Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Verizon Looks to Software-defined Networking

Dr. Stuart Elby, VP -- Network Architecture at Verizon, discusses software-defined networking (SDN) at the Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, California.

1. Does Verizon see software defined networking as a new management tool or does it represent a big shift in network architecture?

2. Is Verizon using SDN now in its network?

3. In the LTE network, is SDN supporting IMS?

4. About Verizon's new Innovation Center focused on SDN.

http://www.verizon.comGoogle Links Data Centers with Software-defined Networking
WAN economics to date have not made Google happy, said Urs Hoelzle, SVP of Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow, speaking at the Open Networking Summit 2012 in Santa Clara, California. Ideally, the cost per bit should go down as the network scales, but this is not really true in a really massive backbone like Google's. This scale requires more expensive hardware and manual management of very complex software. The goal should be to manage the WAN as a fabric and not as a collection of individual boxes. Current equipment and protocols do not allow this. Google's ambition is to build a WAN that is higher performance, more fault tolerant and cheaper.

Some notes from his presentation:

  • Google currently operates two WAN backbones. I-Scale is the Internet facing backbone that carries user traffic. It must have bulletproof performance. G-Scale is the internal backbone that carries traffic between Google's data centers worldwide. The G-Scale network has been used to experiment with SDN.

  • Google chose to pursue SDN in order to separate hardware from software. This enables it to choose hardware based on necessary features and to choose software based on protocol requirements.

  • SDN provides logically, centralized network control. The goal is to be more deterministic, more efficient and more fault-tolerant.

  • SDN enables better centralized traffic engineering, such as an ability for the network to converge quickly to target optimum on a link failure.

  • Determinist behavior should simplify planning vs over provisioning for worst case variability.

  • The SDN controller uses modern server hardware, giving it more flexibility than conventional routers.

  • Switches are virtualized with real OpenFlow and the company can attach real monitoring and alerting servers. Testing is vastly simplified.

  • The move to SDN is really about picking the right tool for the right job.

  • Google's OpenFlow WAN activity really started moving in 2010. Less than two years later, Google is now running the G-Scale network on OpenFlow-controlled switches. 100% of its production data center to data center traffic is now on this new SDN-powered network.

  • Google built their own OpenFlow switch because none were commercially available. The switch was built from merchant silicon. It has scaled to hundred of nonblocking 10GE ports.

  • Google's practice is to simplify every software stack and hardware element as much as possible, removing anything that is not absolutely necessary

  • Multiple switch chassis are used in each domain.

  • Google is using open source routing stacks for BGP and ISIS.

  • The OpenFlow-controlled switches look like regular routers. BGP/ISIS/OSPF now interfaces with OpenFlow controller to program the switch state.

  • All data center backbone traffic is now carried by the new network. The old network is turned off.

  • Google started rolling out centralized traffic engineering in January.

  • Google is already seeing higher network utilization and gaining the benefit of flexible management of end-to-end paths for maintenance.

  • Over the past six months, the new network has seen a high degree of stability with minimal outages.

  • The new SDN-powered network is meeting the company's SLAs.

  • It is still too early to quantify the economics.

  • A key benefit is the unified view of the network fabric -- higher QoS awareness and predictability.

  • The OpenFlow protocol is really barebones at this point, but it is good enough for real world networks at Google scale.

  • 100% of traffic carried on the new network.
The Open Networking Summit is planning to post a video of their conference following the event.

Stanford's Nick McKeon: Making SDNs Work

"Indeed, the world has just changed in the way that we design and build networks," said Nick McKeown, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford, in reference to Google's announcement that it has leveraged software defined networking (SDN) to link its data centers.

Dr. McKeown, who has led much of the software defined networking projects at Stanford University, said that as the industry moves to a horizontal integration model with open interfaces, we will all be better off for it. The new abstraction layers enable a global view of the network and this will open up new opportunities.

McKeown's talk at the Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, California focused on how SDN can allow us to verify that networks are behaving correctly, to identify bugs, find their causes and root them out. Other industries, such as semiconductors, have many processes to de-bug errors before the product is delivered. To date, the networking industry has been fairly poor in preventing problems. Administrators face a maze of complexity in understanding how things are really performing.

