IP switching vendor Arista Network has filed for an IPO and plans to raise as much as $200m.
The company has garnered a great deal of attention from leading broadcast technologists because one of its products enables frame-accurate switching of uncompressed HD-SDI video over IP (SMPTE 2022-6).
Arista, whose core customers are high-speed financial traders and cloud computing firms, had revenue of $361.2m in 2013, up 87% versus the previous year, and its net income doubled to $42.5m.
Based on these results, it’s clear that the company is aiming for data center and financial clients rather than the much smaller broadcast routing switcher market.
Nevertheless, Arista has made friends in high places in the broadcast world.
At the annual SMPTE technical conference in October 2013, Artista founder Andy Bechtolsheim co-presented a paper with Thomas Edwards, VP of Engineering & Development at FOX NE&O called “Video Processing in an FPGA-enabled Ethernet Switch,” which described how Fox has tested Arista’s product in its lab. Although Bechtolsheim was careful to note that the demonstration was a proof-of-concept rather than a product, Edwards said that Arista products showed great promise, by performing extremely well and not dropping a single packet.
At the time of the 2013 SMPTE conference, Edwards said “FOX NE&O believes that professional media networking is the future of the broadcast plant, including the networked transport of our uncompressed high-definition live video streams. We believe that converging our video streams onto the Ethernet infrastructure will provide enhanced agility and flexibility to our business, and also it may potentially bring savings by allowing us to purchase more COTS hardware and thus benefit from economies of scale. The broadcast industry is at a very early point in this technological transition, so FOX NE&O greatly values Arista Networks’ contribution to this proof-of-concept to help test out some of the basic video processing requirements of professional media networks.”
Fox is not the only proponent of moving towards a truly IP-based infrastructure, governed by software defined networking (SDN). Indeed this shift may be one of the biggest technology trends over the next 5+ years, and bring major changes to the industry as a result.
Last month Eric Wolf, VP Technology Strategy at PBS told the audience at the HPA Technology Retreat that his company’s new disaster recovery center that’s based completely on virtualized IT systems, along with “little bits” of traditional broadcast gear. Although this new facility is not yet based on SDN or cloud enabled, it’s the first step on the path. DR is a great test facility so it’s a positive step along the way, “but as we look at our next big playout system, the big question on the table is whether we can go all IP for all the routing in the plant and the suspicion is that we can.”
Speaking at the same event, Fox NE&O EVP and GM Richard Friedel said IP is “well along the way towards becoming real. We do have IP-based routers in our plant today, and IP technology is just going to proliferate. If you walk into any of our equipment rooms at the moment, there is almost no classic broadcast vendor anymore. Instead you’ll see rows of Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Cisco. We’re really in an all-IP world now. We’ve got huge virtualization farms already and this is coming. In five years no one will build a plant of our size that’s not based on IP concepts.”
But it’s not just IT companies who are pushing software defined networking. Traditional broadcast vendors are also embracing SDN and applying it to the broadcast infrastructure.
Last week Imagine Communications (formerly Harris Broadcast) introduced MultiService SDN, which the company says is “a SDN framework that creates a fully virtualized network fabric for deploying advanced services, and enables the video bit flow to be software-mapped, simplifying the network architecture of media companies operating in hybrid environments with both baseband and IP workflows.”
Another notable example of this trend include a Silicon Valley start-up called SDVI, led by Omneon co-founder Larry Kaplan, who said last year that the focus of his new company is to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry.
Belgium-based SDNsquare, whose CEO and co-founder, Lieven Vermale, is the former Director of Technology and Innovation at the European Broadcasting Union, is another start-up operating in this area.
One important group in the transition to IP-based broadcasting is the EBU-SMPTE-VSF Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM), a cross-industry group of broadcasters and technology vendors working to define the future of the all-IP broadcast facility. You can download December 2013 JT-NM whitepaper here.
Press Release: Imagine Communications Introduces Software-Defined Networking and Workflows
Press Release: Arista Networks and Fox NE&O Debut Network Integrated IP-Video Processing Proof of Concept
TVTechnology Article: Larry Kaplan, Omneon Co-founder Launches Media Software Company
© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.