Saturday, February 22, 2014

Juniper Announces Restructring Program

Juniper Networks announced a corporate restructuring aimed at "enhancing its operational efficiency, returning capital to shareholders, refocusing on strategic opportunities and reinvigorating its culture."  The plan has the support of Elliot Management, an outside investment firm that has been lobbying for changes at Juniper.

Juniper said it plans to refocus on "innovation that matters most to service providers and enterprises where demand for High-IQ Networks and best-in-class cloud environments are driving growth.

Key points:

  • Juniper will capitalized on its engineering expertise across routing, switching, security, control and network management
  • The focus is on being a leading provider of secure High-IQ Networks and serving the needs of Cloud Builders.
  • Juniper will create a more focused, connected, agile and execution-oriented company structure driven to deliver on its customers' imperatives for High-IQ Networks and cloud environments.
  • The company will streamline its operations and business portfolio.
  • Juniper said is aiming for a substantial structural reduction to the cost base and a significantly increased operating margin profile through highly detailed and executable actions with directed accountability.
  • The Company expects to exit the first quarter of 2015 with annualized operating expense savings of $160 million from the Q4 2013 level and achieve an operating margin of 25% for 2015 -- an approximate 580 basis point improvement from 2013 -- with operating expenses of 39% of revenue.
  • Juniper will return a minimum of $3 billion to shareholders over the next three years through a combination of share repurchases and dividends.
  • As part of this plan, the board of directors has authorized $2 billion in share repurchases to be executed through the end of the first quarter of 2015, including $1.2 billion through an accelerated share repurchase program to be entered into shortly.
  • Juniper will also initiate a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share of common stock beginning in the third quarter of 2014, with the expectation to increase the dividend over time.
  • Kevin Johnson will retire from the Juniper Board at the end of February 2014. 

Juniper also noted that it has support from Elliott Management, which has agreed among various customary terms, to support the company's restructuring and will vote in favor of Juniper's nominees at its 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

"The cornerstone of our IOP (integrated operating plan) is the belief that our customers, which include some of the world's largest service providers, financial services companies and government agencies, are increasingly building hyper-scale, resilient, secure, highly intelligent, open and virtualized networks," stated Shaygan Kheradpir, chief executive officer of Juniper Networks. "As a pure-play, high-performance networking company with engineering and organic innovation at its core, I believe Juniper is uniquely positioned to help these customers address their rapidly evolving networking needs. Our new, sharpened focus will bring us closer to our customers as we innovate together to address the opportunities ahead, and will enable us to operate much more efficiently as One-Juniper."

http://www.juniper.net

In January, Elliott Management Corp., an investment fund that owns 6.2% of the common stock of Juniper Networks, is pushing for significant changes at Juniper Networks with the goal creating greater shareholder valued.

In an SEC Schedule 13D and presentation, Elliot called for a number of value-accretive steps, including cost realignment, capital return to shareholders, and the optimization of Juniper’s product portfolio. Elliot believes its initiatives can collectively result in a stock price of $35-$40 per share, which is up to 70% above the current price.

Key points include:

  • Cost Realignment: $200M run-rate reduction in operating expenses from 2013 level.  
  • Capital Return: $3.5B share repurchase program comprised of an immediate $2.5B stock repurchase, a $1.0B repurchase in 2015 and an ongoing commitment to return 50% of free cash flow (including a $0.125/share quarterly dividend) 
  • Product Portfolio Optimization: Review of the security and switching businesses to streamline Juniper’s product portfolio to focus on projects and areas where Juniper has clear competencies and the greatest risk-adjusted return on investment.
In January 2014, Juniper Networks' new CEO, Shaygan Kheradpir, joined the company.  Kheradpir succeeds Kevin Johnson, who in July announced his plan to retire as CEO. Johnson will remain as a member of the board.

