Monday, June 16, 2014

Level 3 to Acquire tw telecom for its Metro Reach

Level 3 Communications agreed to acquire tw telecom in a deal that will combine its global fiber network and international data centers with tw telecom's extensive metro footprint in major U.S. markets. The stock-and-cash transaction is valued at $40.86 per TWTC share, or $5.7 billion in aggregate, based on market close as of June 13, 2014. tw telecom stockholders will receive $10 cash and 0.7 shares of Level 3 common stock for each share of tw telecom common stock that is owned at closing.

"tw telecom's business model is directly aligned with Level 3's initiatives for growth, which include building managed solutions to meet customer needs through an advanced IP/optical network. The benefits created by this transaction deliver substantial value to both companies' stockholders, as it accelerates our objective of driving profitable growth and strengthening Free Cash Flow per share growth over the long term," said Jeff Storey, president and CEO of Level 3.

The companies expect to achieve $240 million in total run-rate synergies, including $40 million of expected CAPEX savings. The customer mix of the combined company will be about 70% enterprise customers and 30% wholesale customers.

Level 3 has already lined up $3 billion of committed financing for the acquisition.

Some highlights:


  • Level 3 is based in Broomfield, Colorado and has 10,200 employees.
  • Active in 60 countries and 170 markets
  • Intercity fiber route miles: 110,000
  • Metro fiber route miles: 36,000
  • Subsea fiber route miles: 33,000

  • tw telecom is based in Littleton, Colorado and has 3,407 employees.
  • U.S. markets served: 36
  • Intercity fiber route miles: 8,700
  • Metro fiber route miles: 24,000



http://www.level3.com
http://www.twtelecom.com


  • Level 3's prior acquisitions include WilTel (2005), Progress Telecom (2006), ICG(2006), Telcove (2006), Looking Glass Networks (2006), Broadwing (2007), SAVVIS' content delivery network (2007), Servecast (2007), and Global Crossing (2011).
  • Time Warner Communications was founded in 1993 as a joint venture between US West and Time Warner Communications.  The company completed an IPO in 1999. It acquired Xspedius in 2006.



Google Open Sources its Container Cluster Management Tool

Google has posted its "Kubernetes" container cluster management tool as open source code on GitHub.

Kubernetes, which runs on Google Compute Engine, builds on top of Docker to construct a clustered container scheduling service.  The concept of Docker is to provide a container for individual applications. The concept of Kubernetes is a pod of containers that are scheduled on the same physical node. The goal is to have each pod have an IP in a shared networking namespace that has full communication with other physical computers and containers across the network. In this way, it becomes much less necessary to map ports.

"Kubernetes" is a Greek word meaning pilot of a ship.

https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/kubernetes/blob/master/DESIGN.md

http://googlecloudplatform.blogspot.com/2014/06/an-update-on-container-support-on-google-cloud-platform.html


Last week, Docker 1.0 was officially released, marking an important milestone for this open platform which can be used to build, ship, and run distributed applications on various clouds. The use of a container allows the same app to run unchanged on laptops, servers, data center VMs or the cloud -- similar to the concept of shipping container for the transportation industry.

Docker enables applications to be quickly assembled from components and eliminates the friction between environments.  It consists of the Docker Engine, the de facto container standard, and Docker Hub, a new cloud-based service from Docker Inc., the start-up company behind the open source Docker project and chief sponsor of the Docker ecosystem.

Docker Inc. is now providing Long Term Support assurances for commercial users of Docker 1.0.  The company is based in San Francisco.

“We would like to thank the over 460 contributors to the project – as well as the countless partners, promoters, application publishers and meetup organizers – for helping Docker reach this important milestone,” said Solomon Hykes, CTO and founder of Docker.  “We’d also like to salute the many enterprises that ignored our statements about ‘production readiness’ and deployed Docker in prior releases. Your bravery (and unvarnished feedback) has been critical as well.”

Features of Docker Engine 1.0 include:

●       Quality: Docker is hardened and tested for enterprise production deployments;
●       Compatibility: Docker Engine now runs on all major Linux distributions, including Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Suse and Arch;
●       Interfaces: Docker now comes with plug-in interfaces for execution and file system drivers;
●       Extensibility: With boot2docker, support for non-Linux operating systems Mac OS X and Windows;
●       Complete documentation: Quality documentation, updated to reflect the latest capabilities and interfaces;
●       Complete training materials (previewed today at DockerCon as the Docker University Track);
●       Availability of commercial support, including Long Term Support and Proof of Concept Support packages; and
●       Integration with Docker Hub, the other half of the Docker Platform.

Since its inception 15 months ago, the open source Docker project has seen unprecedented community growth and adoption:

●       2.75+ million downloads;
●       12,000+ stars on GitHub;
●       450+ contributors – 95 percent of whom do not work for Docker, Inc.;
●       8,500+ commits;
●       14,000+ “Dockerized” applications published on Docker Hub;
●       90+ community-established user groups in more than 30 countries;
●       6,500+ Docker related projects found on GitHub; and
●       Integration in a huge number of the key deployment, DevOps, and cloud platforms.

http://dockercon.com/
http://www.docker.com/
  • Cloud services supporting Docker include Google Cloud Platform and AWS Elastic Beanstalk. 

