Monday, August 7, 2017

Brocade Sells its SDN Controller to Lumina, a start-up

Lumina Networks, a start-up based in San Jose, California, has acquired Brocade Communications' OpenDaylight-powered SDN Controller product family.

Lumina also brings along with key technical team members from Brocade and existing customer engagements with some of the world’s largest service providers.

Lumina said its OpenDaylight solution will enable service providers to directly control their SDN implementations while providing the flexibility to develop their own solutions through their choice of vendors thus eliminating lock-in.  Lumina also offers NetDev Services to help organizations transform their network engineering and operations team.


“Our job is to be the catalyst to help service providers bring open software networking out of the lab and into their live network,” said Andrew Coward, chief executive officer, Lumina Networks. “We started Lumina Networks to ensure providers can use open source in critical use cases. But just delivering technology is not enough. Our customers are doing the implementation with us, so they can learn and acquire the skills, tools and practices needed to develop and manage the platforms we jointly deploy.”

Lumina’s product portfolio includes:
  • Lumina SDN Controller: A fully tested, documented and quality-assured edition of OpenDaylight, that provides a common open platform to control the network and manage its nodes.
  • Lumina Flow Manager: A controller-based application that enables more simplified and sophisticated traffic engineering of the network with advanced algorithms such as path-computation for efficient traffic flows.
  • Lumina Zero Touch Installer: A controller-based application that provides initialization of devices, such as virtual CPE, with the correct software image and configuration automatically.


https://www.luminanetworks.com

Microsoft advances its cloud initiative

Following publication of its better-than-expected quarterly results on July 20th, the headlines could not have been more positive for Satya Nadella and his efforts to restructure Microsoft around the cloud, as shown by the following:

Bloomberg - Microsoft Regains Turnaround Momentum on Strong Cloud Growth

MarketWatchMicrosoft is challenging Amazon for cloud throne

New York Times - Microsoft Is Rewarded for Turning to the Cloud

Wall Street Journal - Microsoft Profit Jumps, Fueled by Cloud Computing

The numbers were good, with revenue for fourth fiscal quarter of 2017, ended June 30th, of $23.317 billion, up from $20.614 billion a year earlier. Net income (GAAP) amounted to $6.515 billion, up from $3.122 billion a year earlier.

Highlights include:

•   Office commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 5% (up 6% in constant currency) driven by Office 365 commercial revenue growth of 43% (up 44% in constant currency).

•   Office consumer products and cloud services revenue increased 13% (up 13% in constant currency) and Office 365 consumer subscribers increased to 27.0 million.

•   Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased 7% (up 9% in constant currency) driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 74% (up 75% in constant currency).

•   LinkedIn contributed revenue of $1.1 billion during the quarter.

•   Server products and cloud services revenue increased 15% (up 16% in constant currency) driven by Azure revenue growth of 97% (up 98% in constant currency).

•   Enterprise Services revenue decreased 3% (down 1% in constant currency) with declines in custom support agreements offset by growth in Premier Support Services.

Azure growth is hot

Azure's 97% year-over-year growth comes in contrast to IBM, often ranked as the No.4 public cloud service provider, which last week reported that its cloud revenue grew 17% YoY in Q2 2017, led by as-a-service offerings, which were up 32% year-to-year. IBM's total cloud revenue was $15.1 billion for the last 12 months and XaaS revenue was $8.8 billion at an annual exit run rate in the quarter, up 30% year to year (up 32% adjusting for currency).

Amazon is expected to release its Q2 financial report on July 27th, perhaps giving insight into how fast the leading public cloud vendor continues to grow now that we have passed the mid-year market. As of the end of Q1 2017, Alibaba’s Aliyun cloud division reported a 103% annualised growth rate.

However, it is difficult to make any direct comparisons between Microsoft's cloud growth rate, or Azure growth, to competitors due the various products that are rolled in. However, one can observe some of the announced metrics that illustrate the development of the overall public cloud market.

Microsoft states:

•   It is on-track to meet a $20 million annual run rate for cloud service in FY 18.

•   It is gaining early 120,000 new Microsoft Azure subscriptions a month.

•   40% of Azure revenue comes from start-ups and independent software vendors.

•   80% of Fortune 500 now on Microsoft Cloud (although the utilisation rate is not specified so in some cases this could mean a Office 365 subscription rather a full-scale enterprise installation).

•   1.2 billion people are using Microsoft Office.

•   Facebook recently deployed Office 365 for its more than 13,000 employees globally.

•   Nearly 1 in 3 Azure virtual machines are Linux.

•   400 million active users for Outlook.com.

