Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ETSI’s NFV Group Publishes Phase 1 Specs

ETSI’s Network Functions Virtualisation  (NFV) Industry Specification Group (ISG) announced the publication of eleven specifications under phase 1 of its activity.

The work includes an infrastructure overview, an updated architectural framework, and descriptions of the compute, hypervisor and network domains of the infrastructure. The new specifications also cover management and orchestration, security and trust, resilience and service quality metrics.

The list of phase 1 NFV specifications:

“I’d like to thank all of the NFV ISG participants for their tremendous dedication through our numerous face-to-face meetings and conference calls to evolve the NFV vision from the original operator whitepaper and bring these documents to publication” said Steven Wright, Chair of ETSI NFV ISG.

All published NFV documents are freely downloadable at:

Verizon Announces Connected-vehicle Service

Verizon introduced a new connected-vehicle service available directly to consumers in the U.S.

Verizon Vehicle, expected to make its commercial debut in the second quarter of 2015 as a subscription offer, provides in vehicle services such as diagnostic information and roadside assistance. It operates through an OBD reader that can easily be self-installed in the under-dash diagnostic port, a Bluetooth-enabled speaker attached to the visor and a complementary smartphone app.

“As one of the largest communications companies in the world, we are dedicated to providing consumers with innovative technology solutions that connect people, solve challenges and inspire change. Verizon Vehicle is a unique and truly holistic aftermarket solution available to over 200 million vehicles on the road today. It affords millions of drivers the power of knowing when things aren’t working well, potentially before a breakdown occurs -- fostering a safer, smarter and more economical way to drive and maintain a vehicle,” said Goldman.

Key features:

  • GPS-directed pinpoint Roadside Assistance for breakdowns, flat tires, overheating, a dead battery -- anything that might require towing or immediate repair. Dispatches are made to the exact location of a disabled vehicle.
  • Automatic Urgent Incident Alert System places a call to the Verizon Vehicle Member Care Center in the event of a suspected accident. Help is immediately dispatched to the location if an accident is confirmed or there is no response from the driver. The time saved can potentially save lives by delivering critical emergency assistance when a person may not be able to call for help.
  • One-Button SOS Assistance immediately connects the driver to a live agent for emergency aid.
  • Auto Health System with Predictive Diagnostics translates most “Check Engine” light occurrences into real terms, including the description and severity of the matter, the probable solutions for the problem – and the appropriate cost for the repairs. The system is also designed to provide early warnings relating to some vehicle functions, even before a warning light comes on, to help keep you off the side of the road.
  • Mechanic’s Hotline is staffed with A.S.E. Certified Mechanics providing members access to immediate and unbiased information related to their vehicles, and a professional analysis of trouble they may be experiencing. 
  • Parking & Meter Tools help drivers find where they left their vehicle -- using the Verizon Vehicle smartphone app -- while also keeping track of how much time is left on the meter.
  • Maintenance Alerts inform vehicle owners when scheduled maintenance is required. No more guesswork as to when to rotate those tires or change the oil.
  • Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance guides drivers when reporting a theft and helps authorities recover the stolen vehicle.
  • Travel & Repair Savings – Verizon Vehicle members will be entitled to substantial discounts on hotels, vehicle rentals, auto maintenance, repairs and related travel expenses.

Obama Calls for Municipal Broadband Support

President Obama is calling for new measures to promote faster and more affordable broadband by supporting municipal networks and spurring competition.

Key elements of the plan, as outlined by the White House:

Calling to End Laws that Harm Broadband Service Competition - opposing laws in 19 states that limit the range of options available to communities to spur expanded local broadband infrastructure, including ownership of networks. The Obama Administration will urge the FCC to address barriers inhibiting local communities from responding to the broadband needs of their citizens.

Expanding the National Movement of Local Leaders for Better Broadband - offering support for the Next Century Cities coalition, a nonpartisan network pledging to bring fast, community-supported broadband to their towns and cities. In June 2015 the White House will host a Community Broadband Summit of mayors and county commissioners from around the nation who are joining this movement for broadband solutions and economic revitalization. These efforts will also build on the US Ignite partnership, launched by White House in 2012, and which has grown to include more than 65 research universities and 35 cities in developing new next-generation gigabit applications.

Announcing a New Initiative to Support Community Broadband Projects - the Department of Commerce is launching a new BroadbandUSA initiative to promote broadband deployment and adoption. Building on expertise gained from overseeing the $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program funded through the Recovery Act, BroadbandUSA will offer online and in-person technical assistance to communities; host a series of regional workshops around the country; and publish guides and tools that provide communities with proven solutions to address problems in broadband infrastructure planning, financing, construction, and operations across many types of business models.

Unveiling New Grant and Loan Opportunities for Rural Providers - The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications to its Community Connect broadband grant program and will reopen a revamped broadband loan program, which offers financing to eligible rural carriers that invest in bringing high-speed broadband to unserved and under served rural areas.

