Linux Training Success Stories: Optelian Migrates to Linux to Power their Optical Networking Equipment

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Opticial transport system manufacturer Optelian is thriving, thanks in part to the company’s ability to make the most of two trends: smart phones and the rise of Linux as an embedded OS.

Optelian designs and manufacturers optical transport systems that send data across optical fiber. That means they sell equipment to North America’s largest telecom carriers to provide network backbone. With more than 3,500 systems and 90,000 wavelengths installed, Optelian is known industry-wide for its exceptional product quality, speed of delivery, superior customer support and custom-design capabilities. iPhones, iPads and Android-powered phones (powered by Linux) are driving demand for this networking infrastructure. In short, times are very good for Optelian.

Optelian recently made a big decision to move to migrate from a proprietary OS to Linux as the embedded OS in their products. Why did they move? “It came down to two things: needing to scale and cost,” said Paul Beer, software manager at Optelian. “The amount of money our vendor wanted for the upgrade was just not right for our business. Embedded Linux has really grown as an option since the last time we looked into it.”

While the upgrade path from their proprietary vendor was an initial driver for their move to Linux, Optelian quickly found other benefits to using Linux in their systems. “The more we looked into it the more we realized that the drivers for the specialized devices for optical transport – like lasers – are already in Linux and supported, which really helps us. Cost is only one aspect: our chipset suppliers offer APIs for Linux already. Previously we had to do the porting for the software ourselves. This saves us time and money.”

There are also in-direct cost benefits for using Linux. “Our old vendor would license their system per CPU architecture with different costs associated for different architectures. With Linux we don’t have those costs. Now that doesn’t mean it’s free; we have to do things on our own a bit more now. But Linux gets us out of being locked into one specific architecture, and now a whole line of processors are open to us, which greatly helps us with cost and scalability. Options are always good, but the key is having Linux expertise in house.” Which brings us to The Linux Foundation and its Linux Training courses.

Last year, Optelian contracted with the Linux Foundation to provide custom Linux training to its staff of engineers to fuel the transition from the previous product to Linux. “Training was very important for us, and not just covering the initial port. We needed to enable the team to work in embedded environment with Linux at a high level: to understand the kernel very deeply.”

After a lengthy evaluation, Paul chose the Linux Foundation to provide on-site Linux training on Linux embedded development. “They really had the best credibility out there, and they were flexible and tailored the class to what I needed for my developers.” Asked why he chose a custom solution where Linux Foundation instructors came to his location, he was very clear: “Investing the time in this course probably advanced the knowledge within my team and saved at least two or three months. My mission was to find a single course to put my developers through to bring them up to a high level of knowledge of working with Linux in an embedded environment. They are all at the same level of knowledge now, which is really important as a team.“

The Linux Foundation Embedded Linux Development course is designed to give experienced programmers a solid understanding of deploying the Linux kernel and customized user-space libraries and utilities for embedded applications such as those in use in consumer electronics, military, medical, industrial, and auto industries. This five day course includes extensive hands-on exercises and demonstrations designed to give you the necessary tools to develop an embedded Linux device.

“I think anyone in the embedded space should consider working with the Linux Foundation on Linux training,” said Paul. “Anyone doing real time systems would also benefit from this course.”

About LF411 Embedded Linux Development Linux Training Course

Embedded Linux Development is designed to give experienced programmers a solid understanding of adapting the Linux kernel and customized user-space libraries and utilities to embedded applications such as those in use in consumer electronics, military, medical, industrial, and auto industries. This five day course includes extensive hands-on exercises and demonstrations designed to give you the necessary tools to develop an embedded Linux device. View the complete Embedded Linux Development course overview.

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