Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Facebook Delivers 60 Billion Messages per Day

Mark Zuckerberg kicked off Facebook's annual F8 develop conference in San Francisco by saying he is worried by the growing number of people and countries that are turning inward, wishing to build walls instead of bridges, and seeking to limit global communications. Facebook stands for connecting all people in a global community, he said, and it takes courage to choose hope over fear. A big theme of this year's event is bringing people together with new platforms and services.

Some highlights from Day 1 of F8:

  • Zuckerberg presented Facebook's roadmap for the next ten years.
  • Artificial intelligence will power new services with better than human perception.  
  • The next big platforms are Virtual and Augmented Reality.
  • The main Facebook website connects over a billion people.
  • Messenger and WhatsApp together are now handling 60 billion messages a day - about 3X the volume of SMS worldwide
  • 900 million people are using Messenger each month
  • Launching M, an AI-powered chat-bots on Messenger - for businesses, this lets customer interact with sales tools and support systems in an more automated, user friendly format.  Beta launch is underway with APIs being released for the Facebook Bot engine.
  • Launching Facebook Surround 360 - a professional-grade, 17-camera system for 360-degree VR viewing at 8K 60fps.  The system minimizes required post-processing by implementing custom software and codecs. Eight SSDs are used to capture content at 32 GB/s.  With RAID0 there is up to 2 hours of continuous raw capture. Facebook will open source the project on Github this summer.
  • Released Live API - letting apps to stream live video from any device directly to Facebook.
  • Facebook continues to work on drones, satellites, laser communication systems. The Aquilla solar-powered, drone plane will fly at 60,000 feet for months at a time, delivering Internet access to those below.
  • The first Facebook-backed satellite will launch later this year, bringing Internet access over Africa
  • Aries and Terragraph are two new systems that Facebook has developed to improve connectivity on the ground in urban and rural areas.
  • Reducing data consumption is a priority -  FB continues to improve its Lite applications and is introducing an Augmented Traffic Control tool to help developers simulate data conditions in other countries
  • Telecom Infra Project - the idea is to make it cheaper for telcos to operate their network, in the hope that they pass these savings on to consumers in the form of cheaper data plans
  • Free Basics - this program subsidizes the cost of basic mobile data services. So far, it has connected 25 million people in 37 countries

The keynote video is online.


Perspica Emerges from Stealth with Incident Replay Time Machine for Apps

Perspica, a start-up based in San Jose, California, emerged from stealth with a solution that delivers application infrastructure intelligence across hybrid-cloud environments.

Perspica describes its Incident Replay subscription-based service as a time machine for performance data, logs and topology. It provides TechOps and DevOps teams with tools to visualize all layers and siloes of the application stack, enabling definitive post-mortem and real-time automated root cause analysis to improve mean time to repair. The system uses machine learning algorithms to distinguish between critical events and false positive alarms.  The idea is to provide leverage behavior profiling and predictive analytics to detect anomalous trends and prevent dangerous issues before they impact application performance.

"We are excited to bring to market the world's first 'application infrastructure time machine' that combines topology and performance data. It helps overburdened IT teams identify problems and mitigate risks by analyzing the continuous changes to the application infrastructure stack. We are able to track when an incident occurs and automatically identify the root cause to provide IT departments with the ability to gain real answers immediately. Similar to instant replay during the big game, Perspica provides Incident Replay for big data," stated Dan Maloney, CEO, Perspica.

Perspica is funded by March Capital, The Fabric and The Hive.


Datera Launches Elastic Block Storage Software

Datera, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, emerged from stealth and unveiled an AWS-like elastic block storage solution for enterprises and Service Providers.

Datera Elastic Data Fabric is scale-out storage software that turns standard, commodity hardware into a RESTful API-driven, policy-based storage fabric for large-scale clouds. The company said its mission is to bring the operational efficiencies enjoyed by AWS and Google to the open market.  Datera Elastic Data Fabric natively integrates through iSCSI with OpenStack, CloudStack, VMware vSphere and container orchestration platforms such as Docker, Kubernetes and Mesos.

Key features include:

  • API-first operations provides web-scale automation with full infrastructure programmability.
  • Policy based configuration leaves the details to Datera Elastic Data Fabric so customers can optimize price/performance for each application without hand-crafting every LUN.
  • Grow-as-you-go model so customers only buy what they need when they need it. The scale-out architecture of Datera Elastic Data Fabric means customers do not need to compromise on performance or capacity.
  • Flash-first design delivers high efficiency and low latency (< 1ms) across distributed, diverse storage media types. This maximizes application performance and access density.
  • Multi-tenancy and quality of service for cloud-native and traditional workloadsoptimizes asset utilization and simplifies operations across containers, VMs and bare-metal.
  • Heterogeneous component support makes it possible for IT and DevOps to seamlessly scale across many configurations and generations of industry standard x86 servers with multiple storage media types.

Datera also announced $40 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Samsung Ventures and Silicon Valley luminaries Andy Bechtolsheim and Pradeep Sindhu:

"In the cloud era, things scale up and down constantly. It's always in flux. At scale, you can't operate this kind of environment manually. It must be automated," said Marc Fleischmann, Co-Founder and CEO of Datera. "In this world, customers want their storage fast, at scale, with a self-service delivery model. They can't afford to wait for someone to hand-craft a LUN whenever a developer needs some storage."