McKeown highlight projects underway at Stanford to enable SDN with independent and automatic network checking and de-bugging. SDN can be used to detect hardware error (memory or ASICS), link failure, or malicious programs that violate network policies. Automatic Test Packet Generation leverages a minimum set of test packets to verify every rule in every table. These test packets can find any failure and isolate its cause. It only takes 4,000 packets sent by end-hosts or switches to verify 750,000 rules. This means the network could self-test 10x per second using less than 1% of link utilization.

Slides from this presentation have been posted to the Open Networking Summit website. http://opennetsummit.org

NTT Comm: Expectations for SDN in Carrier Networks

Software defined networking will play a key role in the rollout of global cloud services, said Yukio Ito, SVP Service Infrastructure for NTT Communications, at the Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, California. NTT Communications, which is already using OpenFlow in some of its data centers, said its top three expectations for SDN are (1) quicker time to market (2) service differentiation and (3) CAPEX-OPEX reduction.

Ito said NTT Comm's ambition is to provide comprehensive cloud services around the world, built on a global virtualized server service. A cloud virtualization service that leverages SDN will be launching this summer.
Some other key points of his talk:
  • A virtualized network enables automated network configuration changes.

  • Centralized and automated control interface is a key benefit of the Virtualized Network.

  • SDN is expected to deliver auto-scale out of workflows to multiple data centers. Normally, this scaling is limited to a single data center.

  • NTT Comm's portal website will provide unified controls from cloud to server/application interaction, such as status visualization.

  • NTT Comm is testing an OpenFlow Switch and OpenFlow Controller on a trans-Pacific link between data centers. OpenFlow enables virtual machines to be automatically replicated between the data center in Japan and the one in the United States.

  • NTT Comm. is looking to expand OpenFlow from the data center to its end-to-end networking services. The key reason to do this would be simplification of the network layers -- each layer typically has it own management systems and this is cumbersome.

  • A primary lesson from the great earthquake last year was that damaged routes must be restored quickly. NTT Comm believes virtualized technology could significantly speed-up this process.

  • Following last year's great earthquake, NTT Comm's trans-Pacific capacity dropped from 490 Gbps to 180 Gbps but was restored to 340 Gbps in 6 days.

Slides from this presentation have been posted to the Open Networking Summit website.http://opennetsummit.orghttp://www.ntt.co.jp

Mellanox Posts Revenue of $89 Million, up 61% YoY

Mellanox Technology reported record revenue of $88.7 million for first fiscal quarter ended 31-March-2012, up 22.1 percent from $72.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, and up 61.2 percent from $55.1 million in the first quarter of 2011.GAAP gross margins in the first quarter of 2012 were 67.4 percent, compared with 64.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 64.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

"Our strong quarterly revenue growth reflects the increased penetration of our high-performance InfiniBand and Ethernet interconnect solutions in new markets, in addition to our traditional High Performance Computing (HPC) market, specifically, the Web 2.0, database, storage and cloud markets," said Eyal Waldman, chairman, president and CEO of Mellanox Technologies. “The recent launch of Intel Romley and Sandy Bridge-based server and storage platforms has created a significant industry-upgrade and end-user demand for high-performance interconnects. Our FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand and 10/40GbE interconnect solutions provide these end-users with industry-best performance and return-on-investment."http://www.mellanox.com

Verizon Wireless Announces Spectrum License Sale

Verizon Wireless announced plans to sell all of its 700 MHz A and B spectrum licenses, covering dozens of major cities across the country, as well as a number of smaller and rural markets. The company described the sale as a rationalization of its spectrum holdings. Its nationwide LTE network uses 700 MHz upper C spectrum. Verizon Wireless is also seeking to acquire additional AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) spectrum licenses from cable operators. It plans to use this AWS spectrum in conjunction with its 700 MHz upper C band spectrum to deploy additional LTE capacity. Therefore, the plans to sell the 700 MHz A and B spectrum licenses are contingent upon completing the AWS deal, which is currently under review by the FCC and Department of Justice.

Verizon Wireless obtained the 700 MHz A and B licenses, as well as nationwide 700 MHz upper C licenses (with the exception of Alaska which has since been acquired), in FCC Auction 73 in 2008.

The sale will be managed by Stephens Inc., an independent financial services firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas.


Verizon Integrates LTE with Private IP

Verizon Enterprise Solutions has started offering 4G LTE access into private IP corporate networks. Verizon Wireless now has LTE coverage in 230 markets across the United States and by the end of the year the footprint will cover more than 400 markets.

