Thursday, July 13, 2017

Intel debuts its Xeon Scalable platform - Part 2

Intel described the launch of its Xeon Scalable Platform as the biggest data centre announcement in the past 10 years. Wall Street's reaction was fairly muted, perhaps because Intel has already captured nearly the entire market for server CPUs and there was not much to suggest that any innovations in the chip architecture would significantly expand the overall market or the company's margins. However, a broad ecosystem of cloud providers, telecom carriers, server vendors, network equipment suppliers, storage specialists and systems integrators were lined-up for the big Xeon unveiling with press releases of their own. As an industry milestone, it is certain that the next wave of cloud data centre infrastructure will be built on Xeon Scalable processors.

Highlights of Intel's Xeon ecosystem momentum

Amazon Web Services

AWS has listed Intel as a strategic partner for over a decade. It is certainly a major customer. It’s been claimed that every day AWS enough servers to power a Fortune 500 enterprise. AWS launched a C5 instance family in November 2016 powered by a custom version of the Xeon Scalable Platform with hardware acceleration capability. Amazon EC2 C5 instances based on Xeon Scalable processors with AVX-512 now offer up to 72 vCPUs - twice that of previous generation compute-optimised instances - and 144 GB of memory. AWS also said it is working with Intel to optimise deep learning engines. AWS reports over a 100x boost in inference performance and is also using the new Xeon for high performance computing (HPC) clusters supporting thousands or tens of thousands of EC2 instances. AWS provided a video testimonial for the launch event.

It should also be noted that AWS is now offering NVIDIA GPU instances. Like the other cloud giants, AWS will also build its own data centre gear whenever this is the fastest or cheapest path to deployment. This includes routers based on custom Broadcom silicon and bespoke network interface cards based on an in-house Annapurna ASIC. At its scale, AWS would surely consider all silicon options for its core platform. Intel and AWS seem to be working well together.

AT&T

The guest of honour at the Xeon launch event was John Donovan, AT&T's chief strategy officer and group president, technology and operations. ‎AT&T has been running the new Xeon processors for several months in its production network. Donovan reported a 25% boost in performance - good but maybe not overwhelmingly so. Still, AT&T is moving all its network functions into a cloud based on X86. AT&T said it has a strong collaborative relationship with Intel. Total cost of ownership for the entire network improves with each generation of Xeons.

Google

The first public cloud to deploy the new Xeon Scalable Platform processors is Google. End customers are reporting consistent performance improvements, in some cases of 30 to 50%. When the applications are tuned for the AVX-512 instructions, customers are reporting more than a 100% performance improvement.

Microsoft

The new Intel Xeon Scalable Platform processors will be the base for Microsoft Azure. Earlier this year at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit in San Jose, Microsoft announced Project Olympus, a next generation hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development with the OCP community. 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. 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 data centre interoperability, and a standards compliant rack management card.

Although some saw this announcement as a potential opening for ARM processors in Azure, in a customer testimonial video this week Microsoft confirmed that Project Olympus is based on Xeon Scalable Platform processors and Intel FPGAs. Microsoft said this combination of Xeon processors, FPGAs and high-performance storage will be a powerful solution for AI. In fact, Azure anticipates the world's largest deployment of FPGAs to power the largest neural network to date.

Telefónica

In Spain, Intel has been collaborating with Telefónica since 2008. One big focus of development is network functions virtualisation (NFV) to simplify its network. Telefonica expects the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform processors will play a key role in its 5G network. This means that Telefónica is fully committed to x86 for the basis of its infrastructure. The new processors, which are currently in Telefónica’s labs, have been delivering a performance boost of approximately 67% over the previous Xeon E5 2600 chips.

6WIND

6WIND reports that its software running on Xeon Scalable Processors delivers a significant boost for IPsec. Specifically, 6WIND Turbo IPsec performance tests on Xeon Platinum servers demonstrate a 50% increase in processing power for common applications such as multi-site VPNs and backhaul security gateways.

Accton

Accton announced a combination server-switch hardware appliance based on dual-socket Intel Xeon Scalable processors, supporting up to 28 cores (56 threads) per socket. The switch system includes 48 SFP28 (25 GbE) and 6 QSFP28 (100 GbE) network ports, all contained within a single 1RU chassis form-factor. Accton said its Intel Xeon Purley platform increases CPU capacity and performance for virtual machine consolidation and density, as well as boosting memory bandwidth (six channels).

Advantech

Advantech has introduced two new platforms: a 2U dual socket network appliance and a single socket, short depth 1U server, both based on the new Intel Xeon Scalable Processors. The scalability of the dual socket appliance increases significantly, with up to 12 more cores per CPU than on the previous generation appliance. The company noted performance advances in the throughput of encrypted packets using the latest Intel QuickAssist Technology, now available in the chipset, to perform IPsec encryption and decryption. During tests at Intel Labs, a server configured with an Intel Xeon Platinum Processor 8160 showed an increase of up to 1.32 times higher performance, demonstrating what both platforms will be able to deliver to help meet demands for higher encrypted data throughput and VPN density while freeing up slots for more I/O and offload.

Cisco

Cisco launched a new generation of servers and software based on Intel's latest Xeon Scalable Platform processors and a unique Cisco system-level vision for the future of IT. The Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) M5 generation seeks to extend the power and simplicity of unified computing for data-intensive workloads, applications at the edge, and the next generation of distributed application architectures. The latest UCS Director 6.5 management software allows data centre professionals to complete 80% of operational tasks from a single console. A Workload Optimization Manager, powered by Turbonomic and which is deeply integrated into the UCS hardware, uses intent-based analytics to continuously match workload demand to infrastructure supply across on premise and multi-cloud environments. The company says the Cisco UCS can reduce administration and management costs by up to 63% while accelerating the delivery of new application services by up to 83%.

Dell EMC

Dell EMC launched the 14th generation of its PowerEdge servers featuring the new processors and a cyber-resilient architecture with a deep root of trust, including cryptographically trusted booting.

Ericsson

Highlighting the new Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Ericsson published a whitepaper 'Industrialising Network Functions Virtualisation with Software-Defined Infrastructure'. Topics discussed include Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), which is a set of software libraries for accelerating packet processing workloads on commodity off-the-shelf hardware platforms.

The Fast Data Project

FD.io or Fido, a collaborative open source project that aims to establish a high-performance IO services framework for dynamic computing environments, announced significant performance gains reaching terabit levels at multimillion route scale. Architectural improvement increases in latest Xeon Scalable processors - such as increased PCIe bandwidth - allow FD.io to double its performance at scale without modification to the software. FD.io said it is the only vSwitch for which performance scaling is IO bound rather than CPU bound.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu launched a multi-node server that combines the density of blade-like servers with the simplicity of rack-based systems. The newly-refreshed range of dual- and quad-socket PRIMERGY servers and octo-socket PRIMEQUEST business critical server systems are designed for the new Xeon Scalable processors. Technical features include enhanced DDR4 memory modules and up to 6 TB capacity in quad socket PRIMERGY server. Fujitsu said its PRIMEQUEST server pushes the performance envelope of SAP HANA up to 12 TB of the in-memory database.

Nokia

Nokia introduced a refreshed AirFrame Data Center solution based on the Xeon Scalable Processors. Nokia said it has worked closely with Intel over the past year during the Intel Xeon Scalable processor development process and has just completed its own benchmarking of the new design. The results show a performance improvement over the previous generation Intel Xeon processor E5-26xxv4, with an average gain of 40% in processor rate performance.

Radisys

Radisys announced support for the new Xeon Scalable processors in its DCEngine, which helps communication service providers to transform their central offices into hyperscale SDN-enabled virtualised data centres. Radisys said its DCEngine’s management software suite, delivered with Intel Rack Scale Design, simplifies data centre resource management by enabling an open management framework with dynamic resource allocation, intelligent policy profiling and real-time, granular insight into compute, storage and network resources. The company estimates that CSPs leveraging DCEngine in data centres can expect significant improvements in total cost of ownership through reduced real estate footprint by 55%, which can result in up to 35% cost savings over a period of three years, as well as substantial reduction in costs associated with power consumption, hardware and software support.

ZTE

ZTE has launched a 2-socket cloud application rack server R5300 G4, 4-socket high-reliability rack server R8500 G4, hyperconverged blade server E9000 and software-defined storage KS10000.

AT&T adds Oracle Cloud to NetBond for Cloud ecosystem

AT&T announced that it will add Oracle Network Cloud Service – FastConnect to the AT&T NetBond for Cloud ecosystem, thereby enabling customers to manage and access Oracle Cloud services utilising NetBond for Cloud's secure, dedicated connectivity with high reliability.

Through the partnership, AT&T and Oracle aim to facilitate global enterprise customers to transition to the cloud and gain the benefits in terms of performance, cost and security offered by combining the Oracle Cloud with AT&T's NetBond for Cloud solution.

AT&T's multiple protocol label switching (MPLS) VPN solution is designed to provide a secure, low-latency network connection for multiple locations and users. This enables improved performance, enhanced control, flexibility and scalability that can provide access to critical business data and functions.

The AT&T NetBond for Cloud ecosystem comprises more than 20 members delivering secure access to more than 25 major cloud services.


  • Recently, AT&T announced that NetBond for Cloud users would be provided with enhanced connectivity to more than 100 additional cloud software and service providers hosted on the AWS platform as part of the AWS Direct Connect (DX) bundle.
  • AT&T also announced that AWS software and solution providers would be able to join the AT&T NetBond for Cloud Solution Provider program, which allows service providers to attract new customers by identifying AT&T NetBond for Cloud as a dynamic, flexible and secure connectivity option when used with AWS Direct Connect (DX) bundles.
  • AT&T’s Solution Provider Program for AWS enables members to expand reach via connectivity to 198 countries worldwide and offer their clients a secure and high performance connectivity option to AWS hosted SaaS platforms.

A10 Trims Guidance

A10 Networks announced preliminary financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017, saying in now expects total revenue in the second quarter 2017 to be between $52.5 million and $53.5 million, below its prior guidance of $62.0 million to $64.0 million. The company expects to report a GAAP net loss between $0.12 and $0.13 per share. On a non-GAAP basis, the company expects to report a net loss between $0.05 and $0.06 per share, using approximately 69.8 million basic shares, which is below the previous guidance for non-GAAP net income of $0.01 to $0.03 per share, using approximately 76.6 million diluted shares. A preliminary reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP information is contained in the financial statements below.

“We are disappointed with our preliminary results. Revenue came in below our guidance as a number of opportunities in our pipeline did not close primarily in North America and to a lesser degree in Japan. Key deals remain in our pipeline and we are diligently working to improve our execution,” said Lee Chen, president and chief executive officer of A10 Networks. “We remain confident that our investments in security and cloud will serve as a strong foundation to penetrate these faster-growing segments of our market.”

http://www.a10networks.com

ECI Cites Multiple Deployments of 400G Apollo Systems

ECI announced the continued deployment of its 400 Gbit/s solution to enable faster connectivity and meet growing bandwidth demand, with projects at key customers across Europe that have upgraded their networks using ECI's Apollo family of optical products with integrated 400 Gbit/s flex-grid blade.

ECI's Apollo platform is designed to enable service providers to meet current and future demand. The platform combines high-capacity, low-latency OTN transport and switching with software configurable, colourless, directionless and gridless optical routing, for enhanced efficiency. Equipped with the 400 Gbit/s blade, the solution allows for the flexible allocation of transmission rate and spectrum in accordance with service type, preference or distance.

In addition, the ability to configure a mix of rates on both client and line sides provides customers with improved efficiency and flexibility and reduced costs.

ECI cited companies that have recently implemented its 400 Gbit/s solution including:

  • The Dutch National Research and Education Network SURFnet, which established a 400 Gbit/s connection between Utrecht and Breda as part of an upgrade of its next generation network, SURFnet8. The link provides a direct connection, with high capacity to support the transfer of information between educational and research organisations at two major university cities.

  • German service provider NetCom BW, which already operates a major Apollo network, launched the 400 Gbit/s platform to provide a link between Stuttgart and Frankfurt, which will serve as the basis for a direct connection to Internet Exchange Frankfurt; the solution also allows for future growth via up to 88 parallel connections.

  • Romanian cable TV operator UPC, which has deployed the Apollo platform in its core ring that services the main cities in Romania such as Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj, Oradea and Timisoara. The Apollo 88 channel ring provides 400 Gbit/s connectivity with 100 Gbit/s service interface, replacing 10 Gbit/s interfaces.

  • German data centre operator New Telco, an ECI customer for nearly a decade, which deployed ECI's Apollo DWDM technology across the Frankfurt metro area to upgrade the existing 100 Gbit/s interfaces to 400 Gbit/s to provide higher port density and throughput.

Orange unveils global Content division

France-based global telco Orange has unveiled its new Orange Content business, as originally announced in March of this year by the company's chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard.

The new entity, Orange Content, is intended to strengthen the presence and investment of Orange in the field of content, with a mission to drive the group's strategy in content and to support its development across the countries where Orange has a presence. The new division will combine the bulk of the current Content Division and subsidiaries comprising Orange Studio, OCS and OPTV (Orange Prestations TV).

This new entity will report directly to Orange CEO Stéphane Richard and will operate under a two-person senior management team, namely David Kessler, director, and Serge Laroye, deputy director. Effective September 1st, Orange Content will have five key functions:

1.         Strategic intelligence, interpreting of trends and the movements of industry players in order to identify opportunities for the group and its countries.

2.         Acquisition of rights both through the negotiation of distribution agreements and agreements on premium rights or with studios, plus provide support to all countries in these areas.

3.         Management and development of a production/publishing unit integrating Orange Studio and OCS, or other upcoming entities responsible for editing and production.

4.         The creation, evaluation and implementation of proposals on new formats, new usages and new solutions in the field of content with the group's internal stakeholders and external partners.

5.         Monitoring the development of each country's content turnover through strategic planning, collaboration with the countries and the implementation of joint action plans, as well as the development of profitable operations, with commercial and operational activities for distribution and content aggregation located within national entities, including for Orange France.

In addition, Orange and CANAL+ have strengthened the distribution of CANAL offers for Orange TV customers and will propose a new offer of CANAL+ ESSENTIEL for Orange fibre customers, while OCS, Orange Studio and UGC IMAGES have entered into an exclusive agreement in France. Orange has also announced plans to invest Euro 100 million over five years in crating series and cinema content.


Cisco to Acquire Observable Networks

Cisco announced plans to acquire Observable Networks, a privately held software developer based in St. Louis. Financial ters were not disclosed.

Observable Networks provides cloud-native network forensics security applications delivered as a service. The technology is based on dynamic behavioral modeling of all devices on the network.

Observable Network said its solutions provide security analysts with the ability to gain real-time situational awareness of all users, devices and traffic on the network, whether in the data center or the cloud. Its cloud-native machine learning techniques for device modeling identifies insider and external threats faster and more accurately. This design supports cloud environments and enables turn-key activation for customers using Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Cisco said the acquisition will extend its Stealthwatch solution into the cloud with highly scalable behavior analytics and comprehensive visibility.

https://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco-announces-cloud-security-news

FogHorn Targets Edge Intelligence Software at IIoT

FogHorn Systems, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, released its Lightning ML edge intelligence software for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The company said its Lightning ML brings the power of machine learning at the edge in three ways:
  • Leverages existing models and algorithms: can execute proprietary algorithms and machine learning models on live data streams produced physical assets and industrial control systems
  • Makes machine learning OT-accessible: offer tools to generate machine learning insights 
  • Runs in tiny software footprint: Lightning ML platform requires less than 256MB of memory footprint.

Lightning ML supports all x86-based IIoT gateways and OT systems as well as ARM32 OT control systems (like PLCs and DCSs). It also supports the newest generation of small footprint Raspberry Pi derivative IIoT gateways. The FogHorn Lightning ML software platform can run entirely on premise or connect to any private cloud or public cloud environment.

"In the initial launch of FogHorn’s Lightning platform, we successfully miniaturized the massive computing capabilities previously available only in the cloud. This allows customers to run powerful big data analytics directly on operations technology (OT) and IIoT devices right at the edge through our complex event processing (CEP) analytics engine. With the introduction of Lightning ML, we now offer customers the game changing combination of real-time streaming analytics and advanced machine learning capabilities powered by our high-performance CEP engine,” said said FogHorn CEO David C. King.

http://www.foghorn.io


  • In May 2017, FogHorn Systems announced today that it had raised additional Series A funding from Dell Technologies Capital and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV). The extended funding brings FogHorn’s total Series A round to $15 million, excluding the conversion of $2.5 million in seed funding. Dell Technologies Capital added to its initial Series A investment. Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures is a new investor in the company.

American Airlines migrates to the IBM Cloud

American Airlines will migrate its enterprise critical worklods, including aa.com, its mobile app and airport kiosks, to the IBM Cloud. The massive cloud transformation aims to make the wolrd's largest airline's internal processes more efficient, faster, easier and adaptable to better handle site traffic during high volume periods. Financial terms were not disclosed.

American and IBM have teamed to rewrite applications to the IBM Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), and establish a cloud-native architecture. As part of this process, American will work with IBM Global Services to leverage IBM’s Garage Methodology of creating innovative applications quickly through a micro-services architecture, design thinking, agile methodology, DevOps, and lean development. The companies said IBM Cloud will help enable developers to quickly build and change application functionalities for the airline’s customers. These customer-facing systems will be on the IBM Public Cloud, while American maintains backend connectivity to other on-premise legacy and third-party systems, for true Hybrid Cloud functionality.

“American Airlines is embracing IBM Cloud as a true business enabler to lead the way in innovative customer experiences,” said David Kenny, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform. “It is the foundation of American’s digital transformation and enables the airline to take its delivery speed to the next level with increased scalability, performance and agility to transform business processes and customer experiences at the same time.”

http://www.ibm.com

Atlantic Metro expands CloudDirect portfolio across U.S.

Atlantic Metro Communications, a national provider of managed IT infrastructure services, announced the expansion of its CloudDirect service portfolio to cities across the U.S.

Atlantic Metro's CloudDirect solution provides private and dedicated cloud hosting, data centre colocation and network connectivity as a single, integrated IT infrastructure platform. Following the latest expansion, the CloudDirect offering is available at all Atlantic Metro sites nationwide, including:

  • New York: New York City.

  • New Jersey: Weehawken, Piscataway and Somerset.

  • Virginia: Reston, Herndon, Tysons Corner and Ashburn.

  • California: Los Angeles and San Jose.

  • Texas: Dallas.

  • Florida: Miami.

The CloudDirect solution combines cloud hosting and colocation services, while providing fibre connectivity between the cloud, data centres and customer premises. The service is designed to provide customers with enhanced security, fast deployment, consistent performance and on-demand scalability from a single provider. It also offers the flexibility to augment physical servers in the cloud, migrate legacy servers to the cloud and develop business continuity plans.

Atlantic Metro is a managed infrastructure service provider that offers cloud computing and secure data centre collocation with national network connectivity. The company claims more than 600 customers, including Fortune 500 enterprises, finance companies, media agencies, healthcare and web start-ups.


O2 Picks Cisco for free Wi-Fi in the City of London

O2 has selected Cisco to roll-out free, public access Wi-Fi in the City of London, replacing the current service currently provided by The Cloud. Activation is expected this autumn. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cisco will deploy its Aironet 1560 Series outdoor access point technology to offer internet connectivity to more than 400,000 people working in the Square Mile.

Cornerstone Telecommunication Infrastructure (CTIL) and the City of London Corporation are overseeing the project.

"Continued investment in infrastructure is essential to maintain the UK's reputation as a digital leader and we needed a partner that would be able to provide cutting-edge technology to help us realise this. We're pleased to be working with Cisco to support this initiative using its robust, speedy and seamless technology to create a Wi-Fi network and enable the capital to help retain its position as a leading global centre" said Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer, O2.

http://www.cisco.com

SFP-DD MSA to define 2x 25/56 Gbit/s interface Spec

The SFP-DD Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group has announced plans to develop the specification for a high-speed, double-density small form-factor pluggable (SFP-DD) interface.

Under the MSA, participating companies will address the technical challenges of delivering a double-density SFP interface and ensuring mechanical interoperability for module components produced by different manufacturers. New SFP-DD-based networking equipment will be designed to support legacy SFP modules and cables, as well as the new double density products.

Specifically, the MSA group will develop operating parameters, signal transmission speed goals and protocols for the SFP-DD interface, which expands on the existing SFP pluggable form factor electrical interface as widely adopted in data centres and other networking platforms. It was noted that multi-vendor SFP modules and assemblies are available for a range of data rate speeds and reaches for data transmission applications such as hubs, switches, routers and servers.

The current SFP interface single electrical lane operates up to 25 Gbit/s NRZ or 56 Gbit/s PAM4; the new SFP-DD electrical interfaces will be designed to support 2 lanes operating at up to 25 Gbit/s NRZ or 56 Gbit/s PAM4 per lane, thereby enabling solutions with up to 50 or 112 Gbit/s PAM4 aggregate bandwidth.

By doubling the lane density and data speed of SFP transceivers, the SFP-DD specification will help address increased port density and scalability requirements in next-generation applications, with a focus on the server side interconnect. An SFP-DD server port, combined with QSFP-DD switch ports, can enable an overall doubling of the port density in network applications.


  • Founding members of the SFP-DD MSA group include Alibaba, Broadcom, Brocade, Cisco, Dell EMC, Finisar, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Huawei, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Mellanox Technologies, Molex and TE Connectivity.

Coriant appoints Khaled Zeidan as MD, Middle East and Africa

Coriant has announced the appointment of Khaled Zeidan as managing director of Middle East and Africa, with responsibility for business operations across the region, including sales and channel strategy, customer support and business development.

Reporting to Homayoun Razavi, Coriant chief customer officer, Mr. Zeidan will work closely with existing customers and develop new business in the Middle East and Africa as part of the company's strategic objective of accelerating growth through increasing its market share worldwide.

Khaled Zeidan has over 30 years experience with public and private companies addressing the technology and telecom sectors, including cloud, software and hardware networking solutions and services. During this time he spent over 25 years in regional sales, marketing and business development roles with large corporations including AT&T and Oracle and with start-ups such as ITXC, Ditech Networks, Nominum and IneoQuest.

Mr. Khaled served for 5 years with Hughes Aircraft in a range of technical engineering roles.


* In May, Coriant announced the appointment of Homayoun Razavi to lead its global sales and marketing organisation. As chief customer officer (CCO), EVP of global sales, and chief digital marketing officer (CDMO), Razavi is responsible for development and execution of the global sales, go-to-market, channel and marketing strategy and reports directly to CEO and chairman, Shaygan Kheradpir.


* Recently, Coriant announced a strategic investment by Oaktree Capital Management, as part of which Oaktree partnered with company owner Marlin Equity Partners to provide additional growth capital and operational capabilities to help Coriant accelerate its growth.

See also