Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Verizon Confirms VoLTE Coming Later this Year

Verizon confirmed plans to commercially launch its Voice over LTE service across its nationwide network later this year. A specific launch date was not specified.

From the beginning, Verizon’s VoLTE service will offer an HD Voice experience using the AMR-wideband standard.  The company said it will have a robust line-up of VoLTE-enabled smartphones available when the service launches. A software upgrade will also be available for certain other smartphones.

Verizon’s VoLTE will also offer video calling options, including making and receiving video calls directly from contact lists. As part of the VoLTE video calling experience, customers have the ability to change their calls instantly from voice-only to voice and video. The rollout also sets the stage for future enhancements through Rich Communications Services (RCS), which enable things like including large file transfer, more robust group messaging, and more location sharing.


Cisco Names Intercloud Partners: Dimension Data, Sungard, Telstra

Cisco announced partnerships with Dimension Data (part of NTT, Sungard Availability Services and Telstra to extend its vision of the Intercloud.  The partners will align their public cloud infrastructure to the Cisco Cloud architecture and deliver Cisco Cloud services to customers and resellers.

Cisco's open Intercloud allows local hosting and local provider options that enable data sovereignty. The hybrid cloud capabilities that differentiate the Cisco Cloud are built upon the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and Cisco Intercloud Fabric technologies.

Some highlights of the partnerships

The deal with Dimension Data expands a 23-year relationship. Cisco will use Dimension Data's Managed Cloud Platform and SaaS solutions to deliver a suite of midmarket cloud services to its customers and resellers. Dimension Data and Cisco will partner to deliver an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution that will be packaged with Cisco technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, including Microsoft SQL Server and SharePoint. The Cisco validated and co-branded solutions will be sold by Cisco through the Cisco channel partner community. Dimension Data's global cloud service is available via 10 data centers around the world, with plans to expand to 13 locations by September 2014. As a Cisco Intercloud partner, Dimension Data will evolve its Managed Cloud Platform to embrace Cisco ACI and Intercloud Fabric — the building blocks of the Cisco Cloud architecture

Sungard Availability Services is a Cisco Intercloud partner, utilizing its cloud infrastructure to deliver new Cisco Cloud services to customers and resellers. As a Cisco Intercloud partner, Sungard AS is expanding its cloud infrastructure utilizing the foundational elements of the Cisco Cloud architecture, including Cisco ACI. Sungard AS is poised to become the first cloud provider to market with a Cisco ACI-based public cloud offer built on an application-centric cloud architecture. Cisco will feature two cloud services from Sungard AS in its service catalog: an IaaS offering that enables customers to rapidly deploy hybrid clouds; and a disaster recovery-as-a-service offering to deliver business continuity.

Telstra said it will build a cloud infrastructure together with Cisco that provisions cloud and network services in real-time, providing greater speed, security and performance.   This includes investing in the Cisco Evolved Services Platform for its networking infrastructure, enabling seamless and highly secure delivery of cloud applications to customers, across the network and cloud, all the way to the branch and user desktop. Telstra’s cloud offerings based on Cisco’s global cloud platform will be available in Australia by the end of 2014.

In March, Cisco announced plans to build "the world’s largest global Intercloud" – a network of clouds – together with a set of partners.  The idea is to leverage a distributed network and security architecture designed for high-value application workloads, real-time analytics, “near infinite” scalability and full compliance with local data sovereignty laws. Cisco's open Intercloud promises APIs for rapid application development and a new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services for businesses, service providers and resellers. It will support OpenStack and multiple hypervisors. It will also leverage Cisco's recently announced Application Centric Infrastructure.

Cisco plans to invest over $1 billion to build its expanded cloud business over the next two years following a "partner-centric" business model.  The Cisco Intercloud will be hosted across a global network of Cisco data centers and partner data centers. It will offer value-added application- and network-centric cloud services to accelerate the Internet of Everything.

Cisco's John Chambers and Rob Lloyd on Consolidation, Intercloud, ACI and NSA

On Industry consolidation

In your keynote, you predicted a "brutal consolidation" for the IT sector.  What do you foresee?

John Chambers:  I've seen this movie before.  All of our competitors from 15 years ago are gone.  They were good companies but they missed critical transitions. Now you are seeing this accelerate. The role of a pure hardware player will be challenged.  We are a software-hardware-ASIC-cloud company moving forward.  I do think that of the top 5 IT players today, only two or three will really be relevant five years from now. It isn't a given that Cisco will be one of those. We have to change to get ahead in the transition.

