Monday, April 15, 2013

An Update from the Open Networking Foundation

Click here to view video:

In this interview, Dan Pitt, Executive Director of the Open Networking Foundation, provides a progress report, including:

1:00 - Technical Objectives for ONF in the coming year
2:33 - Adapting OpenFlow for OA&M
3:07 - A new working group for Optical Transport
3:41 - Addressing OpenFlow security
4:10 - Commercial deployments
5:22 - Strengthening the hardware supply chain
6:18 - The ONF Research Associates program
7:18 - Defining a Framework for Services
7:59 - ETSI's Network Functions Virtualization Effort
8:38 - Working with the Open Daylight Project

Rackspace Plans Largest OpenStack-based Public Cloud

Rackspace announced plans to build and run a linked global cloud network for large service providers.

The Rackspace public cloud aims to be the largest OpenStack-based public cloud in the world.  It will served as a networked cloud of clouds through which service providers are linked together.

Rackspace's model will be to recruit service providers who build and operate physical data centers. The Rackspace public cloud will be deployed in these facilities and Rackspace will manage it remotely.

Rackspace said this extension of its public cloud portfolio will give both service providers and their customers access to a network of interconnected global data centers – customers will be able to run their workloads in any data center that is part of the network, while maintaining their business relationship with the local provider of their choice.

The move is also seen as giving a big boost to OpenStack.

Dish Bids $25.5 Billion for Sprint, Countering Softbank's Offer

DISH Network announced a $25.5 billion offer to acquire Sprint Nextel -- a deal they say is a superior value to Sprint shareholders, including greater ownership in a combined company that is better positioned for the future with more spectrum, products, subscribers, financial scale and new opportunities.

The DISH offer consists of $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock. Sprint shareholders would receive $7.00 per share, based upon DISH’s closing price on Friday, April 12, 2013. This consists of $4.76 per share in cash and 0.05953 DISH shares per Sprint share. The cash portion of DISH’s proposal represents an 18% premium over the $4.03 per share implied by the SoftBank proposal, and the equity portion represents approximately 32% ownership in the combined DISH/Sprint versus SoftBank’s proposal of a 30% interest in Sprint alone. Together this represents a 13% premium to the value of the existing SoftBank proposal.

DISH currently has about 14 million satellite TV subscribers.

“The DISH proposal clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending SoftBank proposal,” said Charlie Ergen, Chairman of DISH Network. “Sprint shareholders will benefit from a higher price with more cash while also creating the opportunity to participate more meaningfully in a combined DISH/Sprint with a significantly-enhanced strategic position and substantial synergies that are not attainable through the pending SoftBank proposal.”

"A transformative DISH/Sprint merger will create the only company that can offer customers a convenient, fully-integrated, nationwide bundle of in- and out-of-home video, broadband and voice services. Additionally, the combined national footprints and scale will allow DISH/Sprint to bring improved broadband services to millions of homes with inferior or no access to competitive broadband services. This unique, combined company will have a leadership position in video, data and voice and the necessary broadband spectrum to provide customers with rich content everywhere, all the time,” added Ergen.

In a conference call with investors, DISH said a merger with Sprint presents a unique opportunity to build a highly efficient, multimode network for video delivery.  This would use satellites and 700 MHz terrestrial for broadcast to homes and mobile users, combined with LTE for unicast traffic.

DISH also cited significant CAPEX/OPEX synergies in merging operations, estimated at $37 billion over several years.
DISH said it anticipates that Sprint's pending transaction with Clearwire would be completed, although that is not a condition of its offer.

In December 2012, Sprint agreed to pay  $2.97 per share for remaining shares of Clearwire that it does not already own.  The deal, has been accepted by Clearwire's Board of Directors, equates to a total payment of $2.2 billion for the outstanding 50% equity stake, and results in a total Clearwire enterprise value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.

 Sprint said its Network Vision architecture will be able to take full advantage of Clearwire’s complementary 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, while achieving operational efficiencies and improved service for customers as the spectrum and network is migrated to LTE standards.

Clearwire holds the largest spectrum portfolio in the U.S. but in upper bands.  Its spectrum is an average 163 MHz in the top 100  U.S. markets.

