Friday, January 30, 2015

AT&T Secures Nationwide 10x10 MHz AWS-3 Spectrum for $18.2 Billion

AT&T will pay $18.2 billion as the winning bidder on a near nationwide contiguous 10x10 MHz block of AWS-3 spectrum in the FCC's just completed Auction 97.

The licenses cover 307 million people representing 96 percent of the U.S. population and 96 of the Top 100 U.S. markets. AT&T said this spectrum includes 57 percent of MHz POPs covered by the valuable J-block of AWS-3 spectrum.

“Growth in our customers’ mobile data usage continues to explode, driven by mobile video traffic. This spectrum investment will be critical to AT&T staying ahead of customer demand and facilitate the next generation of mobile video entertainment,” said John Stankey, chief strategy officer-AT&T.

AT&T also stated that this spectrum investment, along with its other pending acquisitions, may cause the company to go above its 1.8x net-debt-to-EBITDA target. The company will use excess cash — after paying its dividend — over the next three years to pay down debt, and expects to return to historical debt ratios.

  • The FCC's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-3) Auction 97 raised a record $44.899 billion in bids.  A total of 1,611 licenses total were, covering 65 MHz of spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands ("AWS-3" bands).

Verizon Spends $10.4 Billion at FCC's Spectrum Auction

Verizon Communications was the winning bidder or 181 licenses in the FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction.  The company bid  $10.4 billion in total.  The licenses cover 192 million POPs, or 61 percent of the United States.

Dish Network is a Big Spender in Auction

Dish Network, acting through its subsidiaries Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless License Co, was the winning bidder on 702 spectrum licenses in the FCC's recently completed AWS-3 auction.  Dish's bids topped $13.3 billion, however the company qualified for a 25% discount by filing as a small business under FCC rules.

Dish Network currently does not operate any cellular networks.

Full auction results are posted here:

BT Outlines its Ambitions

BT CEO Gavin Patterson today set out the company’s ambition to transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast.

BT outlined plans to deliver much faster broadband for homes and small businesses via a widespread deployment of, enabling speeds of up to 500 Mbps. Trial deployments to two pilot locations (Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Gosforth, Newcastle) are expected this summer to around 4,000 homes. If successful, BT anticipates rollouts starting in 2016/17.

The pilots will build on recent tests at BT’s innovation centre at Adastral Park, Suffolk which have shown that has the potential to deliver significant speed increases from existing and new fibre street cabinets as well as from other points closer to the customer.

“BT is a world leader when it comes to fibre innovation and we are excited about the next stage in our story,” Patterson said today. “We believe is the key to unlocking ultrafast speeds and we are prepared to upgrade large parts of our network should the pilots prove successful. That upgrade will depend however on there continuing to be a stable regulatory environment that supports investment.

“The UK is ahead of its major European neighbours when it comes to broadband and we need to stay ahead as customer demands evolve. will allow us to do that by building on the investment we have made in fibre to date. It will transform the UK broadband landscape from superfast to ultrafast in the quickest possible timeframe.”

  • BT's fiber network currently passes almost 22 million premises – around three quarters of the UK – and is open to all communications providers on an equal basis. 

SolarWinds Acquires Librato for Cloud Monitoring

SolarWinds, which specializes in IT performance management solutions, has acquired Librato, a San Francisco-based cloud monitoring company, for a cash purchase price of $40 million.

Librato currently enables full-stack performance monitoring of infrastructure and applications on public clouds such as AWS and Heroku, or in a company’s own data centers using a rich set of OSS data collection agents and instrumentation libraries for a variety of technologies and languages such as StatsD, collectd, Rails, Ruby, Python, Node.js and Java. Librato also offers the unique ability to monitor and alert on unlimited metrics from hundreds of sources with second precision, correlate and analyze them to produce actionable results.

Solarwinds, which acquire Pingdom for its website monitoring service in 2014, said this latest acquisition will expand its solutions for monitoring and managing cloud-based applications and infrastructure. SolarWinds plans to bring these companies, Pingdom and Librato, under a new brand, SolarWinds Cloud, for providing visibility from the “outside in” (Web Performance Management) and the “inside out” (Cloud Infrastructure Management).

“As we evaluate the growth of the business-critical application, we see three ‘horizons’ of application deployment that require robust performance management – on-premise IT, IT as a Service, and IT in the Cloud,” said Kevin Thompson, president and CEO, SolarWinds. “We expect that the requirement to manage existing on-premise infrastructure will continue, but will now be coupled with the need to manage the performance of infrastructure and applications either fully or partially deployed in private and public clouds. As more and more businesses move aspects of their environments to Cloud-based deployment models, we believe we are the right company, with the right product set, to help manage infrastructure performance.”

NTT Com Connects Phones and Digital Signs with WebSocket and WebRTC

NTT Communications is testing WebSocket and WebRTC protocols to connect smartphones with digital signage.  The idea is to provide a convenient method for people to download things such as sightseeing information or disaster response information directly from a digital sign.

The test will be conducted at Mihama Town Resort American Village (American Village) in Chatancho, Okinawa Prefecture during the month of February.

NTT Com will encourage users share their photos by using smartphones to read a QR code on a digital sign to access the service website. Photos uploaded to the website will be used for the creation of mosaic art, which will turn the photos into small pieces of large mosaics that will be displayed on the digital signage. The mosaics will also be available for downloading to users’ smartphones. The test also will evaluate how traffic conditions affect real-time information uploading and downloading of photos using digital signage, specifically in terms of effectiveness, potential technological problems and system load characteristics.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

FCC Raises $45 Billion in AWS-3 Spectrum Auction

The FCC's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-3) auction drew to a close, raising a total of $44.899 billion.

A total of 1,611 licenses total were, covering 65 MHz of spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands ("AWS-3" bands).

The 1695-1710 MHz band is authorized for low-power mobile transmit (i.e., uplink) operations only. The 1755-1780 MHz frequencies in the paired 1755-1780/2155-2180 MHz band are authorized only for low-power mobile transmit (i.e., uplink) operations; the 2155-2180 MHz frequencies are authorized only for base station and fixed (i.e., downlink) operations. Mobiles and portables in the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands may only operate when under the control of a base station, and AWS-3 equipment is subject to a basic interoperability requirement.

“Today we closed bidding Auction 97 – by far the highest-earning spectrum auction the United States has ever seen.  But it was much more than that.  This auction also marked a new era in spectrum policy, where a collaborative and unprecedented effort resulted in new commercial access to federal spectrum bands.  A bipartisan group of leaders in Congress, federal agencies – especially NTIA and DoD – the White House, industry, and the team at the FCC all came together to help meet the Nation’s demand for wireless broadband," stated FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

"If you had conducted a poll of analysts before the start of the AWS-3 auction, the highest prediction given for its yield would not have exceeded $18 billion.  Seventy-seven days and a record setting $44.89 billion later, Auction 97 has shown that demand for this spectrum was phenomenal," said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

FCC Updates Broadband Definition to 25 Mbps

The FCC updated its definition for broadband to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up.

