Wheelings & Dealings: EXFO Acquires ByteSphere to Extend Service Assurance, Performance Management Capabilities


As the communications service provider (CSP) business both converges and becomes even more hotly competitive, there is a need to assure not only that the network infrastructure is operating in a highly accessible and reliable manner, but that the services running on that infrastructure are also performing flawlessly.  In fact, to assure that customers are getting what they expect and are paying for, along with providing them superior quality of service (QoE), CSPs increasingly are looking for solutions that give them visibility and control end-to-end of all aspects of how their services are delivered and experienced.

What this has meant on the vendor front is that the era of being a point solutions provider in the network performance and management space is coming to an end.  CSPs seek more holistic capabilities. Their move to truly becoming “Software Telcos” means that the holistic approach is going to become even more critical. 

With this as a backdrop, the announcement that Quebec City, Canada-based EXFO—a next-generation test and service assurance provider—is purchasing privately-held Boston, Mass.-based IT management and network management company ByteSphere commands attention.  It illustrates the need for companies in the space to fill in the missing pieces of their portfolios.

While the terms of the transaction were not disclosed, what is known is as noted the reason why.  EXFO, by acquiring all of the assets and intellectual property rights of ByteSphere, is extending EXFO’s capabilities in network performance management for infrastructure monitoring. It is gaining ByteSphere’s advanced patented techniques for infrastructure performance management, including network element polling and fault management. They are also enhancing footholds in critical markets as ByteSphere's products and tools are used by some of the world's largest tier-1 network operators and Fortune Global 500 companies.

EXFO sees ByteSphere as a complement to its BrixWorx line of service assurance solutions. EXFO describes this as “creating a powerful combination of network and service performance monitoring for mobile and fixed telecommunications. The combination of these capabilities provides unprecedented, real-time correlation between network element performance metrics and probe-based service performance metrics, positioning EXFO to drive the value of this raw data into correlated and actionable events for customers through advanced analytics and visualization.”

In comments on the transaction, Germain Lamonde, EXFO's chairman, president and CEO said, “EXFO is thrilled with the acquisition of ByteSphere's assets as it is very synergistic with our total solutions offering in service assurance and network performance management, especially in critical areas like small cells, wireless backhaul and metro Ethernet…ByteSphere's leading-edge technology adds expanded network visibility to EXFO's highly acclaimed active IP/Ethernet service assurance solutions, which will allow customers to dramatically streamline network operations and improve overall network quality."  

EXFO offers innovative solutions for the development, installation, management and maintenance of converged, IP fixed and mobile networks—from the core to the edge. Key technologies supported include NFV, VoIP, 3G, 4G/LTE, IMS, Ethernet, OTN, FTTx, xDSL and various optical technologies accounting for more than 38 percent of the global portable fiber-optic test market.  In fact, in just the past few weeks it has introduced next generation capabilities for multiservices testing and a compact platform for multi-technology and optical testing.

Now with ByteSphere’s JaguarSX IT management platform—which can integrate with existing performance, fault and service management legacy capabilities to give telecom IT visibility and control across their entire network infrastructure—EXFO has in fact extended the markets it can reach, as well as its portfolio of solutions, making this a company to keep an eye on. 

Edited by Alisen Downey
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