Thursday, July 9, 2015

Video: White box Adoption Moves to the Edge

White boxes are not just a data center story anymore, says Pica8's Calvin Chai.

New use cases are emerging for delivering network services at the customer prem. This will be a key opportunity for white boxes. Another consideration, the risk profile for using white boxes at the customer edge is lower than for whiteboxes in a data center.

See video:

Blueprint: The Future Is Looking up for Telco Cloud

by Sandro Tavares, Head of Telco Cloud Business Development, Nokia Networks

If there’s one thing the telco industry has experienced over the last decade and a half, it’s been a constant march of progress. While there have been a variety of technological challenges to overcome, we’ve seen the development of ever faster networks, better performance despite an exponential increase in traffic, and a constant stream of innovative new features and services for end users. But despite all these wins, there is still a significant step the industry has to take sooner or later to continue providing the best service: fully embracing cloud technologies.

IT Cloud vs. Telco Cloud

The IT industry has already been realizing the benefits of the cloud for more than a decade, experiencing reduced costs and more dynamic networks with data center consolidation and virtualized functions. The flexibility of the cloud also enables a tight innovation cycle, allowing IT and Internet providers to experiment with a wide variety of projects, and try new things until they find success. A cloud infrastructure enables them to easily shift resources to new projects for maximum efficiency.

Telcos, however, still have to deal with a set of discrete infrastructures for each project in development, prolonging the innovation cycle from weeks to months and limiting their options. Each project has to be carefully evaluated and almost guaranteed to be a success, which limits their capability to innovate.

Looking at the operational model, IT cloud in general is very centralized, and providers typically operate a few enormous data centers that may be far from most of the users. These IT data centers can be placed strategically for cost savings; they might be in the far north to save on cooling costs, for example, or they may even be located in a rural area so as to save on the cost of the property itself. The location is irrelevant, so long as they provide the services users need.

The flip side to the IT model of the cloud is that there is a higher latency involved as data travels hundreds or thousands of miles for everyday transactions. Most IT applications, like e-commerce for example, may accept a delay of a few seconds as there are no impacts on how they work and their customers are accustomed to it. But that kind of delay in telecommunications makes a network unusable and would likely spell the death of the operator. As a result, the telco cloud will require a greater number of smaller data centers located closer to the traffic. These centers may even be so small that they consist of only a single rack of servers, and they may be so close together that data remains within a single city or even a neighborhood. This minimizes latency, and it also addresses the issue of traffic volume. Telco network functions may utilize far larger amounts of data than most IT applications; data that would choke a network backbone and incur enormous costs when traveling across a country.

The Current State of Telco Cloud

We have already seen some important strides toward telco cloud adoption with network function virtualization (NFV). NFV is the technology that allows a variety of telco network elements to be hosted on a cloud environment. This enables operators to quickly scale services and apps to meet fluctuating demand. Openness also plays a big role in NFV, promoting interoperability across vendors and eliminating dependency between hardware and software. By taking the leap towards telco cloud/NFV, operators will implement more open solutions into their networks, becoming more flexible, reducing costs and increasing their choice of vendors to better meet their needs.

As more of the network functions are virtualized, operators will see improved network performance and will have the ability to provide a more advanced and attractive portfolio of services. The direct impact of this is a potential reduction of customer churn, which is a key benefit for the industry.

Advancing into Telco Cloud Management

Automation and cloud management play a significant role in the industry’s journey to telco cloud. Already important now, they will become even more critical as more network functions go to the cloud, including baseband radio. As the different apps, nodes and other network functions are offloaded to cloud-based resources, maintaining real-time visibility and simultaneously managing cloud and traditional environments can become a challenge for operators. This is where the next generation of operations support systems (OSS) will be vital. Cloud-enabled OSS systems will provide visibility and management functions for both cloud and traditional network elements, allowing a consolidated view and delivering troubleshooting capabilities across both domains.

