Thursday, April 9, 2015

Amazon Web Services Deepens its Cloud

Cloud has become "the new normal" and you might as well embrace it instead of trying to fight gravity, said Andy Jassy, SVP at, speaking at the company's AWS Summit in San Francisco.

To differentiate from other cloud providers, AWS is seeking "much deeper features" with it services, such as tight integration between its compute, relational databases and analytic offerings.

Some highlights:
  • AWS reports 102% YOY growth in its S3 storage service, as measure by data transfers in/out of S3 -- big growth on a big base of cloud storage.
  • AWS EC2 Container Service is now generally available.  This is a highly scalable container management service that supports Docker containers, enabling users to run applications on a managed cluster of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. AWS is also adding a new Amazon ECS Service scheduler to manage long-running applications and services. The Service scheduler maintains application availability by scaling containers up or down to meet an application’s capacity requirements.
  • AWS announced an Elastic File System service that will run on low-latency SSDs, scale to hundreds of petabytes while being able to support 1,000s of concurrent accesses. It provides multiple EC2 instances with low-latency, shared access to a fully-managed file system via the popular NFSv4 protocol.  The security is designed for large, complex organizations. Pricing starts at $0.30 per gigabyte per month.
  • AWS Lambda is now in production. This is a zero-admin compute platform that does not require the user to configure, launch, or, monitor Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances, to think about scale, or worry about fault tolerance. AWS Lambda functions are defined using JavaScript and then connected to other AWS resources. Applications can then run, and scale to high-volume as needed.
  • AWS is enhancing its WorkSpaces virtual desktop (VDI) service by launching a Marketplace for Desktop Applications.  This will give uses access to popular desktop apps for a monthly fee with no long-term contract. Over 100 popular apps will be available to virtual desktop users at launch.  AWS is also launching a new WorkSpaces Application Manager (WAM) that provides on-demand access to centrally managed desktop applications. Delivery is secure, scalable, and streamlined; you can choose your applications from a catalog (built by your IT Manager) and start using them within seconds, with a user-based pricing model. Companies can use WAM to provide employees with access to a curated collection of commercial (licensed), open source, and in-house applications. Apps are deployed to Amazon WorkSpaces using application virtualization technology, which allows Amazon WAM to safely encapsulate and isolate applications in dedicated containers that run using resources provided by Amazon WorkSpaces. The application virtualization technology transforms Windows applications into centrally managed virtual applications. Apps are never installed, which streamlines application life-cycle management for IT admins.
  • AWS is introducing Amazon Machine Learning service, which lets users build predictive models using large amounts of data from S3 or Redshift.

Infinera to Acquire Transmode for Metro Packet-Optical

Infinera announced an offer to acquire Transmode (Nasdaq: TRMO) for approximately $350 million to accelerate its entrance in the 100G metro market. For every 10 shares of Transmode, shareholders will receive SEK 300 in cash and 4.705 Infinera shares.

Transmode, which is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, is a leading supplier of metro packet-optical networking in EMEA. Its product portfolio includes packet-optical networking products based WDM and Ethernet Layer 2 technology as well as a complete network and services management suite. Transmode's flagship M-Series platform is used in mobile transport, Triple-play Backhaul and IPTV, Business Ethernet, Enterprise Networks, Metro Regional Core Networking and Wholesale applications. Its TG-Series is a passive optical WDM platform designed for access applications such as Fiber To The Curb (FTTC), Fiber To The Building (FTTB) and high-security access networks. Its TS-Series is a CWDM/DWDM platform for enterprises and private/public institutions. Transmode's customer base includes 3, DT, Tele2, Virgin Media, surftelecoms, Telenor, etc.

Infinera said the Transmode's product set and customer base complements its entrance into the 100G metro aggregation market. Infinera's newly introduced photonic integrated circuits (PICs) will be integrated into Transmode's metro edge portfolio.

“The acquisition of Transmode accelerates the realization of our long held vision of providing an end-to-end portfolio of world class optical transport products. Further, the combination ensures we are well positioned to be a leading provider in the metro aggregation market as this market transitions to 100G,” said Tom Fallon, CEO of Infinera. “Transmode’s services-rich metro platforms, broad European customer base and profitable business model are naturally complementary to Infinera. We are also excited to have the Transmode team join Infinera and leverage our shared cultures of customer first, product excellence and profitability.”

Infinera also disclosed that its Q1 financial results are expected to be slightly ahead of expectations.

Separately, Transmode  disclosed preliminary results for Q1, saying its Q1 revenue will be in the range of SEK 285-290 m (SEK 231.3 m), representing a growth of 23-25% compared to the corresponding quarter the previous year. Preliminary operating profit for the first quarter 2015 is expected to be in the range of SEK 46-51 m (SEK 21.5 m).

Singtel to Acquire Trustwave for Cloud-based Security Services

Singtel has agreed to acquire Trustwave, a U.S.-based provider of managed security services provider for approximately US$850 million.

Trustwave's cloud-based TrustKeeper platform covers three main areas – threat management, vulnerability management and compliance management. Trustwave has an elite team of security experts in its forensic and threat research security unit, SpiderLabs. Trustwave provides its customers round-the-clock support in a dynamic cyber threat environment through its five security operation centres and nine engineering centres. The company claims over three million business subscribers.  Trustwave is based in Chicago and has 1,200 employees in 26 countries.

