Ciena has announced that it is acquiring privately-held service assurance and network performance vendor Centina, which will be integrated into its Blue Planet Multi-Domain Service Orchestration (MDSO) and Blue Planet Inventory (BPI). The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019.

Blue Planet provides both intelligent automation software and specialized professional services to help service providers modernize their IT and network operations. Driven by policy and AI-based insights, Blue Planet delivers closed-loop automation tools that align IT and networking processes.

Ciena says the Centina acquisition will enable it to support continuous optimization of service performance, quality and availability on a proactive basis by resolving problems automatically before they impact the service and user experience. This will allow service providers to improve operational agility, while delivering a differentiated customer experience. The acquisition will expand its existing assurance capabilities by collecting and collating fault, event, and performance data from multiple vendors and network layers, including virtual domains such as NFV as well as more traditional optical, Ethernet and IP/MPLS networks and services

“The acquisition of Centina advances Blue Planet’s position as an emerging leader in operational support systems (OSS), focused on closed-loop automation. By continuously monitoring the performance of services, Centina’s multi-layer, multi-domain service assurance solution will help our customers resolve issues more quickly and optimize network performance. This is a key step to achieving more adaptive networks that are critical in today’s digital society where the customer experience is the ultimate differentiator.” Rick Hamilton, SVP of Blue Planet

Service assurance is a critical capability for B2B service providers, as business users are far more fault-sensitive than consumers, and are more willing to pay for higher levels of network quality. Moving from reactive to proactive and, ultimately, predictive assurance enables them to resolve any issues before they are perceived by business customers, or allows them to mop up any faults faster.

However, the OSS market has been consolidating for a long time and, as the market consolidates, there are now far fewer independent specialists with great technology left to compete with  OSS goliaths that include the likes of Amdocs, Accenture, Ericsson, HP, Huawei, IBM, Nokia and Oracle. But smaller ISVs can still be found such as Federos (previously Monolith Software), TEOCO and EXFO (which bought Astellia in 2018).

Sometimes OSS software is bundled with network equipment; or is provided by network equipment providers who have an advantage because of the close association between the software and the network itself. ISVs have either bought or developed wider toolsets, or partnered, to create solutions that simplify integration and create a ‘single throat to choke’.

Extending its solution makes Ciena’s move a logical one and underlines its ambitions in the B2B service provider market. It has recently benefitted from the move away from Huawei technology – particularly amongst European operators – reporting revenue and earnings up 17% year on year in September 2019. Ciena CEO Gary Smith also stated in a September earnings call that Ciena should profit from video and data usage growth in the US and around the world, particularly from customers such as Verizon and AT&T.

Posted by Teresa Cottam

Teresa is the Chief Analyst at Omnisperience and has over 25 years' experience in the telecoms and technology markets. She is an expert on SME and enterprise telecoms, and has considerable vertical market expertise. Her research focus lies in helping B2B telecoms firms become more commercially successful by better understanding and meeting their customers' needs. She is a judge of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GloMo's) for customer experience and enterprise innovation, and for the UK Cloud awards. You can follow her on Twitter @teresacottam

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