Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blueprint: The Future of Cloud Communications

by Pejman Roshan, VP of product management at ShoreTel

Who knows what the future holds? Analysts look for the future in current trends, and businesses attempt to create it by meeting their customers’ present needs. At ShoreTel, we make no claims of omniscience, though we do boast a record of impressive foresight into the future of cloud communications, and strive to make that future a reality.

Hybrid UC

The future does not lie solely in the cloud or on-premises; rather, patterns point toward hybrid solutions being the way of the future. The cloud is an incredibly useful tool for storing, accessing, and managing virtualized applications and data. Yet at the same time, on-site phone systems still offer control, availability and resiliency that softphones can’t guarantee. Fortunately, the choice isn’t an either/or situation, and one can get both through a hybrid cloud communications platform.

However, not all hybrid solutions offer the same balance of cloud and premises features, and are often weighted more toward one or the other – based in the cloud with some on-premises features, or vice-versa. So while hybrid will see more growth than cloud or premises solutions on their own, users will be free to decide what balance works best for them. Regardless of what they go with, though, there’s little doubt that vendors offering hybrid solutions will be set for success.

As communications become a blend of physical and virtual, the workspace will follow. The cloud will continue to expand as more users migrate to it, bringing their work and tools with them. Their own “personal” clouds will be a combination of the various components they need, so working virtually is as effective as working from a corporate office. We’re already seeing a continuous rise in mobility, and it shows no signs of slowing, which will lead to a growing virtual workspace that complements and works in tandem with the physical office.


In order to support the mobile BYOD environment, applications that let people communicate through and between their various personal devices will be necessary. IT departments will need to put more focus on software apps for that, but technology like WebRTC will make it easier to launch Web collaboration meetings right from the client, which will in turn make it easier to create and join meetings.

Yet no matter what tools you can use to work and communicate with, the user experience can make or break the technology. Now that technology is at the point where we can reach across cyberspace to work and collaborate from anywhere, it needs to be doable in a way that doesn’t drive users mad.

The way we see it at ShoreTel, the best way to provide a good user experience is through a good interface. You need a clean user interface, one that makes good use of space to remain clear and easy to use, which remains singular for different modes of communication. The less people have to switch between screens, apps and interfaces, the better the experience will be for them, which leads to improved efficiency and growth all around.

With all this advancement, what will Unified Communications become? It is our view that UC will advance beyond merely transmitting information back and forth, but will incorporate intelligent organization, providing vital context and sorting for the information transmitted. Unified Communications will continue to grow and incorporate both cloud and premises-based communication platforms and include an ecosystem of integrated applications.

The future is not some far-off thing these days; our predictions follow current trends to see what this year will contain, so in many regards, we are already living in it. It’s never too soon to prepare for what’s ahead, so the time is right to get ahead of the curve.

About the Author

Pejman Roshan is the VP of product management at ShoreTel, where he is responsible for product strategy, definition and delivery for ShoreTel’s unified communications cloud and premises product lines.

About ShoretTel

ShoreTel, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOR) is a leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems and unified communications solutions. Its award-winning on-premises IP-PBX solution and cloud-based hosted phone system eliminate complexity and improve productivity. Recognized for its industry-leading customer experience and support, ShoreTel’s innovative business phones, application integration, collaboration tools, mobility, and contact center applications enable users to communicate and collaborate no matter the time, place or device, with minimal demand on IT resources. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has regional offices and partners worldwide. For more information, visit

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Acacia Announces Coherent 400G Transceiver Module

Acacia Communications introduced the first flex-rate coherent 400G Transceiver module. Sampling is underway and generally availability is expected in Q2-2015.

The new transceiver, which targets LH/ULH, metro and Data Center Interconnect networks, is powered by the industry’s first dual-core ASIC supporting two optical channels and up to 400Gbit/s capacity including a clear channel single 400Gbps traffic flow, optimized for IP packet transport. Built-in framing functionality supports 100G and 400G OTN and Ethernet clients.

