Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Brocade Leverages Virtualization for "On-Demand Data Center" Strategy

Brocade outlined an "On-Demand Data Center" Strategy for evolving networks toward a highly virtualized, open and flexible infrastructure.

Brocade's strategy will leverage its VCS Fabric technology as its foundation.  The goal is to enable data center customers to provision compute, network, storage and services faster and easier than ever before as a step on the path toward mass customer adoption of Software-Defined Networking (SDN).

This week Brocade announced a series of networking hardware and software products including the Brocade Vyatta vRouter, the Brocade Virtual ADX Application Delivery Switch, the Brocade MLXe 4×40 GbE Core Router module, Brocade the NetIron CES/CER Carrier Ethernet Switch/Router modules and a Brocade NetIron OS update.

Building on its acquisition of Vyatta last year, the Brocade Vyatta 5400 vRouter family is a software networking solution for highly virtualized data centers. The lastest software release (6.6) adds support for Multicast routing and Dynamic Multipoint VPN (DMVPN).  The platform- and hypervisor-agnostic Brocade Vyatta vRouter is already deployed in environments ranging from virtual private data centers to public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), and supports all major hypervisors, including VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat.

The Brocade Virtual ADX is a virtual application delivery platform that increases the speed of application resource deployment and differentiated services for dynamic cloud environments. It enables rapid application delivery service provisioning via the SOAP/XML API, enabling integration with third-party or homegrown orchestration and automation tools.  Brocade said this is especially useful to validate, test and replicate production or QA environments on demand.  Brocade also enhanced its cloud provisioning capability with an update to Brocade Application Resource Broker and continued work on the OpenStack plugin for load balancing as a service.

"Strengthening the Brocade software networking portfolio, the Brocade Virtual ADX combined with the Brocade Vyatta vRouter and Brocade Application Resource Broker delivers an end-to-end software networking solution that increases data center agility and reduces network complexity," said Ken Cheng, vice president of the Routing, Application Delivery and Software Networking Group at Brocade. "Brocade's ability to unite the physical and virtual networking elements provides our customers with heightened agility not only in their deployment options, but also when it comes to implementing emerging technologies that simplify business processes."

The new four-port 40 GbE Brocade MLXe module for the flagship Brocade MLXe Core Router integrates with the VCS Fabric technology for an end-to-end multitenant 40 GbE solution in the data center. For smaller data centers that are integrated into Carrier Ethernet networks, Brocade has introduced the new versions of the compact Brocade NetIron CER routers, featuring up to four ports of 10 GbE.

The NetIron software updates deliver new routing and SDN capabilities, including support for OpenFlow Hybrid Port Mode technology. This enables customers to optimize specific data flows using OpenFlow without disrupting the existing production traffic. Additionally, new software features support multitenant data center environments to improve cloud service delivery and enforce tighter service level agreements.

Arista Scales its Flagship Switch

Arista Networks announced significant enhancements enabling its flagship Arista 7500 modular switching platform to scale to support over 100,000 servers and millions of virtual machines.  The Arista 7500E offers 1,152 10GbE, 288 40GbE, or 96 100GbE wire-speed ports.

Key improvements of the Arista 7500E compared to the first generation Arista 7500:

  • Three times the fabric bandwidth at 30 Terabits per second
  • Three times the packet buffer at 144 Gigabyte per switch
  • Three times the control plane performance
  • Triple the power efficiency at less than 4 watts per 10GbE port
  • The industry’s first triple-speed 10/40/100GbE line card. It features integrated MXP (multi-speed-port) optics that can be software configured on a per port basis delivering constant price-per-bandwidth at every port speed. 
  • Much larger L2 and L3 Table Sizes
  • Wirespeed VXLAN capability on every port

Entry level US list prices start at $99,995 for the switch and $10,000 per 100GbE port, $2,200 per 40GbE and under $600 per 10GbE port.

In a leaf-spine data center architecture, using the Arista 7500E as the spine and Arista 7150/7050 as the leaf, Arista said the network  can support more than 100,000 servers that deliver consistent performance for dynamically scaling workloads in public or private clouds, including Hadoop, Big Data, storage, Web 2.0, VM farms, and network virtualization.
SDN capabilities include fuctioning as wirespeed VXLAN gateways that enable multi-tenant network virtualization.  Arista also supports Rapid Automated Indication of Link-Loss (RAIL) for accelerated convergence in Big Data analytics and Hadoop applications.

“The 7500E Series is a major engineering achievement, offering the industry’s highest throughput and three times the capability of the original Arista 7500 in every dimension - performance, density and power without a chassis upgrade,” said Andreas Bechtolsheim, Arista’s Chairman and Chief Development Officer. “It enables customers to build the world’s largest switching infrastructures that handle the most demanding workloads with ease.”

T-Mobile USA + MetroPCS: 43 Million Subscribers and Rising

Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA completed the acquisition of MetroPCS Communications.  The combined company, T-Mobile US, Inc., began trading on the New York Stock Exchange today under the ticker "TMUS."

