Wednesday, April 20, 2011

FiberMedia To Become a Bigger Factor in the New York Market

By Lisa Huff

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with FiberMedia’s senior VP of sales and head of global operations and get a tour of its new co-location and managed services data center in Secaucus, New Jersey. Luckily for FiberMedia, this property was originally one of TD Waterhouse’s data centers so not much renovation was needed before it could be opened so it was brought on-line quickly. The other new data center is in Westchester, New York. These add to FiberMedia’s four other data centers in Jersey City, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, New York City and Cleveland, OH.

Fiber Media prides itself on customizing solutions for its customers with flexible data center designs that manage their bandwidth. The Secaucus facility is carrier neutral with multiple fiber connections. Carriers include some of the largest telecommunications companies in the world as well as smaller regional providers. Among them are  AboveNet, AT&T, Cogent, Fibernet, Global Crossing, Hibernia, Keyspan, Level 3, Qwest, RCN, Sprint, Telia, Verizon and XO Communications.

The Secaucus data center is currently 32,000 square-feet with another 8,000 for expansion. It has two points of entry so customers have less traffic past their areas. The data center is SAS70 certified. FiberMedia has customers that cross several vertical markets including financial, media, content delivery/distribution networking (CDN) and healthcare.

FiberMedia recently received an infusion of cash from a new strategic partner, The Stevens Group, LLC and it seems that with this new partnership has attracted top new talent as well. In the last six months, it has made several new hires – CEO, CFO and VP of Sales all of which have extensive experience in other IT services businesses.

FiberMedia appears to have a very specific plan for its co-location and managed services business. In addition to its two new data centers, it released a new managed cloud service. I have to admit that on the surface, this looked like just a lot of marketing hype to me, but after speaking with John Panzica, VP of Sales, about it, I understand that it’s not just your run-of-the-mill service. What it allows its customers to do is to totally manage their compute and storage demands remotely on the fly. I’m not sure any other company is offering this – at least I haven’t heard this from anyone else, yet.

Before this visit, I had heard of FiberMedia, but didn’t really think they were much of a player in the New York marketplace. Now, based on their willingness to invest capital to build state-of-the-art data centers and to provide differentiated managed services, I believe they may give the other co-los a run for their money.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Infinera and the Dawn of Terabit Networks

by Lisa Huff

At OFC, I sat in on an Infinera press conference and I have to say I was impressed. Of course, I’ve always been impressed with Infinera’s PIC technology, but they seem to have now taken it to an entirely different level. Its new PICs incorporate 5x100G devices and over 600 functions on two chips and on the horizon are 10x100G PICs with perhaps more than 1,000 functions.

Infinera has long stood out in the telecom industry because while it is an equipment manufacturer, its base technology is routed in optical components research and development. This used to be the case for all telco OEMs including Alcatel, Lucent and Nortel, but all of these companies shed their components development arms in the early 2000s, and of course Alcatel and Lucent are now merged and Nortel is a shell of its former self. Through all of this, Infinera has prospered by successfully leveraging its component expertise to sell its CWDM and DWDM products and innovate to produce new ones.

Infinera had 10x10G, or 100G, long before many of its competitors and now has 5x100G PICs that it expects to have in production before year’s end. In fact, this technology was recently demonstrated in a live network trial with Interoute in Europe. Interoute expects to deploy Infinera’s 500G solution in 2012.

Infinera is focused on $/Gigabit economics and believes in order to maximize this for long haul applications, systems must be multi-channel and monolithic. This is achieved by large scale integration of both active and passive components which has been Infinera’s strength for 10G and below technologies. For 100G, the company has introduced “FlexCoherent®” technology that allows the customer to choose what type of modulation scheme is needed for each of their routes. It is also focused on providing its customers not only ROADMs, but what it calls “flex channels.” Infinera has deemed this technology as “Optical Express,” where intelligence is distributed to every node so each bit can be read.

But Infinera would not have been as successful as it has been if it was just focused on the research and development. Manufacturing of these devices must be reliable and repeatable so, according to its senior management personnel, its engineers “design with manufacturing in mind.”

The next step of development is already underway and will produce a 10x100G product in the near future according to Infinera.

What puzzles me is why other OEMs have not been able to reproduce the results that we’ve seen from Infinera. Is it only the captive components R&D that sets Infinera apart or is it also the fact that its top management has the ability to bridge the business aspects of telecommunications equipment manufacturing with the highly technical world of optical components and networking? I believe it’s both of these along with the fact that Infinera is still a much smaller company than most of its long-haul competitors and can make decisions and move much more quickly. Infinera is a company to watch especially related to long-haul and metro connections of data centers.