Monday, August 13, 2012

Colt Acquires ThinkGrid for Cloud Hosting Tools

Colt Technology Services has acquired ThinkGrid, a start-up offering tools for enabling cloud services with turnkey management, for an undisclosed sum.

ThinkGrid's three key component offering consists of a state of the art self-service and billing platform, productized cloud services (including Hosted Virtual Desktop, Virtual Server, Unified Communications, Hosted Email) and an enablement and go-to-market program to help partners achieve success.

The tools will allow Colt's channel partners to become cloud providers in their own right.

Colt said the acquisition increases its strength in cloud-based services for the indirect channel and adds approximately 200 resellers and ISV's to its partner community in the UK. ThinkGrid's training programme to facilitate the development of resellers' cloud capabilities will be rolled out to Colt's indirect sales team and channel partners.

"The SME market for managed services is set to grow at 15% annually during the coming years. Colt is well positioned to penetrate this market through our indirect channels. The acquisition of ThinkGrid further strengthens our position with the addition of a complementary range of cloud-based services. We also gain a reseller-oriented management platform and portal which will reduce our time to market across our European markets. This acquisition allows us to extend our channel community to include skilled managed services resellers who will help us to accelerate our growth," stated Fran├žois Eloy, Executive Vice President at Colt.

"Becoming part of Colt Technology Services supports ThinkGrid's vision to become the world's leading cloud services enablement platform, offering great product and market development opportunities. ThinkGrid will gain access to Colt's 20 state-of-the-art data centre facilities, extended research and development and support resources as well as an opportunity to expand into 22 European countries," said Rob Lovell, CEO of ThinkGrid.

Level 3 and Time Warner Cable Sign Network Expansion Contract

Communications announced a multi-year agreement to expand Time Warner Cable's national network. The deal, which builds upon an existing relationship between the companies, also includes the delivery of additional core infrastructure services that will enhance the redundancy and reliability of the Time Warner Cable network.

Level 3 and Time Warner Cable also have agreed on terms and conditions under which they will exchange IP traffic between their respective backbone networks.

"The strength of our Network is at the center of all the services we provide our more than 15 million customers and we continue to expand the reach and capacity, as well as improve the reliability of that network to best serve our customers today and in the future," said Mike LaJoie, executive vice president and CTO for Time Warner Cable. "Through these agreements, Level 3 continues to be a valuable partner in the growth of our Network's capacity and strength."

Google Cuts Staff at Motorola Mobility

Google will cut headcount at Motorola Mobility, its newly acquired subsidiary, by approximately 4,000 out of a total of about 20,000 employees. Two-thirds of the job cuts will occur outside of the U.S. The layoffs are expected to hit about 700 employees in the Chicago area.

In addition, Motorola Mobility plans to close or consolidate about one-third of its 90 facilities, as well as simplify its mobile product portfolio-shifting the emphasis away from feature phones.
  • In July 2012, Motorola Mobility will relocate its headquarters in Libertyville, Illinois to downtown Chicago's Merchandise Mart in summer 2013. Motorola Mobility will become the landmark building's largest tenant and will occupy nearly 600,000 square feet on the top four floors and the rooftop.

ONF's Technical Work Advances with New Initiatives

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), whose mission is to advance software defined networking (SDN), has begun work on four new initiatives focused on new network orchestration interfaces, OpenFlow beyond Ethernet connections for optical networks, northbound APIs for management and billing, and future forwarding plane models. The efforts include Architecture and Framework, Northbound API, Forwarding Abstractions, and New Transport.

The ONF said these new efforts will focus on applications and behaviors of the technology areas of SDN beyond the OpenFlow protocol with the goal of accelerating the transition from legacy architectures.

The specific focus of these efforts will be:

Architecture and Framework: this new effort will look at upper layer orchestration of the network in order to expose the various interfaces and elements of SDN, how they relate to each other and legacy networking, and what ends they need to serve in a wide-variety of networks.

New Transport: this initiative will investigate how to use OpenFlow and switches not just between Ethernet ports, but between fibers, wavelengths, wireless channels and circuits. Physical transports will benefit from network virtualization and the use of OpenFlow in a variety of physical infrastructures beyond the data center in carrier, optical, and wireless networks.

Northbound API: this initiative will help move from a patchwork of different APIs to a standard method of interfacing between OpenFlow and the control plane. The effort will heighten the understanding and define what software layers should be above and below OpenFlow within the networking infrastructure, and in particular how the capabilities of the network match the requirements of the applications. Creators of network-control applications are eager to write for the northbound edge of an OpenFlow controller. Therefore the initiative will survey and catalog the APIs that exist, define how to characterize them, outline what they are intended to be used for, and how they interact with the network. Cataloging and characterizing the APIs will offer a clear understanding of what functions the market views as important and the common thread for application scenarios. This work will aid software developers to better program and virtualize the network, and enable network operators to translate network capabilities into lucrative services.

Forwarding Abstractions: this initiative will focus on the development of next generation forwarding plane models, with a particular interest in how to exploit and differentiate the capabilities of OpenFlow based hardware switches.

"ONF is taking on myriad opportunities inherent to the growth of the SDN marketplace," said Scott Shenker, member of the ONF Board of Directors and Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley. "With these efforts in the Foundation, member companies will be able to further refine SDN technologies and their capabilities to continue driving commercialization of the standard. Recognizing the increasingly diverse scenarios where OpenFlow-based SDN can add value for customers, ONF stays at the forefront of network innovation. Like the OpenFlow protocol itself, these efforts are evidence that ONF – designed to be agile – is evolving with the market and technology to ensure that user demands are met rapidly and efficiently."