Thursday, February 6, 2014

Next Steps for Big Switch and SDN

Doug Murray, Big Switch's new CEO, explains why he joined the company, its strategic direction, the importance of partnerships, the current status of SDN in the market, the open networking initative, and the balance of hardware vs. software for the industry going forward.

What's new on the agenda for this year's Open Networking Summit?

Guru Parulkar, Chair of the Open Networking Summit, previews some of the highlights of this year's ONS agenda.

Date: March 3-5, 2014
Venue: Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California

Keynotes include: Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures, John Donovan (AT&T), Albert Greenberg (Microsoft), Amin Vahdat (Google) and others.

Got a story to tell at ONS 2014?  Let me know...

Metaswitch Unveils Cloud-based, "Clearwater" IMS Core

Metaswitch Networks introduced Clearwater Core, a software subscription service capable of delivering voice, video and messaging services to millions of users.

The company said its Clearwater Core provides a foundation for complete wireline and wireless IP communications while effectively removing the typical cost barriers to deploying IMS-centric Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Rich Communications Services (RCS). This enables network operators to leverage their standard compute resources while incurring a minimal software subscription fee based on the number of virtual CPU cores utilized.  The IMS core implementation, which is fully supported by Metaswitch with custom engineering, bespoke professional services and consultancy, could be run within network functions virtualization (NFV) environments as a virtualized network function (VNF).

“NFV has far-reaching effects in communications networks and this new approach to building networks will provide numerous benefits to network operators, including reductions in both capital and operating costs and the promotion of rapid innovation in the services space,” says Dave Reekie, general manager of Metaswitch’s open source business unit.

"We’re pleased to be easing network operators into the NFV revolution with Clearwater Core, where we can provide individual network operators ongoing support and maintenance of their cloud-based IMS Core on a software subscription basis,” says Reekie. “Like Project Clearwater, the open-source effort that started us down this path, Clearwater Core is completely unique in the industry.”

In May 2013, Project Clearwater, an open-source IMS core initiative for the cloud, launched its website and opened its doors to software developers and systems integrators.

Metaswitch Networks contributed the initial codebase for Project Clearwater and is sponsoring the initiative.

Metaswitch said the goal of Project Clearwater is to deliver critical call and session control functions, along with Telephony Application Server (TAS) capabilities, within any virtualized data center.  Clearwater is being developed for massive scale and "telco-grade" reliability in private or public Cloud environments, together with exceptionally low running costs of around 2 cents per subscriber per year based on Amazon AWS pricing.

Clearwater provides SIP-based call control for voice and video communications and for SIP-based messaging applications.  It is designed for deployment on Amazon Web Services or other private cloud infrastructure.

Windows Azure Media Services Provides NBC Streaming for 2014 Sochi Winter Games

Microsoft's Windows Azure Media Services is being used to publish and stream all 98 events of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games for NBC Olympics in the United States.

The project is expected to include over 50 live high-definition streams  and over 1,000 hours of on-demand streaming coverage for millions of viewers with different devices and operating systems. Viewers will be able to access live and on-demand content via the NBC Sports Live Extra app available free on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

To meet those demands, Windows Azure will be “leading the way by providing end-to-end live streaming of the Winter Olympics entirely in the cloud, including encoding, transcoding and streaming, for the first time in history,” said Scott Guthrie, acting lead of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, in a press release announcing the partnership with NBC.

Microsoft noted that it is working with Adobe's Primetime TV publishing and monetization platform, including Adobe Primetime Player SDKs for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS and other platforms, to ensure full scalability and monetization of video streams across millions of U.S. households. In addition, Microsoft is working with iStreamPlanet and its cloud-based, live video workflow solution Aventus to power live video ingest and multiple bit rate encoding, including ad insertion, for NBC’s streaming coverage of the Olympic Games.

Google Chromebox Offers Hangouts Video Conferencing

Google is launching a cloud-based service for business that combines Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps in an easy-to-manage, $999 pre-packaged hardware solution.

"Chromebox for meetings" runs on an Intel Core i7-based box from Asus that is powered by Chrome OS.  The kit includes a 1080p video camera and an omnidirectional conference table microphone with built-in DSP for speech clarity.  A Google account is used to log-in to online meetings. No more complex dial-in codes, passcodes or leader PINs.  Up to 15 participants can join the video meeting. Integration with Google Apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, directly from Google Calendar.

