The Rayno Report held another one of our social events on CrowdChat, LinkedIn, and Twitter on March 24. The topic was #sdwan, or Software-defined WAN (SD WAN). The event covered the emergence of the SD WAN technology, or Cloud WAN as I like to call it, which seeks to simplify WAN services by moving them to the cloud. 

The emergence of the SD WAN, highlighted in our "Future of Cloud WAN" report (subscription required), is driving the need for virtualized Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and Web provisioning of enterprise WAN services. This means that just about any enterprise WAN service requiring a specialized hardware appliance could be moved into the cloud as a software service.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 22:51 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: SD WAN, Cloud WAN, WAN Optimization, DNS, VeloCloud, Hoplite Industries

Optical networking company Infinera (Nasdaq: INFI) announced that social-networking giant Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) has deployed its technology to build what it calls the "longest terrestrial optical network route," which will cover 3,998 kilometers in Europe at a total capacity of eight terabits per second (Tbit/s), without optical generation.

The announcement of both the size and power of the network -- and the client -- will be perceived as big coups for Infinera. Its stock price was up $0.59 to $20 this morning, hitting a new 52-week high. (I do have one question, which is why the engineers couldn't find a way to go the extra 2km to make it to 4,000km, but some may call that a nitpick.)

Optical networking players, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: LU), Ciena (Nasdaq: CIEN), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Cyan (Nasdaq: CYNI), have all been working hard on technology to win over the "Webscale" datacenter players such as Facebook. Much of the growth in network bandwidth is occurring with digital media being exchanged on social networks, as the world seeks more bits to swap their selfies and adorable cat photos. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 13:13 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Digital Media, Applications.
Keywords: Infinera, Facebook, Optical Networking, SDN

Network as a Service (NaaS) provider Aryaka announced this morning that it has closed $16 million in funding, led by Nexus Venture Partners and joined by existing investors Trinity Ventures, InterWest Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Presidio Ventures. This brings Aryaka's total funding to nearly $100 million.

Aryaka is building a major NaaS service for Wide Area Networks (WANs), which provides the user with a virtual network in the cloud. Aryaka has been building out a global network of Points of Presence (POPs) for WAN services, following the model that Akamai has built for content delivery services. 

This entry was posted on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 16:08 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Applications, Investing.
Keywords: Aryaka, Cloud WAN, SD WAN, Venture Capital

As I've been pointing out, the optical players have been going after the data-center market with a fervor. And the emergence of 100G optical as a data-center connectivity technology has been a major contributor.

Just as an example, Cyan (Nasdaq:CYNI) recently announced an open, 100 Gbit/s optical proudct taking aim at "webscale" data centers with an open architecture. In December, Infinera announced CloudXpress, its product targeting data-center connectivity with 100 1-Gbit/s optical. Ciena (Nasdaq:CIEN) has unveiled some new chipsets with cloud-friendly features. 

Yesterday, several financial analysts reported that Ciena and Cisco (Nasdaq:CSCO) would be selling 100 Gbit/s technology into Verizon (NYSE:VZ) for its new metro network. Verizon later officially announced the deal

With all of this happening around the Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) show in Los Angeles this week, it has led Simon Leopold, Managing Director of Raymond James, to ask what's hotter? 100G or Metro? Or both? Or neither?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN.
Keywords: Optical Networking, OFC, Infinera, Cyan, Ciena, Cisco, Verizon, metro

The open-source craze continues. Cyanogen Inc., a company that builds an open-source flavor of the Android operating system (OS), has announced that it has raised $80 million in Series C financing

The financing included many big names, including Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm, Rupert Murdoch, and global operator Telefonica. The financing was led by Premji Invest and also included Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries (the US-based industrial group headed by Len Blavatnik), Vivi Nevo, and several yet to be announced partners, according to the company. 

Cyanogen is based in Seattle and San Francisco. It distributes several versions of Android, including the commercial Cyanogen OS, as well as the open-source project CyanogenMod.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 15:24 pm and is filed under .
Keywords: Cyanogen, Android, Twitter, Telefonica, Rupert Murdoch, Premji Invest

Long-time readers of The Rayno Report know that we have a tradition of creating a "model portfolio" for investing every year, in which we pick 12 growing and profitable companies with inexpensive valuations. This year, the portfolio is off to a roaring start, with a 19% return, year-to-date (YTD). In contrast, the S&P 500 Index is up only 2.7%. 

This year's crop of stocks includes many fast growers in areas such as mobile technology, healthcare, and electronics. Our leading picks for the year include pharmaceutical producer Lannett Company Inc. (NYSE: LCI), up 58%; Avago Technologies (Nasdaq: AVGO), a mobile chip play, which is up 34% YTD; and Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq: SWKS), up 40% YTD. Skyworks is a holdover from last year's portfolio, in which it gained 160%. Other notable peformers so far this year include Methode Electronics (Nasdaq: MEI), up 25%; and Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE: SPR), up 22%.

This puts us off to a great start, and I'm hoping we can follow up on last year's market-beating return of 17.5%. For a recap of how I pick these stocks -- which do not necessarily include only technology stocks -- we outlined the methodology when we published this year's picks at the beginning of the year.