•   More than 400 million devices running Windows 10, citing security as the primary upgrade reason to Windows 10, with the recent WannaCry ransomeware incidents impacting earlier versions of Windows.

Building up its reseller channel for the cloud

Microsoft has long relied on partners and independent value added reseller to drive a substantial amount of its business. Over the years, this has included local resellers installing Office, Windows and Exchange solutions on behalf of small and medium-sized businesses worldwide.

Microsoft's Inspire partnership conference in Washington, DC, which ran from July 9th to 13th, attracted about 17,000 people. At the event, Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, vowed that this partnership strategy will continue in the cloud era. With its Azure public cloud, Microsoft sales reps are paid up to 10% of the partner's annual contract value when they co-sell qualified Azure-based partner solutions. Microsoft says it is unique among public cloud vendors in providing this level of opportunity, providing powerful go-to-market differentiator. Microsoft said it now has more than 64,000 cloud partners, more than AWS, Google and Salesforce combined. CSPs can sell the full stack of services and subscriptions, including Windows 10, Office 365, Microsoft Azure and CRM subscriptions through a single partner with one user account, one point of contact for support and one simplified bill.

Now Microsoft is testing a new Azure co-sell program for partners. In its first six months, Microsoft claims that this program helped close more than $1 billion in annual contract value for Azure partners, created $6 billion in Azure partner pipeline opportunity and generated more than 4,500 partner deals.

Gearing up for the new offers

The company is now gearing up to launch Microsoft 365, a new set of commercial offerings that brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It promises to be a 'complete, intelligent and secure solution' to empower companies and workers, recognising that people are at the heart of digital transformation.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is the evolution of the company's Secure Productive Enterprise offering, and includes Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. This is targeted at large organisations.

In enterprise private cloud infrastructure, Microsoft Azure Stack is now available to order from launch partners Dell EMC, Lenovo, and HPE. Cisco has also announced integrated Azure Stack for its UCS platform. Azure Stack is an extension of Microsoft's public cloud that enables enterprises to run the same software environment in their private data centres. Azure Resource Manager ensures that the same application model, self-service portal, and APIs are operative across either the private, public or hybrid cloud.

Microsoft is also encouraging partners to capitalise on opportunities leveraging Azure data centres and the 'edge of the cloud'. Azure Stack partners cited include Rackspace, Tieto and Resello.

Microsoft 365 Business, which will also be available in public preview from August 2nd, is targeted at small- to medium-sized businesses with up to 300 users and integrates Office 365 Business Premium with tailored security and management features from Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It also includes a centralised console for deploying and securing devices and users in one location.

Microsoft has also launched a new Skype Operations Framework, an end-to-end deployment methodology for partners to deliver Skype for Business Online to their customers. The company describes this as a blueprint for a new practice area. Recently added capabilities include Skype for Business meetings and voice services in Office 365, adding PSTN Calling in the UK, and expanded PSTN Conferencing to additional countries. Microsoft is also refining automatic transcription and translation for Skype Meeting Broadcast to Office 365 customers.

Bringing the Cloudyn acquisition on board

This week, Microsoft also completed its previously-announced acquisition of Cloudyn, a start-up based in Israel that developed hybrid, multi-cloud monitoring and optimisation solutions. Cloudyn's automated monitoring, analytics and cost allocation tools help customers maximize the efficiency of public cloud operations. Microsoft plans to make Cloudyn available to all Azure customers. The company also said that its new Cloudyn business unit will continue to invest in supporting multi-cloud environments including Azure, AWS and GCP.

Video: Extending MEF's LSO Architecture


Stéphan Pelletier, MEF Orchestration Area Co-Director and Director of Product Management, Oracle, discusses how LSO (Lifecycle Service Orchestration) APIs will enable end-to-end service orchestration across multiple service provider networks and multiple technology domains. LSO will help overcome the biggest OSS-related obstacles that have impeded delivery of on-demand services across providers. Stéphan explains why Oracle has embraced LSO and is playing a lead role in contributing to LSO development within MEF.

See video: https://youtu.be/yHxa7Y2_GEk


ZTE acquires 48% stake or Turkey's Netas

ZTE announced that it has completed its previously announced transaction for the acquisition of a 48.04% holding in Istanbul-based Netaş Telekomünikasyon of Turkey; in December last year, ZTE announced a proposal to acquire the stake in Netas through an agreement with OEP Turkey Tech BV, a portfolio company managed by One Equity Partners.

ZTE stated that the investment, made through subsidiary ZTE Cooperatief UA, is intended to strengthen Netas' product and service capabilities and support the company's growth in Turkey and international markets.

