Thursday, January 16, 2014

IBM to Invest $1.2 Billion in 15 New Softlayer Data Centers

IBM will invest $1.2 billion to expand its cloud business and build on its acquisition of Softlayer data centers last year. The plans call for 15 new data centers worldwide, including new Softlayer facilities in Washington D.C., Mexico City, Dallas, China, Hong Kong, London, Japan, India and Canada. The expansion will bring the number of IBM cloud data centers to about 40 worldwide.

Last summer, IBM agreed to acquire SoftLayer Technologies, which operates 13 data centers in the United States, Asia and Europe.  Bloomberg valued the deal at about $2 billion.

SoftLayer allows clients to buy enterprise-class cloud services on dedicated or shared servers, offering clients a choice of where to deploy their applications. The company is based in Dallas, Texas, and serves approximately 21,000 customers.  

The acquisition strengthened IBM's position in cloud computing.  At the time of the deal, IBM said its expects to reach $7 billion annually in cloud revenue by the end of 2015.

IBM also announced the formation of a new Cloud Services division. The new division will provide a broad range of choices to both IBM and SoftLayer clients, ISVs, channel partners and technology partners. SoftLayer’s services will complement the existing portfolio with its focus, simplicity and speed. The division will report to Erich Clementi, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services. IBM plans to expand SoftLayer cloud offerings to include OpenStack capabilities.

Juniper Unveils Firefly Virtualized Security Suite

Juniper Networks unveiled its Firefly Suite, a virtualized security portfolio that provides granular, dynamic and secure connectivity for the private and public cloud. The goal is to proactively protect virtual workloads and applications in real-time with security intelligence, automation and unified control over virtual firewalls.

The suite introduces Firefly Perimeter, a virtual version of the Juniper Networks SRX Series Services Gateway, as well as Junos Space Virtual Director, an application that automates the management and deployment of Firefly Perimeter. When combined with enhancements to Firefly Host, which provides hypervisor-based protection between virtual machines, the suite secures traffic within a virtualized data center as well as traffic to and from it.

Key elements include:

  • Firefly Perimeter -- a new virtual and software-based version of the Juniper Networks SRX Series Services Gateway. It delivers high availability, granular security with segmentation capabilities between zones, organizations, lines of business and applications, as well as rich connectivity features like Network Address Translation (NAT), routing and VPN. Firefly Perimeter can be easily deployed and managed centrally or individually as a security VM for each department, application or tenant.  The solution is optimized to leverage multiple virtual CPUs to maximize packet processing and overall throughput in the virtual environment.  Juniper said its Contrail SDN controller seamlessly integrates with Firefly Perimeter to dynamically provision service-chained virtual and physical security services in cloud environments.
  • Junos Space Virtual Director -- a new Junos Space application delivering full lifecycle management of Firefly Perimeter VMs. It enables organizations to automate provisioning and resource allocation of virtual machines associated with Firefly Perimeter VMs. It provides oriented workflows, pre-tested configuration, and open APIs for integration with third-party management platforms.
  • Firefly Host (formerly named vGW Virtual Gateway) -- a purpose-built firewall for virtualization designed to protect intra-VM traffic. It provides hypervisor-based stateful firewall for East-West traffic between virtual machines, including integrated intrusion detection (IDS), virtualization-specific antivirus (AV) protection and compliance tools, with management scale. Firefly Host is tightly integrated into the VMware hypervisor and VMware management framework. Synchronization of security policies across Firefly Host management centers provides automated policy management and granular control of VMs for multi-tenant environments with unparalleled performance in the industry. 

"Juniper's Firefly Suite allows companies to attach, create and manage security policy across physical and virtual firewalls with a high level of flexibility supporting error-free, fast scale out deployment for the most demanding environments. We provide complete protection for the cloud and from the cloud," stated Michael Callahan, vice president global product marketing, Security Business Unit, Juniper Networks.

Firefly Perimeter and Junos Space Virtual Director will be released in Q1 2014.

In September 2013, Juniper Networks announced the commercial launch of its Contrail software-defined networking (SDN) solution for enterprise data centers and Service Provider networks. 

