Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Intel to Integrate Xeon + FPGA On Chip to Accelerate Data Center Processing

Intel announced plans to integrate its Xeon processor with a coherent FPGA in a single package, socket compatible to a standard Xeon E5 processor. The goal to accelerate software defined infrastructure and support scale-out, distributed applications. Intel's Diane Bryant and Tom Krazit discussed the plans at the Gigaom Structure’14 conference in San Francisco.

In the past year, Intel has already delivered 15 custom silicon devices to meet specific needs of the end customers, including Ebay and Facebook.  The company expects to deliver more than twice the number of specialized products in 2014.

In a blog post, Bryant writes that the new Xeon+FPGA solution "provides yet another customized option, one more tool for customers to use to improve their critical data center metric of Performance/TCO”. She also highlights work underway with Facebook on the Open Compute Project and ETSI's NFV ISG to develop many proof-of-concept demonstrations.

https://communities.intel.com/community/itpeernetwork/datastack/blog/2014/06/18/disrupting-the-data-center-to-create-the-digital-services-economy

In February, Intel introduced its new Xeon processor E7 v2 family featuring triple the memory capacity and double the compute performance of the previous generation processor family, allowing much faster and thorough data analysis.

The Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family is built for up to 32-socket servers, with configurations supporting up to 15 processing cores and up to 1.5 terabytes (TB) of memory per socket. 

To reduce data bottlenecks, the Intel Xeon Processor E7 v2 family features Intel Integrated I/O, Intel Data Direct I/O and support for PCIe 3.0, achieving up to four times the I/O bandwidth over the previous generation and providing extra capacity for storage and networking connections.

Intel said Big Data analysis and Internet-of-Everything require vastly increased in-memory processing, which places and analyzes an entire data set – such as an organization's entire customer database – in the system memory rather than on traditional disk drives.

CenturyLink Cloud Adds Pay-by-the-Hour Billing

CenturyLink introduced pay-by-the hour billing for managed services on its CenturyLink Cloud platform, including web servers, middleware, operating systems, directory services and database applications.

CenturyLink's new cloud-based managed services are provisioned via a single, self-service interface using an on-demand model. The initial launch debuts eight services: Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux managed operating systems, as well as managed applications Active Directory, Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat, Microsoft Internet Information Services, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL. Thee cloud-based managed services will be available starting June 30 through CenturyLink Cloud nodes in Santa Clara, California, and Sterling, Virginia, with additional managed services and global locations in Europe and Asia enabled later this year.

"CenturyLink continues to change the game in cloud. One-click access to managed services delivers our expert management resources in a new way, providing customers with extraordinary flexibility," said Jared Wray, chief technology officer, CenturyLink Cloud. "As cloud adoption evolves and enterprises pursue new and easier ways to manage their IT infrastructure, the time is right in the industry for an optimized experience that brings cloud together with expert managed services."

http://www.centurylink.com/technology

FCC: Broadband Speed Promises Mostly Accurate

Most broadband providers in the U.S. continue to improve service performance by delivering actual speeds that meet or exceed advertised speeds during the past year, according to the latest "Measuring Broadband America" report released by the FCC. Some providers showed significant room for improvement, particularly with respect to consistency of speeds.

The FCC noted 5 key trends in its data:

1. ISPs continue to deliver the combined upload/download speeds they advertise, but a new metric this year – consistency of speeds – shows there’s still work to be done: This year’s report shows that average speeds are close to advertised, but not always available. Cablevision, for example, delivered 100 percent or better of advertised speed to 80 percent of our panelists 80 percent of the time during peak periods, but about half the ISPs delivered about 90 percent or better of advertised speed, and several ISPs delivered less than 60 percent or better of advertised speeds 80 percent of the time to 80 percent of the panelists.

2. Download speeds performance varies by service tier, with some ISPs delivering less than 80 percent of advertised speeds: All ISPs except for one (Qwest, which had a 16 percent performance improvement in download speed) were within 10 percent of last year’s results, i.e. largely unchanged. Overall trends were encouraging. For download speeds, ten of 14 reporting ISPs showed slightly improved download performance, four were virtually unchanged and only one ISP (Verizon offering DSL service) showed results slightly worse than last year. However, Windstream’s 1.5 Mbps speed tier only delivers 78 percent of advertised speeds, a low among all ISPs at all speed tiers.

3. Fiber and Cable technologies continue to evolve to higher speed offerings, but DSL is beginning to lag behind: Additionally, while providers using cable and fiber access technologies generally met or exceeded their advertised tiers, providers using DSL technology generally failed to meet their advertised speeds. This may indicate differences in the economics of upgrading DSL relative to other technologies, and investment choices by broadband providers or the price points at which higher speeds are made available for DSL.

4. Consumers continue to migrate to higher speed tiers: We continue to see a migration of consumers from lower speed tiers to higher offerings both by consumers electing to purchase higher speeds and through upgrades of standard offerings by Internet service providers. A simple average of service tiers surveyed in 2013 shows an average advertised speed of 21.2 Mbps, representing an increase of approximately 36 percent from 15.6 Mbps in 2012.

5. Upload speeds vary sharply: Many studies have shown that consumer Internet traffic today is asymmetric – consumers typically download far more data than they upload. Consistent with that behavior, most service offerings typically have far higher download than upload rates. Verizon offers upload rates as high as 35 Mbps. Frontier offers upload rates of 25 Mbps.  Both are fiber-based.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, “Consumers deserve to get what they pay for. While it’s encouraging to see that in the past these reports have encouraged providers to improve their services, I’m concerned that some providers are failing to deliver consistent speeds to consumers that are commensurate to their advertised speeds. As a result, I’ve directed FCC staff to write to the underperforming companies to ask why this happened and what they will do to solve this.”

