ACG Research

ACG Research
We focus on the Why before the What

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Conversation with Cheng Wu, Founder of Azuki Systems

Over the top (OTT) video and TV everywhere (TVE) are the hottest topics today in the pay TV industry. The combination of these two technologies is radically changing the industry landscape. The incumbent pay TV service providers are scrambling to figure out their OTT/TVE strategies. Nearly every SP has offered or is working on their own TVE offering, and many are looking to expand access to their content libraries through an alternative OTT offering.

I recently met with Cheng Wu, founder of Azuki Systems, which has developed an elegant approach to help SPs offer OTT/TVE services. Cheng is an industry visionary, having founded many successful networking companies such as Arris, Arrowpoint (acquired by Cisco) and Acopia (acquired by F5).

Click here to download the interview to read more.

To download David Dines' white paper Service Providers and OTT: The Holy Grail? click here.

David Dines

Thursday, January 12, 2012

ACG HotSeat with Juniper Networks on Integrating QFabric into the Data Center

Ray Mota from ACG Research and Dhritiman Dasgupta (aka DD), Director, Product Marketing, Campus and Data Center Switching at Juniper Networks, do an architecture white board session on how to seamlessly integrate QFabric into existing data center networks.

Note: Expand the video to full screen to view the white board.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

LTE, VoLTE and HSPA+42 Will Highlight 2012

‘Tis the season yet again of gift giving, holiday cheer, New Year and predictions. 2011 was the year of 4G in the US, with three LTE networks, a slew of new mobile devices not to mention the tablet explosion capturing users' attention. We wrap up (no pun intended) a tumultuous year filled with the carriers, including AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, investing in intelligent services equipment related to their network deployments and marketing the superiority of their 4G services and device portfolios.

What will dominate in the mobility space in 2012? Find out in Nicoll: LTE, VoLTE and HSPA+42 will highlight 2012 - FierceWireless

Chris Nicoll

Friday, January 6, 2012

Motorola Continues to Slide

I have been watching Motorola’s Home (including STBs) business over the last year or so and been noticing that it has been steadily losing market share across the board. It just seemed to be suffering from malaise and not able to put together compelling story to stem the slide. When Google acquisition was announced, my first reaction was that the uncertainty internally and externally would hurt sales, in the short term for the very least and possibly long term.

Not surprisingly, this has happened. This afternoon they issued a press release announcing an earnings miss. In this PR, they mentioned that the Home business unit will take in $900M in revenue for Q4 2011. While this is up sequentially from $825M in Q3, it is down 10% from the same quarter last year. Q4 is traditionally an up quarter Motorola and most vendors due to end of year budget spending, so a 10% decline is pretty hefty. When we run the market size and share numbers next month, I expect to see market share further erode and would not be surprised if Motorola is knocked out of first place in cable STBs, their strongest market segment. Stay tuned.

David Dines

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Maximize Briefings with ACG Research

I have been in the industry analyst business long enough that I forget not every vendor fully understands our role and how to talk to us. There are general guidelines that make our lives easier and in turn the vendors’ lives easier. This advice is for vendors who are not currently customers.

First and most importantly, ACG wants to hear from you. Scheduling a briefing is simple; just send our analysts an e-mail us letting us know you’d like to talk to us. If we do not cover your product, we will let you know – we do not want to waste your time or our time on unproductive briefings. For us, productivity is measured in gathering data about the market and in finding new clients. So if you want to have continued conversations with us, we need to have something to show for it. We typically offer some free advice and information during the briefings as a good will gesture, but do not count on it. If your only goal is to get free consulting, we will eventually stop taking your calls.

What information do we want? We need to know how well your product is selling, by geography, vertical and/or application. We want to understand your positioning, market messages, differentiation and high-level architectural details. Additionally, getting customer references helps us validate everything.

During the briefing we are looking for specific information about your company, details you are allowed to share. If you cannot share the info, just let us know that you cannot share that level of detail. We do understand; you do not have to give the long-winded explanation. However, I would like know as much as you are allowed to share. If I ask about DSLAM shipments by theater and you cannot tell me directly, but can say that DSLAMs are a little heavier than the group average in APAC, that at least gives me some direction so I can do my job.

I and many analysts have been in your shoes, so I understand your issues and motivations. I know that you want us to say positive things about your company in our reports, to the press, Wall Street analysts and to customers. To do so, we need a reciprocal exchange of information.

My final bit of advice is to not treat us like adversaries. Yes, we will publish things that upset you and your boss — every company that we cover that has probably disagreed with us at some point. We are not out to make your life difficult, but instead call it like we see it. If you do not like our numbers, analysis or opinion, then engage us in a dialog. We will gladly share and debate our methodology and assumptions. And if we need correcting, what better source than you.

For more about consultants/analysts, read 10 Things the Top Consultants Do.

David Dines

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Data Center and the Cloud: Seven Predictions for 2012

In 2011, we saw a clear fork in the road with large enterprises opting for private clouds while small and medium sized companies went full throttle to implement public cloud services. The one indisputable fact is the cloud market is here to stay. Underlying many of the major cloud services is a new data center architecture that strips away equipment vendor complexity by simplifying the connectivity from the applications across the infrastructure and into the hands of the people that need it. Technology equipment vendors are trying to keep themselves relevant to their customers by announcing cloud strategies that leverage the trend of server virtualization. 2012 will be an interesting year especially in the emergence of new technology for the data center to support cloud computing.

Cloud Strategies: The major technology vendors (IBM, HP, Dell, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.) will deliver additional details on how their cloud services will help their customers implement cloud technology while increasing their revenue stickiness. The interesting thing to note is these vendors primarily cater to large enterprises. The top IT vendors will have little direct effect on the small and medium business market, which are the primary consumers of public cloud technology.

Fabric Wars: The major networking vendors will continue to claim they have the best next-generation fabric for the data center. The new fabrics appear to be best positioned to serve the new cloud providers; however, the largest of the cloud providers (Google, Amazon, Yahoo, etc.) prefer to build custom fabrics that suit their own requirements. It will be interesting to hear which of the major vendors will announce their customers are using their fabrics across major data centers.

will emerge as a serious alternative to building proprietary networks based on a specific vendor’s operating system. Networking remains one of the last vestiges of the closed mainframe-like architectures where one vendor builds the hardware, software and related features. OpenFlow allows for the decoupling of the hardware from the operating systems. It is no wonder that the large networking vendors have been cautious about throwing their support behind OpenFlow until they determine what is in it for them.

Hybrid Clouds: Up until now, there has been a clear delineation between private and public clouds. 2012 will the year of hybrid clouds. The key criteria to keep in mind is this new technology must support enterprise compliance and security requirements while providing for a seamless, simplified integration process between the private and public clouds.

Private Social Networking:
Leadership teams in large organizations will attempt to flatten their organizations by implementing private social networking mediums. Executives will want to hear directly from the rank and file front-line staff without their organization filtering out unflattering information.

Content Is King (or Queen): Service providers have had the basic components (data centers, billing systems, customer service, etc.) to compete with Amazon, Google and Facebook. In 2012, we will see service providers figuring out that applications on top of infrastructure are the way to create end-user stickiness and hence, higher margin revenue.

IP Protection: Not only are the largest corporations building their patent portfolios through acquisition to protect themselves against frivolous, resource consuming lawsuits, governments in the West are protecting their key industries from acquisition by Asian technology companies. There is concern that western intellectual creativity is being exploited by countries that are assemblers, not creators. This one might be too hot to touch in an election year.

Marshall Bartoszek