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EXFO acquires Ontology Systems for network automation

Network test and measurement company EXFO has acquired privately held Ontology Systems, a specialist in real-time network topology discovery and service-chain mapping, for a total consideration of $7.6 million (€7.24 million), net of cash.

UK-based Ontology Systems uses graph-data and semantic searches to build real-time views of network services and related network elements.

This skill set fits right in with the industry emphasis on network functions virtualization (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN) technologies as service providers look to make their communications infrastructures highly agile so they can deploy new services on the fly. An automated network inventory system fully integrated with probing agents can accelerate fault discovery, root-cause analysis and will eventually enable closed-loop automation in hybrid physical-virtual environments, according to EXFO.

The companies had been working as partners, launching a product together last December that provides topology-aware end-to-end service assurance. The software tool is based upon Ontology 5 and EXFO’s Xtract open analytics platform.

Now the companies will do more, combining Ontology Systems' expertise in mapping complex, cross-domain, multi-layer network topologies with EXFO's end-to-end service assurance and real-time 3D analytics solutions to deliver a truly comprehensive view across physical, virtual and hybrid networks.

“This strategic acquisition uniquely positions EXFO with agile, real-time visualisation and troubleshooting solutions that enable communications service providers to manage their networks more efficiently and ensure heightened quality of experience and scalability for next-generation networks, which will be hybrid in nature for many years to come,” said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's founder, chairman and CEO. “Combining EXFO's physical and virtual probes and real-time analytics solution, with Ontology Systems’ unique mapping methodology, delivers an unmatched value proposition for monitoring and managing next-generation networks. Based on early discussions with service providers, this new offering is resonating very strongly with them, since they are striving to improve customer experience while becoming more agile and cost-efficient.”

Ontology Systems generated approximately $4.0 million in revenue during the last 12 months, including sales to Tier-1 service providers. The acquisition is expected to be neutral to EXFO's adjusted earnings in fiscal 2017 and accretive thereafter.

“We are very pleased to become an integral part of the EXFO team,” said Benedict Enweani, Ontology Systems' CEO and co-founder. “Leveraging EXFO's global sales, support channels and brand-name recognition will greatly accelerate our plans to deliver service agility to service providers worldwide.”

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