Management and support is covered by a $250 per device annual fee to Google.

NSN's Predictive Operations Forecasts Network Problems

Nokia Solutions and Networks is introducing a managed service for predicting mobile broadband service degradations up to two days in advance.

NSN's Predictive Operations service uses a self-learning analysis engine proven in other industry sectors and further developed and customized by NSN for a telecom operations environment. The engine evaluates a vast range of data that can include service quality, customer experience and other key performance indicators from the operator’s network, as well as external data such as weather forecasts and social media. When an abnormal pattern is detected, which can be up to 48 hours before subscribers would be affected, the service issues a predictive alert to NSN operations experts. They can then pinpoint the cause of the anomaly and take preventive action.

NSN said these capabilities can boost mobile broadband service quality by 15% for a better customer experience.

“Currently, most networks and service operations are run on a real-time basis. Predictive Operations goes a step further and anticipates potential  problems, down to the network element level, before they affect the subscriber. This capability is in line with a key goal of our Technology Vision 2020 – making networks self-aware,” said Amit Dhingra, head of Managed Services at NSN.

NSN is also introducing an LTE Service Management option that covers the entire lifecycle of mobile broadband services running on an operator’s LTE network, including service design, launch and monitoring. NSN Intelligent LTE service models provide an integrated view of all services across the LTE radio network, Evolved Packet Core (EPC), and transport networks. "Our new LTE Service Management offering, on the other hand, helps operators ensure the highest quality for such exacting services as mobile TV, video streaming and online gaming, which are sensitive to even small issues in underlying network performance.”

Ericsson Acquires Azuki Systems for OTT Adaptive Bit Rate Streaming

Ericsson agreed to acquire Azuki Systems, a provider of TV Anywhere delivery platforms for service providers, content owners and broadcasters, for an undisclosed sum.

Azuki, which is based in Acton, Ma., developed a TV Anywhere platform that combines the power of over-the-top video with personalization, content protection, scalability and reliability features. It also enables multiple monetization options, beyond portals and authentication services. Azuki was founded in 2008 and has 49 employees.

Ericsson said Azuki will extend its TV and media portfolio, which includes the recent addition of Mediaroom from Microsoft.  Some of the key capabilities from Azuki include adaptive bit rate and content protection technologies. In addition, the acquisition brings a team of highly skilled software engineers.

Per Borgklint, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson said, "We are executing on our TV&Media strategy and Azuki adds key technologies and capabilities to extend our market leadership position. Traditional TV is shifting rapidly towards TV Anywhere. Azuki Systems further positions Ericsson to help customers deliver on the Networked Society's global demand for customized and personalized media experiences that include content on any screen, any time across any network."

Cheng Wu, CEO and co-founder of Azuki Systems, said: "Service providers, content owners and broadcasters face a range of challenges as they race to make content available on any device. Through worldwide deployments of our proven next generation video delivery solution, we have helped accelerate deployment and monetization of TV Anywhere services. Continuing this work as part of Ericsson will ensure that customers globally will have the most advanced support as they aim to deliver the best services for their subscribers."

In September 2013, Ericsson completed its previously announced acquisition of Microsoft's Mediaroom business and TV solution. The deal, which was first announced in April 2013, makes Ericsson the world's largest, by market share, and the most experienced provider of IPTV middleware technology and solutions.

The Mediaroom IPTV platform holds about a 25% share of the global IPTV market. Mediaroom-powered TV services are offered by nearly 60 of the world's leading operators, delivering services to almost 13 million households, and close to 24 million set top boxes, throughout the world. Customers include AT&T U-verse, Entertain of Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, TELUS Optik TV and Swisscom.

Alcatel-Lucent Reports Operational Improvements, Sale of Enterprise Division

Alcatel-Lucent reported Q4 2013 revenues of Euro 3,930 million, flat year-on-year at constant exchange rate, along with a significant improvement in operating profitability and segment operating cash flow in Q4 and for 2013 as a whole.  The company cited a drop in its fixed costs, renegotiated managed services contracts and portfolio rationalization as contributing factors to the improved performance.

Revenues for the Core Networking and Access segments were up 0.4% year-on-year at constant exchange rates. Sequentially, at constant exchange rates, Group revenues increased by 8.8% and by 8.9% for Core Networking and Access segments, reflecting notably a strong performance in IP Platforms, IP Transport and Wireless.