To continue advancing and achieve the level of automation necessary for success, the industry has to move towards implementing standards for multi-vendor and cloud-stack agnostic network orchestration. This enables integration with the multiple virtualized network function managers that will be active in the cloud and centralize the decision related to resource assignment, disaster recovery, etc. Without an open orchestration layer, the industry could in practice be back to the old monolithic approach, which is counterproductive to goals.

The end goal of the telco cloud is simply that the customer pushes a button and the phone on the other end starts ringing, or the video starts streaming immediately. While that goal has been constant for more than a century, telco providers are offering so much more than users could have dreamed of just a few decades ago. By making the cloud a reality, operators have a unique opportunity to optimize their operations, reduce operational costs and position themselves for the next leap forward in technology as we begin laying the groundwork for 5G.

About the Author

Sandro Tavares has more than 14 years of international experience in the telecoms industry, holding positions in sales and marketing, and participating in industry breakthroughs such as the launch of the One Voice Initiative for VoLTE.

 He has worked with the Nokia family of companies for more than 10 years, and currently is Head of Telco Cloud Business Development for Nokia Networks. Previously, he served as Head of Mobile Core Marketing, overseeing strategic and product marketing activities for the company’s Mobile Core portfolio. His topics of coverage included Telco Cloud, Content Delivery Networks and Customer Experience Management.

Sandro holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Universidade de Brasilia, a corporate MBA from Fundacao Dom Cabral and a post-MBA from Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management.

About Nokia Networks

okia Networks, which provides broadband infrastructure, software and services, operates at the forefront of our industry. From the first ever call on GSM to the first call on LTE, we have set the pace of innovation, a record that continues with future technologies such as 5G. Together with our operator customers, who serve close to 5 billion subscribers, we are embracing the opportunity of the connected world and helping to solve its challenges.

AWS Launches API Gateway Managed Service

Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced a new fully managed, Amazon API Gateway service to help customers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) at any scale.

The idea is enable customers to create an API that acts as a “front door” for applications to access data, business logic, or functionality from their “back-end” services, such as workloads running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), or code running on AWS Lambda.

Amazon API Gateway handles all of the tasks associated with accepting and processing billions of daily API calls, including traffic management, authorization and access control, monitoring, and API version management. Amazon API Gateway has no minimum fees or startup costs, and developers pay only for the API calls they receive and the amount of data transferred out. To learn more about Amazon API Gateway, visit

“Building and running rock-solid APIs at massive scale is a significant challenge for customers. And yet, this is one of the most important ingredients for building and operating modern applications that are consumed through multiple devices,” said Marco Argenti, Vice President, AWS. “At AWS, we have over nine years of experience running some of the most heavily used APIs in the world. The Amazon API Gateway takes this learning and makes it available to customers as a pay-as-you-go service that eliminates the cost and complexity of managing APIs so that developers can focus on building great apps.”

To help customers protect access to their back-end services, Amazon API Gateway allows customers to use familiar AWS security tools such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to verify and authenticate API requests. Amazon API Gateway lets companies run multiple versions of an API simultaneously so that they can develop, deploy, and test new versions of their APIs without impacting existing applications. Once an API is deployed, Amazon API Gateway allows customers to control the number of API requests that hit their back-end systems within a certain time period to protect them from traffic spikes, and helps reduce API latency by caching responses. Amazon API Gateway also monitors the usage and performance of back-end services, providing metrics such as number of API calls, latency, and error rates.

Nokia Networks Tests Drones for Network Inspections

Nokia Network is testing unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) carrying smartphones with cameras and testing applications to inspect and survey mobile infrastructure.

Nokia recently conducted a test of these telco drones in partnership with Du at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai Sports City, which has a seating capacity of 25,000 people. The Proof of Concept (PoC) gathered network data and provided Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a speedy performance test and efficient network optimization actions. Telco drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers.