“100G coherent transceivers are currently being deployed in large volumes in long haul, metro and Data Center Interconnect networks,” said Acacia Communications President and CEO Raj Shanmugaraj. “With the availability of Acacia’s low cost flex-rate coherent AC-400 MSA module, we expect to bring even better economies for coherent applications at multiple rates from 100G to 400G.  Powered by the Acacia’s ASIC/DSP and extensive silicon photonic integration for metro and Data Center Interconnect applications, we have been able to extend the performance advantages of an AC-400 module while reducing cost, size and power consumption dramatically. Our new AC-400 provides carriers and content providers with a compelling solution to cost-effectively address capacity needs in their ULH/LH, metro and Data Center Interconnect networks.”

“The ability to launch 400G off a 5x7 Transceiver Module with advanced features like 8QAM and low power is well timed with the growth of the Data Center Interconnect transport market and Acacia’s flexibility to scale from 100G to 400G is a major advantage,” said Simon Stanley, Contributing Analyst, Heavy Reading. “The module demonstrates Silicon Photonics PIC performance for the higher order modulation schemes and makes solutions like these very cost-effective for the market.”

OpenOptics MSA Consortium Releases WDM Spec for DCI

The OpenOptics MSA Consortium has published the first foundational Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) specification for an interoperable 100G WDM standard for 2 kilometer reach, addressing data center interconnect (DCI) requirements.

RANOVUS said this new WDM specification brings together 1550nm WDM laser and silicon photonics for QSFP and optical engine based solutions, enabling lowest-cost, highest density, and highest bandwidth with single mode fiber pair connectivity, to enable data centers to use up to 32 or more channels per fiber strand.

“Our OpenOptics MSA collaboration with industry leaders has resulted in the definition of a foundational WDM specification for data center network connectivity, and having terabit scalability on a single mode fiber pair infrastructure,” said Saeid Aramideh, chief marketing and sales officer for RANOVUS.  “The availability of this specification is a major milestone for our industry which we believe will not only accelerate the adoption of silicon-photonics based WDM solutions for the data center market, but also allow for a scalable terabit infrastructure for next generation datacenter architectures.”
“Previously, there was no standard for anything beyond 100Gbs,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “Now, the industry will have an architecture standard that scales to a terabit and beyond on existing fiber, substantially reduces the cost of hyperscale data center networks.”

Earlier this month, the OpenOptics Multi-Source Agreement group said it plans to contribute its developed wavelength specifications to the Open Compute Project (OCP). The new specification enables data to be streamed at terabits per second over a single fiber.

The founders and supporters for the OpenOptics MSA for Highly Scalable Interconnect Solutions include Mellanox Technologies, RANOVUS, Ciena, Oracle, Vertilas, and Ghiasi Quantum. The MSA combines 1550 nm WDM laser and silicon photonics for optical networking solutions enabling the lowest cost, highest density, and highest bandwidth single mode fiber (SMF) connectivity, significantly improving terabit-scale data center infrastructure ROI.

NeoPhotonics Intros Low Power 100G Transceiver

NeoPhotonics introduced a new compact and dual rate 100G CFP4 LR4 that requires much less power and is half the size compared to the current generation CFP2 form factor.

The new 100G CFP4 transceiver module, which is targeted at both telecom and datacom applications, is designed to fully comply with the IEEE 802.3 100GBASE-LR4 and CAUI-4 Electrical Interface and OTN OTU4 standards for links up to 10km.  It combines CFP4 MSA and MDIO functionality and is interoperable with previous generation of CFP and CFP2 modules.  The 4-channel PIC-based integrated transmitter utilizes NeoPhotonics proven performance and high volume manufacturing platform of 28G EML lasers and drivers, which enable the best in class module performance, especially in OTN applications, inter-operabability and easy deployment.

“The introduction of our new 100G CFP4 LR4 Client transceiver module underlines our commitment to the ultra-high speed segment of the transceiver market,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics.  “We are pleased to support our customers with their growing demand for 100G by adding production capacity for our CFP2 LR4, which was released last year,” continued Tim Jenks.