The previous benchmark, set in 2010, was 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.

The FCC also released the following stats on broadband adoption:

  • 17 percent of all Americans (55 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps service. 
  • 53 percent of rural Americans (22 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps. 
  • By contrast, only 8 percent of urban Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband.
  • Rural America continues to be underserved at all speeds: 20 percent lack access even to service at 4 Mbps/1 Mbps, down only 1 percent from 2011, and 31 percent lack access to 10 Mbps/1 Mbps, down only 4 percent from 2011.
  • 63 percent of Americans living on Tribal lands (2.5 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband
  • 85 percent living in rural areas of Tribal lands (1.7 million people) lack access.
  • 63 percent of Americans living in U.S. territories (2.6 million people) lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband.
  • 79 percent of those living in rural territorial areas (880,000 people) lack access.
  • Overall, the broadband availability gap closed by only 3 percent last year.
  • Americans living in rural and urban areas adopt broadband at similar rates where 25 Mbps/ 3 Mbps service is available, 28 percent in rural areas and 30 percent in urban areas.
  • Approximately 35 percent of schools lack access to fiber, and thus likely lack access to broadband at the Commission’s shorter term benchmark (adopted in its July 2014 E-rate Modernization Order) of 100 Mbps per 1,000 users, and even fewer have access at the long term goal of 1 Gbps per 1,000 users.

VMware's vCloud Air to Deliver Google Cloud Services

VMware will deliver Google Cloud Platform services via its vCloud Air platform beginning later this year. Existing VMware vCloud Air customers will have access to the new services under their current service contract and existing network interconnect, and simply pay for the Google Cloud Platform services they consume.

The initial set of Google Cloud Platform services that will be available on vCloud Air include:

  • Google Cloud Storage - Google's distributed low-cost object storage service
  • Google BigQuery - A real-time big data analytics service suitable for running ad-hoc business intelligence queries across billions of data points in seconds
  • Google Cloud Datastore - Google's schema-less, document-based NoSQL database service with automatic scale and full transactional integrity
  • Google Cloud DNS - A globally distributed low-latency DNS service

The companies also announced they are exploring extended management support for Google Cloud Platform as part of VMware's vRealize Cloud Management Suite.

"Our collaboration will provide customers with a unique hybrid solution that combines the power and efficiencies of VMware virtualization and the hyperscale of Google Cloud Platform," said Murali Sitaram, managing director, Global Partner Strategy & Alliances, Google. "As a result of this agreement, enterprise customers will be able to combine their VMware cloud environments with the security, scalability, and price performance of Google's public cloud, built on the same infrastructure that allows Google to return billions of search results in milliseconds."

"We are excited to expand our relationship with Google, and offer customers the ability to use Google's rich portfolio of services while running their mission critical applications on the vCloud air platform," said Bill Fathers, executive vice president and general manager, Cloud Services Business Unit, VMware. "Through this agreement, customers will gain the benefit of both vCloud Air and Google Cloud Platform in a single hybrid cloud service, supported by VMware, and fully compatible with their existing vSphere-based data center infrastructure."

VeloCloud: Variable Performance for Broadband WAN Connections

Businesses relying on broadband lines (DSL, cable, LTE, Ethernet or fiber) continue to experience variable and insufficient performance one-quarter of the time, according to data compiled by VeloCloud Networks.

Specifically, the VeloCloud Internet Quality Report for enterprise applications performance measured packet loss and jitter/latency during work hours over Internet WAN connections. Data was gathered by continuous monitoring of VeloCloud’s cloud network service. These 2H2014 results of 6 million link statistics cover more than 60 locations and 50 ISPs.

“The survey confirms that unpredictable Internet performance can’t be solved by switching Internet service providers (ISPs), changing the type of service (DSL, cable, LTE, Ethernet or fiber) or throwing any amount of bandwidth at the problem,” said Sanjay Uppal, CEO and co-founder of VeloCloud. “But it also shows that by fundamentally transforming how these inexpensive broadband links are utilized, enterprises can use the Internet as their WAN to augment their existing private lines, at a fraction of the cost.”

Key findings of the VeloCloud Internet Quality Report include:

  • During business hours (defined as 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., local time), Internet links could not deliver enterprise-quality real-time traffic 25% of the time, on average.
  • Poor performance varied by city from as low as 1% to over 50%. This magnitude of variation was found even within an ISP’s service in the same city over time.
  • There was no improvement in performance even as available bandwidth increased to 200Mbps and more.
  • An overlay cloud-delivered SD-WAN service, featuring dynamic multipath optimization, was able to deliver enterprise-quality application performance 99.3% of the time.
  • Unreliable Internet Links Equals Money Lost
  • Enterprises want to optimize both real-time application performance and costs across their WANs. As the network demands of these real-time applications have increased, so has the number of applications delivered from the cloud. These changes are driving enterprises to look to the Internet for a more cost-effective way to connect directly to cloud applications. However, broadband Internet links to date have not been able to deliver the quality needed to run enterprise applications.

The VeloCloud report includes a Quality Score that rates the ability of Internet connections to support application performance. This scoring is consistent with industry standards, such as mean opinion scores (MOS) for VOIP, and calibrated with third-party tools. The real-world data has been anonymized and aggregated to ensure customer privacy.

  • In July 2014, VeloCloud Networks, a start-up based in Mountain View , California, launched its subscription-based, virtualized WAN service for enterprises that aggregates multiple access lines (cable modem, DSL, LTE) into a single secure connection that is defined and controlled in the cloud. The VeloCloud service uses an Intel-based customer premise device at a branch office to communicate with a VeloCloud gateway in the cloud. The service analyzes network performance and application traffic to determine the best path and dynamically steer traffic to corporate data center or cloud services.
    Compared to MPLS VPNs, VeloCloud said its services offers a significant cost savings because it uses available Internet access lines while delivering enterprise-grade reliability and performance. Advanced network services, such as application-aware firewalls, can be virtualized on the CPE or delivered in the network.  VeloCloud will charge a flat fee per month per location served. The subscription service comprises a Cloud Orchestrator, distributed Cloud Services Gateways and a Cloud Services Edge per branch.

Mushroom Adds VoIP Performance Mgt to Broadband Bonding

Mushroom Networks introduced a VoIP Armor performance management tool for its Truffle broadband line bonding appliance.

Mushroom's VoIP Armor shields the VoIP traffic against any type of WAN link performance fluctuations and link failures. The technology relies on two or more Broadband Bonded Internet links to protect the VoIP packets against loss, delay and jitter as well as against starvation from other cross traffic. The company said this approach ensures reliability and consistent call quality for VoIP calls.

