Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Sycamore aims to buoy sales with Insight launch

Published in Interface Tech News

CHELMSFORD, Mass. ‹ In a bid to keep customers buying during a time of declining capital expenditures, Sycamore Networks released in early October its SILVX InSight product, which integrates planning, design, and testing for optical networks.

InSight was designed to work with Sycamore's existing network management system, SILVX NMS, to take an inventory of existing network infrastructure, and propose upgrades and equipment purchases to improve the efficiency of carrier networks.

"It's a simulated network," said Wade Rubinstein, Sycamore's director of professional services. "It's much cheaper to put this software on a PC than to buy another switch."

The key to InSight, according to company officials, is a database that includes specifications on networking hardware, permitting capacity planning and load simulation, as well as cost-benefit analysis and testing prior to purchase.

Analyst Maribel Dolinov of Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, said the database could be hard to keep updated. "You can't just call up a company and ask for its specs," she said.

With monthly updates to its database, Sycamore said it will be able to keep current, enabling the linking and design possibilities the company identified as its target service.

"We want to enhance productivity and help the next generation of intelligent optical networks," Rubinstein said.

The driving force behind the product's release, is a good idea, Dolinov said. Across the networking industry, she said, "sales are becoming much more complex." Not only are orders smaller and more specific, but they're reducing in volume and dollar amounts, she added.

In Dolinov's view, another specter looming on the horizon for optical networking is a revelation like the recent one from Qwest, stating that it is finished building its network.

"That's a scary sort of thing for an equipment provider," Dolinov said. Further, she continued, if a supplier is feeling a crunch from one customer, it's hard to make up the difference in new business right now.

"At the end of the day," Dolinov said, "tools are still pretty company specific."