The new Private IP Wireless (LTE) securely extends corporate applications directly to mobile workforces and machine-to-machine applications. The service is being introduce immediately in both managed and unmanaged options, across the nationwide LTE footprint.

Verizon said Private IP Wireless (LTE) will be a catalyst for increased machine-to-machine communications, fueling the growth of the "Internet of Things" across various industries. Working with a growing number of strategic partners to develop industry-specific applications, Verizon is accelerating transformation across both private industry and the public sector. For example:

Transportation -- Verizon private network solutions keep trains running safely and on time with minimal human intervention.

Automotive – Verizon is teaming with the auto industry to create for consumers new experiences with their vehicles.

Media and Entertainment – Verizon is helping media and entertainment companies to create new remote broadcasting opportunities and change the face of digital signage to increase audience engagement with advertisers.

Retail – Retailers are employing Private IP wireless as a viable backup solution across their distributed locations, as well as using the service to enable point-of-sale transactions.

Distribution – Vending machines can now alert distributors about when to replace high-demand products, and collect valuable data about customer tastes and preferences.


Ascent Raises $107 Million in Debt Financing for Chicago Data Centers

Ascent Corporation has closed on $107 million in debt financing from a lending group headed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch with participant banks Royal Bank of Scotland and Cole Taylor Bank, to fund the expansion of their multi-tenant development model Dynamic Data Center Suites in suburban Chicago as well as new markets.

Ascent offer autonomous data center suites within a multi-tenant facility. Suite sizes range from 10,000-250,000+ square feet, and customers have the option to fit-out and maintain autonomous Powered Suites themselves or lease space on a Turnkey Infrastructure Suite basis.


Qualcomm Posts Q2 Revenue of $4.94 billion, up 28% YoY

Qualcomm reported Q2 revenue of $4.94 billion, up 28 percent year-over-year (y-o-y) and 6 percent sequentially, while operating income came in at $1.51 billion, up 6 percent y-o-y and down 2 percent sequentially. Diluted earnings per share: (GAAP) $1.28, up 117 percent y-o-y and 58 percent sequentially.

"I am pleased to report another quarter of record revenues and earnings per share, driven by strong demand for 3G- and 4G-enabled devices across both developed and emerging regions," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. "We are excited to see the continued growth of 3G and 4G smartphones, as well as new mobile computing devices. We are increasing our operating expenses to facilitate additional 28 nanometer supply and to continue to position our industry-leading chipset solutions for the opportunities ahead."

MSM chip shipments: 152 million units, up 29 percent y-o-y and down 3 percent sequentially.

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $26.6 billion at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to $22.1 billion a year ago and $22.0 billion at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012. http://www.qualcomm.com

Telstra Provides NBN Update

In an Investor Update presentation, Telstra described the NBN agreement as an opportunity to take the next step in corporate simplification, improving processes, and reducing the complexity associated with the old copper infrastructure. Under the NBN arrangement, Telstra is going to be paid to decommission its copper and HFC broadband
networks, giving it the opportunity to enter new digital markets. The increase in free cash flow that Telstra is predicting is in part a consequence of the timing of the NBN financials.

Subject to the NBN rollout, Telstra is targeting to operate in a CAPEX-to-sales ratio of 14%.

Over the duration of the NBN arrangements, that run for many years, Telstra expects $11 billion post tax net present value, which is offset by a number of costs and lost revenue.

Telstra Foresees Additional Free Cash Flow

Telstra expects to generate AUS$2 to 3 billion in excess free cash over the next three years, subject to the NBN roll out schedule and market conditions. However, the company is not increasing its 2012 financial year guidance and reinforced its intention to pay a 28 cent per share fully-franked dividend in 2012 and 2013.

BRICS Envision a 34,000km Cable Linking Developing Nations

The governments of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa unveiled plans for a new 34,000 submarine cable linking their nations to the United States.   The proposed BRICS Cable would be a 34 000 km, 2 fibre pair, 12.8 Tbps capacity, fibre optic system linking Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil to Miami.

Notably, it would bypass Europe as well as the Suez canal corridor. It would interconnect with the WACS cable on the West coast of Africa, and the EASSY and SEACOM cables on the East coast of Africa.