Amazon Notes Some AWS Growth Metrics

In its quarterly financial report, Amazon disclosed that AWS now has over one million active customers (including trial accounts), with usage growth close to 90% year-over-year for the fourth quarter.

The company notes that AWS delivered over 515 significant service and feature releases in 2014 (up more than 80% year-over-year), and that is third annual customer conference attracted more than 13,500 attendees from 63 countries.

Amazon does not yet disclose sales figures for AWS.

DOCOMO Bundles "Hikari" Fiber Broadband Service

NTT DOCOMO will begin offering "docomo Hikari" optical-fiber broadband service alongside its mobile offerings.

The optical-fiber service will offer individuals and companies unlimited Internet connection at speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

Customers will not have to contract with a separate Internet service provider (ISP) since they can simply select from among many available ISPs.

Vodafone Tests 400G Transmission with Alcatel-Lucent

Vodafone Spain has successfully tested 400G optical transmission between Madrid and Zaragoza using existing optical infrastructure.

The trial was conducted with Alcatel-Lucent’s 400G technology on Vodafone Spain’s existing Dispersion Compensation Module network over a span of 400km. The companies said the trial demonstrated the ability of an existing optical network to carry up 17.6 Tbps of traffic, doubling the current spectral efficiency in fiber.

Alcatel-Lucent’s optical trial solution is based on its 1830 Photonic Service Switch platform, and has the ability to be deployed simultaneously with existing multiple 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps network links.

FCC Updates E911 Indoor Location Rules

The FCC updated its E911 rules to include requirements focused on indoor location accuracy for helping emergency responders find 911 callers.

The FCC said its new rules establish clear and measureable timelines for wireless providers to meet indoor location accuracy benchmarks, both for horizontal and vertical location information. The Commission noted that no single technological approach will solve the challenge of indoor location, and no solution can be implemented overnight. The new requirements therefore enable wireless providers to choose the most effective solutions and allow sufficient time for development of applicable standards, establishment of testing mechanisms, and deployment of new location technology.

Radisys Intros Data Plane Load Balancer

Radisys introduced its FlowEngine TDE-1000 Intelligent Load Balancer for software defined networks (SDN) in both data centers and telecommunications environments.

The TDE-1000 is a 3U platform that delivers wire speed IP packet classification and flow-based load balancing.  It is capable of distributing up to 1.2 Tbps of aggregate traffic across any third-party NFV infrastructure. It offloads Layer 2-4 network services, making VNF resource utilization more resource efficient and scalable.

Radisys said that when content and service providers deploy the new TDE-1000 in their network, traffic reaching their application server infrastructure is already pre-screened, leaving more NFV processing capacity for Layer 7 and application processing. This allows additional subscribers and services to use the same compute infrastructure.

Key capabilities include:

  • Wirespeed flow classification to rapidly identify traffic,
  • Integrated load balancing to intelligently share loads and steer data flows to appropriate VNFs.
  • Service chaining with flow affinity to support use cases like Gi-LAN
  • SDN control to achieve unprecedented flexibility in new service introduction

Broadcom Posts Q4 Revenue of $2.14 Billion, up 3.8% YoY

Broadcom reported Q4 2014 revenue of $2.14 billion, a decrease of 5.2% compared with the $2.26 billion reported for the third quarter of 2014 and an increase of 3.8% compared with the $2.06 billion reported for the fourth quarter of 2013. Net income (GAAP) for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $390 million, or $0.64 per share (diluted), compared with GAAP net income of $98 million, or $0.16 per share (diluted), for the third quarter of 2014 and GAAP net income of $168 million, or $0.29 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Net revenue for the year ended December 31, 2014 was $8.43 billion. This represents an increase in net revenue of 1.5% from the $8.31 billion reported for the year ended December 31, 2013.

GAAP net income for Q3 and Q4 included charges for restructuring costs and the impairment of long-lived assets, primarily related to Broadcom's decision to exit its cellular baseband business.

"Better than anticipated revenue produced operating results above consensus for the quarter, driven by stronger Broadband and Connectivity revenue in the high-end smartphone and broadband access markets," said Scott McGregor, Broadcom's President and Chief Executive Officer.  "2014 was a pivotal year where we focused on our core businesses, delivered record revenue and non-GAAP profitability, increased capital return and enhanced corporate governance."

Aviat Reports Revenue of $92.5 million

Aviat Networks reported quarterly revenue of $92.5 million, compared with $85.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Aviat reported net loss, including discontinued operations, of $(3.3) million, or $(0.05) per share, compared with a net loss of $(9.9) million, or $(0.16) per share, in the year-ago quarter. Loss from continuing operations for the quarter was $(3.2) million, or $(0.05) per share, compared with a loss from continuing operations of $(10.2) million, or $(0.17) per share, in the year-ago quarter.

"In the fiscal second quarter our mobile and non-mobile verticals both contributed to strong revenue and a favorable product mix, while we made significant progress operating the business more efficiently," said Michael Pangia, president and CEO, Aviat Networks. "Moving forward, we are focused on aligning our product roadmap with key accounts in the geographic regions where we see the highest potential for profitable growth. We continue to be dedicated to maximizing improvements in our business model to drive profitability and cash generation on a more consistent basis."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blueprint: Top Three 2015 Predictions for Wi-Fi Networks

by Bruce Miller, Vice President of Product Marketing, Xirrus

Analysts predict that by 2018, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices and connections - about three billion more than now. Further 2018 predictions expect mobile IP traffic will reach an annual run rate of 190 exabytes, up from less than 18 exabytes in 2013. New and innovative Wi-Fi technology must be used to manage the massive increase in mobile data traffic.

Wireless technology enables businesses to interact with customers, partners and the entire supply chain from anywhere, anytime and on any device, ensuring business continues under even the most challenging circumstances. Further, those with Wi-Fi enabled devices expect connectivity and continuity when they visit a hotel, attend a sporting event or conference, on school campuses and even in retail outlets. As we enter 2015, IT networking professionals should consider the following when planning their Wi-Fi network infrastructure: future-proofing your Wi-Fi network, cloud-based services adoption, and migration to 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi.

No. 1 - Enterprises seek to future-proof their networks

Wireless technology and devices continue to evolve at a rapid pace (e.g., Wave 1 and Wave 2 802.11ac) in tandem with rapid growth in wireless network and mobile application usage. New Wi-Fi networking standards emerge every few years and constantly updating a wireless infrastructure strains the IT budget. A future-proof Wi-Fi network lowers the total cost of ownership by enabling technology upgrades without deploying new network infrastructure.

