Friday, April 1, 2016

Microsoft's Progress with Azure: Moving to Cognitive Services


Microsoft is unique among the big cloud players in that enables enterprises to use the same technologies in their own data center and in the Azure public cloud, said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's Executive VP of Cloud + Enterprise, speaking at the company's Build 2016 event in San Francisco last week. The Microsoft Cloud is progressing quickly from bulk applications to advanced services, such as IoT, Microservices, Media Streaming, High Performance Compute, Data + Analytics, and Cognitive Services.

Here are some highlight on the progress of Azure:

  • Azure infrastructure encompasses Compute, Storage, Networking, and Security.
  • There are now 30 Azure regions around the world, which is more than AWS and Google Cloud combined.  Applications run closer geographically to many users.
  • In one of its US East regions, Microsoft is currently building a data center campus that is more than a mile in length.
  • The Azure cloud now encompasses more than a million servers.
  • The 3 main reasons customers give for adopting Azure are Choice/Flexibility, Enterprise-ready, and Productivity. 
  • Popular tools supported by Azure include Puppet, Chef, Ansible, WordPress, Drupal, python, Ruby, SQL, hortonworks, mongoDB, Windows Server, Red Hat, Linux, Docker, etc.
  • Microsoft has tens of thousands of support professionals.
  • Azure is the only global public cloud vendor with a license to operate in China.
  • 85% of Fortune 500 use the Microsoft cloud
  • Azure introduced hundreds of new features and services over the past 12 months. Pace of innovation continues to accelerate.
  • There are over 1.4 million SQL databases currently running in Azure.
  • Azure IoT is now processing 2 trillion messages per week.
  • Microsoft has acquired Xamarin for mobile app testing in the cloud. Xamarin is now available at no extra charge to every Visual Studio customer.
  • Azure Fabric Service is now commercially available. It is a prescriptive microservice platform. It can deploy as a runtime on Azure, Azure Stack, VMware, OpenStack and AWS.
  • Azure Container Service is now providing deep integration with Mesos, Swarm, Docker and other container technologies on both Linux and Windows Server.
  • DocumentDB, which is a managed NoSQL database, now scales to 100s of Terabytes.

Scott Guthrie's keynote is online.
https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2016/KEY02

Microsoft Launches Azure Service Fabric

Microsoft announced general availability of Azure Service Fabric -- its microservices application platform for the cloud. The technology has actually been in use on Microsoft's internal infrastructure for the past five years and is currently powering a range of services including Azure SQL Databases, Azure DocumentDB, Intune, Cortana and Skype for Business.

Azure Service Fabric as a service handles application lifecycle management for simplified application scaling and resiliency. Microsoft Visual Studio now provides seamless integration with Service Fabric.  This simplifies coding and deployment from the developer's local machine onto Azure with streamlined provisioning of microservices.

Microsoft also announced previews of Service Fabric for Windows Server, enabling deploying on-premises and other cloud.  The company is also working on Service Fabric for Linux and Java APIs.  Microsoft noted that it plans to open-source the programming frameworks of Service Fabric for Linux later this year.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/

An Introduction to Microservices with Mark Russinovich - Part 1



Part 2

Big 2015 Numbers for Huawei - Revenue of US$60.8 Billion, up 37%

Huawei's 2015 revenue exceeded US$60.8 billion (CNY395 billion), up 37% YoY.  Net profits amounted to US$5.68 billion (CNY36.9 billion), up 33% YoY.

In its newly-released annual report, Huawei said its Carrier, Enterprise, and Consumer Business Groups (BGs) all achieved strong year-on-year growth Huawei's financial statements were audited by KPMG.

"In part, Huawei owes its long-term growth to the sheer size of the ICT market, which is the driving force of digital economies around the world. However, our growth is also a direct result of strategic focus and heavy investment in our core businesses. Over the next three to five years, we will concentrate on enhancing connectivity, enabling the development of vertical industries, and redefining network capabilities. With an open and collaborative approach, and a commitment to shared success, we will work closely with our customers and partners to maximize industry development opportunities. Together, we will build a Better Connected World," stated Guo Ping, Huawei's deputy chairman and rotating CEO.

Some highlights:

  • The Carrier BG generated CNY232.3 billion (US$35.8 billion) in annual revenue, up 21% YoY. Widespread rollout of 4G networks accounted for a large portion of this growth.
  • The Enterprise BG generated CNY27.6 billion (US$4.3 billion) in annual revenue, an increase of 44% YoY. In particular, Huawei's enterprise business experienced rapid growth in the public safety, finance, transportation, and energy sectors.
  • A major highlight of the company's performance in 2015, Huawei's Consumer BG reported CNY129.1 billion (US$19.9 billion) in annual revenue, up 73% YoY. This increase was a direct result of increased demand for high-quality products that deliver a premium user experience, as well as Huawei's growing influence as a consumer brand.
  • R&D expenditures amounted to 15% of its annual revenue – CNY59.6 billion (US$9.2 billion). Huawei's total R&D investment over the past decade exceeds CNY240 billion (approximately US$37 billion).

 http://www.huawei.com/en/about-huawei/annual-report/2015

FCC Proposes Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules

The FCC is proposing new privacy guidelines to ensure broadband customers have meaningful choice, greater transparency and strong security protections for their personal information collected by ISPs.