In addition, NeoPhotonics announced a micro-Integrated Coherent Receiver (Micro-ICR) which is designed to fully support the OIF implementation agreement OIF-DPC-MRX-02.0, Type 1. The Micro-ICR has a compact form factor that is approximately one quarter the size of the standard OIF 1.2 Type 1 ICR and one half the size of the new OIF 1.2 Type 2 ICR. It is designed to be used in coherent analog CFP2-ACO pluggable modules as well as in high density line cards.

This week at the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference in Los Angeles, Neophotonics also plans to demo a 16x16 multicast switch (MCS) without drop side amplifiers. The 16x16 MCS will consist of four modular 4x16 MCSs which can be cascaded to encompass 16 directions.

Telstra Invests in Taiwan's Gorilla Tech for Video Analytics

Telstra announced an equity investment in Gorilla Technology Group, a Taiwanese-based global leader in video analytics for business intelligence, security, enterprise unified communications, education, broadcast media and entertainment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Gorilla Technology Group’s software solutions enable their business customers to convert raw video into searchable data and real-time searchable video cataloguing. The retail, security, broadcast and government industries will benefit from Gorilla Technology Group’s solutions for scheduling and management and its video analytic software solutions in intelligent security and forensics.

“Telstra’s equity investment in Gorilla Technology Group will also allow the company to integrate its software into our network, and provide Gorilla the opportunity to resell the integrated solution to enterprise and government customers worldwide through our international connectivity and data centres. Gorilla Technology Group will also provide storage using Telstra’s Cloud solutions to its customers world-wide,” stated Tim Chen, president of Telstra International.

Corsa Raises Funding for its SDN Platforms

Corsa Technology, a start-up based in Ottawa, raised $16.5 million in Series B funding, for its work in SDN.

Corsa Technology, which was founded in 2013, is focused on delivering programmable, configurable data planes. Its DP6400 product line can be configured multiple networking functions, ranging from Layer 2/3 switching and routing at massive scale, to complex Layer4- 7 aware network elements that allow network orchestration to dynamically adjust data forwarding.

The new funding round was led by Roadmap Capital with participation from all previous investors including Celtic House Venture Partners, BDC Capital and a strategic technology company.

“Corsa is excited to be working with our new investor, Roadmap Capital, as we bring the DP6400™ family of advanced SDN data planes to full commercial release,” said Bruce Gregory, CEO of Corsa Technology. “Corsa has established itself as a leading WAN scale SDN hardware company with our innovative approach to SDN switching and routing, and this round of funding will enable us to grow the company and extend our lead in a multi-billion dollar market. To date in SDN, most of the investment and innovation has occurred on the software side of the equation. We know that WAN scale SDN-capable hardware is necessary to deliver the full value of SDN, and Corsa is filling this void in a unique way”

Xilinx Releases 100G 802.3bj Reed-Solomon FEC

Xilinx has begun shipping its 100G IEEE 802.3bj Reed-Solomon FEC (RS-FEC) IP for data center, service provider, and enterprise applications.

The 100G RS-FEC LogiCORE IP solution seamlessly connects to Xilinx's integrated or soft 100G Ethernet MAC IP running on Virtex® UltraScale, enabling emerging optical solutions such as SR4, CWDM4, PSM4 or ER4f.

Xilinx is the first to demonstrate a complete 100G RS-FEC IP solution with Finisar and TE Connectivity (TE) optics showcased in multiple demonstrations at OFC 2015,

Ixia Offers 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Validation

Ixia is introducing a 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) validation solution that builds on its native QSFP28 XcellonTM-Multis 100 GbE load modules to now provide 25GbE speed.

"25GbE is a good example of the networking industry responding to a growing need in an agile manner. With the unprecedented explosion of bandwidth requirements in the data center, new technologies like 25GbE must be deployed very quickly. Ixia is at the forefront of making this happen,” said Sunil Kalidindi, Vice President, Product Management of Ixia. “Ixia has developed the world’s first validation solutions for many Ethernet technologies, including 100GbE QSFP28, 400GbE, and now 25GbE. Ixia continues to be an industry leader in creating the solutions that help our customers develop and deploy Ethernet technologies, and successfully deliver application performance.”