Previously, upgrading wireless infrastructure involved substantial planning and deployment resources and required a robust IT budget to purchase hundreds of replacement Access Points (APs). However, the ever-changing Wi-Fi standards landscape necessitates hardware and software upgradability within the network. Replacing older radios with 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi radios simplifies upgrades, as well as, lowers costs by eliminating new equipment needs and new cabling. As 802.11ac Wi-Fi enabled devices increase in the market place, networks will require upgrades to meet the demands of both devices and mobile applications.

No. 2 - Cloud-based services become a driver for better Wi-Fi

Cloud-based services have driven immense changes in enterprise IT everywhere. IT lacks visibility of and no longer controls all the applications running over their networks. These applications increasingly reach into the cloud for software updates, data backups, and SaaS usage resulting in congested networks, unpredictable usage patterns and security concerns about unknown data sources.

Network architects must alter Wi-Fi operations in order to ensure business-critical applications operate properly and maintain user experience. Wi-Fi solutions now require scalability and application control to manage the ever-changing requirements of the future.

No. 3 - 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi  takes off

Millions of new wireless devices are activated every day. For example, when iPhone 6 and 6 plus launched in October, 4 million people preordered and 10 million purchased the first weekend, and up to 100 million more were expected to ship in the first six months. The existing install base already exceeded more than half a billion of iOS devices. On average, each person carries 2.8 wireless devices. All businesses depend on Wi-Fi access for communications and business applications including ERP, CRM, business analytics and collaboration. At the same time, mobile devices bring an array of recreational and personal applications to these same networks.

The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard delivers much faster performance than the 802.11n standard. 11ac offers higher bandwidth and. enables new applications that were previously impractical with Wi-Fi connections, including real-time access to business information and ability to transfer larger amounts of data.

2015 calls for network infrastructure updates to address the increase of new mobile devices and the applications they run. Network architects face the challenge of supporting a variety of new connections on their Wi-Fi networks as wearable tech and IoT become more popular and pervasive In addition to supporting traditional data and application traffic, the Wi-Fi network also needs to support different services today, such as voice, video and storage. Deploying a future-proof Wi-Fi network becomes necessary to upgrade as new wireless standards, such as 802.11ac Wave 2, emerge to support the tsunami of devices in the near future.

About the Author

Bruce Miller is the VP of product marketing at Xirrus. He has been in the networking and communications industry for more than 20 years, holding positions in marketing, business development and engineering. At Xirrus, he has led product marketing, product management, customer support, and training functions at different points in time over the past five years. Before Xirrus, he held roles at Ixia, Lucent, Cabletron, NetVantage, and Plexcom covering technologies including switching, routing, wireless, storage, DSL, and cable. Additinlly, he was involved in the development of the original 802.1Q and .1p VLAN and QoS standards in the IEEE.

About Xirrus

Xirrus is the leading provider of high-performance wireless networks. Xirrus solutions perform under the most demanding circumstances, offering consistent "wired-like" performance with superior coverage and security. The Xirrus suite of Wi-Fi optimized solutions – Arrays, access points, cloud services, and wired switches – provide seamless connectivity and unified management across the network. Xirrus provides a vital strategic business and IT infrastructure advantage to industries that depend on wireless to operate business-critical applications. With tens of thousands of customer solutions deployed globally, Xirrus maintains operations and partnerships across the globe. Xirrus is a privately held company and is headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA.

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CommScope to Acquire TE Connectivity's Telecom, Enterprise and Wireless Units

CommScope agreed to acquire TE Connectivity’s telecom, enterprise and wireless businesses for $3 billion in cash.

TE Connectivity's telecom, enterprise and wireless businesses generated annual revenues of approximately $1.9 billion in its fiscal year ended September 26, 2014, consisting of $1.1 billion from its telecom business, where it is a world leader; $627 million from enterprise; and $164 million from wireless.

TE Connectivity holds approximately 7,000 patents and patent applications worldwide.  Its fiber technology is expected to help CommScope better address a transition to fiber deployments deeper into networks and data centers as consumers and businesses generate increasing bandwidth requirements.

CommScope said the acquisition will accelerate its entrance into attractive adjacent markets and to broaden its position as a leading communications infrastructure provider.  In addition, CommScope will have greater geographic and business diversity following the completion of the transaction.

“This is an important and transformative acquisition for CommScope, bringing together complementary geographic and customer coverage, products and technologies for the benefit of our stockholders, customers and employees,” said Eddie Edwards, CommScope president and chief executive officer. “This transaction has many clear strategic and financial benefits for all of our stakeholders.  It creates enhanced scale with a combined, diversified portfolio that we believe is well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace.

"Our decision to sell our BNS business reflects our strategy to continue focusing on and expanding our leadership position in the attractive connectivity and sensor markets, with particular emphasis on harsh environment applications," said Tom Lynch, TE Connectivity Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "These markets represent a $165 billion opportunity for TE and have strong growth rates and attractive profit levels driven by the global trends of a safer, smarter, greener and more connected world."

Qualcomm Trims Financial Guidance

Qualcomm trimmed its revenue outlook for the second half of the fiscal year saying a major customer will likely not use its Snapdragon 810 processor for its flagship smartphone.

"We delivered a strong quarter, achieving record quarterly revenues and Non-GAAP operating income, and we also are very pleased to have resolved our previously disclosed dispute with a licensee in China," said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm. "Looking ahead, we have lowered our revenue outlook for our semiconductor business for the second half of the fiscal year and lowered our EPS expectations. These changes reflect our revised expectations related to OEM mix, sales to a large customer and heightened competition in China."

The company posted revenues and $7.1 billion and GAAP EPS $1.17 for Q1 of its fiscal 2015. Qualcomm also said it resolved a previously disclosed dispute with a licensee in China.

Facebook Tops 745 Million Mobile Daily Active Users

Facebook continues to add users across all regions of the world.  The number of daily active users (DAUs) now exceeds 890 million, an increase of 18% year-over-year, while the number of monthly active users (MAUs) topped 1.39 billion as of December 31, 2014, an increase of 13% year-over-year.

Mobile DAUs were 745 million on average for December 2014, an increase of 34% year-over-year. Mobile MAUs were 1.19 billion as of December 31, 2014, an increase of 26% year-over-year.

Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 69% of advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014, up from approximately 53% of advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Obsidian Plans 400G InfiniBand for the WAN

Obsidian Strategics, a privately-held company based in Canada that offers InfiniBand products featuring range extension, routing and encryption, announced plans for a new platform that will take InfiniBand to 400 Gbps rates over WAN distances.

Obsidian's Longbow technology allows an InfiniBand fabric -- normally a short-range network (up to 17m) used in supercomputers and data centers -- to be securely extended via optical fiber over global distances. Obsidian also provides its Crossbow technology that enables very high performance routing of InfiniBand traffic between many separate subnets.

