Monday, October 31, 2016

Microsoft Announces Project Olympus - OCP Hardware Designs

Microsoft, in collaboration with the Open Compute Project (OCP), announced Project Olympus – a next generation hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development with the OCP community.

With Project Olympus, Microsoft said it hopes to foster a model of open source collaboration that has been embraced for software but has historically been at odds with the physical demands of developing hardware. Rather than contributing a fully-completed design to OCP, with this new approach, Microsoft will contribute its next generation cloud hardware designs when they are approximately 50% complete.  This is intended to encourage community involvement in the iterative design process.

“Microsoft is opening the door to a new era of open source hardware development. Project Olympus, the re-imagined collaboration model and the way they’re bringing it to market, is unprecedented in the history of OCP and open source datacenter hardware,” said Bill Carter, Chief Technology Officer, Open Compute Project Foundation.

The building blocks that Project Olympus will contribute consist of a new universal motherboard, high-availability power supply with included batteries, 1U/2U server chassis, high-density storage expansion, a new universal rack power distribution unit (PDU) for global datacenter interoperability, and a standards compliant rack management card.

Microsoft noted that over 90% of the servers it currently purchases are based on OCP contributed specifications.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-reimagines-open-source-cloud-hardware/

CenturyLink to Acquire Level 3 for $34 Billion

CenturyLink agreed to acquire Level 3 Communications in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $34 billion, including the assumption of debt.

The deal combines CenturyLink's larger enterprise customer base with Level 3's global network footprint. The companies said this scale will enable further investment in the reach and speeds of its broadband infrastructure for small businesses and consumers. After close, CenturyLink's Glen Post will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer and President of the combined company.  Sunit Patel, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Level 3, will serve as Chief Financial Officer of the combined company. The combined company will be headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana and will maintain a significant presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.

Under terms of the agreement, Level 3 shareholders will receive $26.50 per share in cash and a fixed exchange ratio of 1.4286 shares of CenturyLink stock for each Level 3 share they own, which implies a purchase price of $66.50 per Level 3 share (based on a CenturyLink $28.00 per share reference price) and a premium of approximately 42 percent based on Level 3's unaffected closing share price of $46.92 on October 26, 2016. Upon the closing  CenturyLink shareholders will own approximately 51 percent and Level 3 shareholders will own approximately 49 percent of the combined company.

"The digital economy relies on broadband connectivity, and together with Level 3 we will have one of the most robust fiber network and high-speed data services companies in the world," said Glen Post, CenturyLink Chief Executive Officer and President. "This transaction furthers our commitment to providing our customers with the network to improve their lives and strengthen their businesses. It is this focus on providing fiber connectivity that will continue to distinguish CenturyLink from our competitors. CenturyLink shareholders will benefit from the significant synergies and financial flexibility provided by the combined company's revenue growth and strong cash flow. For employees, this combination will bring together two highly customer-focused organizations and provide employees growth and advancement opportunities the companies could not offer separately."

"This is a compelling transaction for our customers, shareholders and employees," said Jeff Storey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Level 3. "In addition to the substantial value delivered to shareholders, the combined company will be uniquely positioned to meet the evolving and global needs of enterprise customers."

Some highlights:
  • Fiber Network - the Level 3 infrastructure increases CenturyLink's network by 200,000 route miles of fiber, which includes 64,000 route miles in 350 metropolitan areas and 33,000 subsea route miles connecting multiple continents. 
  • On-net buildings - are expected to increase by nearly 75 percent to approximately 75,000, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America. 
  • Cost Efficiencies - complementary domestic and international networks will provide cost efficiencies by focusing capital investment on increasing capacity and extending the reach of the combined company's high-bandwidth fiber network.
  • Scale - the deal  creates a world-class enterprise player with approximately $19 billion in pro forma business revenue and $13 billion in business strategic revenue, for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2016. Together, CenturyLink's and Level 3's revenue will be 76 percent derived from business customers, and 65 percent of the combined company's core revenue will be from strategic services. 
  • Enhanced Broadband Infrastructure - This transaction will provide the combined company with increased opportunity to invest in its broadband infrastructure and enhance broadband speed for small businesses and consumers.
  • Financial Profile - the combined company is expected to have improved adjusted EBITDA margins, revenue growth and pro forma net leverage of less than 3.7x at close, including run-rate synergies. The combined company will benefit from Level 3's nearly $10 billion of net operating losses ("NOLs"). These NOLs will substantially reduce the combined company's net cash tax expense over the next several years, positioning it to generate substantial free cash flow.
  • Additional debt - CenturyLink intends to finance the cash portion of the transaction and pay related fees and expenses through a combination of cash on hand at CenturyLink and Level 3, and approximately $7 billion of additional indebtedness. In connection therewith, CenturyLink has received financing commitments from BofA Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC totaling approximately $10.2 billion for new secured debt facilities.

http://ir.centurylink.com/CorporateProfile.aspx?iid=4057179
http://www.level3.com
  • Over the past few years, CenturyLink has acquired Qwest Communications, Savvis and Embarq (formerly Sprint's Local Telecommunications Division).
  • The deal to acquire Qwest was valued at $22 billion when it was first announced in 2010. At the time, CenturyLink and Qwest served local markets in 37 states with approximately 5 million broadband customers, 17 million access lines, 1,415,000 video subscribers and 850,000 wireless consumers.  
  • In 2014, Level 3 acquired tw telecom in a $5.7 billion deal that combined its global fiber network and international data centers with tw telecom's extensive metro footprint in major U.S. Time Warner Communications was founded in 1993 as a joint venture between US West and Time Warner Communications. The company completed an IPO in 1999. It acquired Xspedius in 2006. 
  • Level 3's prior acquisitions include WilTel (2005), Progress Telecom (2006), ICG(2006), Telcove (2006), Looking Glass Networks (2006), Broadwing (2007), SAVVIS' content delivery network (2007), Servecast (2007), and Global Crossing (2011).

