• United States
larry chaffin
CEO and Chairman of Pluto Cloud Services

A conversation with the CEO of Ixia, Atul Bhatnagar

Oct 21, 20117 mins
Cisco SystemsData BreachData Center

More testing is going on in the wi-fi sector than most though.

I have started our CEO conversations back up again after a short break. Today we are going to talk to the CEO of Ixia Atul Bhatnagar. 

What is the state of the appliance testing market and do you still see growth? 

a)    More Data, Faster Data: First key thing we see – mobile data is doubling every year, consequently core network data is rapidly growing. Network Appliances need to scale at unprecedented levels to keep pace with the bandwidth demand. These higher network speeds require much higher performance scaling. Network Testing companies need be able to accommodate higher speeds and throughput at a pace never before seen in the industry.

b)    Ease of use: Our users are demanding ease of use and higher productivity from testing products. Enterprises, network equipment manufacturers and service providers are looking for innovative solutions for handling the increased testing complexity. . Even while networking and testing complexity has0 gone up significantly, our customers want intuitive and highly productive testing and simulation solutions.

c)    Greater sophistication: As traffic patterns are becoming more complex, our users are also looking for more realistic end user simulations of traffic. Less blasting more accuracy. They are also demanding lot more video and rich media mix in the traffic.

CEO Ixia

Who do you see as your biggest competitor and why?

Competition comes from many companies in very global manner. We see many companies in our space such as Aeroflex, Tektronix, Spirent etc. We also see some smaller regional companies in Japan and Europe. As Ixia is offering more of an end-to-end solution, we are seeing more competitors as we grow our field of action.

Will we one day see Ixia testing appliances move into network products as a standard?.

Standards and protocols already are a large part of what Ixia tests. They are the lingua franca of networks. We test Wi-Fi, Ethernet, IP, LTE, etc. So standards are an important part of how Ixia tests.   Ixia adds a level of creativity and knowledge to these standards, which is our point of differentiation. For example, our chassis and cards provide hardware acceleration for high performance. This allows Ixia to scale and accurately test real-world scenarios.

Where do you see your product expanding to next and what new options will you add to the current product?  

Our products are expanding more and more into wireless domain. We started with IP and Ethernet. Now we test across wireless and wireline, including LTE, Wi-Fi. As our customers are facing challenges with convergence, Ixia is there to help them. We cover access networks, data center, wired and wireless networks. We still are focused on pre-deployment testing. But now it is both wired and wireless. Form the wireless edge in to the internet core.

From the data center perspective, Ixia will continue to develop and introduce new and innovative solutions for testing virtualized and cloud-based networks. Where there is IP, LTE and Ethernet – Ixia will be providing productive solutions to help our customers.

Do you see consolidation in the marketplace or more companies starting up in this space?  

Testing is an area that requires a significant investment. That said, we do see a lot of room for innovation and breakthrough products.

An important thing to understand is the level of innovation that is needed to develop and launch a testing product.  We need to be able to test a network technology long before the network equipment vendor brings the product to market. For example, Ixia’s 100G testing product was in production in advance of first 100G routers and switches. So there is a high barrier to entry.

There will be some consolidation. But, by no means is testing a commodity market like PCs. There still is plenty of room for innovation, and more value.

What new verticals, segments do you see Ixia moving into within the next few years?

Ixia solutions serve a wide group of customers. We are a broad-based solution provider for enterprises, service providers, government and network equipment manufacturers.  So we already cross many verticals. The key for new verticals is where the network affects the bottom line – we are called to help. Wherever companies need their network to be reliable and have high performance, Ixia will always be there. New verticals that meet these criteria would include financial, insurance, medical, e-commerce.

Let’s talk about the cloud, what is Ixia doing in the cloud now?

We are expanding our products in the cloud and data center. As the demand for the cloud is rapidly growing, Ixia is helping enterprises, service providers and equipment vendors assure that their networks and applications are scalable and performing as intended.  We have innovated in the area of virtualization testing. We provide solutions for security testing in the cloud. We will be adding more solutions for cloud testing as the cloud continues to scale and becomes more elastic. By elasticity, I mean providing computing power on an as-needed basis.

Are you working with any wan acceleration vendors to test their products?

Yes. We are working with several vendors to test scalability and performance. To truly test performance of a WAN accelerator you need to test the WAN with all possible impairments. Ixia is the only testing solution that combines traffic generation, network emulation, and WAN impairment in a single, cost-effective platform.

Could we one day see you at Interop Las Vegas testing all products on the floor for all to see?

At Interop in May, we were in many booths doing significant testing. This included complete cloud computing simulation, comprehensive testing for the virtualized data center, ultra-high application service delivery, security, etc. Although all products are very unlikely, we definitely will be many products in the future.

What is the one question when meeting with potential customers that you get the most and why?

How do we test convergence?  Many potential customers are used to testing wireline, Ethernet, and IP. But traffic is now going mobile. This is driven by the growth of media rich traffic including video, advanced graphics. They want to understand what the impact of mobile is, and what can be done to test a converged network for security, performance and scalability.

The other big area of interest is the movement to cloud. What should we be doing to assure reliability, scalability and security?

Do you see Ixia doubling in sales within 5 years?

As a public company we can’t make those types of predictions. Our plan is to continue to grow. There are key drivers in place to achieve growth – convergence, applications, wireless, cloud, etc. But I really cannot say anything more.

What is the biggest misconception about Ixia that people believe or hear?

The biggest misconception is that Ixia only tests IP networks. We have diversified into wireless. We can test from the wireless edge to the network core.

If you could partner with one company right now to expand your product line or sales; whom would it be and why?  

Ixia would like to continue to expand its abilities into more aspects of testing cloud based applications. But we have not decided who to partner with. Some of these capabilities will also be developed in-house.

iPad, iPhone or Android? Which do you own?

iPhone, iPad and Blackberry.

What kind of songs are on your MP3 player? 

Classical and easy listening.

Being an executive like myself you have to have a release. Mine is golf or my handheld satellite radio. What is yours?

Hiking, tennis, and listening to classical music.

Fly, drive or train; which would you take the most if you had the chance?

Train. It is far more relaxing. I can read a newspaper or a book.

In the movie Almost Famous, what was the name of the tour bus?

My media consumption focuses more on science and nature programs. Also, I do read news every day. My movie knowledge is very limited.