In October 2012,  SoftBank announced plans to invest $20.1 billion to acquire a 70% in Sprint.  The deal consists of $12.1 billion to be distributed to Sprint stockholders and $8.0 billion of new capital to strengthen Sprint’s balance sheet.  The investment aims to accelerate Sprint's next generation network and its competitive position as the No. 3 U.S. mobile operator.  For Softbank, this represents a major leap beyond its home market of Japan, where it is the No. 3 mobile operator and No. 2 wireline broadband provider. 

Dell Delivers SDN-Enabled Fabric Solutions

Dell Networking introduced a new Active Fabric for SDN, new Active Fabric Manager software and a new S5000 modular LAN/SAN switching platform.

Dell Active Fabric is a flat, fast, any-to-any multipath network architecture.  The new management component uses design wizards to help users set-up and manage non-blocking, high-performance Active Fabrics for handling predominantly east-west, traffic-intensive workloads in virtualized data centers and private clouds.

Dell said its Active Fabric flattens the traditional data center network architecture using high-density and low-latency, fixed-form factor 10/40GbE switches that can be deployed quickly and easily while reaching to hyperscale proportions.

Key features of Dell Active Fabric include:

  • Supports NVOs using the leading hypervisors from Microsoft, VMware and OpenStack.
  • Supports Open Flow-based controllers from leading vendors including Big Switch Networks.
  • Supports legacy programmatic interfaces including Telnet/CLI, TCL, REST, SNMP, Perl and Python scripting
  • Purpose-built for virtualized, converged, and SDN environments
  • High-performance 10GbE & 40GbE L2/L3 multipath fabrics
  • LAN/SAN convergence using Data Center Bridging (iSCSI, Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
  • OpenFlow support
  • Standard northbound and southbound interfaces

Dell said SDN offers a logical extension to the enhanced network flexibility its Active Fabric solutions provides. The company also said that it is "one of the only vendors to offer a complete and unbiased approach to SDN encompassing networking virtualization overlays (NVO), OpenFlow and legacy interface capabilities."

The new Dell Networking S5000 is a 1U 10/40GbE top-of-rack LAN/SAN switch equipped with native FC and FCoE capabilities. It is powered by merchant silicon and features Dell's feature-rich operating system and Open Automation framework for integrated automation, scripting and programmable management. The S5000 accommodates four modules allowing customers to populate a single module and add as necessary instead of buying all four modules at once. The S5000 has a maximum of 64 x 10GbE ports, or 48 x Ethernet/FC ports with 16 x 10GbE ports. SAN support includes iSCSI, RoCE, NAS, FCoE and FC fabric services, all on the same platform.

"We’re challenging conventional wisdom with new products and solutions designed to accelerate our customers’ migration to virtualized and cloud data center environments.” said Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking. “We’re excited about these new offerings and their ability to simplify operations, boost performance and improve economics."

Netronome and Metaswitch Develop SDN OpenFlow Gateways

Netronome and Metaswitch disclosed the details of a unique architecture for OpenFlow gateways based on Netronome network flow processing technology and Metaswitch’s SDN-enabled control plane software.

The companies are hosting a demonstration at this week's Open Networking Summit (ONS) in Santa Clara, California, showing OpenFlow for controling network gateways between an MPLS backbone network and two IP networks. Each gateway uses Netronome’s NFP silicon and flexible and scalable SDN OpenFlow forwarding architecture, controlled by Metaswitch's SDN control plane for MPLS-signaled networks.

“We are excited about the partnership with Netronome and opportunity to bring this carrier SDN solution to the Open Networking Summit,” said Andy Randall, senior vice president of networking technologies at Metaswitch Networks. “The NFP provides us with the programmable dataplane that unlocks many differentiating features of our control plane software, which is at the heart of devices deployed in every major global carrier network. Together, we are at the forefront of commercializing OpenFlow-based SDN solutions and look forward to building networks with our complementary technologies.”

Netronome’s NFP‐6xxx, which is powered by 96 packet processing cores and 120 multi‐threaded flow processing cores operating at up to 1.2 GHz, delivers 200 Gbps of packet processing with deep packet inspection, network and security processing, and I/O virtualization for millions of simultaneous flows. The NFP‐6xxx is the industry’s only processor specifically designed for tight coupling with x86 processors.

Genachowski to become Senior Fellow at Aspen Institute

Julius Genachowski has accepted a senior fellowship at the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program upon his resignation from the FCC in the coming weeks.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program addresses the societal impact of communications and information technologies, and provides a multi-disciplinary venue for considered judgment on communications policy issues.

