Thursday, January 23, 2014

IBM to Sell x86 Server Business to Lenovo for $2.3 Billion

IBM will sell its x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion.

The deal includes IBM's System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations.

IBM will retain its System z mainframes, Power Systems, Storage Systems, Power-based Flex servers, and PureApplication and PureData appliances.

IBM said it will continue to develop and evolve its Windows and Linux software portfolio for the x86 platform.

Approximately 7,500 IBM employees around the world, including those based at major locations such as Raleigh, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei, are expected to be offered employment by Lenovo.

“This divestiture allows IBM to focus on system and software innovations that bring new kinds of value to strategic areas of our business, such as cognitive computing, Big Data and cloud,” said Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Software and Systems. “IBM has a proven record of innovation and transformation, which has enabled us to create solutions that are highly valued by our clients.”

“This acquisition demonstrates our willingness to invest in businesses that can help fuel profitable growth and extend our PC Plus strategy,” said Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO, Lenovo. “With the right strategy, great execution, continued innovation and a clear commitment to the x86 industry, we are confident that we can grow this business successfully for the long-term, just as we have done with our worldwide PC business.”

In 2005, when Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC business, which included the ThinkPad line of PCs. In the period since the companies have continued to collaborate in many areas. The companies are planning to enter into a strategic relationship which will include a global OEM and reseller agreement for sales of IBM’s entry and midrange Storwize disk storage systems, tape storage systems, General Parallel File System software, SmartCloud Entry offering, and elements of IBM’s system software portfolio, including Systems Director and Platform Computing solutions.

Earlier this month, IBM announced plans to 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.

IBM agreed to acquired SoftLayer Technologies, which operates 13 data centers in the United States, Asia and Europe, last summer.  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.  

IBM also announced plans to invest $1 billion in a new initiative to deliver Watson services over the cloud.  The company has established a new IBM Watson Group in NYC to build additional cognitive computing services, software and apps into the marketplace that analyze, improve by learning, and discover answers and insights to complex questions from massive amounts of disparate data. IBM plans to invest more than $1 billion in the initiative.

Also earlier this month, 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. 

Huawei Tests Ultra-Flash Circuit-Switched Fallback with Qualcomm

Huawei completed an interoperability test (IOT) for an Ultra-Flash Circuit-switched fallback (CSFB) solution using its infrastructure and chipsets from Qualcomm Technologies.

The tests, which were conducted at Huawei’s Shanghai R&D facility, demonstrated shortened voice call setup times for 4G networks.

Ultra-Flash CSFB makes special use of a single radio voice call continuity (SRVCC) process to significantly shorten voice call setup times for 4G networks. Huawei said another advantage is that Ultra-Flash reduces CSFB deployment cost and complexity compared to standard solutions, which typically require upgrades to the entire 2G/3G radio network. The Ultra-Flash solution also helps operators smoothly evolve from CSFB to voice over LTE (VoLTE)-enabled networks. Huawei's solution is now ready for commercial deployment on both mobile networks and smartphones.

Huawei also tested several commercial smartphones running on Qualcomm Technologies’ chipsets. The test results showed that it is not necessary to modify smartphones to be able to make use of the Ultra-Flash CSFB solution and that only chipsets that support SRVCC are needed to do so.

  • As of December 2013, Huawei has deployed 50 commercial CSFB and won 14 commercial VoLTE networks contracts. To date, Huawei has submitted 12,686 LTE/EPC standards proposals to 3GPP, more than any other company.

Finland's Elisa Picks NSN as Sole Supplier for 800 MHz LTE

Nokia Solutions and Networks has been named sole supplier for Elisa's next-generation mobile broadband network in Finland. NSN previously supplied Elisa's 2G and 3G infrastructure. NSN said the contract marks the single largest mobile telecommunications deal in Finland and covers a period of 5 years from 2014 to 2018. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the contract, NSN will upgrade its efficient NetAct network management system to integrate the operator’s LTE network into the existing management framework. It will implement its innovative Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations that support Elisa’s network across all technologies and allow the operator to scale capacity depending on changing customer demands. In addition, the agreement covers Care Services, including Active Software Support, Hardware Services and Competence Development Solutions.