OpenSwitch Adds Contributions from Dell EMC and SnapRoute

The OpenSwitch Project, which is developing an open source, Linux-based Network Operating System, announced contributions from SnapRoute and Dell EMC.

The enhanced contributions include:

  • SnapRoute’s open source network stack and management services, which enable a fully modular, hardware independent NOS, accessible through a complete set of APIs.
  • Dell EMC’s OS10 Open Edition, which represents a fully open, fully disaggregated base subsystem incorporating hardware and platform abstraction layers for networking switching applications.

Other OpenSwitch project supporting members and participating organizations include Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Cavium, Inc., Centec Networks, Edgecore Networks, Extreme Networks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, LinkedIn, Marvell, Mellanox Technologies, Nephos Inc., P4.org, Quattro Networks and Terralogic.

"The OpenSwitch community continues to demonstrate its enthusiastic commitment to the creation of an open source network operating system," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. "It's exciting to see a rapid influx of contributions to OpenSwitch, which are priming the project to support next-generation requirements and features."

https://www.linuxfoundation.org/announcements/snaproute-and-dell-emc-to-help-advance-linux-foundation%E2%80%99s-openswitch-project

Bloomberg: Brocade Contemplates a Sale

Shares in Brocade surged 22% following a report published by Bloomberg that the company is in advanced stages of selling itself.  Broadcom may be interested in acquiring the company, according to Bloomberg, but company commented for the report.

Broadcom, which recently completed its merger with Avago Technologies, sells merchant silicon to many of network equipment vendors, including Brocade and its competitors.


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-31/brocade-communications-said-in-advanced-talks-to-sell-itself


Asia Pacific Gateway Cable Enters Service

NTT Communications announced the launch of service on the consortium-backed Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) optical submarine cable network.

APG, which spans a total length of 10,400 km, leverages 100 Gbps optical transmission and digital coherent technology to deliver a capacity of more than 54 Tbps, the highest of any network in Asia.

NTT said the cable routing avoids areas prone to earthquakes and typhoons, and has connectivity points in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

NTT Com has established two diverse landing points, one in the East and the other in the West of Japan for the APG and Pacific Crossing-1 (PC-1) submarine cable which connects between Japan and the U.S. having diverse route such as north and south routes. The company has also implemented diverse landing points in Hong Kong and Singapore for the APG and for the Asia Submarine-Cable Express (ASE), which was launched in August 2012.

http://www.ntt.com/en/about-us/press-releases/news/article/2016/20161031_2.html


  • The Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) project was first proposed in 2009.

Ciena Unveils WaveLogic Ai Programmable Modem

Ciena unveiled its WaveLogic Ai, a programmable coherent modem that is positioned as a foundational technology for future "self-driving" networks.

Ciena said its WaveLogic Ai coherent modem can drive 400G single carrier transmission in metro and DCI applications, while establishing 200G and 300G as the new reference line rates for backbone transmission in regional and long-haul networks. In submarine networks, it provides maximum capacity with ultimate reach at distances up to 14,000 kilometers.

The WaveLogic Ai modem is designed to gather critical networking data, including embedded real-time link measurements, to make intelligent capacity decisions in real time. For instance, WaveLogic Ai helps determine the optimal capacity for any path across the network and can tune to different capacity levels from 100G to 400G in 50G increments. Ciena said its technology will make available massive amounts of optical networking performance data through open interfaces that can be mined to build on-demand, programmable networks. WaveLogic Ai also provides extensive tunability via open software interfaces. Commercial launch is expected in Q2 2017.

http://www.ciena.com/insights/articles/Ciena-unveils-WaveLogic-Ai.html

Kingston Adds 256 GB microSDHC Card

Kingston Digital introduced a 256GB Class 10 UHS-I microSDHC / microSDXC card.

The large capacity and Class 10 UHS-I speed allows users to capture more photos (up to 64,000 12MP images) and HD videos (up to 976 minutes at 1080p 30 frames per second).

The microSDHC / microSDXC Class 10 UHS-I is the smallest form factor SD card available and is the standard expandable storage option for many tablets, smartphones and action cameras.

“We are excited to ship our new higher capacity 256GB microSDXC card for consumers who need more storage for photos, videos and other data,” said Annette Chan, Flash memory business manager, Kingston. “As image quality and 4K content continues to rise, we strive to push storage densities higher to match our customers’ needs for larger capacity and stable products.”

http://www.kingston.com

ADVA Posts Revenue of EUR 159.5 Million

ADVA Optical Networking reported record quarterly revenues of EUR 159.5 million -- at the upper end of the guidance forecast on July 21. Quarterly revenues climbed to a record high of EUR 159.5 million. The figure marks an increase of 30.4% year-on-year (YoY) (Q3 2015: EUR 122.3 million) and is at the upper end of the guidance forecast on July 21.

“Our markets continue to have multiple growth drivers,” said Brian Protiva, CEO, ADVA Optical Networking. “Cloud and mobility are fueling the demand for more bandwidth and reshaping our industry around the data center paradigm. Our focus on open connectivity solutions for data center interconnect (DCI) applications is delivering results. ”

http://www.advaoptical.com/en/newsroom/press-releases-english/20161027-adva-optical-networking-posts-record-q3-revenues-of-eur-159-5-million


See also