Google Cloud Adds HTTP Load Balancing and SSD Persistent Disk

Google introduced HTTP Load Balancing and SSD Persistent Disk capabilities for its Cloud Platform.

HTTP Load Balancing
Google claims the new HTTP Load Balancing can scale to support more than 1 million requests per second with no “warm up.” It also supports content-based routing. Load balancing can also be enabled across different regions -- balancing traffic across Google data centers located in different parts of the world.

SSD Persistent Disk
Google's SS Persistent Disk delivers IOPS performance in block storage. SSD persistent disk is priced at a flat $0.325 monthly cost per GB. It supports up to 30 IOPS per GB.

http://googlecloudplatform.blogspot.com/2014/06/introducing-http-load-balancing-and-ssd-persistent-disk-on-google-cloud-platform.html

Altera Collaborates with Microsoft on Software Defined Data Centers

Microsoft Research is testing Altera's FPGAs to accelerate its Bing search engine and other cloud services.

Details on the project were disclosed in a research paper titled, “A Reconfigurable Fabric for Accelerating Large-Scale Data Center Services” that was presented by Microsoft at the 41st International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) in Minneapolis. (link to the paper is below)

Altera’s software defined data center technology offerings are based on the company’s high performance Stratix V and Arria 10 FPGAs, and next-generation Stratix 10 FPGAs and SoCs which are manufactured using the Intel 14 nm Tri-Gate process and feature Altera’s high-performance HyperFlex architecture.

The Microsoft paper describes a testbed of 1,632 servers accelerated by FPGAs and achieving a very significant reduction in latency compared with commodity servers.

“Altera FPGAs help Microsoft meet the challenging workload requirements of high performance computing, while they help data centers stay within necessary cost, power efficiency and space limits,” said Michael Strickland, director of the Compute and Storage business unit, Altera. “Adding fine-grained FPGA acceleration to the compute fabric advances data center capabilities beyond what commodity server designs can provide.”

http://newsroom.altera.com/press-releases/altera-microsoft-datacenter.htm
http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/212001/Catapult_ISCA_2014.pdf


  • In March 2014, Altera and Intel announced their collaboration on the development of multi-die devices that leverage Intel’s package and assembly capabilities and Altera’s programmable logic technology. The collaboration is an extension of the foundry relationship between Altera and Intel, in which Intel is manufacturing Altera’s Stratix 10 FPGAs and SoCs using the 14 nm Tri-Gate process.  The new collaboration targets multi-die devices that integrates monolithic 14 nm Stratix 10 FPGAs and SoCs with other advanced components, which may include DRAM, SRAM, ASICs, processors and analog components, in a single package. 

Equinix to Add Orange Business Services to its Cloud Exchage

Orange Business Services is joining Equinix Cloud Exchange, a new service that provides seamless, on-demand and direct access to multiple clouds and multiple networks inside Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers.  Equinix first announced its Cloud Exchange in in April 2014.

Specifically, Orange Business Services plans to offer its Business VPN Galerie cloud-ready network solution, to enterprises in selected International Business Exchanges (IBX®) data centers across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific via the Exchange. Business VPN Galerie from Orange Business Services is a managed service that provides access to both Orange cloud capabilities and to partners’ cloud service platforms.  Initially, Orange Business Services will offer VPN Galerie service on the Equinix Cloud Exchange across three regions in the coming months.

Equinix Cloud Exchanges are currently offered in 13 markets globally – Silicon Valley, Washington D.C., New York, Toronto, Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris – with expansion planned to a total of 19 markets by the end of 2014.

"By bringing together network and cloud service providers with cloud consumers, and enabling them to establish private, high-performance connections, the Equinix Cloud Exchange gives enterprises secure, direct access to the services they need to build sophisticated hybrid cloud solutions. Furthermore, cloud services providers will benefit from connectivity to Business VPN Galerie, which will enable delivery of Orange Business Services’ applications in the cloud, while maintaining the same outstanding quality of service,” stated Ihab Tarazi, CTO, Equinix.

http://www.equinix.com/
http://www.orange-business.com/fr

Hitachi Scales its MME/SGSN with Juniper's Contrail

Hitachi Communication Technologies America has integrated its massively scalable, virtual MME/SGSN as a virtualized network function (VNF) with Juniper Networks' Contrail SDN/NFV controller.

Juniper said its Contrail orchestration simplifies Hitachi CTA's MME/SGSN rollouts by independently scaling based on operator deployment requirements:

  • subscriber sessions - enabling the millions of new LTE and mobile to mobile (M2M) devices; and
  • transactions processing - managing the dramatic increase in 4G device transactions rates; and
  • radio access point connectivity - exceeding the fan-out required by the increasing deployment of small cells.

"Together, Hitachi CTA and Juniper Networks are able to create a single MME/SGSN VNF architected to scale well beyond 20 million simultaneously active subscribers," said Reg Wilcox, CEO of Hitachi CTA. "Juniper Networks Contrail provides a proven carrier-grade SDN architecture that enables us to meet the performance and scalability requirements of the largest mobile service providers in the world."