Kheradpir joins Juniper Networks from Barclays PLC, where he served as the chief operations and technology officer, and as a member of its executive committee. Prior to joining Barclays, he was executive vice president and chief information and technology officer at Verizon Communications. He holds a bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

NSN's Virtualized OSS Offers Rapid Recoveries

Nokia Solutions and Networks announced enhancements to its virtualized Operations Support System (OSS), NetAct 8, to help operators restore large-scale network configurations in record time and keep network operations running even if there are unexpected spikes in demand or in the unlikely event that a Network Operations Center (NOC) goes down.

NetAct 8 now enables operators to change the configuration of up to 10,000 base stations automatically in a few minutes, compared to the hundreds of hours required to do so conventionally by manual reconfiguration. This helps operators ensure continuity of communication, should an unexpected peak in demand congest a network, or severe weather or power outages threaten operational stability.

Also enabled by virtualization is the automatic activation of all NetAct applications and content in a new location, should a disastrous situation damage a Network Operations Centre (NOC).

Operators will also now get automatic, real-time prioritization of netwtork issues based on subscriber impact.

“Unexpected situations can develop rapidly, but with virtualization, automation and moving to more customer-centric management of processes, operators can maintain excellent network and service performance,“ said Peter Patomella, vice president for CEM and OSS at NSN. “To help operators upgrade to NetAct 8, the NSN Services team provides full support to ensure a smooth transition is made to a virtualized OSS. We are able to do this by drawing on our experience as the top OSS vendor and our global service expertise to help operators move to an OSS in the cloud era.”

http://www.nsn.com

Radisys and VMware Collaborate on Virtualized Media Processing

Radisys has partnered with VMware on a virtualized media processing solution for mobile operators that delivers more than 90 percent capacity compared to Software MRF running on a bare metal server.

Radisys’ Software MRF implementation of VMware vSphere 5.5 delivers virtualized high-performance media processing with minimized delay for real-time communications services.

Radisys’ MRF Release 1.7 also works with VMware vSphere vMotion to enable the live migration of Radisys’ MRF virtual machines from one physical server to another, providing mobile
operators with the flexibility to balance their virtual machines across their servers with minimal downtime, continuous availability and complete transaction integrity.

The companies also noted that a European mobile operator is set to begin VoLTE services trial using virtualized media processing based on this implementation.

“We are pleased to work with Radisys and to see Radisys’ Software MRF taking full advantage of the low latency features of vSphere® 5.5,” said Sanjay Katyal, vice president, Global Strategic Alliances, VMware. “With this collaboration, we’re enabling mobile operators around the world to realize the promise of the telecom cloud.”

“Bringing together the combined engineering expertise of Radisys’ media processing experts with VMware vSphere 5.5 has enabled us to deliver an MRF solution that ensures the real-time processing performance of media packet streams in a virtualized environment with impeccable audio and video media quality,” said Denis Bouffard, director of product management, Radisys. “We designed our Software MRF Release 1.7 to embrace all of the real-time application improvements in VMware vSphere 5.5 to deliver a powerful virtualized MRF solution to the market, and we have several mobile operators lined up to start pilot deployments.”

http://www.radisys.com

Gigamon Announces NFV for Tools (NFVfT)

Gigamon introduced an NFV for Tools (NFVfT) concept that aims to standardize APIs and the demarcation point for network traffic and Big Data to be brokered into an elastic compute architecture for analysis. The NFVfT framework would offer visibility arbitration so that the Big Data analytics tools can virtualize their functions and process data on demand enabling a per-unit-of-information-processed pricing model.

Gigamon said its vision is to create a new paradigm for the more effective processing of Big Data by Customer Experience Monitoring (CEM), troubleshooting and Quality of Service (QoS) tools, as well as the OSS/BSS function and other monitoring and analysis solutions. Gigamon’s Visibility Fabric would be used to normalize, filter and forward data in to a storage medium through a virtual demarcation point. The Orchestration Layer of the Unified Visibility Fabric Architecture and any developed APIs would discover which tools are available to the Visibility Fabric and their capabilities. This enables what would be called the Analytic Data Arbitration Function (ADAF) which manages the brokering of analytic tools with the supply of data that needs to be processed or analyzed. The ADAF capability is in many ways similar to a portal, but where a provisioning and arbitration function exists to broker vendors of analytic tools with those who supply data that needs to be processed or analyzed.

