Monday, December 21, 2015

Blueprint: 2016 and Beyond

by Cam Cullen, Vice President of Global Marketing at Procera Networks

I recently attended the Light Reading Vision Executive 2020 Summit in Dublin, and the event was a great peek into the thought process of some of the largest network operators in the world. Light Reading and Heavy Reading presented a number of different perspectives on what the future holds for telecom operators, some of which where quite compelling. One report that they presented was on the New IP Agency Interoperability testing, a first of a kind Network Functions Virtualization test that brought 12 vendors together to show that NFV solutions from various vendors could work together. This test was a big step forward for NFV, because it showed that the industry has stepped beyond just virtualization and moving towards true NFV.

The event inspired me to put my own thoughts on what the new trends that we will see in 2016 and beyond on the blog. So….here we go…

Virtualization and NFV get some big wins and deployments: Most operators have already implemented a few projects using virtualization, often their internal IT or control plane deployments. More and more operators are making vendors decisions based upon virtualization products, and I fully expect to see a few significant data plane deployments in 2016.

Orchestration gets real: One point made at the Vision 2020 conference that is often glossed over is that orchestration is really about automation. There are a lot of vendors that have designed their solutions to be very friendly to APIs and automation, and there have already been some ETSI POCs that demonstrate this is real-world scenarios. The New IP Agency intends to do an orchestration interoperability test in 2016, and that test will shine a light on the real state of NFV orchestration, but I expect orchestration to reach out beyond NFV in 2016.

4K video begins to appear in the wild: I have a 4K TV in my house, and the picture is stunning, even with simple upscaling on existing HD video. It makes recorded TV shows look like they are almost live, which can be a bit disconcerting at times because the picture is so clear. Interestingly enough, the easiest way to get 4K streams now is directly to your smart TV since most devices are not yet supporting 4K, but that will change in 2016.

Video bandwidth continues to increase: It is a bit of a no-brainer to say that video bandwidth will increase, but the 4K prediction above is the biggest thing that will accelerate video bandwidth consumption. Netflix recommends 3Mbps for SD, 5Mbps for HD, and 25Mbps for UHD, so users may go from 3or 5Mbps to 25Mpbs for some UHD quality content. With video already consuming from 60-70% of downstream bandwidth on our customer’s networks, it will only get worse.

A new game-changing app will appear: Every year a new app appears that had to potential to change consumer consumption patterns. In 2015, Popcorn Time and Periscope were notable new additions to the landscape (fortunately for Hollywood, Popcorn Time hasn’t taken off yet). Periscope is interesting because it can turn every device into a live video stream and has the support of Twitter, and it won the App Store “Best of the Year” as a recognition of this potential. In August, Periscope claimed 10M users, and I expect that number to keep growing. What will the new app be in 2016? The beauty of it is that we don’t know, and that uncertainty is actually awesome and a testament to the creativity enabled by the Internet.

Streaming-only cord cutters get enabled: Amazon has started an aggregation offering for streaming services that includes Showtime, Starz, and other services (as a start). CBS announced (although it will begin in January of 2017 and not 2016) a new Star Trek series only for online. The biggest advantage that Pay-TV has today is bundling convenience, and Amazon’s offering is the first of what I would expect to see of many offers. Cord Cutters today will end up paying more if they want to watch a similar line-up to cable services, and have to manage a lot of different apps. Aggregation offerings may change that equation going forward.

2016 will be an interesting year for consumer broadband, and I look forward to seeing “What’s Next” in 2016.

About the Author

Mr. Cullen is the Vice President of Global Marketing at Procera Networks. Mr. Cullen is responsible for Procera's overall global marketing and product management, and is an active evangelist for Procera's solution and general market trends as well as an active blogger for Procera. He joined Procera as VP of Product Management to execute on product strategy and to expand the company's product offering. Prior to Procera, Mr. Cullen held senior Product Management and Marketing roles at Allot and Quarry Technologies/Reef Point Systems, where he was VP of Product Management and Marketing, and held various roles in business development, marketing, and sales at 3Com. Mr. Cullen was a captain in the US Air Force where we worked at the National Security Agency and the Air Force Information Warfare Center, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama.

Got an idea for a Blueprint column?  We welcome your ideas on next gen network architecture.
See our guidelines.

Oracle Acquires StackEngine for Container Management

Oracle has acquired StackEngine, a start-up specializing in container operations management.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

StackEngine, which is based in Austin, offers software to manage and automate Docker applications, giving organizations the power to compose, deploy, and automate resilient container-native applications. Its flagship product, Container Application Center, is an end-to-end container application management solution for developers, DevOps and IT operations teams that brings users through the entire container application lifecycle, from development to deployment.

All StackEngine employees will be joining Oracle as part of Oracle Public Cloud.

Pivotal Acquires CloudCredo for Cloud Foundry Expertise

 Pivotal, has acquired CloudCredo, a privately-held software developer based in London, along with CloudCredo subsidiary, stayUp, a log analysis technology company for Cloud Foundry.

CloudCredo has a highly-regarded team of Cloud Foundry experts.  Pivotal said the acquisition will will better enable enterprise adoption of Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

Pivotal is a spin-out and joint venture of EMC Corporation and its subsidiary VMware. The Pivotal Cloud Native Platform offers integrated application framework, runtime and infrastructure automation capabilities.

