Monday, January 13, 2014

Blueprint Column: Top 2014 Predictions from Equinix

by Brian Lillie, CIO, Equinix

It’s that time of the year when experts gaze into their crystal balls, offering up predictions on what the next year has in store. As the experts in data center and colocation services, the Equinix team has come up with a list of our own trends that we think will be top of mind for technology decision makers next year. Here are a few:

Continued Convergence of Business and Personal Use of Technology, especially Mobile and Cloud: Employees have been using their personal devices at work for quite some time, much to the dismay of the IT department (more on that later). And now that the floodgates of Do-It-Yourself IT (DIY-IT) have opened, more employees than ever are adapting the services they use in their personal lives (i.e. Gmail, Dropbox, etc) as business and collaboration tools. The concept of “Bring Your Own Device” has evolved to include “Bring Your Own Apps” and “Bring Your Own Cloud,” which is creating new IT challenges for the enterprise beyond simply managing devices. For 2014, we see the cloud playing an even more pronounced role in propelling this trend, as DIY-IT makes it a technological imperative for companies of any size to secure their cloud’s data and processes, in addition to all the components that connect into it. And it’s just the beginning.

Public and Private Cloud Service Providers will Drive IT Market Demand, and Enterprise CIOs will demand Hybrid Cloud: We expect 2014 to be a year of explosive growth in cloud service consumption with all the major cloud providers becoming more aggressive in deploying their services. Over the coming year, we also expect to see many enterprise CIOs moving beyond simply deploying selected applications in the cloud and start to really move cloud services mainstream for their production environments. We also see the private-or-public cloud debate of yesteryear shifting to the private-AND-public cloud debate where enterprises are benefiting from the security and reliability of the private cloud while harnessing the scalability and flexibility power of the public cloud. In fact, Gartner recently advised enterprises to design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration and interoperability are possible. We couldn’t agree more.

Networks will be Reimagined to Optimize Access to Public Clouds:  It is an exciting time in the network…high density Ethernet switches, software-defined networking, application-level QOS…and this means network engineers and leaders have choices they have not had to reimagine their global networks to optimize access to the cloud services their users and businesses demand. In addition, the growing traffic, an increasingly dispersed end user base, and the proliferation of mobile devices have all created a perfect storm of latency and performance issues that are simply overwhelming old deployment models. As a result, expect to see more IT strategies that encompass an organization’s data management, network optimization and application performance. For instance, we see an increasing number of our customers deploying their common, off-the-shelf enterprise network equipment from their corporate location to shared data centers where network service providers come to peer. This allows for a highly available and agile service that gets the IT department out ahead of the demand storm.

Big Data Here to Stay: We believe that Big Data is in it for the long haul.  Storing, processing and analyzing data is becoming less and less expensive. Numerous companies are in the big data application development game and will continue to produce applications that harness data in new ways. In fact, IDC predicts that companies will spend more than $14 billion on Big Data technologies or services which translates to 30 percent growth year-over-year. As a result, expect low latency, close proximity and immediate access to this data to be top priorities for many CIOs.

Overseas Market Heats Up: We continue to see a surge in demand for data center and interconnection services in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) with current estimates placing the public cloud market at $22 billion and the virtual private cloud market at $10 billion by 2020. South America, and in particular Brazil, is expected to be a hot market as companies prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games that will be held there. Equinix recently opened a second data center in the region as we anticipate many multinational companies gearing up for those events by expanding their IT infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro. And as Brazil continues its rise as an international commercial center, we expect companies will decide it’s in their best interest to stay.

About the Author

Brian Lillie joined Equinix in September 2008 and has been focused on building business value through strategic and innovative product development and information technology initiatives. Examples include the design and build of global product portals such as the Equinix Customer Portal, Equinix Marketplace Portal, Equinix Ethernet Exchange Portal, and the Equinix Internet Exchange Portal. In addition to product initiatives, Mr. Lillie has driven several global initiatives to improve internal efficiencies and global scale, including sales force automation, enterprise resource planning, business analytics and acquisition integration. Mr. Lillie also leads the Global Solution Architects function, which is the leading global, strategic, technical resource within Equinix focused on solutions design that brings the network, application and data center together for current and prospective Equinix clients.

Mr. Lillie holds an M.S. in Management from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, an M.S. in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Montana State University.