Removing Regulatory Barriers and Improving Investment Incentives - the President is calling for the Federal Government to remove all unnecessary regulatory and policy barriers to broadband build-out and competition, and is establishing a new Broadband Opportunity Council of over a dozen government agencies with the singular goal of speeding up broadband deployment and promoting adoption for our citizens. The Council will also solicit public comment on unnecessary regulatory barriers and opportunities to promote greater coordination with the aim of addressing those within its scope.

Some industry reactions:

COMPTEL's Chip Pickering: "COMPTEL commends President Obama for proposing initiatives that are designed to bring affordable broadband services to more communities across the nation. Competition has been the driving force in spurring investment in new technologies and infrastructure, encouraging new companies to bring innovative services to market and driving costs down. Our members continue to be at the forefront of this competitive revolution, delivering broadband to small and mid-sized businesses, which had long been underserved by the incumbents. This renewed focus on removing regulatory barriers and improving investment incentives are more steps in the right direction to ensure that American consumers can enjoy faster broadband services and lower costs.” 

CTIA's Meredith Atwell Baker - "CTIA applauds President Obama's recognition that broadband drives economic growth and supports innovation. Today's remarks, however, failed to acknowledge that America's wireless consumers already benefit every day from the dynamic, competitive market that the President seeks, with more than 8 out of 10 Americans having access to at least four wireless broadband providers. By focusing on government-owned networks, the President missed an important opportunity to promote private wireless broadband investment and the potential for 4G, 5G and fixed wireless solutions to deliver more competitive choice and innovation to rural America.

The President's focus today on using taxpayer money to compete with commercial providers, which are pouring billions in private capital every year into U.S. broadband infrastructure and jobs, is the wrong path forward. The wireless industry has invested $100 billion in the last four years alone. In such a vigorously competitive market, government-owned networks would only serve to chill private sector investment, tilt the competitive playing field, and harm consumers."

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) - “Ubiquitous broadband deployment empowers consumers, strengthens communities and provides economic opportunity for the innovative companies that drive our ICT sector. TIA has long supported this goal, and we applaud President Obama’s initiative. A critical step forward is to remove regulatory barriers that prevent or discourage private sector investment in new broadband facilities. At the same time, we encourage a collaboration with local governments, and additional public efforts can and should work to supplement private sector investments. TIA believes that state and local governments should be free to identify those broadband needs that are best met through some form of governmental action or partnership with the private sector.”

F5's State of Application Delivery Survey

Current application environments are huge and growing, with many organizations reporting 200-500 applications currently deployed, according to F5 Networks' newly released 2015 State of Application Delivery survey.  More than 300 F5 customers from a broad range of vertical markets were interviewed for the survey.

Some key takeaways:

  • 20 percent of respondents said they have 201-500 applications currently deployed, and 28 percent have 1-200 applications deployed.
  • Private cloud and mobile are top-ranked trends - private cloud was ranked highest at 59 percent, and mobile apps a close second with 56 percent.
  • Application availability edges security in importance: When asked which services they couldn’t imagine deploying an application without, availability services was the top-ranking category with 40 percent of responses. Security services ranked nearly as high at 30 percent. Respondents reinforced the belief that if an application isn’t available, other services aren’t considered as important.
  • API-enabled infrastructure needed to drive business agility: Programmability is a key component for DevOps, SDN, and cloud computing. F5 customers responding to the survey assigned importance to programmatic technologies and capabilities within the network infrastructure, indicating a substantial shift toward the adoption of customizable automation and orchestration of network services.
  • SDN must reduce operating expenses: Customers continue to be interested in SDN as a means to operationalize their networks. According to the survey, two-thirds of respondents are considering SDN to reduce operating expenses. In order to progress from today’s early adopter stage to widespread implementation, SDN must address this requirement.

Zayo to Acquire Latisys for $675 Million

Zayo agreed to acquire the operating units of Latisys Holdings, a colocation and infrastructure as a service (“Iaas”) provider for US$675 million.

Latisys provides colocation and IaaS services through eight datac enters across five markets – Northern Virginia, Chicago, Denver, Orange County and London. Its data centers currently total over 185,000 square feet of billable space and 33 megawatts of critical power with the ability to expand. Latisys focuses on marketing to and serving approximately 1,100 predominantly medium to large enterprise customers with large storage, compute and data connectivity needs. The combination of high quality assets, innovation and accelerating market demand has driven a strong track record of robust revenue growth and margin expansion since its founding in 2007. The company generated Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $11.0 million for the three months ended September 2014 and approximately $4.2 million for the month of November 2014.

Zayo said the deal will expand its data center portfolio to 45 facilities within the US, France and the United Kingdom. Latisys provides zColo a data center presence in four new markets. Zayo owns and operates extensive metropolitan fiber networks across all of the Latisys markets, physically connecting each of its data center facilities. This will allow Zayo to sell fiber and bandwidth services to Latisys’ core set of enterprise customers, and to market new colocation and IaaS services to Zayo’s base of carrier and content customers.

“Both Latisys and Zayo’s zColo business have a great track record of creating value for investors and customers,” said Dan Caruso, chairman and CEO of Zayo Group. “The addition of Latisys into Zayo strengthens Zayo’s portfolio of infrastructure services.”