The company says InfiniBand overcomes the severe performance penalties incurred at high data rates by TCP/IP and Ethernet. In the spirit of its existing Longbow and Crossbow products operating at 40 Gbps, its 100G and 400G platforms will also provide enhanced InfiniBand features such as cryptographic and routing functions.

100G InfiniBand Connects Supercomputers across Continents

Obsidian Strategics and Singapore's A*STAR Computational Resource Centre are pioneering long-distance, 100G InfiniBand as a means of interconnecting geographically distributed supercomputers. A demonstration planned for this week's SC14 conference in New Orleans aims to demonstrate the feasibility of using the technology for global supercomputer collaboration. The key is to transmit RDMA over transcontinental distances. The demo will show real...

Blueprint: InfiniBand Moves from SuperComputing to Cloud

By: Dr. David Southwell, CVO, Obsidian Strategics Some technology found inside modern supercomputers may prove to be surprisingly applicable to new data center architectures. To understand how, we must first look at the anatomy of contemporary supercomputers. Classics like the Cray vector supercomputers have long since given way to commodity silicon based designs - the vast majority of supercomputers today ar

Gigamon to Deliver Traffic Visibility for White Box Hardware

Gigamon plans to offer its GigaVUE-OS software on select third party 'white box' hardware.

Gigamon said the new release for white box hardware will work seamlessly with the existing components of its Visibility Fabric, allowing Web-scale data center operators to expand the scope and scale of monitoring while retaining the functionality, agility and scale of visibility they have come to expect from a Gigamon fabric. The new offering will be compatible with the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) boot loader that allows multiple operating systems to leverage the same underlying hardware. As part of this initiative, GigaVUE-OS will be initially certified to operate with select hardware from QCT (Quanta Cloud Technology) and Agema Systems, Inc., two of the world's leading white box suppliers.

"With the announcement of GigaVUE-OS for white box platforms, Gigamon is essentially extending the edge layer of the visibility architecture to the high volume, 'TAP all' world of the Data Center operator," said Ananda Rajagopal, Vice President Product Line Management at Gigamon. "By managing the entire visibility infrastructure through a centralized Fabric Manager, operators can lay the foundation for truly active visibility built around Software Defined Visibility."

In the first phase of introduction, GigaVUE-OS will be offered as a perpetual software license on selected QCT bare metal hardware, with beta trials planned for February 2015 and general availability planned for April 2015.

6WIND Launches Turbo Router and Turbo IPsec Software Appliances

6WIND introduced Turbo Router and Turbo IPsec software appliances for standard x86 servers within bare metal and virtual machine (VM) environments. The company claims that its Turbo Router can deliver up to twice the performance at ¼ the price, compared to competing software routers. Compared to hardware-based IPsec Gateways, 6WIND’s Turbo IPsec can save 80% of the cost per gigabit of IPsec throughput.

The new Speed Series Turbo Appliances, which are based on the company's 6WINDGate packet processing software, are designed for service providers, cloud and content providers and enterprises. The new appliances are designed for linear performance scalability with the number of cores deployed and offer a full-featured data plane networking with fast path protocols.

Some highlights

6WIND’s Speed Series Turbo Router combines dynamic routing and stateful firewall features in a high performance software appliance:
  • Data Plane: VLAN, LAG, Routing (including VRF), IPinIP, GRE, Firewall & NAT, etc.
  • Control Plane: VRRP, Routing (RIP, OSPF, BGP), etc.
  • Services: DHCP, SNMP, etc.
  • IPv4 and IPv6
  • Performance: Over 200 Gbps IP Forwarding throughput on a Quad Intel Xeon Processor E7-4800 v2 Series system @ 2.8 GHz leveraging only 22 cores out of 40

6WIND’s Speed Series Turbo IPsec, the industry’s first software-based IPsec Gateway appliance, combines IPsec, dynamic routing and stateful firewall features:
  • Data Plane: VLAN, LAG, Routing (including VRF), IPinIP, GRE, Firewall & NAT, etc.
  • Control Plane: IKE, VRRP, Routing (RIP, OSPF, BGP), etc.
  • Services: DHCP, SNMP, and more
  • IPv4 and IPv6
  • Performance: Over 100 Gbps IPsec throughput while performing both crypto and authentication on all packets without external crypto technology on a Quad Intel® Xeon Processor E7-4800 v2 Series system @ 2.8 GHz leveraging only 22 cores

6WIND also noted that its new Turbo Appliances can be integrated with 6WIND’s Virtual Accelerator for accelerated virtual switching and networking infrastructure, and third party virtual functions, in the transition to Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and virtual networking environments. For example, by combining 6WIND’s Virtual Accelerator and Turbo Router, customers can achieve over 5x performance of a standard Linux router VM running on top of Open vSwitch, while saving 75% of the system’s processor resources to run additional VMs.

“Our new Speed Series Turbo Router and Turbo IPsec appliances leverage our industry-proven 6WINDGate technology to provide the packet processing performance of hardware networking solutions in software,” said Eric Carm├Ęs, CEO and Founder of 6WIND. “Our Turbo Appliances deliver an impressive price/performance advantage over competing software appliances and traditional purpose-built hardware appliances.”

Dell’Oro: Microwave Transmission Equipment Market Improves

The point-to-point microwave transmission market is forecast to generate approximately $21 billion in equipment revenue over the next five years, according to a new report by Dell’Oro Group.

“The environment for microwave transmission equipment began to improve in 2014.  We believe this positive trend will last for a few more years as operators continue to roll out new cell sites and upgrade to 4G LTE,” said Jimmy Yu, Vice President of Microwave Transmission research at Dell’Oro Group.  “Within the next five years, we also anticipate the installation of small cells will become more pronounced, driving a change in the microwave market.  That is, since the requirements for small cell backhaul are fundamentally different from those of macro cells, we envision the variety of microwave transmission equipment deployed will change in unison. We also believe the market movement to small cell backhaul will drive higher demand for Packet Microwave, full outdoor unit configurations, and ultra-high capacity links,” Mr. Yu added.

Some highlights:

  • Packet Microwave revenue expected to comprise nearly one-third of Microwave Transmission market by 2019.
  • Full outdoor unit configured radio transceivers forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 27 percent for next five years.
  • Ultra-high capacity system shipments forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 37 percent for next five years.

NTT Com Offers Low Latency Interconnect to Singapore Exchange

NTT Communications is teaming up with the Japan Exchange Group (JPX) and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) to launch of the lowest latency direct connect between the colocation facilities of JPX and SGX. The service will start from April 2015.

The connectivity is delivered via NTT Com’s own Asia Submarine Cable Express (ASE), which provides the shortest cable route available between Japan and Singapore.  JPX-SGX Co-Location Direct will provide low-latency connectivity, enabling traders to strengthen their competitiveness in high-frequency trading and related business.

