actions. He said that the company also plans to continue support for both Sandvine and Procera offerings while developing a “long-term architecture that takes the best of both companies” and bridges the two product portfolios so that they can talk to each other and be mixed and matched. The industry move toward virtualization makes this shift easier, Cullen noted: replacing a virtualized network function with another virtualized network function is a “far less painful [transition]than you’ve seen in the past, when hardware and depreciation are involved. The move to virtualization, 5G and IoT is going to make this a much more seamless transition that you’ve seen in past cases of acquisitions like this.”
Sandvine plans to offer solutions in half a dozen specific areas, he said: analytics, traffic management, policy and charging, security, a cloud managed-service offering for enterprise and a regulatory compliance service. He said that Sandvine sees a significant opportunity to serve enterprises by providing service solutions that would be offered by the telcos, rather than from Sandvine directly. When it comes to IoT and 5G, Cullen said, solving security issues for untrusted IoT devices is one area of particular interest — such as enabling operators to limit IoT traffic according to “typical” behavior, as a way to insulate the rest of the network from hacked devices that may suddenly begin transmitting unusual amounts of data in distributed denial of service attacks. 5G “network slicing” is expected to expand these sort of capabilities and the automated nature of them, Cullen added, so that the industry can start to fully realize the complex traffic management capabilities that it had hoped to achieve in LTE.
“It’s an evolution of what they wanted to do in LTE,” Cullen said. “The construct that they created for [quality of experience]in LTE, in reality, didn’t go far enough.” He went on to add that “network slicing is more of a business decision, and a business opportunity — where in 4G, QoE was more of a technical solution. I think this is something many operators are coming to realize: you have to align your technical strategy with your business strategy.”