About Equinix

Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), connects more than 4,400 companies directly to their customers and partners inside the world’s most networked data centers. Today, businesses leverage the Equinix interconnection platform in 31 strategic markets across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.

Charter Bids for Time Warner Cable - 4th + 3rd Largest Cable Operators

Charter Communications announced a public offer to acquire Time Warner Cable for about $132.50 per share, including $83 in cash and the remainder in Charter stock.

The deal would combine the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States (Charter) with the second largest cable operator (Time Warner Cable).

Time Warner Cable , which had 2012 revenue of $21.4 billion, serves 15 million customers in 29 states.

Charter, which had 2012 revenue of $7.504 billion, serves more than 5.7 million customers in 29 states

Google to Acquire Nest Labs for Connected Devices - $3.2 Billion

Google will acquire Nest Labs, which offers connected home thermostats and smoke alarms, for $3.2 billion in cash.

Larry Page, CEO of Google, said: “Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now--thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”

Nest, which is based in Palo Alto, California, is backed by KPCB, Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Venrock and others.

Gigamon Adds NetFlow Generation to its Unified Visibility Fabric

Gigamon is adding NetFlow generation capabilities to its Unified Visibility Fabric. The NetFlow Generation application will create NetFlow records, then send the information to one or multiple NetFlow collectors or analyzers.

NetFlow is a simple way to derive basic information about things like traffic types, usage patterns, top talkers and top applications across systems.

Gigamon said that NetFlow Generation can significantly improve the efficiency of the network itself by assuming the processing necessary to generate NetFlow information that had previously been dedicated within the switch, thereby reducing the burden to the network.  The records from the NetFlow Generation application can be exported to multiple collectors concurrently, providing a single flow source for business-critical management applications such as security, billing, capacity planning, etc.

“The NetFlow Generation application is a new and very interesting offering for our customers,” said Shehzad Merchant, Chief Strategy Officer at Gigamon. “This application is unique because it centralizes NetFlow Generation, offloads this compute intensive job from the network switches and routers, and does it effectively at high throughput rates for both sampled and unsampled traffic. By making NetFlow Generation an application integral to the Visibility Fabric, all the benefits of Flow Mapping®, filtering, replication, can be applied in conjunction with the NetFlow Generation capability, providing a very fine granularity of control. This is really an industry first for the monitoring space.”

The NetFlow Generation application is a licensable software application starting at $4,995 and is targeted for availability in Q1 of 2014.

In December 2013, Gigamon announced new applications and enhancements for its Unified Visibility Fabric architecture, including advanced filtering capabilities such as stateful correlation, subscriber awareness, and deep packet visibility.

Gigamon's Visibiilty Fabric Architecture, which features an Application layer and a Services layer, goes beyond interconnecting testing tools to network traffic by providing traffic intelligence across physical, virtual and future SDN infrastructure.  At the Applications layer, Gigamon is updating its de-duplication capability and adding new FlowVUE and GTP correlation capabilities for mobile traffic.  At the Services layer, Gigamon is enhancing its header stripping capability while adding new adaptive packet filtering. The architecture is designed to handle millions of traffic flows across thousands of endpoints.

The enhancements and new applications for the Unified Visibility Fabric include:

  • GTP correlation application -- provides the ability to filter and forward correlated subscriber traffic streams that are encapsulated using the GPRS Tunneling Protocol, or GTP, within 3G/4G/LTE environments. GTP correlation utilizes stateful subscriber filtering and forwarding to understand and maintain subscriber-specific sessions, thus helping to ensure Quality of Experience (QoE) as well as reliable accounting, billing and subscriber management.
  • FlowVUE application -- provides active, subscriber-aware flow sampling to intelligently forward only the most relevant traffic to the tools. FlowVUE intelligently manages Big Data traffic, enabling carriers to connect monitoring tools that otherwise would not be able to handle the volume of traffic.
  • Adaptive Packet Filtering -- providing the ability to look for content anywhere in the packet and make intelligent filtering and forwarding decisions. Filtering criteria includes advanced encapsulation protocols and/or inner packet contents beyond Layer 4. These updates enable basic application identification and protocol-aware filtering for packet filtering and distribution.
  • De-duplication Application enhancements -- including IPv6 de-duplication, as well as support for visibility in Cisco FabricPath environments and IP fragmentation awareness.

Brocade Hires Benson Schliesser from Juniper, Distinguished Engineer

Brocade announced its appointment of Benson Schliesser to the position of Distinguished Engineer to play an integral role in the direction of Brocade Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) strategies.  He will join the Office of the CTO and report to Ken Cheng, chief technology officer and vice president, corporate development and emerging business.