“By utilizing the 800 MHz frequency band we can build an extremely fast mobile broadband network in rural areas cost-effectively and provide our customers better coverage in urban areas. High speed 4G services provide better user experience for example in video on demand services and new possibilities to distance working and video conferencing,” said Sami Komulainen, Vice President at Elisa’s Mobile Network Services.

“Our successful collaboration with Elisa started well over 20 years ago – in 1991 – with Elisa’s launch of the world’s first commercial GSM network. Now we are taking that collaboration even further, into a whole new world of speed and superior customer experience,” said Petteri Terho, account director at NSN in Finland. “NSN’s future-proof solutions make it possible to run different radio technologies on shared hardware so that the operator can take advantage of synergies in its network and significantly reduce its total cost of ownership compared to an LTE overlay network.”

  • In October 2013, Elisa obtained 800 MHz licenses for its LTE network in Finland's spectrum auction.

AMD Adds 12- and 16-core "Warsaw" Opteron Server Processors

AMD released new 12- and 16-core AMD Opteron 6300 Series server processors, code named “Warsaw,” designed for virtualized enterprise workloads.

The new AMD Opteron 6300 Series processors feature the "Piledriver" core and are fully socket and software compatible with the existing AMD Opteron 6300 Series. The company said the power efficiency and cost effectiveness of the new processors make them a good fit for the AMD Open 3.0 Open Compute Platform.

“With the continued move to virtualized environments for more efficient server utilization, more and more workloads are limited by memory capacity and I/O bandwidth,” said Suresh Gopalakrishnan, corporate vice president and general manager, Server Business Unit, AMD. “The Opteron 6338P and 6370P processors are server CPUs optimized to deliver improved performance per-watt for virtualized private cloud deployments with less power and at lower cost points.”

In May 2013, AMD introduced its Opteron X-Series x86 processors for scale-out server architectures.

The first AMD Opteron X-Series processors, formerly known as “Kyoto,” will come in two variants:
  • The AMD Opteron X2150, which consumes as little as 11 watts, is the first server APU system-on-a-chip integrating CPU and GPU engines with a high-speed bus on a single die. It incorporates AMD Radeon HD 8000 graphics technology for multimedia-oriented server workloads.
  • The AMD Opteron X1150, which consumes as little as 9 watts, is a CPU-only version optimized for general scale-out workloads.

“The data center is at an inflection point and requires a high number of cores in a dense form factor with integrated graphics, massive amounts of DRAM and unprecedented power efficiency to keep up with the pace of innovation of Internet services,” said Andrew Feldman, corporate vice president and general manager, Server Business Unit at AMD. 

Huawei Purchased US$3.4 billion from Europe in 2013

Saying that its business practices are a win-win, Huawei announced that it procured US$3.4 billion worth of components, engineering services, and logistical services from Europe in 2013. In addition, Huawei said it now has more than 7,700 employees in Europe and it has has set up two R&D centers with total 14 locations, and established six centers of expertise encompassing finance, marketing, service, and other fields.  Huawei has also set-up partnerships with leading European carriers, universities, and industry organizations.

"Our core business principle in Europe is to achieve mutual benefits and win-win outcomes," said Ken Hu, Huawei's Deputy Chairman and Rotating CEO, at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2014 in Davos. "Europe benefits from a deep-rooted history of culture, management, and technology expertise as well as a great tradition for innovation. Huawei regards Europe as a key competency center. By localizing our operations and collaborating extensively with European partners, we have improved our overall capabilities. At the same time, our global value chain enabled the capability transfer from Europe to other parts of the world, which generated even greater value from these capabilities. In this process, we have also created a large number of job opportunities for Europe and helped move the industry forward."

Looking into the future, Ken Hu remarked: “We believe that open and free trade policies, the foundation of Europe’s prosperity for the past centuries, will continue to pave the way for improving ICT industry’s competitiveness and fueling the growth of digital economy. With full confidence in the future of Europe, we will continue to invest in this region, cooperate with European industry players to promote innovations, and play a more active role in reshaping the society."

