Analysis: 1H17 Cloud and Colo Spending Slowdown

Cignal AI’s recent Optical Customer Markets Report discovered an unexpected weakness in 2017 optical transport equipment spending from cloud & colo operators (see Cignal AI Reports Unexpected Drop in Cloud and Colo Spending). This surprising trend was then further supported by public comments later made by Juniper and Applied Optoelectronics, prompting us to examine the situation in greater detail.

This detailed brief includes:

  • Cloud & colo spending as defined by Cignal AI
  • Analysis of quarterly spending trends by cloud & colo operators
  • Recent shifts in market share among equipment vendors to this market
  • Quantitative analysis of underlying causes of this slowing, including price compression and displacement by IPoDWDM via Inphi, Acacia, and Oclaro components

Requires Optical Customer Markets subscription.

Investor Call – OFC 2017 Takeaways

Andrew Schmitt provided key OFC 2017 takeaways during an investor call hosted by Troy Jensen of Piper Jaffray. Sixty-seven investors participated. Topics of interest included:

  • Impact of Ciena’s Wavelogic AI DSP Licensing
  • Outlook for Coherent Port Shipments in China During 2017
  • Market Outlook for CFP2-ACO/DCO and QSFP28 Markets
  • Potential Vertical Integration by Intel or InPhi
  • Timing of Metro Coherent and ROADM deployment in China
  • Chinese SARFT Capex Guidance
  • Roadmap for 400G and 600G Coherent
  • Observations on Infinera, Ciena, Acacia, Oclaro, and Neophotonics

Following is a summary of the key takeaways, as well as a full transcript of the discussion. Cignal AI clients can also listen to an audio replay.

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Requires Optical Active Insight subscription.

4Q16 Optical Hardware Forecast

On February 27th, Cignal AI issued full optical equipment market share analysis for 4th quarter 2016 (4Q16). This second report, issued on March 9th, extends our analysis and summarizes forecasts and outlooks for the industry through 2021.

Subscribers to the Optical Hardware Report are able to download an excel file with actual results through 4Q16 along with detailed, up-to-date forecasts. A compilation of our latest analysis is also available in both web format as well as .pdf.

Excel PDF


There were some minor changes to our forecast during 4Q16:

  • Updated LH v Metro WDM mix in Japan to adjust for 100G rollout
  • Adjusted SLTE forecast to moderate declines in later years
  • Slight changes to EMEA and NA for 2017 based on CY16 results.

A detailed discussion of our near and long term forecasts follows.

Requires Optical Hardware subscription.

4Q16 Optical Hardware Results

Cignal AI has released its 4th quarter 2016 (4Q16) optical hardware market share analysis, which includes a summary of revenue results for the quarter as well as the entire calendar year 2016 (CY16).


Global spending on optical network equipment increased in all global regions except North America during CY16.

  • Nokia and ADVA were the only vendors recording significant gains in North America in a challenging 2016 environment as growth in Cloud and Colo spending failed to offset decreases in Incumbent capex. Overall, NA spending stalled in the face of the beginning of the transition from long haul to metro WDM capex.
  • Huawei drove EMEA’s modest annual spending growth in 2016, as its strong performance in this region masked the decline in revenue experienced by other equipment vendors.
  • Optical equipment spending in China – led by Huawei – increased dramatically. Deployment of coherent 100G ports doubled from that of the previous year. 2017 heralds even more rapid change, as Huawei and ZTE use new component technologies and the deployment of 100G moves to the regional level.
  • Outside of China, Ciena and Nokia outperformed their peers by leveraging leading edge 200G technology and tightly integrated supply chains. ADVA benefited from a wave of Cloud and Colo spending but now must face the uncertain revenue cycles that are characteristic of these customers. Infinera is scrambling to complete a critical product cycle while Fujitsu and Coriant navigate product and market transitions.
  • Subscribers to the Optical Hardware report can download an excel file with actual results through 4Q16. This Excel file contains only historical data, and it is an interim release. A subsequent file with updated forecasts and additional analysis will be available March 3, 2017.
Report Details Excel

Detailed analysis of the market and its participants during 4Q16 and the 2016 calendar year follows.
Requires Optical Hardware subscription.

Apple will decrease usage of Amazon AWS

Apple is currently building 2.5mm square feet of data center space, which is nearly 40% of Amazon’s existing datacenter square footage at the end of 2015. DCI expenditure is one of the main drivers of 30% YoY capex growth at Apple.

Morgan Stanley estimates Apple will spend about $1B on Amazon AWS in 2016, which is around 10% of total AWS revenue. This could move internal within 2 years.

Apple DCI capex is now extremely material.