“Big Data is changing the status quo for mobile carriers. The current business model for service providers could become problematic as they fund the rising cost of transporting this data,” said Andy Huckridge, Director of Service Provider Solutions at Gigamon. “Many service providers have now realized the value of the Big Data in their pipes and are now in the process of enabling the monetization of that data. However, this model begins to break down with the legacy analytic tool vendors. The NFV for Tools concept empowers the tools of the future to analyze the bandwidth of the future with the end goal of enabling the monetization of Big Data.”

“Vistapointe was founded on this exact NFV vision of decoupling the analytic tools from the underlying custom hardware probes and enabling this functionality via software on x86 compute platforms. This architecture eliminates the current method of deploying multiple custom probe-appliances, and leverages the existing data-center compute infrastructure, therefore drastically reducing the total cost of ownership,” said Ravi Medikonda, CEO, Vistapointe Inc. “With an integrated solution of Vistapointe software analytic tools and Gigamon’s innovative NFVfT, the future of service provider monitoring will create a cost-effective and scalable platform for big-data applications.”

http://www.gigamon.com/visibility-fabric-architecture

Radisys Positions its COTs Platforms for NFV/SDN

Radisys announced its Telecom Cloud-ready T-Series platforms, a commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS), open standards-based ATCA solution that leverages merchant silicon, open source software and a broad range of third-party blades.

The platforms are pre-configured with the latest Intel silicon and integrated load balancing to meet high-performance requirements for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) deployments. The platform's inclusion of data plane load balancers allows the delivery of up to 1.6 Tbit aggregate performance across the system.

Radisys said the blade architecture of its T-Series enables the migration to SDN by decoupling the control plane and data plane within a single piece of hardware. When operators are ready to physically separate the applications, the bladed architecture of ATCA enables them to easily move the control plane to a dedicated platform. When operators are ready to deploy NFV, they can abstract the application from the hardware. This tiered approach affords operators greater service flexibility, OpEx and CapEx savings and a faster time-to-market. To ensure that operators achieve efficient and seamless integration during their tiered platform integration, Radisys’ Professional Services team is available at each phase to offer full-service consult and assistance.

“Many mobile operators see the value in making the shift to virtualized deployments, but are unsure where to start,” said Grant Henderson, vice president of marketing and product management, Radisys. “Our Telecom Cloud-ready T-Series platforms, available to TEMs and operators alike, provide the flexibility and cost savings that comes with a non-proprietary product, while also breaking the transition to SDN and NFV into convenient steps that support a phased approach to network and service evolution.”

The line up includes:

  • T40 Compact: Designed for data plane appliance applications such as Deep Packet Inspection, Security and Media Optimization, the T40 Compact is an ideal Network Appliance for low-density nodes that require a cost effective but highly flexible platform with a carrier-grade option. It comes with Intel DPDK pre-installed and is supported by a wide range of front serviceable I/O, storage and other hotswap FRUs.
  • T40 Pro: Designed for mid-density node deployments, the T40 Pro is a highly optimized performance/watt/space platform for demanding Policy Enforcement, Security and Service Gateway applications. The T40 Pro, in addition to two 40G switches, sports a 40G backplane and up to four payload slots, allowing a broad range of network processors and compute resource blade options.
  • T40 Ultra: Designed for telecom applications that require the maximum in high density performance, the T40 Ultra provides more than 1 Terabit of switching capacity and the ability to deliver more than 288 Intel cores, making it the highest performing telco-grade platform for SDN/NFV applications.

http://www.radisys.com

See also