“CloudCredo enhances Pivotal’s powerful next-generation portfolio of products and services by bringing extensive knowledge of deploying, running and customizing Cloud Foundry for some of the world’s largest and most admired brands,” said Rob Mee, CEO of Pivotal. “With this expertise, we can better help our customers transform their enterprises by embracing and leveraging Pivotal’s Cloud Native platform more quickly.“

“When we started CloudCredo, we were profoundly influenced by The Pivotal Way. It shaped our approach to modern software development, our culture promoting openness and doing things the right way, and passion for delivering differentiated value to our customers,” says Colin Humphreys, CloudCredo Co-Founder and CEO.“ Joining Pivotal allows us to operate at a global scale, overnight, and help the world's largest and most admired brands use software to transform their businesses and make an impact on the world.”

NetApp to Acquire SolidFire for All-Flash Data Center Arrays

NetApp agreed to acquire SolidFire for $870 million in cash.

SolidFire specializes in all-flash storage systems for next-generation data centers.

NetApp said the SolidFire acquisition extends its portfolio to include all-flash offerings that address each of the three largest All-Flash Array market segments. For the traditional enterprise infrastructure buyer, the NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) product line delivers enterprise-grade features across flash, disk and cloud resources. For the application owner, the NetApp EF Series product line offers world-class SPC-1 benchmarks with consistent low-latency performance and proven 6x9’s reliability. For the next-generation infrastructure buyer, SolidFire’s distributed, self-healing, webscale architecture delivers seamless scalability, white box economics, and radically simple management. This enables customers to accelerate third platform use cases and webscale economics. SolidFire is an active leader in the cloud community with extensive integrated storage management capabilities with OpenStack, VMware, and other cloud frameworks.

“This acquisition will benefit current and future customers looking to gain the benefits of webscale cloud providers for their own data centers,” said George Kurian, chief executive officer of NetApp. “SolidFire combines the performance and economics of all-flash storage with a webscale architecture that radically simplifies data center operations and enables rapid deployments of new applications. We look forward to extending NetApp’s flash leadership with the SolidFire team, products and partner ecosystem, and to accelerating flash adoption through NetApp’s large partner and customer base.”

SolidFire Raises $82 Million for Flash Storage

SolidFire, a start-up based in Boulder, Colorado, closed $82 million in Series D funding for its all-flash storage systems.

SolidFire said its revenue grew over 700 percent in 2013 and has increased over 50 percent quarter over quarter in 2014. Its customer base is approximately a 50:50 service provider/enterprise.

SolidFire also announced the expansion of its flagship SF Series product line, unveiling two new storage nodes that represent the third generation of SolidFire hardware to be released since the platform became generally available in November 2012.

The latest investments bring the company's total funding to $150 million. New investor Greenspring Associates led the round along with a major sovereign wealth fund, with participation from current investors NEA, Novak Biddle, Samsung Ventures and Valhalla Partners.

Ericsson and Apple Settle Patent Dispute

Ericsson and Apple have signed off on a global patent license agreement, ending a long-running legal dispute in multiple jurisdictions and a case before the U.S. International Trade Commission..  As part of a seven-year agreement, Apple will make an initial payment to Ericsson and, thereafter, will pay on-going royalties. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal includes a cross license that covers patents relating to both companies' standard-essential patents (including the GSM, UMTS and LTE cellular standards), and grants certain other patent rights. In addition, the agreement includes releases that resolve all pending patent-infringement litigation between the companies.

Ericsson did note that the positive effects from the settlement, and alongside the ongoing IPR business with all other licensees, will bring its estimated IPR revenues will amount to SEK 13-14 b.

"We are pleased with this new agreement with Apple, which clears the way for both companies to continue to focus on bringing new technology to the global market, and opens up for more joint business opportunities in the future," said Kasim Alfalahi, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson.

TeliaSonera Sells its Stake in Nepal's Ncell

TeliaSonera will sell its 60.4 percent ownership in the Nepalese operator Ncell to Axiata, one of Asia’s largest telecommunication groups, for US$1,030 million on a cash and debt free basis. At the same time, TeliaSonera will dissolve its economic interests in the 20 percent local ownership and receives approximately US$48 million. The transactions are conditional on each other.

Axiata has more than 260 million customers and 25,000 employees. Axiata said Ncell will complement its portfolio of Asian telecommunications assets, which includes operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Singapore and Pakistan. Axiata, which is listed on the Malaysian stock exchange, is a reputable company with a strong focus and expertise in South Asia and is also a long-term investor contributing to development and advancements of the countries it operates in.

“In September we announced our ambition to reduce our presence in our seven Eurasian markets and focus on our operations in the Nordics and Baltics, within the strategy of creating the new TeliaSonera. Today, I am very pleased to announce a first step and proof point in this reshaping of TeliaSonera. I am also glad to see Axiata as a new owner. That gives me comfort that our dedicated employees are in good hands when taking Ncell to the next level,” says Johan Dennelind, TeliaSonera’s President and CEO.

MTS and Ericsson to Showcase 5G at 2018 World Cup in Russia

Russia's Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Ericsson signed an MOU on 5G research and deployment in Russia, including spectrum studies of the next generation network and the building of a test system. The project will support a dialog with government regulators concerning the bands being targeted for 5G and requirements for next generation systems.

The companies said their partnership will also lead to implementation of 5G-related technologies in MTS' network, such as Ericsson Lean Carrier and the use of unlicensed spectrum, and other technologies that use the design concepts Ericsson is developing for 5G.

Russia's MTS Picks Ericsson for LTE

Russia's Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) selected Ericsson to deploy its LTE network in four regions covering more than half of Russia, thus becoming MTS's main vendor. Financial terms were not disclosed. Under the three-year agreement and starting in Q2, 2013, Ericsson will roll out LTE in the Siberian, Ural, Volga, and Southern Federal Districts of Russia. In the first stage of the project, Ericsson will supply no less than 10,000 new-generation products...