Allied Fiber Signs Telefonica Global for Dark Fiber in Florida

Allied Fiber announced a 20-year agreement with Telefonica Global Solutions to provide dark fiber in the United States, as well as neutral colocation and interconnection services which will strengthen Telefonica's International infrastructures in America.

Allied Fiber will provide Telefonica with dedicated access and use of its own physical network infrastructure within the Allied Fiber system enabling greater control of service provisioning, network scalability and costs.

The Allied Fiber Southeast segment covers more than 360 miles throughout the State of Florida and was built specifically to serve network operators of all types including, national, regional and metro carriers, as well as submarine cable networks.

"Telefonica is a marquee customer for Allied Fiber," comments Hunter Newby, CEO of Allied Fiber. "We are very pleased to have this relationship with such an established global service provider and we look forward to working with them in the future," added Hunter.

Lattice Semi to Acquire Silicon Image for $600 Million

Lattice Semiconductor agreed to acquire Silicon Image in an all-cash tender offer of $7.30 per share, representing an equity value of approximately $600 million (or approximately $450 million on an enterprise value basis).

Silicon Image, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, led the creation of the HDMI, DVI and MHL standards, and is a driving force behind the WirelessHD standard. In addition, Silicon Image offers manufacturers comprehensive standards interoperability and compliance testing services via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Simplay Labs. The company holds over 500 patents and has some 600 employees.

Lattice Semiconductor, which is based in Hillsboro, Oregon, supplies power, small form factor, low cost, FPGAs, CPLDs and Power Management devices.

"This is a truly transformative event for both Lattice Semiconductor and Silicon Image. For the first time in the semiconductor industry, a single company will combine the design flexibility and time to market benefits of FPGAs, with the highly integrated, function and cost optimization benefits of ASSP solutions. We are excited to move forward with Silicon Image and confident we will be able to drive higher revenue and earnings growth, through the benefits of better economies of scale and material cost synergies. We expect this transaction to be immediately accretive on a non-GAAP basis," stated Darin G. Billerbeck, Lattice Semiconductor's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blueprint: Tips for Avoiding a Data Center Blizzard

by Jeff Klaus, General Manager of DCM Solutions, Intel

We're in the depth of winter and, yes, the snow can be delightful… until you have to move your car or walk a half block on icy streets. Inside the datacenter, the IT Wonderland might lack snowflakes but everyday activities are even more challenging year round. Instead of snowdrifts and ice, tech teams are faced with mountains of data.

So what are the datacenter equivalents of snowplows, shovels, and hard physical labor? The right management tools and strategies are essential for clearing data paths and allowing information to move freely and without disruption.

This winter, Intel gives a shout-out to the unsung datacenter heroes, and offers some advice about how to effectively avoid being buried under an avalanche of data. The latest tools and datacenter management methodologies can help technology teams overcome the hazardous conditions that might otherwise freeze up business processes.

Tip #1: Take Inventory

Just as the winter holiday season puts a strain on family budgets, the current economic conditions continue to put budget pressures on the datacenter. Expectations, however, remain high. Management expects to see costs go down while users want service improvements. IT and datacenter managers are being asked to do more with less.

The budget pressures make it important to fully assess and utilize the in-place datacenter management resources. IT can start with the foundational server and PDU hardware in the datacenter. Modern equipment vendors build in features that facilitate very cost-effective monitoring and management. For example, servers can be polled to gather real-time temperature and power consumption readings.

Middleware solutions are available to take care of collecting, aggregating, displaying, and logging this information, and when combined with a management dashboard can give datacenter managers insights into the energy and temperature patterns under various workloads.

Since the energy and temperature data is already available at the hardware level, introducing the right tools to leverage the information is a practical step that can pay for itself in the form of energy savings and the ability to spot problems such as temperature spikes so that proactive steps can be taken before equipment is damaged or services are interrupted.

Tip #2: Replace Worn-Out Equipment

While a snow shovel can last for years, datacenter resources are continually being enhanced, changed, and updated. IT needs tools that can allow them to keep up with requests and very efficiently deploy and configure software at a rapid pace.

Virtualization and cloud architectures, which evolved in response to the highly dynamic nature of the datacenter, have recently been applied to some of the most vital datacenter management tools. Traditional hardware keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) solutions for remotely troubleshooting and supporting desktop systems are being replaced with all-software and virtualized KVM platforms. This means that datacenter managers can quickly resolve update issues and easily monitor software status across a large, dynamic infrastructure without having to continually manage and update KVM hardware.

Tip #3: Plan Ahead

It might not snow everyday, even in Alaska or Antarctica. In the datacenter, however, data grows everyday. A study by IDC, in fact, found that data is expected to double in size every two years, culminating in 44 zettabytes by 2020. An effective datacenter plan depends on accurate projections of data growth and the required server expansion for supporting that growth.

The same tools that were previously mentioned for monitoring and analyzing energy and temperature patterns in the datacenter can help IT and datacenter architects better understand workload trends. Besides providing insights about growth trends, the tools promote a holistic approach for lowering the overall power budget for the datacenter and enable datacenter teams to operate within defined energy budget limits. Since many large datacenters already operate near the limits of the local utility companies, energy management has become mission critical for any fast-growing datacenter.

Tip #4: Stay Cool

Holiday shopping can be a budget buster, and the credit card bills can be quite a shock in January. In the datacenter, rising energy costs and green initiatives similarly strain energy budgets. Seasonal demands, which peak in both summer and the depths of winter, can mean more short-term outages and big storms that can force operations over to a disaster recovery site.

With the right energy management tools, datacenter and facilities teams can come together to maximize the overall energy efficiency for the datacenter and the environmental conditions solutions (humidity control, cooling, etc.). For example, holistic energy management solutions can identify ghost servers, those systems that are idle and yet still consuming power. Hot spots can be located and workloads shifted such that less cooling is required and equipment life extended. The average datacenter experiences between 15 to 20 percent savings on overall energy costs with the introduction of an energy management solution.

Tip #5: Reading the Signs of the Times

During a blizzard, the local authorities direct the snowplows, police, and rescue teams to keep everyone safe. Signs and flashing lights remind everyone of the rules. In the datacenter, the walls may not be plastered with the rules, but government regulations and compliance guidelines are woven into the vital day-to-day business processes.

Based on historical trends, regulations will continue to increase and datacenter managers should not expect any decrease in terms of required compliance-related efforts. Public awareness about energy resources and the related environment impact surrounding energy exploration and production also encourage regulators.

Fortunately, the energy management tools and approaches that help improve efficiencies and lower costs also enable overall visibility and historical logging that supports audits and other compliance-related activities.

When “politically correct” behavior and cost savings go hand in hand, momentum builds quickly. This effect is both driving demand for and promoting great advances in energy management technology, which bodes well for datacenter managers since positive results always depend on having the right tools. And when it comes to IT Wonderlands, energy management can be the equivalent of the whole toolshed.