The report is posted online.

http://www.fcc.gov/reports/measuring-broadband-america-2014


Spirent Puts 400G Ethernet to the Test with Xilinx and Huawei

Spirent Communications unveiled its 400G Ethernet Test System -- an industry first -- and announced the completion of testing of Huawei’s NE5000E core router.  The tests verified the layer 1-3 quality and highlighted error free performance with different combinations of streams, frame lengths and rates including a single stream running at full line rate.

Spirent's pre-standard 400G Ethernet Test System uses Xilinx’s 28nm Virtex-7 H870T programmable device.  Spirent, Huawei and Xilinx have been collaborating for more than six months on 400GbE testing.
 
Spirent said its solution marks an important for the industry in the development of 400GbE systems. The 400G Ethernet Test System is a one-slot blade compatible with Spirent’s existing chassis and its other Ethernet products.  Key features of the solution include:

  • Sending and receiving Ethernet frames from 64 to 16K bytes in length
  • Generating and analyzing 400G traffic as a single stream running at line rate or as an aggregation of multiple streams
  • Compensating for small clock differences between link partners with parts per million (PPM) adjustment
  • Delivering per-port and per-stream statistics such as latency, frames out of sequence, frame counts and rates, and layer 1 statistics to help debug physical link problems
  • Allowing modification of generated frame contents
  • Capturing received traffic at wire rate

“The collaboration with Huawei and Xilinx to develop and validate our 400G test solution builds on Spirent’s position as the leader in high-speed Ethernet testing. As a result of this effort, we are ready for a live showcase of a solution that enables network equipment manufacturers and service providers to move forward with early 400G design projects and effectively test their next-gen offerings,” stated Eric Hutchinson, CEO, Spirent Communications.

http://www.spirent.com/go/400g

Infonetics: 16G Fibre Channel Takes Over

Sales of 16G Fibre Channel are quickly taking over the market from earlier 4G and 8G implementations, according to a new study published by Infonetics.

“With 16G Fibre Channel ramping fast, 8G is making a quick exit,” says Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., directing analyst for data center and cloud at Infonetics Research. “16G Fibre Channel solutions now make up 42% of storage area network (SAN) revenue, and we expect to see the continued acceleration of 16G at the expense of 8G and 4G, especially with 32G still two years out.”

“Most of the 16G market is inter-switch, or switch-to-storage array, and not server connections,” adds Grossner.

Some highlights:

  • Globally, the SAN market (Fibre Channel switches and host bus adapters) totaled $592 million in 1Q14, down 9% from 4Q13, and down 3% from a year ago
  • Brocade continues to dominate the SAN switch and adapter market, gaining 3 market share points in 1Q14
  • Worldwide converged data center network adapter revenue (Ethernet switch ports-in-use for storage and converged network adapters, or CNAs), declined 4% sequentially in 1Q14, to $549 million
  • CNAs continue to account for the majority of revenue, followed by iSCSI adapters and universal adapters
  • Thanks to its recent acquisitions, QLogic is expected to move into the #2 spot in the converged data center network adapter market in 2Q14
  • In an effort to grab market share, converged data center network adapter vendors are reaching for the cloud, software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NVF)
  • The shift to cloud-architected data centers with automated deployment of virtual workloads is driving a long-term trend toward a converged network with storage and application traffic on Ethernet in the data center.

http://www.infonetics.com/pr/2014/1Q14-SAN-and-Converged-DC-Network-Equipment-Market-Highlights.asp

TE Connectivity to Acquire Measurement Specialties for Sensor Business

TE Connectivity agreed to acquire Measurement Specialties (NASDAQ: MEAS), a leading supplier of sensors, for $86 cash per share or a total transaction value of approximately $1.7 billion (including assumption of net debt).

Measurement Specialties, which expects revenue of $540 million in its current fiscal year, offers a broad portfolio of sensor technologies including pressure, vibration, force, temperature, humidity, ultrasonics, position and fluid, for a wide range of applications and industries.  The company is based in Fremont, California.

"The acquisition of Measurement Specialties is a key part of our strategy to be a leader in the very attractive, high-growth sensor industry and adds nearly $40 billion to our addressable market," said Tom Lynch, TE Connectivity Chairman and CEO. "We are excited about this acquisition as it enables TE to provide customers with an unmatched range of connectivity and sensor solutions that are essential in a world where everything is increasingly connected. We look forward to combining Measurement Specialties' strong breadth of products and technologies with our deep customer relationships and global scale. We are also delighted to welcome their talented team to TE."

Frank Guidone, CEO of Measurement Specialties, said, "The sensor market is quite strong, with both the number of applications and the content per unit increasing every year. We are excited to expand our product offerings to customers around the world through TE's unparalleled go-to-market capabilities. We look forward to working with TE toward a seamless integration for our customers and employees, and becoming the supplier of choice for customers' sensing requirements."

http://investors.te.com
http://www.meas-spec.com/

VeloCloud Raises $21 Million for its Cloud-WAN Vision

VeloCloud Networks, a start-up based in Los Altos, California, announced $21 million in funding for its Cloud-Delivered WAN vision.

VeloCloud plans to use a Cloud Orchestrator to provide centralized, enterprise-wide configuration and real-time monitoring of WAN connections.  The goal is to dramatically simplify the WAN by delivering virtualized services from the cloud to branch offices and mobile users.

The funding was led by leading venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Venrock as well as incubator firm, The Fabric.

“VeloCloud aims to fundamentally alter the economics of the WAN while simplifying and automating network operations for distributed enterprises,” said VeloCloud co-founder and CEO, Sanjay Uppal. “We are delighted to have the support of top-tier venture partners and are poised to build our channels, scale business development activities and create a strong ecosystem.”

http://www.velocloud.com/

See also