The company said the primary benefit of Contrail is that it provides a simple way to connect physical networks with a virtual environment and provision underlying services, reducing the time, cost and risk for customers when configuring the network. In addition to virtualizing network resources, Contrail promises automated configuration for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV). The launch represents the third step in Juniper's SDN strategy announced earlier this year (see below)

Juniper Networks Contrail, formerly known as JunosV Contrail, is comprised of an SDN controller, vRouter, and analytics engine.  It creates a virtual network, enabling seamless integration between physical and virtual networks.  Contrail's hypervisor forwarding plane provides line rate routing and switching in a multi-tenant virtualized environment that is completely decoupled from the underlying physical fabric switches. Contrail enables a variety of VPNs in software, including L3 VPNs, E-VPNs, Site-to-Site IPSec, and SSL VPNs.

IBM Debuts X6 Architecture with Optimized x86-Based Servers for Cloud, Analytics

IBM introduced the sixth generation of its enterprise X-Architecture for System x and PureSystems servers, featuring optimized x86-based systems for analytics and cloud applications.

Some highlights of the X6 architecture:

  • Integrated eXFlash memory-channel storage -- an industry first, this DIMM-based storage provides up to 12.8 terabytes of ultrafast flash storage close to the processor, increasing application performance by providing the lowest system write latency available, essential for analytics applications. X6 can provide significantly lower latency for database operations, which can lower licensing costs and reduce storage costs by reducing or eliminating the need for external SAN/NAS storage units;
  • A modular, scalable design that supports multiple generations of CPU -- another industry first -- and can reduce acquisition costs, up to 28 percent in comparison to one competitive offering. [3] X6 provides stability and flexibility through forthcoming technology developments, allowing users to scale up now and upgrade efficiently in the future;
  • Resiliency features for cloud delivery models of mission-critical applications -- memory and storage increase virtual machine capacity to allow SaaS delivery of applications. Autonomous self-healing CPU and memory systems maximize application uptime by proactively identifying potential failures and taking action to correct them. In addition, Upward Integration Modules can help reduce the cost and complexity of system administration by allowing operators to perform management tasks through virtualization tools. 

Server models supported by this new architecture currently include the System x3850 X6 four-socket system, System x3950 X6 eight-socket system, and the IBM Flex System x880 scalable compute nodes. IBM also is introducing the System x3650 M4 BD storage server, a two-socket rack server supporting up to 14 drives delivering up to 56 terabytes of high-density storage -- the largest available in the industry. It provides 46 percent greater performance than previous comparable IBM System x servers and is ideally suited for distributed scale-out of big data workloads.

IBM will offer specific configurations of its X6 architecture for analytics, database and cloud deployment, including IBM System x Solution for DB2 with BLU Acceleration on X6 for accelerating analytics, IBM System x Solution for SAP HANA on X6 for analytics, and System x Solution for VMware vCloud Suite on X6 for infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities.

In addition, IBM is enhancing its software defined environment (SDE) portfolio with the introduction of IBM Platform Resource Scheduler for private and hybrid IBM SmartCloud clients.  This provides a virtualized, open and programmable architecture for all available IT resources -- from application software licenses to available network bandwidth.

IBM Global Financing is also rolling out new financing offerings to help reduce upfront costs for adopting these new cloud and analytics solutions. Credit-qualified clients can obtain Fair Market Value leasing when acquiring X6 architecture solutions.

In October 2013, IBM rolled out new systems and solutions to help enterprises and managed service providers (MSPs) to build  private and hybrid clouds .

The rollout included new PureSystems, Power Systems, Smarter Storage Systems, System x, and Technical Computing offerings that provide the flexibility clients need to quickly deploy clouds. IBM noted that its now has more than 100 cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions and a network of more than 25 global cloud delivery centers. Since 2007, IBM has invested more than $6 billion in acquisitions to accelerate its cloud initiatives.

"IBM is uniquely positioned to compete aggressively for public, private and hybrid cloud computing opportunities," said Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President, IBM Systems & Technology Group and Integrated Supply Chain. "The new IBM Systems and solutions provide superior efficiency and agility to help clients quickly deploy the right cloud infrastructure that best meet their needs."