IBM Opens Softlayer Cloud Data Center in Mexico

The new facility, located in QuerĂ©taro (near Mexico City) strengthens IBM Cloud’s presence in Latin America by offering data residency within the region, even more redundancy in the Americas, and the complete SoftLayer platform, enabling customers to create their ideal fully integrated, scalable cloud computing environment in Mexico.

The Mexico City cloud center follows SoftLayer’s standardized pod design, having the capacity for thousands of physical servers and offering the full range of SoftLayer cloud infrastructure services, including bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage, security services, and networking.

The facility also provides 10Gbps connections to SoftLayer services, less than 25 milliseconds of latency from IBM’s Dallas cloud center, and less than 210 milliseconds of latency from IBM’s growing network of SoftLayer cloud centers around the world.

IBM’s global cloud footprint now includes new cloud centers recently launched in Frankfurt, Tokyo, Paris, Melbourne, Toronto, London, Texas, Virginia, and Hong Kong - all of which opened in the last year. For data redundancy, IBM noted that backups that can be replicated and seamlessly integrated in any of its SoftLayer cloud centers via SoftLayer’s leading private network, with free unmetered bandwidth between locations.

  • In January 2014, IBM announced plans to invest $1.2 billion to expand its cloud business and build on its acquisition of Softlayer data centers last year. The plans call for 15 new data centers worldwide, including new Softlayer facilities in Washington D.C., Mexico City, Dallas, China, Hong Kong, London, Japan, India and Canada. The expansion will bring the number of IBM cloud data centers to about 40 worldwide.

Riverbed Releases its Most Powerful SteelHead

Riverbed introduced its most powerful Riverbed SteelHead WAN optimization appliances to date.

The Riverbed CX 70 series features a complete hardware update, including solid state drive-based architecture, double the RAM capacity and increased processing power for great scalability and even better application performance. It is targeted at hybrid enterprises seeking to accelerate performance of on-premises, cloud, and SaaS applications.  To address these challenges, SteelHead CX 70 series can securely optimize the growing number of connections between end-users and web-based application servers.

Some highlights

  • Up to 5x more WAN capacity for SteelHead Network Services, which include Application Flow Engine, Network QoS, Path Selection, Secure Transport and SteelFlow – the integration between SteelHead 9.0 and SteelCentral AppResponse 9.5 for complete visibility of performance metrics
  • Rated to support 100% of optimized connections using secure socket layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) application protocols, meeting the data transport security requirements of modern day applications
  • Greatly improved application performance and reliability with 100% solid state drive (SSD)-based architecture.

“Riverbed is best positioned to do for hybrid networks and SaaS applications what we’ve done for traditional WANs and applications running on-premises for over 10 years,” said Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President and General Manager, SteelHead Products Group at Riverbed. “SteelHead has always delivered unparalleled optimization to applications, and we’ve now added visibility and control across hybrid apps and hybrid networks, which are critical to enabling hybrid enterprises to achieve peak performance. Our new CX70 hardware series coupled with SteelHead 9.0 and SteelCentral AppResponse 9.5, offers the most powerful solution for IT to transform application performance into business performance.”

SoftBank Mobile Selects JDSU xSIGHT for LTE Assurance

Japan's SoftBank Mobile (SBM) has selected the JDSU xSIGHT Customer Experience Assurance solution to optimize the scale and quality of experience (QoE) of its LTE services, and offer a differentiated customer experience. JDSU said it was picked following a competitive trial.

“SBM had a very demanding and aggressive set of requirements, which is a testament to a strong commitment to continually improve the quality of their LTE service offerings and customer satisfaction,” said Sue Spradley, senior vice president and general manager of JDSU’s Network and Service Enablement business segment. “JDSU is proud of the innovation and value that we proved in the trial and that we were chosen as SBM’s assurance partner for LTE success.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nutanix Hires Former Citrix VP to Head Product Strategy

Nutanix announced the appointment of Sunil Potti to the position of senior vice president of engineering and product management. He joins Nutanix from Citrix, where he led the Citrix NetScaler business for over five years of record growth. He joined Citrix from F5 Networks, where he was vice president of the acceleration and virtualization group. Prior to F5, he co-founded and led all product efforts for application-oriented networking at Cisco.

“Nutanix is upending the market by providing truly innovative web-scale technology to enterprises and global service providers,” said Sunil Potti. “In a relatively short period of time, Nutanix has built strong brand equity and inspired delight with over 1000 customers worldwide by being the only solution to make datacenter infrastructure truly simple.”

International M2M Council Gains Momentum

The International M2M Council (IMC), which is an industry group representing the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine Communications (M2M) sector, announced that KORE CEO Alex Brisbourne has been voted Chairman. KORE is the world's largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) dedicated to providing wireless connectivity for M2M.

The IMC also noted that its membership roster has skyrocketed to over 5,000 members joining since February of 2014. Board member-companies include Aeris, Amdocs, AT&T, B&B Electronics, Deutsche Telekom, Digi International, Inmarsat, Iridium, KORE, Numerex, Orbcomm, Synapse Wireless, Telecom Italia, Telit, Verizon, and Wyless.