Netaş is a major systems integrator in Turkey and has an established presence in international markets. Leveraging the agreement with ZTE, Netas expects to be able to accelerate its growth worldwide. The company has advanced ICT R&D capabilities in Turkey and has supported development of a range of technology innovations.

Working with ZTE, Netas' aims to strengthen and expand its global software solutions business, which it claims has deployed its solutions with more than 200 operators worldwide. In particular, the company's ULAK 4.5G project, as well as other solutions including cyber security products, will become available in more international markets through ZTE's global presence.

When announcing the planned acquisition last December, ZTE noted that Netas generated revenue of approximately $371 million for the fiscal year 2015 from customers in sectors including telecom carriers, banks, government and enterprise, and that the company operated the largest private R&D centre in Turkey with around 800 engineers.

ZTE also stated that under the proposed agreement, Netaş would remain an independent company, but would have access to the ZTE portfolio of products, services and solutions, while Netaş' range of ICT solutions would be made available to ZTE customers worldwide.

Regarding the transaction, Dr. Zhao Xianming, CEO of ZTE, said, "ZTE's vision, know how and patent portfolio, with Netaş' expertise in VoIP, IT, GSM-R, cyber security and other technologies, will bring (new) solutions to the ICT industry… ZTE will assist Netaş to strengthen its R&D capabilities and support its current 4.5G solutions to make ULAK more competitive globally… Netaş will (also) bring solutions such as its IoT platform to ZTE's customers".


  • At the time of the original announcement, Netaş, which is listed on the Borsa Istanbul stock exchange, was owned 48.04% by OEP Turkey Tech, 15.0% by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, with 36.96% publicly held. OEP Turkey Tech acquired its stake in Netas from Nortel in 2010.

SoftBank launches Twin Access mobile access service

NEC announced that it will contribute to the provision of a highly reliable, business-oriented mobile network-powered access service, Twin Access, which SoftBank is planning to offer to business customers in Japan.

SoftBank's Twin Access is an access service that uses two mobile network connections to maintain constant, active connectivity between NEC line terminal equipment, the NEC Agater AG2521, and centre-based devices that feature virtualisation technology.

Through the use of Packet Copy Capsuled (PCC) technology developed jointly by SoftBank and NEC, the new service is designed to offer improved transmission quality with higher packet delivery rates than conventional single mobile line systems, enabling more stable and reliable communications.

The two companies plan to conduct field trials of the solution towards the full-scale launch of Twin Access as a commercial service by October this year. SoftBank stated that it plans to begin offering the new service to customers in Japan as part of the access line-up for its Smart VPN service.

Regarding the new service, Takenori Kobayashi, VP, Network Division at SoftBank, commented, "Because of its high quality of service, Twin Access can be used at locations where fibre lines are not available, or as an alternative to wired lines such as DSL or digital access… in addition, by utilising the features of mobile networks, such as their freedom from cable installations, Twin Access makes it possible to build flexible, economical, short-term networks, such as temporary networks".

Ghost Comm launches Gig broadband in Baltimore

Ghost Communications based in Beltsville, Maryland, announced it is launching what is believed to be the highest speed fibre-based broadband services in Maryland for businesses and multi-tenant residential locations in Baltimore.

Ghost Communications delivers high speed, secure networks and serves businesses, government, healthcare and educational institutions in the Maryland and Washington DC/northern Virginia markets. In the Baltimore region, the company provides gigabit Internet service from $250 a month, with access at up to 10 Gbit/s available priced from $700 a month.

Ghost Communications claims to offer the fastest broadband speeds in Baltimore, providing access speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s. Its services also include a SLA with a network availability guarantee of 99.995%, packet loss guaranteed not to exceed 0.01% and latency not to exceed 1.5 milliseconds within the Maryland and Washington DC area.

Ghost Communications offers customers the option of either shared or dedicated gigabit speed fibre services as well as cloud connectivity services to major cloud providers including AiNET Cloud Services (ACS), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Apple iCloud and Microsoft Azure.

In addition, the company builds fibre optic networks and deploys dark fibre, allowing customers to deliver dark fibre links to the specific locations and data centres they require. Ghost Communications states that to date it has deployed around 10,000 miles of fibre.


Cisco completes acquisition of Viptela for $610m

Cisco announced that it has completed the acquisition of Viptela, a privately held start-up company focused on software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology based in San Jose, California, for approximately $610 million in cash and assumed equity awards under an agreement originally announced in May, 2017.