Alcatel-Lucent also announced a binding offer from China Huaxin, a technology investment company, for the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise for Euro 268 million on an enterprise value basis (cash-free / debt-free).  The deal values Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise at an estimated Euro 237 million on an equity value basis, for 100%. Alcatel-Lucent will retain a minority stake of 15%.

A few highlights:

  • Revenues for the IP Routing division were Euro 555 million in Q4 2013, down 5.2% from a record Q4 2012, and down 2.6% sequentially, at constant exchange rates.
  • Revenues for the IP Transport division, which includes terrestrial and submarine optics, reached Euro 618 million in Q4 2013, up 0.3% year-on-year and 14.2% sequentially at constant exchange rates. 
  • Revenues for the IP Platforms division declined 5.8% at constant exchange rates to Euro 543 million in Q4 2013, off a high base in Q4 2012.
  • WDM revenues are stabilizing and 100G adoption rate is accelerating
  • ALU scored a key win for its 1830 Photonic Service Switch with Verizon and with SFR (France)
  • ALU is now shipping more vectoring than non-vectoring VDSL lines
  • ALU says 125+ million subscribers now supported on its IMS platform
  • ALU now has 45 million LTE devices under management
  • ALU had 65 Small Cell contracts at the end of 2013
  • ALU's LTE revenues grew 70%+ in 2013
  • In Managed Services, ALU restructured 15 contracts last year, leading to near break-even financial performance in Q4.

Interoute Opens Madrid Data Center

Interoute opened a state-of-the-art data center in Madrid, Spain that is tied into its pan-European network, adding a new physical location to Interoute’s unified ICT platform.

Interoute is promoting the ability for customers to build or buy as-a-service data center architectures – be they physical, virtual or hybrid. These can be distributed and connected across countries via fiber.

The new facility in Madrid is integrated with Interoute’s other data centers in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Geneva, Ghent, Stockholm, Munich and Zurich.  The Madrid data center covers 4,500m2 and offers up to 32 kW per rack. The building has a modular design consisting of 13 independent data center rooms, which can accommodate changing customer demands for space and the latest technological infrastructure. A key differentiator is in the modular and decentralised UPS and cooling distribution.

Huawei Signs ASI for North America Channel Distribution

Huawei announced a major distribution agreement with ASI, a leading distributor of IT products and services in North America.

ASI will work through its resellers to bring Huawei Enterprise’s extensive portfolio of IP network infrastructure, unified communications and collaboration, and storage solutions to enterprise and SMB customers throughout the United States. The deal covers Huawei Enterprise’s portfolio, including networking, server, storage, and telepresence solutions and services, to meet the IT demands of SMBs and large enterprises.

“We are truly excited to add Huawei’s industry-leading enterprise products and solutions to our networking and storage portfolio,” said Cathy Wang, vice president of Product Management, ASI. “Huawei has a strong history of technical achievement and providing end value to the customer.  This strategic partnership not only expands our enterprise offerings, but also allows us to bring Huawei Enterprise’s innovations to the SMB market.”
“Huawei is proud to partner with ASI to bring our innovative and highly competitive enterprise solutions to ASI’s extensive reseller network,” said Jane Li, Chief Operating Officer, Huawei Enterprise USA. “This partnership not only expands our U.S. presence, but also cements our commitment to the largest IT market in the world.”

ASI, which is based in Fremont, California, supplies over 20,000 VARs throughout North America.

Citrix and Palo Alto Networks Team on Multi-tenant Network Security

Palo Alto Networks' VM-Series next-gen virtualized firewall and threat prevention offering is now available on the Citrix NetScaler SDX service delivery networking platform.

The Citrix NetScaler SDX ADC cloud service platform is a multi-tenant appliance providing application availability, application acceleration and application security needed in the mobile and cloud world.

Palo Alto Networks VM-Series runs the same PAN-OSTM software as Palo Alto Networks physical enterprise security platforms, bringing next-generation firewall and threat prevention capabilities to virtual data centers. The application-specific protections provided by NetScaler AppFirewall™ complement the next-generation firewall protections provided by the Palo Alto Networks VM-Series.
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The VM-Series integrated with NetScaler SDX serves as a multi-tenant platform capable of delivering dedicated advanced delivery controller (ADC) and next-generation firewall instances tailored to the specific needs of individual, "tenant" applications.

The companies also highlighted the use of Netscaler-enabled firewalls for delivering Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop®virtual application and desktop virtualization solutions.