Cloud Spending on Optical Hardware – 1Q18 Update

In October 2017,  Cignal AI analyzed the occurrence of a slowdown in spending by cloud & colo operators and quantified the magnitude of its impact (see Analysis: 1H17 Cloud and Colo Spending Slowdown).

The report conclusions contradicted the common but inaccurate perception that spending by cloud operators such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft on optical transport equipment was growing at a rapid rate.

This report has been enhanced with new analysis and updated vendor shipment data from 3Q17, 4Q17, and 1Q18 from equipment and component vendors.

This update includes:

  • A summary of cloud & colo spending definitions
  • Fresh analysis of changes in quarterly spending trends by cloud & colo operators through 1Q18
  • Recent shifts in market share among optical equipment vendors to this customer market
  • Quantitative analysis of underlying causes of flat spending, including continued price compression through 2018 and displacement by IPoDWDM via Inphi, Acacia, and Oclaro components.

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Analysis: 1H17 Cloud and Colo Spending Slowdown

Compact Modular Hardware Introduction Timeline

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

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OFC 2017 – Open vs. Closed Optical Networks

There was a new cult this year at OFC, the ‘Cult of Open.’ It formed from rising sentiment that the lack of interoperability of vendors in optical networks is a major problem and that the industry needs to embrace hardware dis-aggregation.

This is not a bad cult – it ignited a healthy debate that illuminates both the positive and negative aspects of open networks and closed single-vendor networks. But some members of the Cult of Open overlook an inconvenient truth – closed networks from one vertically integrated vendor can vastly outperform open networks in some cases. Cignal AI’s key takeaways concerning open optical networks and hardware dis-aggregation include:

  • Facebook’s Voyager Platform
  • Open ROADM and Line Systems
  • Benefits of Vertical Integration

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OFC 2017 – Inside the Datacenter

100G and the Road to 400G

The transition to 100G network speeds inside the data center is underway at every major hyperscale operator simultaneously, creating major industry bottlenecks. Despite QSFP28 being supply constrained, component and equipment suppliers are also trying to align on the next generation format for 400G operation. Cignal AI’s key takeaways from OFC 2017 with regard to data center optics include:

  • Updates on QSFP28 supply and demand
  • Alternative facts on both sides of the Octal SFP (OSFP) vs. QSFP DD debate
  • Impact of QSFP28 on CFP/CFP2 client demand
  • 400G CFP8 and 200G QSFP observations and outlook

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Investor Call – OFC 2017 Takeaways

Piper Jaffray logo

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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