Viptela has developed a secure overlay fabric for SD-WAN, cloud onramp and Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) applications for enterprise clients. The Viptela fabric is designed to enable separation of control, data, management and orchestration layers and integrates routing, security and policy controls and application awareness across all elements in the system. A key feature of the solution is integrated authentication, encryption, segmentation and access controls.

Viptela has announced major deployments of its fabric solution with customers including Verizon, Singtel and NTTPC of Japan.

Cisco noted that it already offers the software-based Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) and Meraki SD-WAN solutions, with the Viptela acquisition intended to enable it to accelerate the development of next generation SD-WAN solutions. The Viptela team will join Cisco's Enterprise Routing team within the Networking and Security Business, led by SVP David Goeckeler.


* In June, Cisco unveiled its 'intent-based' networking solutions that are designed to provide an intuitive network able to continuously learn and adapt and automate and protect processes and services to provide organisations with an intelligent and secure platform for digital transformation. The acquisition of Viptela will support its strategic transition towards a software-centric, subscription-led networking model.

* Cisco stated that it plans to commit significant engineering resources to deliver next-generation SD-WAN solutions based on Viptela's technology. Cisco will combine Viptela's cloud-first network management, orchestration and overlay technologies with its existing enterprise routing platforms and solutions.

* Cisco, which was an investor in Viptela, entered into an agreement to acquire the company for $610 million from equity investors including Redline Captial, Northgate Capital and Sequoia Capital. The company was founded in 2012 and had raised total funding of approximately $108 million in four rounds, including $75 million in a Series C funding round announced in May 2016.

ZTE and Singtel trial Pre5G massive MIMO

ZTE announced that it has partnered with Singtel to complete the live deployment of the 2.6 GHz Pre5G massive MIMO network at one Marina Bay site in Singapore to enhance Singtel's 4G user experience ahead of Singapore's National Day celebrations.

ZTE noted that its Pre5G massive MIMO is suitable for high-density scenarios and will be deployed to help guarantee service quality during the high data traffic volumes that will result from the crowd gathered at the location during Singapore National Day.

ZTE stated that after site commissioning, the Pre5G massive MIMO cell experienced a significant increase in throughput, shared the traffic volume of busy macro-station cells and enabled significantly improved network speed to user terminals, as well as an enhanced user experience and increased overall service throughput in the region.

Separately, Singtel announced plans to deploy massive MIMO technology on its commercial LTE-Advanced network and using recently acquired 2.5 GHz spectrum with the aim of enhancing data rates by up to 200% at special events for its customers.

Singtel stated that it will team with Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE to deploy massive MIMO technology at the Marina Bay area, and will initially roll out the technology for the forthcoming National Day celebrations, with further deployments planned for the Singapore F1 Night Race and the New Year countdown event.

Singtel noted that it has identified massive MIMO as one solution to address growth in data traffic volume, and that it will specifically use massive MIMO base stations with an array of 64 antennas designed to improve spectral efficiency and cell capacity. The new antenna system channels signals to users' specific locations instead of broadcasting across a wide area, so multiplying the number of data paths from the base stations.

Singtel currently provides Singapore’s fastest national mobile data speeds of 450 Mbit/s, and recently launched 800 Mbit/s speeds in selected high-traffic locations.

MaxxSouth expands DOCSIS 3.1 in Mississippi

MaxxSouth Broadband, a subsidiary of media holding company Block Communications, announced it has completed the network upgrade to provide up to 1 Gbit/s Internet broadband services to all of Oxford and to Starkville's surrounding areas, providing students and these communities with increased broadband speeds.

Utilising DOCSIS 3.1 technology, combined with the existing fibre-to-the-home services that MaxxSouth launched last year, the company is now able to offer all Oxford residents and a number of Starkville areas access to gigabit Internet speeds.

MaxxSouth has also announced that the towns of Bruce, Calhoun City, Derma, Houston and Vardaman now have access to the gigabit Internet broadband service, as part of its network enhancements. The company is demonstrating the gigabit service to Mississippi residents at its new retail location at 1901 Jackson Ave. West Oxford. MaxxSouth is planning to continue upgrading its broadband network.

MaxxSouth offers video, high-speed Internet and digital phone services across its service area that extends over more than 200 miles and includes 20 counties and 61 communities in northern Mississippi and Alabama. The company claims approximately 85,000 subscribers for broadband services and passes around 110,000 homes.

Regarding the expansion, Peter Kahelin, president and CEO of MaxxSouth, commented, "MaxxSouth (is) continuing the expansion of advanced Internet, video and telephony services into other communities throughout central and northern Mississippi… the ultimate goal is that the 61 municipalities that comprise our coverage area will have access to these new technologies".


See also