Travis Ewert signs on with LightRiver Software as new COO

LightRiver Software announced Wednesday that former CenturyLink and Level 3 executive Travis Ewert has been hired as its new chief operating officer.

Ewert brings years of experience in software-defined networking, intent-based networking, NFV and automation to the LightRiver management team.

“Travis’ experience and passion for software defined networks, and deep understanding of the positive impact it can make on customer operations, fit perfectly into LightRiver’s long term strategy to de-risk the adoption of best-in-class, next generation networks as our customers move into new technologies and network domains under the coming wave of disaggregation,” said LightRiver CEO Glenn Johansen, in a prepared statement.

RELATED: Longtime industry executive Travis Ewert exits CenturyLink

Ewert was CenturyLink's vice president of SDN and big data before leaving that position in July. In his previous positions at Level 3 and CenturyLink, Ewert and his teams garnered some industry recognition around SDN, programmable networking for on-demand capacity and analytics-driven interfaces, among others.

Prior to the merger of CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications, Ewert held the title of senior vice president, network software development at Level 3 before joining CenturyLink last November.

Ewert started working at Level 3 in 2014 after a ten-year stint in various executive positions at TW Telecom. Before TW Telecom, Ewert was employed by Frontier Communications for two years and worked for US West Communications, which was bought by Qwest, for five years in various roles.

"Frankly, I was one of their (LightRiver's) customers in my last three gigs, so I know them very well," Ewert said in an interview with FierceTelecom. "I know about their proven scale into global networks for real-time inventory and actual analytics on the assurance side, as well as control automation."

LightRiver's Mike Jonas, president of global customer operations, said in an interview with FierceTelecom that the Concord, California-based company was founded 20 years ago with a keen focus on carrier grade transport for optical networking.

"Whatever the current state of the art is and the best practices in deploying that state of the art technology, regardless of the vendor all the way to the needs of the customer," Jonas said in describing LightRiver. "So we've learned to design and deploy from every major vendor the product that makes the most sense for the customer.

"We've established a multivendor lab here for bake-offs, migration planning, transitions and customer enablement. We extended that to a full multivendor, multidomain network factory where we pre-stage and pre-build (products) and enable customers in whatever technologies make the most sense for them. Again, regardless of vendor."

Last year LightRiver bought a software automation firm, Unique Computer Services, to drive its multivendor transport network management capabilities. Jonas said that LighRiver had worked with Unique Computer Services for about 15 years prior to being able to buy it last year.

"What got my attention was the coming together of these companies from a lab perspective and all the work they do around certification, validation, engineering of the latest and greatest optical technologies," Ewert said. "And not just from a device perspective, but also building out large-scale networks on behalf of some of the biggest guys out there."

LightRiver's flagship netFLEX optical domain control software solution provides software support for over 275 multigenerational network elements, from over 25 vendors. It enables network discovery, actionable analytics and control automation of transport network operations from a single UI and API services framework for DWDM, OTN, SONET, DCS, DCI, Ethernet and legacy optical devices from a wide range of vendors.

Mike Jonas, LightRiver Software

While Jonas declined to name specific LightRiver customers, he did say the customer roster included  three of the largest wireline carriers, several of the largest integrated communications providers and some of the top investor-owned utility companies.

Ewert said that LightRiver follows Facebook's Telecom Infra Project (TIP) in order to work with the hyperscale companies and keeps track of MEF's activities as they relate to its vendor and service provider partners.

Going forward, LightRiver is building on the machine-learning based analytics that it already has in place to provide increased telemetry into customers' networks.

"The advantage we have is because we're already collecting a lot of the meaningful information at scale," Ewert said. "But the next evolution of that now is more AI advanced algorithms. So, that's part of the objective going forward, but we're really just getting started on some of the more advanced algorithms."