Some key statistics on the No. 4 carrier in the U.S. market:

  • TMUS is based in Bellevue, Washington and maintains a significant presence in Richardson, Texas.
  • The company is headed by John Legere, President & CEO.  Former MetroPCS Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, J. Braxton Carter, serves as the new CFO.
  • 2012 combined entity results would have reflected $24.8 billion of revenue, $6.4 billion of adjusted EBITDA1, $3.7 billion of capital expenditures (excluding spectrum purchases)2, and $2.7 billion of free cash flow.
  • Approximately 43 million subscribers as of March 31, 2013, two strong brands, and 70,000 customer touch points.
  • The combined company will operate T-Mobile and MetroPCS as separate brands, led by Jim Alling and Thomas Keys, respectively, migrating to a common network infrastructure and with common support functions.
  • The company will focus on simple, affordable rate plans for unlimited talk, text and Web - with no annual service contracts.
  • The combined company's total PoP coverage is 301 million, of which 283 million are covered by owned network.  228 million are currently served with 4G and 200 million are expected to be covered with 4G LTE by the end of 2013.
  • An enhanced spectrum position -- combining the two companies' spectrum provides a path to at least 20+20 MHz of 4G LTE in approximately 90% of the top 25 metro areas in 2014.
  • Target five-year (2012 - 2017) compounded annual growth rates in the range of 3% - 5% for revenues, 7% - 10% for EBITDA and 15% - 20% for free cash flow.
  • Projected cost synergies of $6 - $7 billion (net present value), with additional potential upside from the focused geographic expansion of the MetroPCS brand.

On October 3, 2012, MetroPCS agreed to merge with T-Mobile USA to create a much strengthened No.4 mobile operator in the U.S. market with deeper network coverage and the need for an accelerated path to one common LTE network. 

Despite operating incompatible legacy networks (CDMA and GSM), the companies said rapid handset turnover (60% - 65% per year) will make for a relatively quick migration of MetroPCS customers to LTE.   MetroPCS customers will also benefit from T-Mobile's much more extensive network.

At the time, the companies said the basis for the merger will be to re-farm MetroPCS spectrum to create capacity services.  Specifically, the spectrum migration plan for the merged company will be:

  • GSM will become the merged company's “universal” technology for roaming, M2M and legacy device
  • MetroPCS PCS spectrum will be migrated to HSPA+
  • T-Mobile AWS will be repurposed from HSPA+ to LTE over time
  • Available MetroPCS AWS spectrum will be migrated to LTE
  • AWS will become NewCo's primary LTE band across America.

CenturyLink Plans a 1 Gbps FTTP Rollout in Omaha

CenturyLink plans to rollout out fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) in west Omaha, Nebraksa to deliver downlink Internet speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

CenturyLink begins rolling out its 1 Gbps service next week and expects to have its new fiber network available to all 48,000 customers by early October 2013. The company will evaluate its Omaha 1 Gbps offer before determining further deployments.

"CenturyLink is pleased to offer its Omaha customers ultra-fast broadband speeds up to 1 Gbps to help keep pace with growing broadband demands," said Karen Puckett, CenturyLink chief operating officer. "This demonstrates our commitment to deliver communications solutions that provide our customers with the technology they need to enhance their quality of life, now and into the future."

Spirent Adds High Density 10/40/100G Modules & Testing Chassis

Spirent Communications introduced new high density test modules along with a high performance chassis that enable doubling of port densities while lowering power consumption and total cost of ownership.

The product rollout includes:

  • Spirent dX2  -- 8-port 40GbE/32-port 10GbE dual-speed test module in a single slot configuration packing up to 96 ports of 40GbE onto a single chassis. 

  • Spirent fX2  -- 40/10GbE dual-speed test modules that combine Spirent’s layer 2-7 traffic generation and analysis with scalable network emulation. The fX2 module supports up to five 40GbE and 20 10GbE ports per slot, making it ideal for functional, conformance and performance testing of service provider, data center, SDN, or cloud infrastructure environments.

  • Spirent fX and Spirent mX 2-port single slot 100GbE test modules now support CFP2 optical transceivers. Targeting the testing of high density service provider core routers and high-speed Ethernet cloud infrastructure, the fX 100GbE module validates data plane QoS performance over realistic routing, and cloud infrastructure topologies. Sprirent said its mX 100GbE module features Cloud Core, its patent-pending technology designed to add elastic computing to the Spirent Layer 2-7 performance software platform.  

  • Spirent SPT-N11U chassis  -- supports Sprirent new and existing high-speed test modules. Capabilities include double the levels of port density, Intelligent Power Control that lowers the power consumption of high scale test beds by up to 60 percent and four fold improvement in boot time. With a 400 GbE ready architecture, this chassis is the backbone of Spirent’s product portfolio.

Infonetics: Shipments of 100G Optical Transceivers Take Off

The global optical transceiver market, including 10G, 40G, and 100G transceivers, grew 10% in 2012 from 2011, to $1.63 billion, according to a new report from Infonetics.