About the Author

Jeff Klaus is the general manager of Data Center Manager (DCM) Solutions, at Intel Corporation, where he has managed technology groups for more than 14 years. Klaus’s team is pioneering power- and thermal-management middleware, which is sold through an ecosystem of data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software companies and server OEMs. A graduate of Boston College, Klaus also holds an MBA from Boston University.

About Intel

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world's computing devices. As a leader in corporate responsibility and sustainability, Intel also manufactures the world's first commercially available "conflict-free" microprocessors.

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AT&T Repositions as Revenue Stream to Shift

AT&T expects a significant shift in its revenue stream from consumer mobile to business services, TV, broadband and international projects. In its quarterly earnings report, AT&T said its recent acquisitions in Mexico and its pending acquisition of DIRECTV will diversify the company and expand its range.

“Over the last year, we’ve made several moves to significantly transform our business for the future” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “Our transactions with DIRECTV and Mexican wireless companies Iusacell and Nextel Mexico will make us a very different company. We’ll be unique in the industry because we’ll be able to offer integrated capabilities across a diversified base of services, customers, geographies and technology platforms. After we close DIRECTV, our largest revenue stream will come from business-related accounts, followed by U.S. TV and broadband, U.S. consumer mobility and then international mobility and TV.

“We ended the year substantially complete with our Project VIP network initiative and with most of our postpaid smartphone customers off of device subsidy plans. As a result, our full-year performance saw record-low postpaid customer churn and best-ever wireless service margins – all in a highly competitive wireless market.”

On the financial front, AT&T reported Q4 2014 revenue of $34.4 billion, up 3.8 percent versus the year-earlier period and up 4.5 percent when adjusting for the sale of Connecticut wireline properties. Due to non-cash charges, loss of $0.77 per share in the fourth quarter compared to $1.31 diluted EPS in the year-ago quarter. Excluding significant items, EPS was $0.55 versus $0.53 a year ago, up 3.8 percent.

Some highlights for the quarter:


  • Total wireless revenues were up 7.7 percent year over year to $19.9 billion. 
  • Fourth-quarter wireless operating expenses totaled $16.6 billion, up 14.8 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, largely due to higher equipment costs from record gross adds and upgrades and costs associated with the company’s acquisition of Leap Wireless. 
  • Wireless operating income was $3.2 billion, down 18.1 percent year over year largely due to increased volumes and Leap integration costs. Fourth-quarter 2014 service revenue comparisons included impacts from strong customer adoption of Mobile Share Value plans, partially offset by increased revenues from Leap.
  • The continued adoption of AT&T Next and Mobile Share Value plans is reflected in a year-over-year reduction in postpaid service ARPU (average revenues per user). Phone-only postpaid ARPU decreased 10.7 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. Phone-only postpaid ARPU with AT&T Next monthly billings decreased 4.1 percent year over year, but increased 0.4 percent sequentially. The strong adoption of Mobile Share Value plans also is impacting service revenues. 
  • AT&T posted a fourth-quarter net increase in total wireless subscribers of 1.9 million, led by gains in postpaid and connected devices. 
  • AT&T added 854,000 postpaid subscribers, up both year over year and sequentially. 
  • Connected device net adds were 1,296,000, including about 800,000 connected cars. 
  • At the end of the quarter, 83 percent, or 56.8 million, of AT&T's postpaid phone subscribers had smartphones, up from 77 percent, or 51.9 million, a year earlier. AT&T’s ARPU for smartphones is about twice that of non-smartphone subscribers. 
  • At the end of the fourth quarter, 75 percent of AT&T’s postpaid smartphone customers had an LTE-capable device.
  • At the end of the fourth quarter, half of Mobile Share accounts had 10 gigabyte or larger data plans, up from 27 percent in the year-ago quarter. 


  • Total fourth-quarter wireline revenues were $14.6 billion, down 1.0 percent versus the year-earlier quarter and down slightly versus the third quarter of 2014. 
  • Total revenues from business customers were $8.6 billion, down 2.8 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. When adjusting for the sale of the company’s Connecticut wireline properties, total revenues declined 1.8 percent year over year. 
  • Overall, declines in legacy products were partially offset by continued double-digit growth in strategic business services. Revenues from these services, the next-generation capabilities that lead AT&T's most advanced business solutions — including VPNs, Ethernet, cloud, hosting, IP conferencing, VoIP, MIS over Ethernet, U-verse and security services — grew 13.8 percent versus the year-earlier quarter and grew 14.3 when adjusting for the sale of Connecticut wireline properties. These services represent an annualized revenue stream of more than $10 billion and were nearly 30 percent of wireline business revenues in the fourth quarter. During the quarter, the company also added 31,000 U-verse high speed broadband business subscribers.
  • Revenues from residential customers totaled $5.6 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent versus the fourth quarter a year ago. When adjusted for the sale of the Connecticut wireline operations, revenue growth was 2.4 percent. Continued strong growth in consumer IP data services in the fourth quarter more than offset lower revenues from legacy voice and data products. 
  • U-verse, which includes high speed Internet, TV and Voice over IP, now represents 67 percent of wireline consumer revenues, up from 57 percent in the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted consumer U-verse revenues grew 21.1 percent year over year. 
  • U-verse high speed Internet had a fourth-quarter net gain of 405,000 subscribers, for a total of 12.2 million. 
  • U-verse TV added 73,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter for nearly 6 million in service at the end of the fourth quarter after adjusting for the sale of the Connecticut operations.

Google Fiber Expands to Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Raleigh

Google announced plans to bring its fiber access service to 18 cities in the south-eastern U.S. across four new metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham.

The company said its next steps will be to to work with these cities to create a detailed map for deploying thousands of miles of fiber, using existing infrastructure such as utility poles and underground conduit.

Google Fiber is currently live in Kansas City, Provo and Austin. Google also noted that it is continuing to explore bringing fiber to five additional metro areas—Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose.

Ericsson's Fourth Quarter Sales Decline 2% YoY

Ericsson reported 4Q 2014 sales of SEK 68.0 (67.0) b., a growth of 1% YoY and 18% QoQ, but down 2% YoY when adjusted for currency exchanges. The sales growth YoY was mainly driven by the Middle East, Europe and Asia, offset by sales decline in North America. Operating income in the fourth quarter improved YoY, primarily driven by higher software sales and efficiency enhancements.

Some highlights from the company's quarterly report:

  • Mobile broadband sales increased both YoY and QoQ thanks to existing contracts in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, India and parts of Europe. In mainland China the majority of the business in the quarter was related to the continued LTE deployments. 
  • Sales in North America were mainly driven by operator investments in capacity and quality enhancements also this quarter, although at a slower pace. 
  • In North America, consumer demand and mobile data traffic growth continues to be strong in North America, but Ericsson anticipates the North American mobile broadband business to remain slow in the short-term.
  • Global Services showed stable growth with momentum for professional services driven by managed services and systems integration sales. During the quarter, 17 new managed services contracts were signed, including a pan-India contract.
  • Ericsson ended 2014 with 116,000 employees, up from 112,000 at the end of 2013.

