Monday, February 23, 2015

IBM Extends its Push into Hybrid Clouds

IBM announced new hybrid cloud technology and investments to help its clients extend control, visibility, security and governance as they integrate existing applications, data and services across a multitude of traditional systems and clouds.

New tools to increase workload portability and control include:

  • IBM Enterprise Containers: Help developers rapidly build and deliver applications by extending native Linux containers with Docker APIs to provide enterprise –class visibility, control and security as well as an added level of automation. Solutions developed in a cloud environment could be brought to on-premises systems for execution, allowing many of the benefits of cloud computing to be realized for data that cannot be moved to cloud for processing for reasons of data sensitivity, size, or performance.
  • IBM DataWorks: New, intuitive tooling and experience to find, refine, enrich and deliver trusted data. This allows developers to subdivide and manipulate data sets from the treasure trove of public and private data.
  • Collaborative Operations: Enhanced visibility and control of clients' hybrid environments with a single, end-to-end view.
  • Orchestration: Available as a service enabling management across hybrid environments that is the largest federated orchestration library in the industry.
  • Security: New features that protect the most vital data and applications using analytics across the enterprise, public and private clouds and mobile devices.
  • Secure Passport Gateway: Allows self-service to developers to securely connect data and services to Bluemix in minutes through a simple Passport service that keeps IT in control.
  • API Harmony: Find a perfect API match for a client's application using the world's largest knowledge base of APIs; easily expose and manage APIs.
  • Bluemix Local: Extends Bluemix into a company's data center with borderless visibility and management across Bluemix environments (public, dedicated, and local)

IBM said it is dedicating the talents of more than half its cloud development team to hybrid cloud innovations, including hundreds of developers working on open cloud standards.

"Today, we are launching a new class of hybrid cloud innovations that extend open standards capabilities for the enterprise. This will help break down the barriers between clouds and on premise IT systems, providing clients with control, visibility and security as they utilize the public and private clouds," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud. "Data location across an ever growing number of clouds is an increasing concern for customers and we are unveiling new portability and developer services to make this easier to manage."

IBM also unveiled the Watson Zone, a new resource center on Bluemix that brings together Watson APIs, sample code, training resources and use cases to help inspire and guide users to build a new class of hybrid cloud applications infused with cognitive computing capabilities. In addition, a new Watson Personality Insights service will allow developers to integrate new capabilities to analyze trends and patterns in diverse, high volume social media and other public data streams. The commercial launch follows the addition of five new betas Watson services to Bluemix including Speech to Text, Text to Speech, Visual Recognition, Concept Insights and Tradeoff Analytics.

T-Mobile US Looks to LTE-U in Nokia's Flexi Zone Small Cells

T-Mobile US plans to accelerate its deployment of Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) (also referred to as LTE-U).

At the upcoming Mobile World Congress, Nokia Networks will demonstrate the capabilities of LAA, using its award-winning Nokia Flexi Zone small cells technology, currently deployed by T-Mobile to enhance the mobile broadband capacity of its rapidly growing 4G LTE network. The demonstration will include carrier aggregation between LTE in licensed and unlicensed spectrum and the technology's co-existence with Wi-Fi.

Nokia said the 5 GHz frequency band, typically used for Wi-Fi today, can uniquely complement licensed LTE bands, while LTE can provide better spectrum efficiency than current technologies on that band. Additionally, LAA brings all of LTE's efficiencies and seamless mobility to the unlicensed band while ensuring smooth co-existence with Wi-Fi services. Carrier aggregation between LTE in licensed and unlicensed spectrum provides customers guaranteed service quality and boosts overall performance where needed.

LAA is planned for 3GPP industry standardization in mid-2016. Nokia Networks plans to integrate LAA capabilities into its small cell portfolio at the end of 2015.

"LAA is an attractive solution to tap the unused potential of the 5 GHz band to give our customers LTE efficiencies and smooth co-existence with Wi-Fi. Nokia Networks' early demo not only shows the next generation of small cells, but is a critical first step to staying ahead of the increasing LTE capacity demand. Our mission is giving our customers better mobile performance and capacity when and where they need it the most. This demo is a testament to Nokia's ability to innovate quickly and bring products to market when we need them," stated Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile.

