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Friday, August 03, 2018

Kontron buys open source networking software specialist

By Nick Flaherty

In another move to vertical integration, embedded technology specialist Kontron has bought open networking software developer Inocybe Technologies 

The acquisition strengthens the Kontron NFV network virtualisationm, software defined neetwokring (SDN) and Cloud Native strategies to target the multi-billion dollar ‘open software on open hardware’ market.

Inocybe is an expert in open source networking software and software-defined networks (SDN) from the datacentre to the edge, with OpenDaylight SDN controller expertise to Kontron's SYMKLOUD portfolio of white box hardware and integrated open source software. Kontron has been part of the machine to machine (M2M) and data centre market for over a decade and is increasingly moving up the value chain. 

One reason for the deal is that Mathieu Lemay, the founder of Inocybe, is now chief strategy officer for Kontron's communications business.

“After many years at Inocybe, I am excited by the huge potential of this acquisition. By leveraging Kontron and S&T's significant hardware portfolio with Inocybe's activities across Open Networking Projects, this acquisition will help accelerate market adoption by providing the expected customer experience and quality,” said Lemay.

The deal secures two strategic objectives for Kontron: one, it bolsters its NFV and SDN offerings for telecoms, cable, and communications service providers (CSPs); and it expands an IT network operator customer base from which enterprises, the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart cities, among others, deploy open networking and hybrid cloud infrastructure.

“The go-to-market opportunities are enormous,” said Robert Courteau, General Manager of Kontron's communications business, highlighting the need to include higher levels of software with the embedded hardware. “The open source software on open hardware strategy is rapidly gaining adoption among a broad base of service providers and private cloud operators – for both compute and networking. With Inocybe, we can now cater to both scenarios. We are certainly excited about how this will unlock our customers’ potential to freely choose what, when and how they deploy new and revenue-rich services.”

“The reality of 5G, IoT and cloud is driving tremendous momentum toward modernized networks that can respond to surging network demands and process data at the edge,” said John Zannos, General Manager at Inocybe. “Open software, like SDN, and open hardware are bringing the speed and flexibility needed for these next-generation networks to service providers and enterprise. Together, Inocybe and Kontron can enable networks to be open and automated, and the impact is transformative, reducing cost and creating new value through new services and better user experience.”

According to ACG Research, the potential for open source in the telecom service provider market is predicted to be worth $11bn by 2023, a fraction of the market of IoT. Rrevenue for the datacenter and enterprise segments – specifically, from in-use SDN capable Ethernet switches – is expected to reach $13.5B by 2021, as reported by IHS Markit.

“By deploying SDN, service providers can get the most out of their hardware and software investments. SDN cost-effectively allows operators to provision, reconfigure bandwidth allocation, boost computing power and autonomy, and improve security within IoT networks,” said Christopher R. Wilder, senior analyst for IoT at Moor Insights & Strategy. “Kontron’s acquisition of Inocybe demonstrates their commitment to delivering an open, viable solution that is secure, scalable, and integrated from the datacenter to the edge.”

“Open Source Networking projects are becoming fundamental building blocks for automated and disaggregated networks. We are excited to see innovators in the areas of open software and hardware join forces to create end-to-end solutions,” said Arpit Joshipura, General Manager, Networking & Orchestration at the Linux Foundation. “As a Gold Member of LF Networking, Inocybe has been very active in the community in several projects and we are looking forward to even more participation after joining forces with Kontron.”

The Kontron SYMKLOUD portfolio features a range of rack-level converged hardware platforms plus white box solutions ideally suited to be one of the first open network operating system (NOS) switches managed by an ODL SDN controller. As part of its mission to simplify the integration of open source technologies, Kontron actively markets two fully integrated ‘out-of-the-box’ cloud solutions for deploying OpenStack and Kubernetes.

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