Most recently, Benson served as a distinguished engineer in the office of the CTO at Juniper and prior to that as a principal engineer in the service provider CTO office at Cisco. Earlier in his career, he spent more than a decade in the office of the CTO at Savvis and oversaw the network architecture of the company's many cloud based services.

In addition, Schliesser is currently a chair of the Network Virtualization Overlay (NVO3) Working Group for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). He is also a member of ETSI ISG NFV, IEEE Communications Society, OpenDaylight Project and other organizations.

"The feverish pace of a software-focused networking industry is creating a gap between customers and some vendors as both parties try to keep pace with new architectures," said Schliesser. "In combining its pedigree of storage networking with the innovations in both Fabric and virtual routing technologies, Brocade has the most complete vision and mix of assets to successfully help customers build next-generation cloud and data center environments."

AWS CloudFront Adds Edge Locations in Taipei and Rio de Janeiro

Amazon Web Services announced two new edge locations for its CloudFront and Route 53 services - Taipei and Rio de Janeiro.  This is AWS' first edge location in Taiwan and its second edge location in Brazil (joining São Paulo).

This brings the total number of AWS edge locations to 51 worldwide. Here's the breakdown:

United States (20)
Europe (16)
Asia (12)
Australia (1)
South America (2)

Telefónica Signs 3G Wholesale Deal with Nextel In Brazil And Mexico

Telefónica will provide wholesale 3G access to NII Holdings' Nextel subsidiaries in Brazil and Mexico.

The network sharing deal will provide nationwide voice and data coverage services in Brazil and Mexico for Nextel customers.

"The agreement allows both companies to capture the benefits derived from the optimization of infrastructure investment while maintaining the current market structure in both Brazil and Mexico," said Santiago Fernandez Valbuena, Chairman and CEO of Telefonica Latin America. "It is another example of Telefonica's effort to optimize resource usage, improve profitability of the businesses and increase financial flexibility."

"Our new agreements with Telefonica will enhance our service offerings by giving us the ability to provide our 3G customers in Brazil and Mexico with services in more areas in those markets," said Steve Shindler, NII Holdings' Chief Executive Officer. "Our access to Telefonica's networks under these agreements will also allow us to utilize Telefonica's networks as we continue to expand our own coverage footprint to provide our customers with service that meets their needs."

Telefónica said the agreements reached with Nextel are in line with its other recent announcements, such as the agreement signed with Millicom to deploy 4G-LTE networks in Colombia, the MVNO deals with Virgin Mobile in Mexico, Chile and Colombia and the agreement with lusacell for reciprocal use of wholesale services in Mexico that started in 2012.

Elliott Management Pushes for a "New Juniper"

Elliott Management Corp., an investment fund that owns 6.2% of the common stock of Juniper Networks, is pushing for significant changes at Juniper Networks with the goal creating greater shareholder valued.

In an SEC Schedule 13D and presentation, Elliot called for a number of value-accretive steps, including cost realignment, capital return to shareholders, and the optimization of Juniper’s product portfolio. Elliot believes its initiatives can collectively result in a stock price of $35-$40 per share, which is up to 70% above the current price.

Key points include:

  • Cost Realignment: $200M run-rate reduction in operating expenses from 2013 level.  
  • Capital Return: $3.5B share repurchase program comprised of an immediate $2.5B stock repurchase, a $1.0B repurchase in 2015 and an ongoing commitment to return 50% of free cash flow (including a $0.125/share quarterly dividend) 
  • Product Portfolio Optimization: Review of the security and switching businesses to streamline Juniper’s product portfolio to focus on projects and areas where Juniper has clear competencies and the greatest risk-adjusted return on investment.

“Juniper’s new CEO along with its existing management team and Board have a unique opportunity to immediately unlock significant value at the Company through three straightforward and much-requested courses of action,” said Jesse Cohn, Portfolio Manager at Elliott. “Investors and Street analysts have been calling for Juniper to implement these value-creation initiatives for years, and we believe the three-pronged approach laid out in today’s presentation would be very well received.”

In November 2013, Juniper Networks named Shaygan Kheradpir as its CEO, effective January 1, 2014. Kheradpir succeeds Kevin Johnson, who in July announced his plan to retire as CEO. Johnson will remain as a member of the board.n July announced his plan to retire as CEO. Johnson will remain as a member of the board.