Ricky Corker, Executive Vice President of North America, Nokia Networks, said: "We're delighted to contribute to the standardization of this technology and, at the same time, innovate by building LAA readiness into our Flexi Zone small cell technology. Our demonstration proves Nokia Networks' ability to collaborate with industry innovators like T-Mobile to bring breakthrough technology quickly to market to address real world network challenges."

Bridge Alliance Picks Ericsson for Internet of Things

Bridge Alliance, composed of 36 mobile operators from Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, will deploy the Ericsson Device Connectivity Platform (DCP) multi-domestic solution for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Bridge Alliance will allow device manufacturers, enterprises or service providers to deploy their IoT services in multiple countries with the benefits of a domestic quality of service and commercial conditions. This includes a single global SIM card, harmonized service levels and business processes. They can also leverage access to DCP consumer services to manage new B2B2C business models.

Ericsson said its solution significantly reduces barriers to deployment for these enterprises, keeping total cost of ownership low while maximizing quality of service.

"The partnership with the Bridge Alliance members to deploy the Ericsson DCP is a critical milestone to make the adoption of cellular services in IoT devices economically viable for device OEM and enterprises," stated Anders Lindblad, Senior Vice President, Business Unit Cloud & IP, Ericsson.

Alessandro Adriani, CEO of Bridge Alliance, says: "The combination of Ericsson's technology leadership in IoT connectivity and Bridge Alliance's geographical coverage is an unmatched vehicle for any device original equipment manufacturer or enterprise looking to propel its business. Offering this unified experience requires more than just harmonizing interfaces across mobile operators. We have done more with Ericsson, including standardizing our footprint on a common core network. This will truly guarantee harmonized sets of features and service levels within the footprint to our customers."

Apple to Build State-of-the-art Data Centers in Ireland and Denmark

Apple will spend EUR 1.7 billion to build and operate two new data centers in Ireland and Denmark to power its iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for customers across Europe.

The facilities, located in County Galway, Ireland, and Denmark’s central Jutland, will use 100% renewable energy. Each will measure 166,000 square metres and expected to begin operations in 2017.

Apple noted that it now directly employs 18,300 people across 19 European countries and has added over 2,000 jobs in the last 12 months.  Last year, Apple spent more than €7.8 billion with European companies.  Apple also cited a number of ecological steps it will take to mitigate the impact of its new data centers, including helping to restore native trees to Derrydonnell Forest in Ireland and contributing excess heat from the new building in Denmark to a district heating system in the local community.

HP Teams with Accton and Cumulus on Open Network Switches

HP is teaming with Accton Technology and Cumulus Networks to launch a new line of open network switches for web-scale data centers -- a new category of branded white box switches that HP calls "brite box switches."

HP will provide dedicated sales teams, choice of hardware and software, and branded switches that are backed by worldwide local support and services through HP Technology Services, enabling customers to streamline operations and reduce supply chain risk. HP said this brite box approach enables it to provide a differentiated solution from original design manufacturers.  HP can de-risk supply chain concerns, provide global presence in over 160 countries and deliver a wide range of high value support and consulting services.

The first products are two open network switches that enable 10G/40G spine and 10G leaf data center deployments. Both switches will be available with Cumulus Linux OS and offer zero-touch OS installation using an open network install environment loader. In the second half of 2015, HP will expand the line to include 25G/50G/100G switches for higher performance Web scale data centers and 1G switches to address unique customer needs. HP will also expand the hardware and OS software choices to meet emerging customer requirements. The expanded offerings will enhance customers' ability to tailor their networking infrastructure to meet the specific applications and workload requirements.

"The complexity of Web-scale workloads and increasing customer demands for network services are challenging the scalability and agility of cloud data centers," said Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager, HP Enterprise Group. "Today's announcement underpins our commitment to accelerate the adoption of open networks and provide offerings optimized for web-scale deployments that enable faster time to service."

"Web scale data centers are a growing market segment with distinct needs for high scalability and network flexibility," said George Tchaparian, general manager of data center networks, Accton Technology. "This joint venture will build on the expertise of both organizations to provide global customers with a unique disaggregated networking solution built on new HP-branded open network switches and choice of networking operating system software."