On Intercloud

What is the real value proposition for Intercloud? What's in it for other Service Providers?

Rob Lloyd:  The primary differentiators with current infrastructure-as-a-service offerings are (1) Intercloud partnerships will be based on ACI (Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure) for handling profiles that can scale from private clouds to public clouds, (2) Intercloud partners will embrace the idea of workload mobility or hypervisor independent workloads, which is a recent innovation that allows the customer to have choice to move from a VSphere-application to AWS or Azure application via APIs. We've tested workload mobility already with Amazon, (3) Many of the services that we plan on bringing to the Intercloud partnerships will be networking services.  We will deliver an increasing number of cloud-based networking services.  Many of the Intercloud offers will be branded solely by the Service Providers.  That will be the case with Telstra, which was the first Intercloud partner that we announced.

John Chambers: To really know if an idea is going to be successful, I like to sit down with the customer.  If they get really excited about the new idea, then we move. This was the case with Telstra.  It's clear that they get how an Intercloud will transform their bottom line.

On a deal with Rackspace

To be successful in cloud services, is it vital for Cisco to acquire a leading player such as Rackspace?

John Chambers: The purpose of our network architecture is to help us to prioritize what we are going to do in each market.  We don't move into a new market unless there is a real chance of capturing 40% share with sustainable differentiation.  We try not to move into markets that don't have very strong gross margins -- unless they are very strategic for us.  In this case we are talking about a market that is very price sensitive that is taking on giants like Google, Facebook, AWS, Microsoft, etc.  In this type of scenario, we will look for partnership opportunities rather than acquisitions.

Rob Lloyd:  The concept of the Intercloud was announced at our Partner Conference.  That was not accidental.  Our desire is to build a Star Alliance of cloud providers.  Any company that is in that space today should be part of our roadmap to build the Intercloud.  Customers will choose to use its scale.  They will embrace the constructs describer earlier, namely, ACI architecture, OpenStack automation, movable workloads, etc. This ecosystem will expand and it could grow to include any of the companies that we think of today as major cloud providers.


How did you feel about the most recent revelation that the NSA may have tampered with Cisco products prior to delivery to certain customers?  Did this prompt your recent letter to President Obama?

John Chambers:  I'm not going to dodge this question.  But first, let's take a step back to the days immediately after 9/11. I was asked by President Bush to be a co-chair for the National Infrastructure Advisory Council and so I understand what is possible. This country has been very fortunate that there have not been addition terrorist attacks.  Things change, however. When I saw the picture (of the Cisco box being tampered with), I did not know how to interpret it.  Is it true? Remember nothing has been proven at this point, and there isn't any indication that Cisco is involved.  The photo could very likely have been a training program.

The issue is really simple and too important to the global supply chain.  It is essential for our customers to trust us. This isn't just an issue for the U.S. high tech industry.  It is global. Customers have to be able to trust the supply chain or things will begin to break down.

My parents, who were doctors, taught me never to get too excited and I've never raised my voice as CEO.  I knew this could be a real issue for Cisco, even though there is no reason to think we were involved. Therefore, I made the decision to write the letter to President Obama.  This is so important to the future of our industry.  We have got to change.  I like our leader.  I know that the NSA has good people and they are a good customer for us, but the situation is different now than the days after 9/11 .  We have got to change. It isn't so important how we got to where we are now as to where we go from here.

On the issue of tampering, how are you planning to ensure that the customer gets the original product that you shipped?  

Distribution and shipment is just one part in the production cycle.  You also have to look at where the product is manufactured.  Securing hardware manufacturing is easier than software development. We believe that we have the most secure supply chain in the industry. You have to offer more than just a single step in security. We've been focused on securing the supply chain also because of the issue of counterfeiting. The are boxes out there that look identical to Cisco. It's really hard to tell the difference.  In some cases, it may be nation-states that have created the counterfeit. We have been cranking up security but at the same time we do not want to see a break-down of the global supply chain.  On an international level, we need rules of the road. Governments need to say 'we are not going to mess with the supply chain.'


What is the No. 1 business case for Application Centric Infrastructure?  Why would customers want to buy it?

John Chambers:  The first reason is to have common policy for the data center, cloud, WAN and through the access network.  If you consider what application centric infrastructure does, it is remarkably simple -- it delivers applications, network, scale, and security. As basic as that sounds, that's how we charted the original cloud in the data center combining compute, storage and the network. The value is in bring applications to life to run wherever you want with common policy and management.

