‘ALTEN Calsoft Labs is in a very good position to help Indian startups develop their business’

BY ANUSHA ASHWIN In an email interaction, Mrinmoy Purkayastha, Vice President, Marketing of ALTEN Calsoft Labs, explains about his company’s business offerings, strategies and agendas for the coming years. Excerpts:

Could you briefly explain how the company caters to the needs of the telecom industry?

ALTEN Calsoft Labs offers product engineering services to telecom equipment vendors across the product life cycle from concept to production. The company covers all stages of product development from proof-of-concept/prototyping to product development, testing and maintenance.

In addition, ALTEN Calsoft Labs assists telecom equipment vendors and ISVs in product customization and systems integration to support field deployment of products/solutions in the Software-defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) areas.

We have always worked with our customers in helping them adopt latest technologies, like development of few of the industry’s first Layer 4-7 switching products, or development of some of the industry’s first SDN and NFV products, or development of next generation cloud security appliances, and so on. Our expertise in latest technologies and ability to build products and deploy solutions based on new disruptive technologies sets us apart from other players in the industry.

Could you name some of your clients and how has Alten Calsoft’s services impacted their business?

We are helping a Norwegian gigabit broadband service provider, Bayonette, to transform their residential broadband network to offer next generation OTT video, healthcare and IoT services to home users, while reducing their CapEx and OpEx requirements significantly. As a result Bayonette is able to offer an enhanced bouquet of services to home users at a fraction of the cost that traditional broadband service providers are able to support.

We work with one of the world’s largest telecom equipment vendors in virtualization of their Service Edge Router product line, and help them with their SDN platform and SDN application development efforts. Through this engagement we are helping our customer to accelerate their R&D efforts and roll out solutions faster to their end customers (i.e. Telecom Service Providers).

We also work with a leader in Application Delivery Controller (ADC) and Cloud Security Appliance markets to design, develop and maintain next generation data center products. In this engagement (ongoing for 10+ years), we are helping our customer design, develop, customize, enhance and maintain market leading products by leveraging some of the best technical talent available in India.

Alten Calsoft has signed a few partnership agreements this year as well as the previous year. How has this partnership mutually helped the companies?

We have partnered with key technology providers in the NFV and SDN space in the last few years. Being an early entrant in this market, we were quick to realize that operators are looking for complete solutions, and therefore it was important for a services company like ALTEN Calsoft Labs to build the right ecosystem linkages with other key technology providers to be able to offer completely integrated solutions in the NFV and SDN space. This has helped us emerge as one of the leading services companies in this space.

We would also like to highlight that apart from partnerships with third parties, ALTEN Calsoft Labs has also been investing significantly in developing frameworks using leading open source platforms and technologies including KVM, OpenStack, OpenDaylight, OpenFlow, Java/XML, MongoDB, Couchbase, Cassandra, Hadoop, MapReduce, Hive, Pig, etc. to deliver hardened solution frameworks to our customers based on industry leading open source technologies.

As a service provider to the telecom industry, where do you see significant growth prospects for your company?

We see major growth prospects in the cloud infrastructure space, especially in NFV, SDN and cloud security. With increase in cloud adoption in enterprise and Telco environments, network equipment vendors will have to upgrade their products to support virtualization/NFV, network programmability/SDN, and protect networks from new forms of attacks including DDoS attacks, malware injection, etc. Over the last 5 years, we have built a Center of Excellence and practice in the area of networking and cloud infrastructure to be able to help equipment vendors leverage our expertise in R&D, testing and field deployment of next generation networking and telecom equipment.

Companies are increasingly adopting novel technologies to strengthen their business. What kind of business models does Alten Calsoft suggest to its clients and how successful has it been?

At ALTEN Calsoft Labs we support traditional Time-and-Material, Fixed price and Outcome-based business models depending on the business case and customer preferences. Customers looking for consulting options normally opt for a Time-and-Material model. Customers looking to outsource a complete project are offered fixed price options that usually have SLAs attached and performance based payments. Customers who have partnered with ALTEN Calsoft Labs to take complete ownership of a product have additional choices including outcome based pricing models. We have few contracts with OEMs that have a combination of NRE, royalty, fixed price (for warranty/AMC) and time-and-material for systems integration/deployment support. Most of our contracts have well-defined KPIs and SLAs and we can support different business models for our customers based on their demands/preferences.

As an expert in network management, what is Alten Calsoft’s observation about the present challenges in network management and NFV implementation and what role does the company play in advising clients on its management/implementation?

Management and Orchestration (MANO) is a very important focus area for NFV implementation. The new programmable networks of tomorrow will allow applications to dynamically create network services and deploy virtual network functions (VNFs) at enterprise or service provider NFV infrastructures. Therefore the network management complexity increases multi-fold in the SDN-NFV era compared to traditional fixed function networks.

ALTEN Calsoft Labs is helping network equipment vendors (NEMs) and VNF providers to develop efficient and scalable management and orchestration solutions that will allow their products to integrate seamlessly with new NFVO systems and legacy NMS and OSS systems deployed by different service providers. In order to help VNF providers get to market faster, we offer a VNF Manager framework called NFVOps (compliant with ETSI NFV ISG recommendations) that offers a complete suite of functions including VNF life cycle management, VNF monitoring, configuration and performance management, service remediation and integrations with SDN Controller (e.g. OpenDaylight), legacy NMS/OSS and third-party NFV orchestrators.

What is the present strength of the workforce serving the company and how do you plan to increase the workforce in the coming years?

At present we have a workforce of 1200 people in India. We plan to grow to 2000+ in one year through organic and inorganic means. We are investing significantly in emerging technologies such as SDN/NFV, IoT, Mobility, Analytics/Big data and Cloud. 

In comparison with other countries, how do you perceive the growth of the telecom industry in India and how is the company positioned to face the growth?

India is at a very interesting intersection considering the rapid growth that we are witnessing in e-commerce and online content (OTT) services today. Telecom subscriber growth in India has been skewed towards wireless (cellular) networks in the past. However, we feel that as subscribers start consuming more cloud-based services, they will look for a better online experience, which in turn will increase the demand for terrestrial broadband connections. Therefore we expect fixed broadband penetration to grow significantly in the next few years with broadband over cable and fiber growing at a fast pace.

Enterprise consumption of cloud based services and number of mobile workers is on the rise. Internet of Things (IoT) and benefits associated with linking various constituents of the supply chain are being explored by Indian enterprises today. These elements are driving network transformation and SDN/NFV adoption globally and India is no exception to this.

Therefore ALTEN Calsoft Labs is in a very good position to help Indian startups, network equipment vendors and operators in product engineering, network engineering and deployment of Software-defined Networks of the future. In the same breadth we are also advising enterprises on how they could benefit from SDN implementation and in helping them in network integration.

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