Some highlights:

  • Shipments of 40G QSFP long- and short-reach modules are forecast by Infonetics to triple in 2013
  • Tunable XFP shipments more than doubled in 2012, though at the expense of falling prices
  • Despite surging in Japan, the overall market for 40G coherent modules is declining as 100G coherent deployments accelerate in China and other regions
  • Tunable XFPs are the big growth opportunity: Infonetics expects unit shipments to grow at a 36% CAGR from 2012 to 2017, driven by the continued strength of the 10G metro market.

“100G optical transceivers arrived in force in 2012, with virtually every vendor fielding a solution. Though the market is nascent and the growth rate will slow, coherent 100G shipments are on track to more than double in 2013 and again in 2014,” expects Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. “2012 likely was the peak year for 40G WDM, but QSFP-based enterprise applications are ramping nicely.”

MassBroadband 123 Goes with Ciena for 40G

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) is deploying Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, equipped with WaveLogic Coherent Optical Processors, to provide  40G connectivity across 120 communities in western and central Massachusetts, as part of a planned state-wide optical network.

The MassBroadband 123 network, which is funded by a combination of federal and state investment, will provide direct connections to schools, hospitals, libraries and public safety facilities that currently lack reliable, affordable Internet services.
Funding includes a $45.4 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and $26.2 million from Mass. statewide resources.

Ciena noted that OpenCape, a 350-mile fiber optic network across Southeastern Massachusetts, is also using its coherent optical transport and packet networking solutions. 

President Obama Nominates Wheeler for FCC Chair

In a press conference in Washington, President Obama nominated Tom Wheeler to be the next chairman of the FCC.

Tom Wheeler "was one of the leaders of a company that helped create thousands of good, high-tech jobs.  He’s in charge of the group that advises the FCC on the latest technology issues. He’s helped give American consumers more choices and better products," said President Obama.

Some other background notes on Wheeler:

  • Currently Managing Director of Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. with approximately $350 million under management. Portfolio investments of Core Capital Partners include Sourcefire (NASDAQ: FIRE), Inlet Technologies (acquired by Cisco), SwapDrive (acquired by Symantec), IXI Corporation (acquired by Equifax), SilverStorm (acquired by QLogic), Roundbox, Twisted Pair Solutions, BridgeWave Communications, UpdateLogic, Infinite Power Solutions, GENBAND, PureWave, Trust Digital and others.
  •  Served as President of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) from 1979 to 1984
  •  Served as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) until 2004
  • Campaigned for Obama for six weeks in Iowa during the 2008 race.
  • Serves on the boards of Earthlink (NASDAQ: ELNK) and Transaction Network Services (NYSE: TNS).

Brocade Warns of Softness in the SAN Business in Q2

Brocade expects to report revenue in the range of $536 million to $541 million for the fiscal quarter ended 27-April-2013, compared to previous guidance of $555 million to $575 million.  Diluted earnings per share (EPS) are now expected to be in the range of $0.15 to $0.16 on a non-GAAP basis, compared to previous guidance in the $0.14 to $0.16 range.

Brocade anticipates that it will report Q2 2013 Storage Area Networking (SAN) business revenue, including product and services, between $373 million to $376 million, which is down approximately 6% to 7% year-over-year and down approximately 10% to 11% quarter-over-quarter. SAN product revenue is typically down 5% to 8% sequentially in the Company's second fiscal quarter, but the lower-than-expected SAN revenue was due to storage demand softness in the overall market which impacted the Company's revenue from some of its OEM partners.

Brocade anticipates that it will report Q2 2013 IP Networking business revenue, including product and services, between $163 million to $165 million, which is an increase of approximately 14% to 15% year-over-year and down approximately 4% to 5% quarter-over-quarter. The year-over-year revenue growth was driven in part by the updated Brocade campus LAN portfolio, higher VDX and Ethernet fabric sales, as well as improvements in sales execution.

"In Q2, we saw lower-than-expected revenue in SAN due to softness in the overall storage market. However, customers continued to increase their purchases of our Gen 5 Fibre Channel SAN portfolio and we made good progress on our IP Networking growth initiatives including solid growth in Ethernet fabrics during the quarter," said Lloyd Carney, CEO of Brocade. "We believe that by leading the Fibre Channel industry with innovative technology and solutions that are relevant to the problems that customers face today, Brocade continues to be well-positioned for long-term success in the data center. We will provide more details on our second quarter results at our earnings call on May 16."

JSDU Reports Quarterly Sales of $405 Million, Cites Delayed Carrier Spending

JDSU reported GAAP net revenue  $405.3 million for its fiscal quarter ending 30-March-2013, with net loss of $(28.0) million, or $(0.12) per share.  Prior quarter net revenue was $429.4 million, with net income of $4.1 million, or $0.02 per share. Net revenue for the same period a year ago was $403.3 million, with net loss of $(17.4) million, or $(0.08) per share.

“The March quarter experienced delayed carrier capex budget releases resulting in lower revenue than expected in our Communications Test and Measurement and Optical Communications businesses,” said Tom Waechter, President and CEO of JDSU. “Despite the revenue challenges, the JDSU team delivered solid results in most areas of the business. Our innovation engine and product portfolio align well with our customers’ strategic priorities, enabled by healthy cash generation and our strong balance sheet.”