Google Acquires Impermium for Social SIGNIT Account Defense

Google has acquired Impermium, a start-up specializing in web account security, for an undisclosed sum.

Impermium, which was based in Redwood City, California, delivers threat intelligence and risk-based authentication to protect against account hijacking.  The Impermium Edge Sentinel featured a risk-based authentication system instead of simple username+password for each session.  The technology identifies the predictable patterns of legitimate users based on behavioral analytics and social intelligence (Social SIGNIT) from 1,500,000 websites, along with adversarial machine learning to build its risk-based profile.   It can be used to protect against account hacking, comment spam, malware placement, hate speech, profanity, information theft and registration fraud.  The company had previously cited a number of major websites as customers, including Tumblr, Pinterest, ESPN, CNN and The Washington Post.

Investors in the Impermium included Accel Partners, AOL Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Data Collective, Freestyle Capital, Greylock Partners, Highland Capital Partners, Morado Ventures, and the Social+Capital Partnership.

Vitesse Debuts Carrier Ethernet Services Suite

Vitesse Semiconductor introduced its CEServices software suite for easier provisioning and management of Carrier Ethernet business services.

CEServices software works in tandem with Vitesse's ViSAA-enabled Carrier Ethernet switch engines -- Jaguar, LynX, Caracal, and Serval -- to simplify Ethernet business service provisioning and monitoring at greater scale and wire-speed performance with various standards-based capabilities including:
  • Service classification and MEF compliant policing to meet advanced Service Level Agreements (SLAs);
  • Performance Monitoring and Service Activation Measurements - RFC2544, Y.1731 and Y.1564;
  • Multi-operator OAM - Up and Down MEPs;
  • Extensive suite of Carrier Ethernet and MPLS/MPLS-TP networking protocols; and
  • SyncE and IEEE 1588v2 PTP protocol support with Vitesse's VeriTime, the industry's de facto highest accuracy IEEE 1588v2 synchronization technology.

For service subscriber Edge applications, such as SLAs, ViSAA Service Edge Software control functionality enables per EVC, policers, shapers, queues, tagging and marking, statistics and extensive OAM to ensure traffic flow compliance.

For network applications, CEServices software enables ViSAA networking functionality for provider bridge (Q-Q) tunneling. Traffic protection enables scalability, while ensuring reliability. CEServices also enables end point and immediate point access to MEF CE 2.0 capabilities and functions.

"Vitesse's CEServices software has been vetted in multiple industry-wide interoperability events such as EANTC, with many of our customers seamlessly achieving MEF CE 2.0 certification during the first wave of 2013 MEF equipment certifications," said Harpreet Chohan, product marketing director at Vitesse. "Vitesse remains committed to enabling low cost and low power MEF CE 2.0-compliant access platforms for Carriers to monetize Ethernet service delivery in Mobile Access and Cloud networks."

Vitesse also confirmed that over 40 OEMs have licensed Vitesse's CEServices software, with several starting field trials with proven MEF CE 2.0 compliance in less than six months, versus 18 month cycles or more for typical solutions.

Carlson Wireless Gains FCC Certification for TV White Space Radio

Carlson Wireless Technologies has been granted certification by the FCC for its RuralConnect TV white space (TVWS) radio system for use with the Spectrum Bridge TV white spaces database.

RuralConnect delivers extended coverage, non-line-of-sight (NLOS) broadband connectivity by transmitting over TV white space (TVWS) frequencies, 470 to 698 MHz.

"FCC certification enables us to offer this technology domestically," said Jim Carlson, CEO of CWT. "And because of the FCC's stature worldwide, it also gives a boost to global efforts to adopt TVWS technology," Carlson continued. "Providing connectivity to underserved populations worldwide is more than an interest to us. It's our corporate mission."

Carlson Wireless noted that RuralConnect has operated for the last three years in more than 58 trial deployments both domestically and internationally, including a highly successful trial with Google and others in 2013 with schools in Cape Town, South Africa. These trials have played a pivotal role in demonstrating to both regulators and potential users the ability of TVWS technology to provide high-speed data across rugged terrain.

In 2014, CWT will seek FCC approval for use of RuralConnect with other approved databases by Google and iconectiv.