Rob Lloyd:  I think the No. 1 use case for ACI is security.  I think we are going to see security policies deployed from data centers to WANs to access.  I think we are going to see that the ability to react quickly to a threat or attack quickly will become automated and handled network policy. Once that threats are mitigated, the isolated node could be decommissioned and then the rest of the network will return to a normal state.  Many of the breaches in security often happen between the silos in network infrastructure and these can be avoided with end-to-end common policy.  This will be one of the strongest arguments for ACI.

John Chambers: If you want to track our progress in ACI, watch the shipment numbers for Nexus 9000 switches and the number of ACI customers that we announce each quarter. There were 25 Nexus 9000 customers a quarter ago and there are 175 customers today.  ACI is in a number of trials now and shipments are coming soon.  Watch how our customer count will go up. That will be the real measure of whether we hit a homerun with this one.

Transcribed and paraphrased from a press conference at Cisco Live! on 20-May-2014

Infonetics: VoLTE Fuels 37% Year-Over-Year Growth in Q1 Carrier VoIP and IMS market;

Worldwide service provider VoIP and IMS equipment revenue totaled $992 million in 1Q14, an increase of 37% from 1Q13, but a sequential decline of 9%, according to a new report from Infonetics. Most segments were down on a sequential basis following a strong 4Q13.

VoLTE continues to positively impact the service provider VoIP and IMS equipment market, though we look for the market to slow this year as operators commercially launch services and draw down capacity built over the past year,” notes Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS at Infonetics Research.

Myers continues: “Already this year we have seen AT&T, PCCW/HKT, and other operators launch VoLTE services, and NTT DoCoMo is set to do so in June. There will be additional launches in 2014 by large and small providers alike that will hit the bottom line, but mobile does not completely dominate the picture. Spending on Class 5 replacement and voice over broadband (VoBB) and SIP trunking expansion will continue.”

Some additional highlights:

  • The core IMS and voice application server segment posted the strongest growth in 1Q14, continuing to be driven by VoLTE activity in the large North American and Asian markets
  • All regions are up on a year-over-year basis in 1Q14, with Asia Pacific and North America forming the foundation for the IMS rise due to activity from mobile operators
  • The standout vendor in 1Q14 is Alcatel-Lucent, rising to the top due to strong growth of core IMS and voice application server revenue, particularly in North America.


HP Intros Orchestrated Datacenter Software

HP introduced its Orchestrated Datacenter solution, an automation and cloud-management suite for optimizing data center operations. This includes orchestrating the full stack—from  physical, virtual servers, networks, storage and databases to the middleware and the application layer—and automating end-to-end IT workflows across the service desk, monitoring and security operations.

HP said its Orchestrated Datacenter lets IT teams design, customize and deploy these services securely in test and production, as well as across traditional, private and public cloud environments.

“IT organizations must sharpen their focus from just managing  servers and infrastructure to orchestrating the delivery of end to end services and applications that help differentiate businesses in the market,” said Ajay Singh, senior vice president and general manager, IT Operations Management, Software, HP. “The Orchestrated Datacenter empowers customers to orchestrate across the entire operations cycle ensuring timely delivery of infrastructure and application services with consistency, compliance and reliability.”


Vitesse Licenses GigE IP Cores for Freescale's QorIQ Processors

Freescale Semiconductor has licensed Vitesse Semiconductor's VSC9953-01 SparX Gigabit Ethernet switch IP core for use in its 28nm QorIQ T1040 quad-core and T1020 dual-core communications processors, now sampling to customers. Targeted applications include gateway routers and industrial automation, as well as unified threat management (UTM) and network attached storage (NAS) networking. Together, Freescale's processor family and Vitesse's complementary portfolio of Ethernet switches, PHYs and software deliver carrier-grade Ethernet functionality for diverse mixed control and data plane applications.

"Freescale's QorIQ T1040/T1020 64-bit embedded communications processors are among the industry's first to integrate a Gigabit Ethernet switch," said Nikolay Guenov, director of product management for Freescale's Digital Networking group. "Vitesse's proven switch IP core and high-quality support enabled Freescale to quickly bring to market a highly integrated, scalable managed Ethernet solution with significant performance and system level design benefits."

"Gigabit Ethernet connectivity is becoming a de facto standard in various applications, such as storage, smart grid and other industrial uses," said Brian Jaroszewski, senior product marketing manager of IP licensing at Vitesse. "Licensing our IP cores to market leaders such as Freescale strategically aligns with Vitesse's goal to penetrate adjacent or similar markets. The fact that the IP core reliability and quality are directly validated in Vitesse's external switch IC chips minimizes our customers' integration risks and expedites their time to market with field-proven Gigabit Ethernet solutions."