Kheradpir joins Juniper Networks from Barclays PLC, where he served as the chief operations and technology officer, and as a member of its executive committee. Prior to joining Barclays, he was executive vice president and chief information and technology officer at Verizon Communications. He holds a bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

Ceragon Cites Two Wireless Backhaul Projects in India & North America

Ceragon Networks announced large orders from two leading national operators in North America and India (unnamed) for its IP-20 radios.  The orders cover several thousand units for use in wireless backhaul networks supporting LTE services.

For the India operator’s network rollout, Ceragon will deliver the FibeAir IP-20C, an all outdoor multi-core solution delivering gigabit capacity over narrow channels; and FibeAir IP-20N, a multi-radio aggregation node. The deployment will be part of a 4G/LTE network which will be rolled out during 2014.  Building on its long time presence and strong footprint in India, Ceragon continues to be the vendor of choice for the country’s leading operators

In North America, Ceragon will deploy hundreds of radio links as part of the operator’s network, which will carry LTE traffic from coast-to-coast. Based on Ceragon’s FibeAir IP-20A, the network will support multi Gigabit data-rates to meet the bandwidth requirements of end users. The FibeAir IP-20A will be deployed in both all-indoor and split-mount configurations.

BT Names New CEO of Openreach

BT name Joe Garner to be the new CEO of Openreach, replacing Liv Garfield, who is leaving to become CEO of Severn Trent.

Garner worked for many years at HSBC, Dixons and Procter & Gamble. His most recent role was at HSBC where, as head of the UK Bank.

BT cited Garner significant experience of working in a strictly regulated industry and of dealing with regulators, not least through his role as Chairman of the Financial Services Authority’s Practitioner Panel. Openreach is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the UK, providing all communications providers with equal access to BT’s network and operating at arm’s length from the rest of the BT Group.

Sabey Data Center Picks MRV Optical Transport to Link Data Centers

Sabey Data Center Properties, one of the oldest and largest privately owned multi-tenant data center owner/developer/operators in the United States, has selected MRV’s OptiDriver™ optical transport platform for its proprietary Intergate.Exchange (IGX) network to support interconnection bandwidth requirements at Intergate.Manhattan—its new mega data center in New York City.
 MRV said its OptiDriver platform will deliver with up to 4 terabits of protected capacity as the foundation for connections between Intergate.Manhattan at 375 Pearl Street and the city’s other large data centers at 60 Hudson Street, 111 Eighth Avenue and 32 Avenue of the Americas.

SFR Picks Alcatel-Lucent to Upgrade

SFR has selected Alcatel-Lucent to transition its optical network to all-IP transport.

Alcatel-Lucent is deploying its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) converged WDM/OTN/Packet based-platform together wit its 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM) for seamless management for both the IP and Optical portfolio.  Alcatel-Lucent will also deliver design, professional services, installation and commissioning services.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

SFR already uses Alcatel-Lucent's 7360 Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) and 7750 Service Routers (SR) for residential and business services.

"Alcatel-Lucent and SFR have a working relationship that extends back over decades.  We understand their existing network and the issues they are facing because we supplied their original SDH optical network.  We are in a unique position to provide for SFR an efficient and seamless transition to IP transport cloud-optimized metro transport to enable the delivery of ultra-broadband and cloud services," stated Olivier Gordien of Alcatel-Lucent.

Qualcomm Sells Omnitracs Europe to Astrata

Qualcomm announced the sale of its Omnitracs Europe division to Astrata Group Private Limited.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Omnitracs Europe specializes in commercial vehicle telematics for the trucking industry.

"The Omnitracs Europe name is synonymous with quality and customer service at the highest level," said George M. Kappaz, Chairman and CEO of Astrata, and Chairman of CIH International Group, the private equity group that owns Astrata. "We are excited to significantly expand Astrata's presence in Europe with the acquisition of Omnitracs Europe. With highly complementary geographic presences, the combined operations will truly have a global reach and in-house access to best-in-class technologies, enhancing our product and service offerings to our customers throughout the world."

In November 2013, Qualcomm completed the the sale of its Omnitracs subsidiary to Vista Equity Partners (Vista), a U.S.-based private equity firm, for approximately $800 million in cash.  The sale includes all of Omnitracs' operations in the United States, Canada and Latin America. The deal was first announced in August 2013.