"I'm enthusiastic about helping the Aspen Institute advance its important mission," said Genachowski.  "The Internet and mobile are having a transformative impact on our economy and society. The Institute has an unparalleled ability to convene business, government, and non-profit leaders to address the effect of digital technologies on many of the world's most vexing problems, and I'm looking forward to being involved in that effort."

Genachowski is the 5th consecutive FCC chair to accept this fellowship after ending the chairmanship, including Kevin Martin, Michael Powell and Reed Hundt .

In 2010, Blair Levin, Executive Director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the Federal Communications Commission, accepted a Communications and Society Fellowship at the Aspen Institute after leaving the FCC.

AppliedMicro Sells TPACK Subsidiary to Altera

Altera agreed to acquire AppliedMicro's TPACK A/S aubsidiary for an undisclosed sum.  TPACK, which is based in Copenhagen Denmark, develops FPGA-based OTN (optical transport network) products targeting packet and optical networking equipment suppliers. AppliedMicro will retain license rights to TPACK technology following the divestiture.

Altera and AppliedMicro will also undertake joint development and marketing of optimized solutions for data centers. The strategic cooperation initiative will enable the two companies to combine advanced Altera FPGAs with silicon solutions from AppliedMicro, including the company's full line of connectivity and ARM 64-bit X-Gene Server on a Chip products.

"This agreement underscores our continued focus on enabling integrated, purpose-built solutions for our data center OTN customers," said George Jones, vice president, co-GM, Connectivity Products of AppliedMicro. "Combining Altera's advanced FPGA technology with our X-Gene Server on a Chip, Gearbox, PQX and QPSK products will provide our customers with highly optimized, cost-effective designs for next-generation data center infrastructure."

Cyan Appoints CMO

Cyan named Joe Cumello as its chief marketing officer (CMO) to oversee all aspects of the company’s global marketing efforts.

Cumello was most recently vice president of marketing at Sidera Networks, a major provider of fiber-­‐based communications services to large enterprises, data centers, and carriers.

Prior to Sidera, Cumello was vice president of marketing at SafeNet, a global provider of data protection solutions, and a senior director of global marketing at Ciena.

Pluribus Collaborates with Red Hat on OpenStack-Based Network Virtualization

Pluribus Networks, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, is working with Red Hat to build orchestration and management capabilities in its Pluribus Netvisor Fabric-based network infrastructure using Red Hat OpenStack software.

The Pluribus Networks network hypervisor provides network service-level abstractions for large-scale, multi-tenancy by using distributed Fabric intelligence. This offloads the orchestration platform from managing individual L2-L3 Ethernet switches and L4-L7 network services, resulting in simplified operations of datacenters with up to 16 million tenants.

Red Hat OpenStack is a cloud management platform comprised of all the core OpenStack services.

"The networking layer is an integral component to any cloud deployment and our collaboration with Pluribus Networks and the OpenStack Quantum API highlights our joint commitment to an open standards-based approach," said Radhesh Balakrishnan, General Manager, Virtualization at Red Hat. "We expect our targeted validation and certification activities with Pluribus Networks and its OpenStack Quantum API to result in integrated solutions that deliver compelling business value to customers."

"Cloud computing is driving the convergence of server, storage, and network," said Sunay Tripathi, Co-Founder and CTO at Pluribus Networks. "Pluribus believes that the network Fabric should be as programmable and open as a Server while offering the performance and visibility required to operate and troubleshoot at scale. The expertise of Red Hat in developing thriving communities and delivering enterprise-class products based on open-source technology will help accelerate our ability to deliver software-defined networking software and infrastructure for cloud data centers. We are looking forward to integrated solutions testing and deployments with our joint customers."

NETGEAR Expects Q1 Revenue of $290-295 Million

NETGEAR expects its Q1 revenue to be in the range of $290 million to $295 million, which is an update to the previously estimated range, of $290 million to $305 million provided on February 12, 2013. GAAP operating margin for the first quarter to be in the range of 7.5% to 8%, and GAAP earnings per diluted share are expected to be between $0.35 and $0.39.

"During the first quarter, we experienced difficulty in the transitioning of our ReadyNAS line, which caused shipments to be lower than demand from our channel partners.  We are planning for a full recovery of supply for the second quarter onwards.  Lower than planned shipments of the new ReadyNAS resulted in an unfavorable mix of products shipped, which negatively impacted our gross margins," commented Patrick Lo, Chairman and CEO of NETGEAR.