"Modern data centers need great physical networking using layer 2, layer 3 and overlay architectures that are optimized for higher scalability, faster service delivery, and backed by a robust ecosystem," said JR Rivers, co-founder and CEO, Cumulus Networks. "This open networking approach to web scale data center networks empowers customers and gives web-scale IT the opportunity to serve the business better."

EZchip's TILE-Mx100 Processors Targets 100 64-bit ARM CPU Cores

EZchip Semiconductor announced plans for a TILE-Mx multicore processor that will integrate one hundred ARMv8-A 64-bit cores, a highly efficient mesh for linear scaling of the interconnected cores, and accelerators for packet processing on a single chip.  The company aims to sample the TILE-Mx in the second half of 2016.  Smaller versions with 64 and 36 cores will also be offered.

The new processor, which leverages technology acquired from Tilera, is being designed for high-performance network applications and network functions virtualization (NFV). EZChip said its TILE-Mx will use a unique mesh architecture with coherent cache and massive bandwidth that provides linear scaling of application performance. EZchip's hardware-based accelerators include a traffic manager featuring 256K queues with traffic shaping, policing and SLA (Service Level Agreements) enforcement, hardware accelerated packet classification and table lookups for millions of flows, statistics updating for millions of counters, pattern matching, cryptography and public-key acceleration. In addition, the chip will boast an optimized memory architecture with extremely high bandwidth to both the internal and external memories, and numerous interfaces for 1GE, 10GbE, 25GbE, 40GbE, 50GbE and 100-Gigabit Ethernet as well as PCI-Express.

"We are bringing to the market a new type of highly differentiated multicore processor, leveraging the best from EZchip's and Tilera's technologies, and specifically architected to address the next generation of high-performance data center, cloud and carrier networks," said Eli Fruchter, CEO of EZchip. "The combination of EZchip's and Tilera's market-proven leading technologies enables us to develop a new multicore processors family that uniquely integrate powerful networking capabilities together with the highest number of processor cores to address a wide range of applications and market segments. While our NPU portfolio and, in particular, the new NPS is the highest performance merchant NPU, we expect the TILE-Mx to be the highest performance multicore CPU. As we have accomplished in the NPU market, we believe that through the strongly differentiated technology that we are now developing we will dramatically increase our share in the multicore market in coming years and become a leader in the multicore CPU market."

In July 2014, EZchip Semiconductor agreed to acquire Tilera Corporation, a developer of high-performance multi-core processors, up to $130 million in cash.  The deal includes $50 million at closing and up to an additional $80 million is payable subject to the attainment of certain future performance milestones.

Tilera, which is based in San Jose, California, offers a line of multi-core processors, network interface cards and white-box appliances for data center networking equipment.

At the high end, Tilera's TILE-Gx8072 Processor includes 72 identical processor cores (tiles) interconnected with the company's iMesh on-chip network. Each tile consists of a 64-bit processor core as well as L1 and L2 cache and a non-blocking Terabit/sec switch that connects the tiles to the mesh and provides full cache coherence among all the cores. The company offers smaller versions with 9- 16, and 36-cores. Tilera offers its own line of accelerator cards based on its processors, as well as two 1RU appliances.

Xilinx Outlines its 16nm UltraScale+ Family of FPGAs

Xilinx introduced its next-generation 16nm UltraScale+ family of FPGAs, featuring new memory, 3D-on-3D and multi-processing SoC (MPSoC) technologies.

The UltraScale+ family also includes a new interconnect optimization technology and will leverage TSMC's 16FF+ FinFET 3D transistors.