F5 Tunes its BIG-IQ for Agile App Delivery and Cisco APIC

The newest version of F5 Networks' BIG-IQ intelligent management framework promises deeper collaboration between the network operations center and DevOps teams by centrally managing application delivery and by employing role-based access control (RBAC).

BIG-IQ offers both an innovative UI and RESTful APIs to centrally manage F5 BIG-IP devices and to control F5’s Local Traffic Manager, Advanced Firewall Manager, and Application Security Manager solutions. BIG-IQ’s use of iApps templates orchestrates Software Defined Application Services, both locally and in public and private clouds to increase business agility while eliminating many of the risks associated with managing point solutions individually. BIG-IQ provides a single point of integration between solutions from F5 and technologies from Cisco, VMware, Microsoft, and OpenStack.

Key capabilities include:

  • Manage Application Delivery Services: Role-based central management of application delivery functions across the network to increase agility with software-defined orchestration of application services.
  • Orchestrate Application Delivery in the Cloud: Enhanced connectivity and partner integration with expanded orchestration and management of cloud platforms via third-party developers, as well as improved customer experience via workflows and integrations.
  • Manage BIG-IP Devices: Manage physical and virtual BIG-IP devices and virtual edition licensing from a single pane of glass.
  • Manage Security: Centralizes security policy deployment, administration, and management, thereby simplifying firewall policy management and enabling stronger security.
  • Reduce Risk: Safer change management through simplified configuration and the removal of many of the administrative touch-points across multiple devices.
F5 BIG-IQ orchestration updates will also be available through the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).

“F5 Synthesis and Cisco ACI can deliver industry-first integration with BIG-IP appliances and the BIG-IQ orchestration system. Cisco ACI and F5 joint solutions offer customers a choice depending on their preferences, operational models, and business needs. Customers can manage F5 BIG-IP appliances and Virtual Editions directly from the Cisco APIC controller for automated L4–7 service insertion and stitching,” said Soni Jiandani, SVP, Marketing, Cisco. “Joint F5 and Cisco customers will be able to integrate APIC with BIG-IQ for dynamic creation of APIC plug-ins based on existing iApps and iRules® configurations in their environments. Together, Cisco ACI and the F5 portfolio deliver true, rich application deployments while preserving customers’ L4–7 operational models, guaranteeing multi-tenancy and scale.”

Overture Adds Carrier Ethernet VNF and Service Intelligence

Overture Networks introduced its Ensemble Carrier Ethernet (ECE) Virtual Network Function (VNF) -- the first such hardware-agnostic Carrier Ethernet VNF, delivering the same Carrier Ethernet 2.0 functionality of a physical Ethernet Access Device without being tied to proprietary, purpose built hardware.

Overture said its ECE VNF software can run on any Intel-based server. For hardened environments, the Overture 65vSE can host the ECE and multiple other VNFs. This hardware-agnostic approach provides service providers with the ability to instantly deploy new, on-demand applications in a CO, data center, or customer premise, simplifying operations and driving new service innovation. As a software-based solution, the ECE VNF can easily scale services as needed, with line-rate performance up to 10GigE. It also enables an optimized NFV model where the virtual network functions can be placed wherever the service provider chooses; the service edge, a central location, or both.

“Our customers clearly want to transition their networks into agile, automated, open environments that will drive dramatic costs reductions and accelerate their service delivery,” said Mike Aquino, president and CEO, Overture “the introduction of the industry’s first true Carrier Ethernet Virtual Network Function is a milestone achievement in the advancement of NFV from the lab to field trials.  It demonstrates our commitment to an evolving open ecosystem which ultimately helps our customers maximize both capital and operational efficiencies, while accelerating the pace of new revenue-generating.”

ECE joins the company’s already released Ensemble Service Orchestrator (ESO) and Ensemble Network Controller (ENC), as part of Overture's growing Ensemble Open Services Architecture portfolio.

Overture is also introducing its Ensemble Service Intelligence (ESI), which leverages big data technologies and applies advanced analytics in an open system to provide actionable intelligence for service orchestration. ESI stores and correlates data from virtual and physical network components, as well as from existing performance management, EMS and other management systems. ESI enhances automated orchestration across a multi-vendor NFV environment with features such as service lifecycle management, policy-based auto-scaling and multi-level service verification and diagnostics. It comes with an initial suite of service intelligence applications that provide full service lifecycle history, as well as the capability to monitor network VNF performance to ensure customer SLAs are met.

Overture said its new ESI provides a simplified way to achieve OSS integration by bridging NFV with legacy systems, while its open architecture allows further application development.

Crehan: Multiple Technologies Drive Stronger Server Networking Upgrade Cycle

The availability of multiple new data-center Ethernet speeds will lead to a much stronger server networking upgrade cycle than seen over the past decade, according to a new Server-Class Adapter & LAN-on-Motherboard (LOM) Long-Range Forecast Report from Crehan Research.

The firm expects that the impending arrival of 25 gigabit Ethernet (GbE), 50GbE and 100GbE products, in combination with existing 10GbE and 40GbE products, will result in more than two-thirds of total networking ports migrating to high-speed Ethernet within three years (see accompanying figure).

“Over the past decade or so, the data center has seen many significant changes, and it is no longer a one-size-fits-all market,” said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “Consequently, we are seeing solutions that are highly optimized for the needs of specific customer segments, whether it be a fully vertically integrated system for a converged enterprise network or a bare-bones disaggregated system for a massively scalable cloud service provider,” he said. “As a result, the market is currently looking for more targeted Ethernet networking solutions.”

The report predicts that the many various high-speed Ethernet options will coexist for some time, each benefitting from the demands of a specific market segment. For example:
  • 25GbE is expected to see a strong initial ramp from deployments by cloud titans such as Google and Microsoft, an area of the market where 10GbE server networking is currently prevalent. 
  • 10GbE should see its third, and biggest, adoption phase as the mainstream enterprise market upgrades its mostly 1GBASE-T server and server access infrastructure to 10GBASE-T.
  • 40GbE is starting to ramp significantly, benefitting from a current window of opportunity as the most attractively priced data center Ethernet speed from a bandwidth perspective. 

In both its 3Q14 Server-Class Adapter & LAN-on-Motherboard (LOM) Long-Range Forecast and its 3Q14 Data Center Switch reports, Crehan Research highlighted the dramatic uptake in 40GbE data center adoption, noting that networking bandwidth demands were so strong in some market verticals that these customers could not wait to evaluate impending 25GbE and 50GbE options.