Specifically, to provide consumers more control over the use of their personal information – and enforce the broadband provider’s responsibility to safeguard such data – the NPRM separates the use and sharing of information into three categories, and proposes adoption of clear guidance for both ISPs and customers about the transparency, choice and security requirements for customers’ personal information:

Consent Inherent in Customer Decision to Purchase ISP’s Services:  Customer data necessary to provide broadband services and for marketing the type of broadband service purchased by a customer – and for certain other purposes consistent with customer expectations, such as contacting public safety – would require no additional customer consent beyond the creation of the customer-ISP relationship.
Opt-out:  Broadband providers would be allowed to use customer data for the purposes of marketing other communications-related services and to share customer data with their affiliates that provide communications-related services for the purposes of marketing such services unless the customer affirmatively opts out.
Opt-in:  All other uses and sharing of consumer data would require express, affirmative “opt-in” consent from customers.

In addition, the NPRM proposes:
Transparency requirements that require ISPs to provide customers with clear, conspicuous and persistent notice about what information they collect, use and share with third parties, and how customers can change their privacy preferences;
Robust and flexible data security requirements for broadband providers that include requirements
to adopt risk management practices; institute personnel training practices; implement strong customer authentication requirements; identify a senior manager responsible for data security; and take responsibility for use and protection of customer information when shared with third parties.
Common-sense data breach notification requirements to encourage ISPs to protect the confidentiality of customer data, and to give consumers and law enforcement notice of failures to protect such information.

http://www.fcc.gov

CyrusOne Acquires Huge Chicago Data Center from CME Group

CyrusOne paid $130 million to acquire a huge data center in Aurora, Illinois from CME Group, which operates the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, CBOT, NYMEX and COMEX.

The deal includes a 428,000-square-foot data center serving the Chicago metropolitan region. In addition, CyrusOne has acquired approximately 36,000 colocation square feet available for lease and approximately 15 acres of developable land directly adjacent to the data center.

CME Group has entered into a 15-year lease for data center space at the Aurora facility. The company’s electronic trading platform, CME Globex, is to remain in operation within this space. The agreement is expected to enhance the range of services available to CyrusOne and CME Group’s mutual customers through connectivity, hosting, and data offerings.

http://www.cyrusone.com/

Zayo Acquires 2 More Data Centers in Texas

Zayo Group Holdings paid $18.9 million to acquire Clearview International, which operates two data centers Texas.  The first is located at 6606 LBJ Freeway in Dallas and the second is located at 700 Austin Avenue in Waco.  Together, the facilities total approximately 30,000 square feet of colocation space. The Clearview acquisition builds on the 66,000 square feet of Dallas data center capacity at 1100 Empire Central Place acquired by Zayo on December 31, 2015.

Zayo said it continues to experience strong demand resulting from the interplay between data center and fiber needs across its markets and particularly in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. This hybrid demand has been boosted by the kick-off of a 2,000+ route miles Dallas area fiber-to-the-tower (FTT) deployment, announced in May 2015. A recent example is a global SaaS provider securing colocation in Zayo’s Dallas Empire Central facility plus four diverse 10G wavelengths tethering to a Zayo presence in the primary Dallas carrier hotel.

Zayo now owns and operates seven data centers in Texas, and a total of 57 facilities in North America and Europe. Zayo’s dense fiber backbone in Dallas spans more than 3,500 miles, inclusive of the in-process FTT deployment. In addition, Zayo’s Phoenix-Dallas longhaul fiber build will provide additional connectivity between Dallas and Waco.

http://www.zayo.com

ZTE to Make Changes to be Removed from US Trade Sanction List

ZTE has confirmed that it will fulfill any commitments necessary to be removed permanently from the U.S. Department of Commerce's list of sanctioned entities.  The company is expected to announced the resignation of certain senior managers in the coming days.

In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce added ZTE to the list of entities involved in "activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States." The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) listing, which limits the availability of most license exceptions on U.S. technology sales to ZTE, was driven by a finding that ZTE willingly resold restricted U.S. technology products to Iran during the period of economic sanctions. The listing could prevent U.S. semiconductor companies from doing business with ZTE.

http://wwwen.zte.com.cn/en/press_center/news/201603/t20160322_449346.html

Verizon Completes $10.5 Billion Transaction with Frontier

Verizon completed its previously disclosed sale of landline assets in California, Florida and Texas to Frontier Communications.  The deal was valued at approximately $10.5 billion (approximately $7.5 billion net of income taxes), subject to certain adjustments and including Frontier’s assumption of $0.6 billion in debt.

Frontier Communications now owns and operates these landline businesses, which include broadband, video, voice and Fios operations in the three states. The sale does not include the services, offerings or assets of other Verizon businesses, such as Verizon Wireless and Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Approximately 9,400 Verizon employees in California, Florida and Texas were transferred to Frontier.

Verizon said the sale concentrates its remaining landline operations in contiguous northeast markets – which will enhance the efficiency of the company’s marketing, sales and service operations across its remaining landline footprint.

http://www.verizon.com
  • The deal was first announced in February 2015. At the time, the companies said the transaction involved 3.7 million voice connections, 2.2 million broadband connections, and 1.2 million FiOS video connections. The network being acquired was the result of substantial capital investments by Verizon and was 54 percent FiOS enabled. Verizon spent more than $7 billion in the buildout of FiOS in the acquired territories.
  • In October 2014, Frontier Communications completed its previously announced $2 billion acquisition of AT&T’s wireline business, statewide fiber network, and U-verse operations in Connecticut. As part of the acquisition, Frontier also acquired AT&T’s DISH satellite TV customers in Connecticut. 
  • In 2010, Verizon divested its local wireline operations serving residential and small-business customers in predominantly rural areas in 14 states by selling these operations to Frontier Communications. The deal included all of Verizon's local wireline operating territories in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Also included were fiber-to-the-premises assets deployed by Verizon in 41 local franchises in Indiana.

See also