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 15:40 pm and is filed under Mobile, Investing.
Keywords: Stocks, Rayno Portfolio, Avago Technologies, Methode, Skyworks Solutions

The Optical Fiber Conference (OFC) runs next week in Los Angeles, and some Wall Street analysts are looking forward to some peppy activity among the optical networking names, including some possible merger discussions.

OFC always brings back mixed memories for me, first the OFC in Baltimore in 2000, which marked the bubble of all bubbles as optical companies with no revenues climbed to multibillion-dollar valuations. We can reminisce about those odd optical startup names like Xros. Check out this link.

A few years later, in 2003, I remember attending the newly merged NFOEC conference in Orlando, which was completely deserted -- literally the most empty trade show I've ever attended. NFOEC eventually merged with OFC.

OFC is back to being a normal and fairly interesting tradeshow that includes executive-level meetings as well as detailed scientific paper presentations for what is still one of the most important enabling technlogies for networks: optical technology. 

Michael Genovese, Managing Director at MKM Partners, is out with a good research note this morning summarizing what he hopes to see at OFC. Let's highlight some of Genovese's theories:

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 14:50 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Investing.
Keywords: OFC, Optical Networking, Infinera, Ciena, Finisar, Components, M&A

The race to provide efficient and secure access to cloud apps continues. Google has approved Global Capacity as a Google Cloud Interconnect provider, expanding the number of operators that provide direct access to Google's cloud platform, which enables direct access to Google's infrastructure and apps. 

By directly connecting to Google's cloud network, service providers and businesses can get higher availability and lower latency connections to applications. Google's cloud platform includes applications such as Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Google BigQuery, and others. Google hopes enterprises will extend their private networks into these apps using Carrier Interconnect and VPN tunnels between the networks. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 13:58 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN.
Keywords: Cloud Services, Google, Global Capacity, Carrier Interconnect

On Wednesday, Cisco and Microsoft announced a new partnership for packaged cloud services – a kind of "cloud in a box." The pairing will meld Microsoft’s Azure and Cisco’s Nexus 9000, which includes Cisco’s SDN, along with its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

This announcement is an extension of last summer’s big reveal: Microsoft and Cisco agreed to a multi-year relationship aimed at helping cloud providers and corporate data centers pair Cisco servers with Windows and Azure. This new arrangement is aimed specifically at telecommunication carriers and other cloud providers.

With so many enterprises locked into the Windows environment, getting to the cloud is key. Cisco’s deal with Microsoft gives both companies an edge against competitors HP, IBM, and Dell.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 19:43 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Investing.
Keywords: Cloud, Microsoft, Cisco, Intercloud

The Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) drumbeat continues. CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Cyan (Nasdaq: CYNI) today announced that CenturyLink will use Cyan’s Blue Planet NFV Orchestrator to deliver NFV services to enterprise and small and midsized business (SMB) customers. 

The deal confirms a trend we've been writing a lot about here on The Rayno Report: the move to more flexible, scaleable services based on NFV and Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology. It looks as if 2015 is going to be the year of commercial NFV deployments, and this Cyan and CenturyLink deal represents one of the first.

Software-based technologies allow service providers to deploy a wide range of enterprise data and connectivity using the cloud, by hosting them on industry-standard hardware. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, several large service providers announced new NFV implementations and demos

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 15:56 pm and is filed under Infrastructure & SDN, Applications.
Keywords: CenturyLink, Cyan, SDN, NFV, Optical Networking, Orchestration, LSO
MORE POSTS

Drifty Garners $2,600,000 New Funding Round
  • Company: Drifty
  • Description: Drifty is the creator of the popular and growing cross-platform mobile development framework Ionic is making it easy for developers to build rich, interactive mobile apps that run across multiple mobile platforms and are powered by Google’s AngularJS.
  • Website: www.drifty.com
  • Type: Venture Equity
  • Amount: $2,600,000
  • Round: Undisclosed
  • Purpose: The company is now expanding its feature set to include a various of additional freemium services, which is how Drifty will eventually make money.
  • Investors:

Scutify Garners $1,500,000 New Financing Round
  • Company: Scutify
  • Description: Scutify is the leading social network for the finance community. An aggregator of news, social chatter and finance content, Scutify is a hub for all the ‘scuttlebutt’ around stocks, commodities and Forex.
  • Website: www.scutify.com
  • Type: Venture Equity
  • Amount: $1,500,000
  • Round: Undisclosed
  • Purpose: Scutify will use the funds to grow its user base and continue developing a central hub for financial chatter, news, analysis and live trading.
  • Investors:

TipTap Obtains $300,000 New Funding Round
  • Company: TipTap
  • Description: TipTap personalizes your buying experience by getting to know you and then matching your buying questions to the right people.
  • Website: www.tiptap.com
  • Type: Debt
  • Amount: $300,000
  • Round: Undisclosed
  • Purpose: Proceeds purposes were not disclosed. SEC regulatory filing. Contact technology company for investment details, if applicable. Not an offer or solicitation for sale of securities.
  • Investors: