Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MEF aims to define the future of Lifecycle Service Orchestration – Part 2

link to part 1 of this article

by Bartosz Michalik of Amartus

OpenCS Packet WAN project advances development of LSO

Together with Donald Hunter from Cisco, I have the privilege of co-leading the OpenCS Packet WAN project, which is one of the seven initiatives started in OpenCS ecosystem. The aim of the project is to deliver a reference implementation of an SDN controller that manages multi-vendor networks. The northbound API was released as a part of Presto SDK, which, in its current version, focuses on Presto network resources provisioning (NRP) models. Packet WAN is an open source module of the OpenDaylight controller called Unimgr. But, before I delve into the project details, let me take you on a journey through how we got to this stage of the development.

LSO hackathons throwback

The LSO development effort started in Dallas, in November 2015, during the first LSO Hackathon that was co-located with MEF’s GEN15 conference. At the time, I joined one of the Hackathon teams as a regular participant, and together with 40+ other colleagues from various vendor and provider companies, we were experimenting with the first ideas around Presto API. This experience had a great influence upon me, and it turned out to be extremely productive in terms of the LSO development. As I already mentioned at the beginning of this article, soon after the Hackathon I summarized the work of our team and presented it in this guest blog post at SDxCentral.

Since that first Hackathon, MEF organised three successful meetings in Rome, Baltimore and Frankfurt that saw developers, engineers and networking experts from MEF member and non-member companies invest their exceptional skills in LSO evolution. For a recap of the last Frankfurt Euro17 Hackathon, please go to this blog post by Charles Eckel, an Open Source Developer Evangelist at Cisco. At the consecutive Hackathons, we were crowded in a confined space and turning coffee, sweets and brainpower into Presto, Legato and Sonata LSO building blocks code. In parallel, on the official level, OpenCS and OpenLSO were launched, and the Hackathon teams could start remote collaboration on a daily basis.

To facilitate continuous development, MEF has built MEFnet, a compute-storage-networking platform, which delivers technical facilities for the Third Network reference implementations, OpenLSO and OpenCS projects, and gives interested parties an ability to evaluate APIs using reference implementations deployed to the MEFnet cloud.

Recently, we have implemented agile methodologies with the aim to iteratively deliver APIs, their reference implementations, and other artifacts that, when they are combined, will become LSO IRP SDK. And only a few months ago MEF initiated yet another program to welcome contributions from academia – namely MEF Software Developer Community. The idea is to give researchers and students an opportunity to participate in the development of Lifecycle Service Orchestration. The next edition of the LSO Hackathon is coming this fall to Orlando, co-located with MEF17. Check out this MEF17 link for more details and information on participation. All hands on deck!

What Is OpenDaylight Unimgr plug-in?

So, to return to 'my' Hackathon project. OpenCS Packet WAN is a project that delivers orchestration of MEF CE 2.0 services with SDN OpenDaylight controllers in combination with CE 2.0 networking devices. It has been developed as an OpenDaylight Unimgr module. For the current implementation, we use the ODL controller similarly as we did at the first Hackathon when we were experimenting with some ad-hoc Presto NRP ideas: https://wiki.opendaylight.org/view/Unimgr:Main.

However, the model itself has evolved a great deal - from the prototype, via the ONF Core model-based data model to ONF Transport API (T-API). We have also been working on improving the architecture of the solution and adjusting it to the model changes.

Unimgr is a platform that focuses on the Presto NRP-compliant network resource activation API and is a good starting point to making a network LSO-compliant. The most important concept in our Presto implementation is a driver that encapsulates protocol- and vendor-specific logic to make a sub-segment activation possible. What it means is that networks built using Cisco and/or Juniper devices, can be using two different drivers to manage these types of devices. In addition, a driver is required to contribute an abstract representation of managed devices to the Unimgr topology. Why? Because an NBI client (e.g. Service Orchestration Functionality – SOF) needs to know the current state of the network to be able to trigger resource activation requests.

To support other network vendors, there are three drivers being maintain – Cisco XR driver for MPLS, OVSDB driver for SDN-like networks, and a dummy driver, which can act as a template and requires a minimal amount of code to meet a Unimgr driver contract. Once the driver is installed, then Unimgr middleware will begin handling the RPC requests, decomposing them and triggering requests to the registered drivers if needed.

The Unimgr development plan is aligned with MEF SDK effort and OpenCS planning. In fact, the second iteration of OpenCS is about to be delivered as a part of the ODL Nitrogen release. Some of the new features include:

•   The implementation of the latest Presto NRP.

•   Support for P2P connection over multiple drivers.

•   Support for dynamic bandwidth changes in the drivers that we host in the project.

In addition, a simple implementation of MEF LSO Legato will also be delivered for the scenarios in which a fully-featured SOF (e.g. for a lab/experimental network) is not needed.

The future for the LSO ecosystem

The LSO ecosystem is dynamic and fast growing which means the future of LSO is very bright. However, it is important to continually grow this ecosystems, which means encouraging engineers and coders from more companies to join the upcoming meetings and hackathons. The next big LSO hackathon is in Orlando, FL, 13-16th November during the MEF17 show.

About the Author

Bartosz Michalik is a Software Architect at Amartus, a Certified MEF Engineer, and a holder of the MEF Recognition Award for LSO Hackathon blogging and facilitation. He leads the LSO Presto Hackathon project, and co-leads the OpenCS Packet WAN project together with Donald Hunter from Cisco. He is also a contributor to the Open Daylight UniMgr project. E-mail me at a Bartosz.Michalik@amartus.com with any questions or queries.

(More information about MEF’s Third Network Vision and Lifecycle Service Orchestration is available here: https://www.mef.net/third-network/lifecycle-service-orchestration)

SD-WAN Interaction and the Importance of Interoperability



Verizon is rapidly expanding its portfolio of virtual services, including SD-WAN. Interoperability is increasingly important as these are rolled out across the globe. The ability to link SD-WAN into other services is critical, says Shawn Hakl, VP, Product and New Business Innovation, @VZEnterprise.

See video: https://youtu.be/2EysfBTwidc

Recorded at MEF Annual Member's Meeting in Toronto.


Intent-based Networking and MEF



Intent-based networking is an important part of MEF's work on Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO).

Intent-based networking makes use of next generation network policy frameworks and will enable top-level business and application developers to express the goals of their organization without having to define algorithmically how those goals are accomplished, says Dr. John Strassner, MEF Orchestration Area Co-Director; CTO, Software Lab, Huawei Technologies.

Recorded at the MEF Annual Members' Meeting in Toronto.

See video:  https://youtu.be/LuwEaFPy5wc




Introducing MEFnet



Daniel Bar-Level, Director, Office of the CTO, MEF provides an overview of MEFnet – a new compute-storage-networking platform that enables development, testing, integration, and showcasing of Third Network service reference implementations based on open source and commercial closed source products.

MEF members currently are working on three 3 reference implementation projects on MEFnet:  (1) orchestration of Carrier Ethernet and IP services across 3 service providers using open LSO APIs; (2) an ONAP-to-ONAP use case involving LSO-enabled automation of inter-carrier processes like serviceability and ordering; and (3) a project focused on enabling SD-WAN managed service providers to extend their service reach in an automated way to locations served by broadband access partners.

See video: https://youtu.be/7P_alPofzUM



Crown Castle to acquire Lightower for $7.1bn

Crown Castle International announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LTS Group Holdings (Lightower) from Berkshire Partners, Pamlico Capital and other investors for approximately $7.1 billion in cash, representing an approximately 13.5x expected adjusted EBITDA over Crown Castle's first full year of ownership.

Lightower owns or holds the rights to approximately 32,000 route miles of fibre located primarily in key metro markets across the northeast, including in Boston, New York and Philadelphia, and following completion of the transaction Crown Castle noted that it will own or have rights to a total of approximately 60,000 route miles of fibre in the U.S.

The acquisition will expand Crown Castle's extensive, dense metro network, almost doubling its fibre footprint and making the company one of the largest owners of metro fibre in the U.S. The company's expanded fibre footprint after the transaction will cover 23 of the top 25 largest U.S. markets and is intended to position Crown Castle to address the growing demand for mobile connectivity and higher bandwidth.

The agreement is also designed to provide scale for small cell deployments. By combining Lightower's dense metro fibre footprint with Crown Castle's small cells platform, as well as its real estate and network engineering capabilities, the transaction will better enable Crown Castle to meet the small cell deployment needs of wireless carrier customers.

Crown Castle expects that the transaction will be immediately accretive to its adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) per share and will increase its previous 6% to 7% long-term annual dividend growth target to 7% to 8%. In the first full year of ownership, Crown Castle anticipates that Lightower will contribute $850 to $870 million in site rental revenues, $510 to $530 million in adjusted EBITDA and $465 to $485 million in AFFO, before financing costs.


The company noted that Lightower serves a mix of customers including large enterprises, government agencies, healthcare providers, educational institutions and carriers. Crown Castle provides wireless carriers with infrastructure to support their operations, specifically operating approximately 40,000 towers and 60,000 route miles of fibre supporting small cells once the Lightower acquisition is completed.


Juniper reports Q2 revenue of $1,308.9m, up 7.2% Q/Q

Juniper Networks reported preliminary financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2017, as follows:

1.  Revenue for the second quarter of 2017 of $1,308.9 million, up 7.2% compared with $1,221.0 million in the first quarter and up 7.2% from $1,221.3 million in the second quarter of 2016.

2.  Gross profit for the second quarter of $801.9 million, up 7.4% compared with $746.6 million in the first quarter and up 6.0% from $756.4 million in the second quarter of 2016.

3.  R&D expenditure for the second quarter of $240.2 million, down 13.0% compared with $276.2 million in the first quarter and down 3.1% from $247.9 million in the second quarter of 2016.

4.  SG&A expenditure for the second quarter of $295.5 million, up 0.4% compared with $294.2 million in the first quarter and down 2.2% from $302.3 million in the second quarter of 2016.

5.  Total operating expenditure for the second quarter of $543.7 million, down 8.1% compared with $590.3 million in the first quarter and down 1.6% from $552.6 million in the second quarter of 2016.

6.  On a GAAP basis, net income for the second quarter of 2017 of $179.8 million, compared with net income of $108.8 million in the second quarter and net income of $140.0 million in the second quarter of 2016.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the second quarter of 2017 of $220.5 million, compared with net income of $178.0 million in the second quarter and net income of $191.6 million in the second quarter of 2016.

7.  Cash, cash equivalents and short and long-term investments as of June 30, 2017 of $4,214.6 million, compared with $4,043.7 million as at March 31, 2017,

Additional results and notes

For the second quarter of 2017, Juniper reported product revenue of $917.2 million, including routing sales of $572.5 million, down 0.4% year on year, and service revenue of $391.7 million, up 9.0% year on year.

On a geographic basis, second quarter revenue was split as follows: Americas sales of $800.8 million, up 11.2% year on year; EMEA sales of $288.2 million, down 3.9% year on year; Asia Pacific sales of $219.9 million, up 9.3% year on year.

Net cash flow from operations for the second quarter of 2017 was $299 million, compared to $545 million in the first quarter and $360 million in the second quarter of 2016.

Outlook


For the third quarter ending September 30, 2017, Juniper expects revenue of approximately $1,320 million, plus or minus $30 million, representing a sequential increase of 0.8% at the midpoint.

CenturyLink introduces Managed Hybrid SD-WAN solutions

CenturyLink has announced the availability of CenturyLink Managed Hybrid SD-WAN solutions, offering complete WAN packages that leverage software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology to integrate traffic flows across both broadband Internet connections and private MPLS networks.

CenturyLink's new solutions employ application-aware routing to automatically identify the best end-to-end path based on application requirements and network  latency, and thereby provide optimal performance between users and applications regardless of where applications reside, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

CenturyLink Managed Hybrid SD-WAN solutions are designed to allow businesses to accelerate their transformation to next-generation networks by reducing the complexities associated with integration, operations and performance management when creating a hybrid WAN environment. As part of the offering, CenturyLink provides core infrastructure, design and implementation, security, transport and provider management, along with centralised monitoring and management.

The managed SD-WAN solution also features encryption, segmentation and security policy control via a central portal that secures traffic at all business locations, including branches. Additionally, CenturyLink's range of managed security services that include security log monitoring and incident management and response can also be integrated into the solution.

CenturyLink Managed Hybrid SD-WAN solutions are also available to CenturyLink Alliance program partners.

Regarding the new offering, Troy Trenchard, VP, product management at CenturyLink, said, "the Managed Hybrid SD-WAN solutions enable businesses to leverage their existing investments in MPLS while adding next-generation network capabilities… by using these new offerings, businesses can deliver high application performance and security across the WAN, especially for cloud-hosted apps".


* CenturyLink launched its SD-WAN service providing business customers with centralised control over a variety of private network access technologies in June last year. The managed SD-WAN service bundles site connectivity, equipment, software licensing, configuration, performance tuning and monitoring with a management and analytics portal, while offering the customer the option of managing their own policies or having CenturyLink manage their policies.

Clearfield to expand manufacturing capacity at facility in Mexico

Clearfield based in Minneapolis, a specialist provider of fibre management solutions for communication service providers, announced the expansion of manufacturing capacity at its facility in Tijuana, Mexico.

Through the addition of space and employees at its Tijuana site, Clearfield plans to quadruple its manufacturing presence in Mexico. The initiative is intended to help Clearfield lower its product manufacturing costs, as well as enable the company to meet short lead times and achieve on-time deliveries.

Clearfield stated that the Mexico facility is modelled on its U.S. manufacturing facilities in Minneapolis, and as with its U.S. location is fully equipped with passive optical LAN technology providing fibre-to-the-desktop and fibre-to-the-workstation functionality.

The company noted that, as an established supplier of scalable solutions for the FTTx market, the expansion is an indicator of growing market demand for its line of fibre management and fibre delivery solutions.

Clearfield designs, manufactures and distributes fibre optic management, protection and delivery products for communications networks. The company's 'fibre to the anywhere' platform is designed to address the specific requirements of incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECS), competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), wireless operators and MSO/cable TV companies, as well as to meet the broadband needs of the utility/municipality, enterprise, data centre and military markets.


* Earlier this year, Clearfield announced that as part of its commitment to delivering carrier-class network reliability for operators it had been awarded independent NEBS Level 3 certification for products in its FieldSmart fibre management platform.


* Clearfield also announced the appointment of Kevin Craddock as national account manager for AT&T. Mr. Craddock had previously held positions ranging from sales engineer to senior director of sales with AT&T. He has also served in sales roles at Charles Industries, Corning Cable Systems, Emerson Network Power, RELTEC/Marconi and Suttle.


Fujitsu develops high output W-band GaN HEMT power amplifier

Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories announced the development of a gallium-nitride (GaN) high-electron mobility transistor (HEMT) power amplifier for use in W-band (75-110 GHz) transmission systems.

Fujitsu noted for long-distance, high-capacity wireless communications, one approach is to utilise the W-band and other high frequency bands that encompass a range of usable frequencies, with increased output using a transmission power amplifier. In addition, there is demand for improved efficiency in power amplifiers to mitigate the increased power consumption of communication systems.

To address these requirements, Fujitsu has developed a power amplifier for W-band transmission that offers both high output power and efficiency, improving transistor performance through the reduction of electrical current leakage and internal GaN-HEMT resistance. Fujitsu has achieved output density of 4.5 W per millimetre of gate width and has confirmed a 26% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional technology.

Fujitsu anticipates that siting this new power amplifier between wireless communication systems in two locations can achieve high-bandwidth communications at 10 Gbit/s over a distance of up to 10 km.

In order to increase the distance and capacity of wireless communications and decrease energy consumption with indium-aluminium-GaN (InAlGaN) HEMTs, Fujitsu has developed two technologies that reduce internal resistance and current leakage.

Fujitsu has developed technology that can reduce resistance to one tenth that of previous technology when current flows between the source or drain electrodes and the GaN-HEMT device. The technology involves a manufacturing process that embeds GaN plugs directly below the source and drain electrodes to generate electrons at high densities.

In addition, to address current leakage and the resulting reduced operational performance for the power amplifier due to reduced drain current the new technology maintains drain current by distributing InGaN to create a barrier layer below the channel layer. This reduces electron detours during operation and current leakage.

Fujitsu noted that the previous record for power amplifier output density in the W-band for transmitters was 3.6 W/mm of gate width with technology developed by Fujitsu Laboratories. The newly developed technology delivers output of 4.5 W/mm of gate width for a power amplifier designed to operate at 94 GHz.

Fujitsu stated that it plans to apply the new technology to the development of power amplifiers for wireless communications with long range and higher capacity, while also enabling easier installation than with fibre. It aims to commercialise the technology by 2020.


Fujitsu noted that the research was supported by Innovative Science and Technology Initiative for Security, established by the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) of the Japan Ministry of Defense.


Altice USA launches Suddenlink gigabit in 4 new markets

Altice USA announced the launch of Suddenlink Internet service offering up to 1 Gbit/s download speed in four new Gig Cities, namely Batesville and El
Dorado in Arkansas, Maryville, Missouri and Conroe in Texas, and has also increased the speeds of certain other Suddenlink residential Internet services for existing customers in these regions.

Altice noted that local businesses in the four markets will also have access to the new gigabit service, as well as additional Suddenlink customised services for business that provide multi-gigabit bandwidth.

In addition to the new 1 Gbit/s internet service, residential Internet customers with current download speeds of up to 75 and 100 Mbit/s have been automatically moved to services offering download speeds of up to 100 and 200 Mbit/s, respectively. The standard Suddenlink residential Internet download speeds in each region are now as follows: up to 50, 100, 200 and 400 Mbit/s, plus the new up to 1 Gbit/s service.
* In February, Altice USA announced that it was offering its Suddenlink gigabit Internet service in the Kinston area of North Carolina, including the City of Kinston, Lenoir and Wayne Counties, as well as Lagrange and Walnut Creek. At the same time it also increased speeds for certain existing Suddenlink residential Internet customers.

* Altice USA, describing itself as the fourth largest U.S. cable operator, is a major broadband communications and video services providers, delivering broadband, pay TV, telephony services, WiFi hotspot access, content and advertising services to approximately 4.9 million residential and business customers across 21 states via the Optimum and Suddenlink brands.\

Telkomsel and ZTE test FDD-LTE massive MIMO in Indonesia

ZTE announced that it has conducted what is believed to be the first FDD-LTE massive MIMO field trial in Indonesia in partnership with Telkomsel, the country's main mobile operator.

By deploying ZTE's FDD-LTE massive MIMO solution for the field trial, Telkomsel was able to achieve an almost four-fold increase in data throughput to 468 Mbit/s, compared to existing 2 x 2 MIMO FDD LTE network.

The field trial was conducted in Makassar, one of the largest and most densely-populated cities in eastern Indonesia and involved commercially-available TM9 handsets and MiFi units implemented in a simultaneous four handset/MiFi configuration, with 20 MHz of bandwidth.

The trial was designed to demonstrate the capabilities of FDD-LTE massive MIMO technology to enhance the performance of existing 4G LTE networks without the need for new user terminals. Telkomsel noted that the results of the trial will support its efforts on implement network equalisation in eastern Indonesia.


Following completion of the successful field trials, ZTE and Telkomsel have agreed to continue with the next phase of the trials to verify additional technical aspects including coverage, mobility and interference. The trials are intended to ensure the feasibility of the technology and its suitability for a wider rollout across the Telkomsel LTE network in Indonesia.

See also