Ankeena And Juniper Networks Announce Partnership

Against the backdrop of a robust debate still raging about the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)s policy decisions surrounding network neutrality comes an interesting announcement from a company whose products are designed to assure delivery of video content across the web.

Ankeena Networks, who recently changed its name from Nokeena Networks, has announced the first of several key partnerships, this one with Juniper Networks.

Juniper is a company that serves up "big iron" routers that are used to power high-volume delivery across the internet and IP networks. As such, Juniper competes with Cisco, Foundry, and a few other companies, and each is looking for solutions to explosive video traffic growth. Ankeena, which recently emerged from stealth mode after several years of research and development, has a product called Media Flow Director that is designed to shape delivery of media content.

"We went on joint discovery visits with Juniper to some key customers," said Prabakar Sundarrajan, Akeena's CTO and co-founder, "as we both wanted to jointly validate the market need. We showed customers the potential of the combined solution. The response was overwhelmingly positive when we said 'here's what we think makes sense. Does it work for you?'"

"Juniper's CEO announced our partnership at the Web 2.0 conference recently," said Anshu Agarwal, vice president of product marketing at Ankeena, "and we are featured in Juniper's booth at the SCTE Cable-Tech Expo show this week. The timing of the announced partnership lets Juniper present its installed base, who need a solution to growing video traffic, with a combination of Juniper's high-performance infrastructure and Ankeena's media infrastructure."

As part of today's partnership announcement, Juniper Networks is providing Ankeena with access to its JUNOS Software—the software at the heart of Juniper routers—as well as access to Juniper's partner development platform.

"Ankeena and Juniper share a common focus on openness, simplicity and flexibility," said Manoj Leelanivas, senior vice president and general manager of the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit at Juniper Networks. "By combining Juniper’s JUNOS platform and high-performance infrastructure products with Ankeena’s technology will result in solutions that accelerate the pace of innovation for video delivery of all types."

Ankeena has been targeting big customers, with equally big transportation needs, and the joint effort with Juniper meshes nicely with Ankeena's twelve ongoing trials, which encompass internet service providers (ISPs) cable providers, also known as Multi-System Operators (MSOs) and telecom companies. Ankeena says it is focused on emerging initiatives, such as the "TV Everywhere" play that Dan Rayburn has written about several times in his Business of Online Video blog.

"The specifics have not been announced," said , "but the combination should be expected sometime next year."

When asked about specific benefits derived by Juniper and Ankeena from joining forces, Sundarrajan noted three.

"Gestalt occurs at several points," he said. "First, there's the benefit of a joint approach to deciding what needs to be optimized versus what doesn't need to be is something that can occur at the router or at a Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) point along the network."

"Second, we can jointly make the determination based on policy—SD content will be limited to 2Mbps, as one example—but for the policy to be enforced from Media Flow Director across the network requires the policy to be in line with, not at odds with, policies established at the router."

"Finally, with information from the router, the subscriber management systems, and other points across the network, this joint approach gives us a chance to optimize delivery across the entire service provider network."

Ankeena's approach uses a flexible content delivery network (CDN) model that can, on one hand, guarantee delivery, while on the other hand, also address spectrum limitations.

"To date, service providers and network operators have been forced to take costly measures to address the quality and scalability challenges created by the surge in new media traffic," said Rajan Raghavan, CEO and co-founder, Ankeena Networks. "These new solutions are intended to further accelerate the convergence of traditional entertainment mediums and the Internet, enabling new content delivery business models."

"We cannot run afoul of either net neutrality policies or user privacy regulations," said Sundarrajan, the CTO, "so our solutions stay well away from the 'clear bright line' of these boundaries, while also addressing the needs of wireless service providers and others that face limited spectrum and growing demands for video content. Our solutions can address media traffic as a whole, dynamically and equally limiting the bandwidth of each user on a wireless tower, for instance, rather than eliminating the ability for other customers to be added."

Ankeena, who also parters with Citrix on the NetScaler VPX loadbalancer, and NetApp, says it will be announcing additional featuresand product enhancements around the time of Streaming Media West,which will be held in San Jose from November 17-19, 2009.

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