Equinix to Open Sixth London Data Center

Citing demand from the financial services, content, cloud and enterprise segments, Equinix announced plans for a sixth data center at its London Slough campus.

The new LD6 data center will provide total capacity of approximately 8,000 square meters (86,000 square feet; 2,770 cabinet equivalents). With $79 million of capital expenditures invested, the first phase is scheduled to open in in the first half of 2015 and will provide initial capacity of 1,385 cabinets.

Additionally, Equinix has invested $37 million in the acquisition of its existing LD4 and LD5 campus buildings and concurrently entered into long-term ground leases for the entire LD4, LD5 and LD6 campus with SEGRO plc. This acquisition gives Equinix effective 50-year control of one of the UK’s largest, fastest-growing and most network-dense data center campuses, supporting customer continuity and future expansion.

Some other notes:

  • LD6 aims to be Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) platinum-accredited for energy efficiency
  • LD6 will use mass air cooling technology with indirect heat exchange and 100 percent natural ventilation. 
  • Once LD6 is complete, the Equinix London Slough campus will provide over 36,000 square meters (388,000 square feet) of net premium colocation space interconnected by more than 1,000 diverse dark fiber links.
  • The London Slough campus provides access to over 90 network service providers and a range of transatlantic cables
  • The London Slough campus is one of the busiest network nodes in the UK, and offers latency in the region of 30 milliseconds to New York and 4 milliseconds to Frankfurt.
  • The campus currently houses over 170 financial services businesses – and has the largest array of trading venues across multiple asset classes in Europe – which collectively account for 25 percent of the total European equities trade count.

Qualcomm Acquires Palm, IPAQ and Bitfone Patent Portfolio from HP

Qualcomm has acquired approximately 1,400 granted patents and pending patent applications from from Hewlett-Packard Company, Hewlett-Packard Development Co LP and Palm Inc.   The patent portfolio covers technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Equinix Builds US$60M Data Center in Melbourne

Equinix plans to invest approximately US$60 million to build a new data center in Melbourne, Australia.

The new ME1 data center will provide a capacity of 1,500 cabinets, with the first phase of 375 cabinets scheduled for completion in Q4 2014. Equinix will construct a specially built 105,000 square foot building shell to house the new ME1 data center and allow for future development.

Dell’Oro: Microwave Transmission Equipment Market to Reach $4.5 Billion by 2018

The point-to-point Microwave Transmission equipment market is forecast to reach $4.5 billion by 2018, following two recent years of market contraction in 2012 and 2013, according to a newly published report by Dell’Oro Group.

Two segments of the Microwave Transmission equipment market that are expected to benefit the most during the forecast period through 2018 are:

  • Packet microwave systems that hold all data transmissions in native Ethernet are forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 6 percent.
  • Ultra-high capacity products that use V-band and E-band frequencies are forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 30 percent.

“After a couple years of steady decline, we think the microwave market is positioned for growth,” said Jimmy Yu, Vice President of Microwave Transmission research at Dell’Oro Group. “The microwave market contraction over the past two years was due to a number of factors that included recessions, regulatory changes, and adjustments in operator priorities.  We believe these, and other negative issues, are behind us as we enter 2014 and operators work towards expanding their LTE mobile radio coverage.  The microwave market will also be further assisted by the eventual roll out of outdoor small cells,” Yu added.

Cisco Offers Cybersecurity Specialist Training & Certification

Cisco has updated its professional training program to include a new Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist certification.  The new Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist Certification focuses on the latest threat detection and mitigation skills using the most advanced security solutions. The certification recognizes security professionals that have attained specialist in-depth expertise and proven kno
wledge in the essential areas of proactive cyber threat detection and mitigation.

In addition, Cisco has redesigned its CCNP Security Certification to focus on engineering skills that are required to design, deploy, maintain and manage end-to-end network security solutions.
The updated certification and training provides a holistic understanding of the elements that coexist to provide a complete network security posture.