Singtel said the acquisition will expand its existing portfolio of cloud based solutions and further entrench its leadership position in the managed services market.  Singtel will leverage Trustwave’s threat intelligence, technology and talent to meet the growing demand for always-on managed security services in North America and the Asia Pacific region.

Chua Sock Koong, Singtel Group CEO, said: “We aspire to be a global player in cyber security.  We have established a strong security business in the region, both organically and through strategic partnerships with global technology leaders.”

Intel and Cray to Build Next Gen Supercomputers for DoE

Intel and Cray have been selected to build two next generation, high-performance computing (HPC) systems that will be five to seven times more powerful than the fastest supercomputers today.

Intel will serve as prime contractor to deliver the supercomputers for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). The Aurora system will be based on Intel’s HPC scalable system framework and will be a next-generation Cray “Shasta” supercomputer. Intel said the Aurora system will be delivered in 2018 and have a peak performance of 180 petaflops, making it the world’s most powerful system currently announced to date. Aurora will use future generations of Intel Xeon Phi processors and the Intel Omni-Path Fabric high-speed interconnect technology, a new non-volatile memory architecture and advanced file system storage using Intel Lustre software.

A second system, to be named Theta, will serve as an early production system for the ALCF. To be delivered in the 2016, the system will provide performance of 8.5 petaflops while requiring only 1.7 megawatts of power. The Theta system will be powered by Intel Xeon processors and next-generation Intel Xeon Phi processors, code-named Knights Landing, and will be based on the next-generation Cray XC supercomputer.

“The Aurora system will be one of the most advanced supercomputers ever built, and Cray is honored and proud to be collaborating with two great partners in Intel and Argonne National Lab,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray. “The combination of Cray’s vast experience in building some of the world’s largest and most productive supercomputers, combined with Intel’s cutting-edge technologies will provide the ALCF with a leadership-class system that will be ready for advancing scientific discovery from day one.”

In November 2014, Intel announced that its third-generation Intel Xeon Phi product family, code-named Knights Hill, will be built using Intel's 10nm process technology and integrate Intel Omni-Path Fabric technology. Knights Hill will follow the upcoming Knights Landing product, with first commercial systems based on Knights Landing expected to begin shipping next year.

Intel also disclosed that its Intel Omni-Path Architecture will achieve 100 Gbps line speed and up to 56 percent lower switch fabric latency in medium-to-large clusters than InfiniBand alternatives. The architecture targets a 48 port switch chip compared to the current 36 port InfiniBand alternatives. This will reduce the number of switches required in HPC clusters.

Indiana Fiber Network Expands with Ciena

Indiana Fiber Network (IFN), which is operated by 20 local exchange telephone companies throughout the state, will deploy converged packet optical and packet networking solutions from Cienato ensure network resiliency, reduce costs and increase capacity.

The deployment includes Ciena’s 5400 and 6500 converged packet optical platforms, equipped with WaveLogic Coherent Optical Processors and integrated switching capabilities.

IFN provides a variety of communications services, including fiber-optic broadband, to both urban and rural areas in 52 Indiana counties. Its customers include carriers, service providers, enterprise businesses, government entities, educational and healthcare institutions, as well as independent telephone company members. The network upgrade enables IFN to rapidly provision new high-speed offerings like Ethernet business services, 10G, and 100G services.

Zayo to Expand Long Haul Dark Fiber Route from Phoenix to Dallas

Zayo announced plans to extend its long haul dark fiber network between Phoenix and Dallas, adding more than 1,200 route miles to its long haul network, which spans more than 16,000 route miles across the United States and Europe.

Zayo said this expansion project is driven by an anchor tenant on the route. The route will provide direct connectivity from California’s Bay Area to Dallas, and expand service between markets such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz., southern New Mexico, El Paso, Tex., Dallas, and Denver.

The project is under construction and should be complete in the fourth quarter of 2016.

  • In December 2014, Zayo announced the construction of a new 1,000 route mile network from Omaha to Dallas.
  • In January 2015, Zayo announced a route between Salt Lake City and Sacramento, which will add more than 800 route miles to Zayo’s long haul network.

Palerra Raises $17 Million for Cloud Security

Palerra, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, raised $17 million in Series B financing for its cloud security automation solution.

Palerra's LORIC platform is designed to protect an enterprise’s entire cloud footprint, including branded applications such as Microsoft Office 365, as well as infrastructure such as AWS. The platform combines security configuration management, threat detection, predictive analytics, and automated incident response.

The funding was led by new investor August Capital, with participation from current investors Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Wing Venture Capital and Engineering Capital.

“Enterprises want the benefits that the cloud has to offer, but only if they can maintain strong security,” said Rohit Gupta, founder and CEO of Palerra. “The dramatic rise in adoption of cloud services by today’s enterprises against the backdrop of our generation’s most potent cyber threats has necessitated a new approach. LORIC was designed to meet these threats head on and this new round underscores our commitment to deliver the most powerful cloud security solution in the industry. As the perimeter disintegrates into a set of federated cloud-based and on-premises infrastructures, effective monitoring becomes almost impossible, unless security controls are embedded in these heterogeneous environments. This will require ‘enterprises’ to reconsider and possibly redesign their security architecture and corresponding security controls by placing those controls in the cloud.”