Pacnet Completes 100G Upgrade on US-Japan Cable with Ciena

Pacnet has completed a 100G upgrade to its trans-Pacific link connecting the U.S. West Coast to Japan using Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform.  Pacnet is now able to offer a suite of high-capacity OTN and Ethernet services to meet customer demand while reducing cost-per-bit.

Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, powered by WaveLogic 3 coherent optical processors, combines advanced digital signal processing with soft-decision forward error correction. In addition, Ciena’s WaveLogic 3-based submarine solution is equipped with integrated test capabilities that provide Pacnet with critical information about its network health, capacity and resilience, allowing it to leverage network resources efficiently and proactively without complex and expensive external testing gear.

CipherCloud Acquires CloudUp Networks

CipherCloud has acquired CloudUp Networks, a privately held provider of SaaS application security. The transaction closed in early January. The financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.

CipherCloud provides cloud encryption and tokenization gateways to help enterprises to securely adopt cloud applications by eliminating concerns about data privacy, residency, security and regulatory compliance.  The company began its cloud protection journey by delivering encryption, tokenization and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities.  The company has since integrated visibility capabilities into its platform to help customers discover data anomalies and determine the relevant security controls to protect their cloud bound data.

CipherCloud said the integration of CloudUp brings new capabilities to scan and tag different classes of data in order to protect sensitive organizational information. Additionally, the CloudUp technology provides a holistic view of the sensitivity of data across all cloud applications and enables DLP policies to be enforced on cloud data based on the sensitivity or risk level of that data. These capabilities enhance an organization's visibility into and compliance controls for data throughout its cloud lifecycle.

"We continue to raise the bar for cloud information protection," said Pravin Kothari, founder and CEO of CipherCloud. "The consumption of multiple cloud applications into the enterprise requires security to be in lock step with visibility. This acquisition reflects our strategy of growing our business with the tools our customers need to go to the cloud."

In December 2012, CipherCloud, a start-up based in San Jose, California, announced $30 million in new venture funding from Andreessen Horowitz for its cloud protection.  The CipherCloud product portfolio supports popular cloud applications including Salesforce,, Chatter, Google Gmail, Microsoft Office 365, and Amazon AWS. Customers include top firms in banking, insurance, healthcare and technology, as well as government agencies. CipherCloud’s existing investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and T-Venture, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom.

Riverbed Rejects Elliott’s Unsolicited Proposal

Riverbed's Board of Directors has rejected the unsolicited proposal from Elliott Management Corporation to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Riverbed common stock for $19.00 per share, saying the proposal "undervalues the company and is not in the best interests of shareholders."

“Riverbed has been executing a strategy focused on the creation of sustained growth for our business and increasing value for all of our shareholders,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, chairman and CEO, Riverbed.  “Earlier today, we announced favorable preliminary fourth quarter 2013 results and our first quarter 2014 view, which are indicative of the strong early traction we have achieved against our strategy.”

Seperately, Riverbed announced preliminary Q4 numbers, saying non-GAAP revenue for Q4’13 is expected to be in the range of $284 million to $285 million, compared to the company’s previous guidance of $270 million to $276 million. Q4’13 non-GAAP net income is expected to be in the range of $0.30 to $0.31 per diluted share, compared to the company’s previous guidance of $0.26 to $0.27 per diluted share.

Orange Jordan Upgrades Base Stations and Packet Core with Ericsson

Ericsson will upgrade Orange Jordan’s existing packet core and renew its radio access network by replacing the operator’s old radio base stations and introducing Ericsson’s latest RBS 6000 family of base stations. The packet core upgrade includes SGSN on Ericsson Blade System and Ericsson Evolved Packet Gateway on SSR 8000 family, which will provide an enhanced experience for Orange Jordan subscribers by securing the bandwidth needs of the most demanding online applications with minimal latency. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jean-Francois Thomas, Orange Jordan CEO said; "Ericsson has been our exclusive partner of choice for over a decade, supporting us in our strategic expansion objectives and our ongoing efforts to provide subscribers with the best possible connectivity. We have made significant contributions to the telecommunications sector and have ensured its continued evolution.