Australia's nbn Signs Telstra for HFC Broadband

nbn, the company building Australia’s new broadband network, signed a contract with Telstra to manage the design and construction of fast broadband to more than three million homes currently in the footprint of Telstra’s pay-TV cable network (Hybrid-Fibre Coaxial or HFC cable). Once the build is completed, it will be handed to nbn for operation. Telstra valued the contract at approximately A$1.6 billion.

The deal streamlines the existing arrangements nbn has with Telstra, creating a faster rollout schedule and access to all nbn retailers.

nbn said it is on track to make the initial 10,000 HFC premises available for orders by the end June 2016.

nbn CEO Bill Morrow said:  “The nbn™ network is now available to two million homes and businesses, with close to one million already connected.  This deal will extend the nbn™ network to millions more, bringing new opportunity in education, health and online services to more families.


  • In 2011, nbn and Telstra signed the initial Definitive Agreements for the use of existing Telstra infrastructure and the migration of former wholesale customers from Telstra’s legacy network to the nbn network, with payments progressively scheduled as the new services were activated.
  • In 2014, the nbn and Definitive Agreements were amended to allow nbn to access and progressively acquire existing Telstra network infrastructure to enable the deployment of the multi-technology mix as required.

Openreach Hits 25 Million Premises Milestone in UK

Openreach's wholesale fibre network has passed the 25 million premises milestone -- marking what the company claims as one of the fastest rollouts of fibre broadband in the world.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said: “The UK is making great progress with fibre broadband. Availability and take up are well ahead of most European countries and I’d like to thank the thousands of Openreach engineers who have worked so tirelessly to make this happen.

“The job isn’t finished however and we are working hard to get coverage to 95 per cent and above. We are also exploring how we can improve speeds for the million or so premises in the final few per cent of the country.


USB Type-C Gets Authentication Protocol

A new USB Type-C Authentication specification defines cryptographic-based authentication for USB Type-C chargers and devices. This will enable systems to confirm the authenticity of a USB device or USB charger at the moment a wired connection is made – before inappropriate power or data can be transferred.

“USB is well-established as the favored choice for connecting and charging devices,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. “In support of the growing USB Type-C ecosystem, we anticipated the need for a solution extending the integrity of the USB interface. The new USB Type-C Authentication protocol equips product OEMs with the proper tools to defend against ‘bad’ USB cables, devices and non-compliant USB Chargers.”

Key characteristics of the USB Type-C Authentication solution include:

  • A standard protocol for authenticating certified USB Type-C Chargers, devices, cables and power sources
  • Support for authenticating over either USB data bus or USB Power Delivery communications channels
  • Products that use the authentication protocol retain control over the security policies to be implemented and enforced
  • Relies on 128-bit security for all cryptographic methods
  • Specification references existing internationally-accepted cryptographic methods for certificate format, digital signing, hash and random number generation

The newly completed USB 3.1 specification adds enhancements to enable operation at at up to 10 Gbps.

SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps uses a more efficient data encoding and will deliver more than twice the effective data through-put performance of existing SuperSpeed USB over enhanced, fully backward compatible USB connectors and cables. Compatibili

Nexenta, Micron and SuperMicro Partner on All Flash Arrays

Nexenta announced a strategic relationship with Micron Technology and Supermicro to engineer and deliver innovative solutions for next-generation all-flash data centers. The companies are jointly engineering the Micron-Accelerated NexentaEdge for block and object storage. The solution will be optimized to cost-effectively provide high performance native block, iSCSI block, Swift and S3 object services to OpenStack, VMware and Container-based infrastructures.


ADTRAN Posts Q1 Sales of $142 Million

ADTRAN reported Q1 sales of $142.2 million, compared to $142.8 million for the first quarter of 2015. Net income was $5,014,000 compared to $3,317,000 for the first quarter of 2015. Earnings per share, assuming dilution, were $0.10 compared to $0.06 for the first quarter of 2015.

ADTRAN Chief Executive Officer Tom Stanton stated, “ADTRAN delivered a solid performance this quarter resulting in earnings coming in ahead of initial expectations. Compared to the same period last year, Q1 domestic revenue was up over 39% with increases in both our products and services businesses. Improved gross margins and lower operating expenses helped us increase operating income over 181% versus Q1 of 2015. Longer term, we expect further improvement in the carrier environment as customers accelerate investments in upgrading their network infrastructure to meet customer demand.”


Juniper Issues Q1 Financial Warning

Juniper Networks updated its financial outlook for its quarter ended March 31, 2016, saying revenue is now expected to be in the range of $1,090 million to $1,100 million, below its previous guidance of $1,150 million to $1,190 million.

Juniper cited weaker than anticipated demand from Enterprise customers and the timing of deployments of certain U.S. and EMEA Tier 1 Telecoms. The company now expects non-GAAP net income per diluted share of $0.35 to $0.37, compared to the Company's previous guidance of $0.42 to $0.46 per diluted share.

"Although we expect results to be lower than our initial guidance for the first quarter, we remain constructive on fiscal 2016 and expect growth from new products to contribute to our topline, coupled with our ongoing focus on cost discipline to drive non-GAAP operating margin expansion for the full year," stated Rami Rahim, chief executive officer of Juniper Networks.