Automated testing and analysis is more efficient than traditional manual walk tests, as drones can cover the desired area quicker. Additionally, the test data is collected automatically and sent to a server so that it can be instantly processed at Nokia Networks’ Global Delivery Center (GDC) for immediate reporting and any necessary actions to improve network performance.

Telco drones were also used for tower inspections to reduce the number of times technicians need to climb up and down a telecom tower, as well as for radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing. The engineers knew if a frequency used was impacted by trees, if there was sufficient power to cover the distance, what the simulated latency would look like and what performance over such a connection could be expected. This helped achieve optimal site design, establish a clear LoS, as well as suitable antenna height and site location.

IBM Achieves 7nm Test Chips in Siilcon Germanium

IBM Research has produced the first 7nm (nanometer) node test chips with functioning transistors.  The milestone was achieved using Silicon Germanium (SiGe) channel transistors and Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography integration at multiple levels.

Current generation microprocessors are generally implemented in silicon using 22nm or 14nm technology.

IBM partnered with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE) to achieve the result.

“For business and society to get the most out of tomorrow’s computers and devices, scaling to 7nm and beyond is essential,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research. “That’s why IBM has remained committed to an aggressive basic research agenda that continually pushes the limits of semiconductor technology. Working with our partners, this milestone builds on decades of research that has set the pace for the microelectronics industry, and positions us to advance our leadership for years to come.”

IBM Lands $180 million IT Services & Cloud Contract

IBM announced a five-year IT services agreement including cloud, mobile, analytics and security technologies with Columbia Pipeline Group. The deal is valued at $180 million, Inc. (NYSE: CPGX) supporting the company’s continued growth as an independent energy company.

On July 1, CPG completed the separation of its natural gas pipeline, midstream and storage business from energy infrastructure company NiSource Inc. As a stand-alone, publicly traded company, CPG is rapidly expanding its operations to serve new and existing customers and markets, with net asset investments expected to grow from about $4.6 billion in 2015 to about $13.5 billion by 2020.

The agreement calls for IBM to move CPG’s IT infrastructure and business applications -- including human resources, billing and finance, pipeline operations and IT management -- from NiSource’s data centers into a private cloud in an IBM data center in Columbus, Ohio. IBM also will separate CPG’s networks from NiSource and manage CPG’s integrated IT environment going forward. The solution includes the core data center and IBM Cloud infrastructure, network services, help desk, end user services, intelligent security platforms, mobile device management, and operational analytics.

Corning Intros 8-fiber Optical Cabling

Corning introduced a modular, tip-to-tip optical cabling system featuring an eight-fiber (Base-8) design for use in data centers and storage-area-networks.

The Corning EDGE8 solutions optical cabling system uses eight-fiber MTP connectors.  The company says this make it easy to match the fiber count in the backbone of data center networks and SANs with Base-8 Quad Small Form Factor Plugable transceivers, resulting in full fiber utilization, streamlined 1:1 port mapping, and up to 50 percent reduction in link attenuation by eliminating the need for conversion modules. EDGE8 furthers the benefits of Base-8 design with pinned MTP trunks that enable simple patch cable deployment and optimized harness mapping, resulting in no unused fiber/connectors. EDGE8 modules also offer a 30 percent improvement in insertion loss, resulting in longer duplex link distances.

Barracuda Networks Hits Revenue of $78 Million, up 18% YoY

Barracuda Networks reported revenue of $78.0 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2016, up 18% from $66.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  Appliance revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew to $23.7 million, up from $20.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, and recurring subscription revenue grew to $54.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, up from $45.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, representing 70% of total revenue.

However, there was a GAAP net loss for the quarter of $3.8 million, or $0.07 loss per share, based on a basic share count of 53.0 million.

"We delivered revenue and non-GAAP EPS at the top end of our targeted range," said BJ Jenkins, president and CEO. "During the quarter, we grew total active subscribers, increased gross margin and maintained a 92.5% dollar-based renewal rate, speaking to the underlying strength of our business model."