Atul Bhatnagar President and CEO of Ixia Explains his company's strategy to me at Interop 2010 Las Vegas
For investors, it seems the maximum returns are to be made you invest at a time of great pessimism and/or when things look the bleakest. Such was the case with the recent financial meltdown. In business, the same principals generally hold true. If you can invest in your business when times are slow you are better positioned for when the economy turns. In the testing market, one of the companies who has really focused on a strategy of growth during the most recent downturn is Ixia. Through a range of partnerships, organic product development and M&A the company's strategy of testing converged IP networks and content rich services has blossomed.
Ixia has over a thousand employees, over 2,200 customers and operates in 30 countries. It was the acquisition of Agilent's N2X Data Network testing line which really helped the company's overseas efforts. In the video below shot at Supercomm 2009 - the final Supercomm, Kelly Malloit the company's director of PR explains the move to TMC's Erik Linask.
After this acquisition I spoke with Atul Bhatnagar, President and CEO and said, "When opportunity knocks, you respond." He further went on to say that the best time to change is when business is slow as you can do things you cannot when the business is running at a faster clip.
I took the opportunity to speak with Atul again last week at Interop 2010 Las Vegas and he explained how he really believes his company is positioned well as markets come back. In response to my question regarding how the company has broadened its product line, he said that in the company's business planning they realized convergence is the driver. And this convergence applies to wireless and wired. And this convergence has the effect of causing the testing tools to converge as well.
These trends in fact are being driven by the evolution of IP in core networks and LTE at the network's edge. And as devices become smarter he explains the core and edge need to scale accordingly. This trend in fact is one of the main drivers of the company's Catapult Communications acquisition which gave Ixia tremendous wireless testing assets.
Bhatnagar goes on to say the future is converged data centers and that the market needs end-to-end security testing services. The video interview below is quite informative and really outlines how Ixia has seen the recent slowdown in the financial markets as an opportunity to expand.
As you can imagine, any company with so many product lines has a wealth of new and information to share and rather than give you a run down of all the recent activities the company is partaking in I thought it worth focusing on one announcement which caught my eye. Recently Ixia released the results of an evolved packet core test with Alcatel-Lucent which broke the 100 Gbps barrier for mobile gateways. A set of two Alcatel-Lucent 7750 Service Routers, deployed in the role of LTE/EPC Serving Gateway and Packet Data Network (PDN) gateway, were stressed using Ixia's IxLoad application and Acceleron load modules and successfully passed multimedia traffic over simultaneous 80 Gbps downstream and 20 Gbps upstream links.
Ixia IxLoad application and Acceleron load modules generated and tested a continuous flow of real-time traffic using more than 1.5 million active LTE connections (bearers) loaded at 65 Kbps each. This traffic, aggregated at more than 100 Gbps, was processed and passed across an Alcatel-Lucent EPC, which included two Alcatel-Lucent 7750 Service Routers. The scenario roughly equated to 1.5 million voice LTE channels or more than 65,000 high-definition H.264 video sessions running concurrently at aggregate speeds over 100 Gbps.
At this point it seems almost beyond question that the need for testing in the wireless space - especially as it pertains to increased throughput is not going to slow down any time soon.
In technology if you look at most product segments, you notice over time they tend to merge with other but related segments and exploit synergies. Over time, combined products and applications are developed and markets consolidate. Call center solutions were once isolated from IP-based PBXs but over time they merged. Word processors became part of office suites. IP PBXs became servers - telephony, fax and video became applications on a network.
History tells us testing will be no different in its drive towards functional consolidation and Ixia is not alone is acting on this trend. For customers, having a broader line of products to choose from a single vendor is welcome and I get the sense Ixia is positioned quite well for the future.