Xilinx estimates the UltraScale+ family will deliver 2–5X greater system level performance/watt over 28nm devices. Key applications are expected to include LTE Advanced and early 5G wireless, terabit wired communications, automotive ADAS, and industrial Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Some highlights:

  • Memory Enhanced Programmable Devices: UltraRAM attacks one of the largest bottlenecks affecting FPGA- and SoC-based system performance and power by enabling SRAM integration. The new on-chip memory could be used for deep packet and video buffering. UltraRAM scales up to 432 Mbits in a variety of configurations.
  • SmartConnect Technology: Interconnect optimization technology for FPGAs. It provides additional 20-30 percent performance, area, and power advantages through intelligent system-wide interconnect optimization. While the UltraScale architecture attacks the silicon-level interconnect bottleneck through re-architected routing, clocking, and logic fabric, SmartConnect applies interconnect topology optimizations to match design-specific throughput and latency requirements while reducing interconnect logic area. 
  • 3D-on-3D Technology: The high end of the UltraScale+ portfolio leverages the combined power of 3D transistors and third generation of Xilinx 3D ICs. Just as FinFETs enable a non-linear improvement in performance/watt over planar transistors, 3D ICs enable a non-linear improvement in systems integration and bandwidth/watt over monolithic devices.   
  • Heterogeneous Multi-processing Technology: The new Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoCs include all of the aforementioned FPGA technologies with an unprecedented level of heterogeneous multi-processing, deploying the "the right engines for the right tasks." These new devices deliver approximately 5X system level performance/watt relative to previous alternatives.  At the center of the processing-subsystem is the 64-bit quad-core ARM® Cortex®-A53 processor, capable of hardware virtualization, asymmetric processing, and full ARM TrustZone® technology support.

"Xilinx is delivering a generation ahead of value with 16nm FinFET FPGAs and MPSoCs to a variety of next generation applications," said Victor Peng, executive vice president and general manager of the Programmable Products Group at Xilinx.  "Our new UltraScale+ 16nm portfolio delivers 2-5X higher system performance-per-watt, a dramatic leap in system integration and intelligence, and the highest level of security and safety required by our customers. These capabilities enable Xilinx to significantly expand its available market."

Early customer engagements are in process for the UltraScale+ families. First tape out and early access release of the design tools are scheduled for the second calendar quarter of 2015.

MWC15 Features Hotspot 2.0 Wi-Fi by Cisco, Accuris

The upcoming GSMA Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona will feature Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint technologies.  The network, which will also be supported by the Wi-Fi Alliance, will allow attendees using Passpoint-enabled iOS and Android from participating mobile operators to automatically roam onto the network using secure credentials and also benefit from a secure Wi-Fi connection in the main hallways and reception area (the exhibition floor uses vendor Wi-Fi at the stands).

Cisco is supplying the Wi-Fi platform. Additional technology partners include Accuris Networks, BSG Wireless, CableLabs, Front Porch, Spirent and Syniverse.

Participating operators include 2 Degrees, AIS Thailand, AT&T, Bell Mobility, Boingo Wireless, BT, China Mobile, Comcast, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), Fon, Idea Cellular, KT, Linktel Corp, Mobily, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, Mobilink, MTN Nigeria, NTT DOCOMO, Omantel, Orange, HKT, Portugal Telecom, Telkom Indonesia, SK Telecom, Sprint, Swisscom, Shaw Communications, Telstra, TELUS, Towerstream, True Corporation Plc. and Videotron.

#MWC15 visitors wishing to use their SIM credentials to automatically connect via Hotspot 2.0 need to configure their devices by installing the correct profile for their carrier. Intstructions are online.

Deutsche Bank Awards 5-Year Contract to Vodafone

Deutsche Bank awarded a five and a half year agreement to Vodafone to serve as its global strategic telecommunications partner.

Under the contract, Vodafone will take over the delivery and support of fixed and mobile voice services across 28 countries.  Vodafone will also establish a number of centralised services for the Bank including ordering and billing.

Vodafone Global Enterprise Chief Executive, Jan Geldmacher, said: “This is a great opportunity for Deutsche Bank to bring all its communications needs under one umbrella.  Creating global standards and common practices will make the Bank more efficient and help to support its future plans.”

Telstra Appoints New CEO

Telstra has appointed Andrew Penn as its the new CEO, effective 1 May 2015, replacing David Thodey who announced his retirement after almost six years as CEO.

Penn, 51, is Telstra’s Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive International.  He previously served as Group CEO of AXA Asia Pacific, where he has been responsible for Telstra’s strategy, mergers and acquisitions, treasury, internal audit, risk management, tax, corporate planning, reporting and analysis, external reporting and investor relations as well as expanding Telstra's operations outside of Australia.