"Juniper Networks is pleased to be working with Hitachi CTA to deliver carrier-grade MME/SGSN VNF. As carriers automate and accelerate their mobile and cloud businesses, they are looking for open, interoperable solutions that excel in scale, resiliency and service delivery for their current and emerging opportunities," said Ankur Singla, vice president and general manager, Juniper Networks.

Technical and market trials with Hitachi CTA virtualized MME/SGSN solution are in progress.

http://www.hitel.com/news_events/releases/20140616.html
http://www.juniper.net

Sprint Extends LTE Network with Rural Roaming Deals

Sprint announced roaming deals with 12 rural and regional network carriers that significantly extend the coverage of its LTE service.

Along with Sprint’s previously announced amended agreement with nTelos to extend their Strategic Network Alliance through 2022, the Rural Roaming Preferred Program - which was developed in conjunction with CCA - now extends coverage to 23 states, over 352,000 thousand square miles and a population of over 34 million people.

The new roaming partners are:

  • SouthernLINC Wireless, covering 127,000 square miles and 18 million people in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida
  • nTelos, covering 66,000 square miles and 6.1 million people in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky (previously announced)
  • C Spire Wireless, covering over 61,700 square miles and approximately 5.5 million people in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee
  • Nex-Tech Wireless, covering 35,000 square miles and 286,000 people in Kansas and Colorado
  • Flat Wireless, covering over 29,000 square miles and 2.1 million people in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona
  • SI Wireless dba MobileNation, covering 10,000 square miles and 830,000 people in Tennessee and Kentucky
  • Inland Cellular, covering 9,000 square miles and 297,000 people in Idaho and Washington
  • Illinois Valley Cellular, covering 5,500 square miles and 250,000 people in Illinois
  • Carolina West Wireless, covering 3,100 square miles and 585,500 people in North Carolina
  • James Valley Telecommunications, covering 4,000 square miles and 45,000 people in South Dakota
  • VTel Wireless, covering 791 square miles and 60,450 people in Vermont
  • Phoenix Wireless, covering 800 square miles and 17,000 people in Maine

“These agreements demonstrate Sprint’s commitment to provide better coverage, a faster network and a wider selection of lower-cost wireless devices to all customers, regardless of where they live,” said Michael C. Schwartz, Sprint senior vice president of Corporate and Business Development. “Through unique and flexible deals with carriers like C Spire and nTelos we are providing an enhanced 4G LTE experience for Sprint customers and increasing wireless choice and competition across rural America.”

Along with Sprint’s previously announced amended agreement with nTelos to extend their Strategic Network Alliance through 2022, the Rural Roaming Preferred Program - which was developed in conjunction with CCA - now extends coverage to 23 states, over 352,000 thousand square miles and a population of over 34 million people.

http://www.sprint.com

SanDisk to Acquire Fusion-io for Flash PCIe Arrays

SanDisk agreed to acquire Fusion-io (NYSE: FIO), a leading developer of flash-based PCIe hardware and software solutions, for approximately $1.1 billion, net of cash assumed.

Fusion-io, which is based in Salt Lake City, generated sales of $432 million in 2013 for its NAND Flash-based storage arrays for data centers.  The Fusion-io software creates a virtual storage layer that enables file systems, volume managers, and applications to access flash through a common block interface. The company was founded in 2005 and has about 875 employees.

SanDisk, which is based in Milpitas, California, has been a storage leader for over 25 years.

“Fusion-io will accelerate our efforts to enable the flash-transformed data center, helping companies better manage increasingly heavy data workloads at a lower total cost of ownership,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk president and CEO. “Customers will benefit from the addition of Fusion-io’s leading PCIe solutions to SanDisk’s vertically integrated business model. We look forward to working with the world-class engineering and go-to-market teams from Fusion-io to provide high-value solutions to customers around the world.”

“This transaction represents a compelling opportunity for Fusion-io’s employees, customers and shareholders,” said Shane Robison, chairman and CEO of Fusion-io. “Fusion-io’s innovative hardware and software solutions will be augmented by SanDisk’s worldwide scale and vertical integration, enabling a combined company that can offer an even more compelling value proposition for customers and partners.”

http://www.sandisk.com
http://www.fusionio.com


  • In April, SanDisk introduced the industry’s first 4TB1 SAS SSD, surpassing all maximum capacity SAS SSDs and SAS HDDs on the market.  The Optimus MAX SSD utilizes the latest 19nm eMLC NAND flash technology.

Texas Instruments Debuts IoT Wi-Fi Chips

Texas Instruments (TI) introduced its new, low-power SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3100 and CC3200 family aimed at embedded Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Key features:

  • low power consumption for battery operated devices with a low power radio and advanced low power modes.
  • flexibility to use any microcontroller (MCU) with the CC3100 solution or leverage the CC3200’s integrated programmable ARM Cortex-M4 MCU
  • development tools for quick connection, cloud support and on-chip Wi-Fi, Internet and security protocols  
  • "SmartConfig" technology for easy set-up
  • WPS and AP mode

http://www.ti.com

See also