Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Google Builds a Custom ASIC for Machine Learning

Google has developed a custom ASIC for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) is tailored for TensorFlow, which is an open source software library for machine learning that was developed at Google.

In a blog posting,  Norm Jouppi, Distinguished Hardware Engineer at Google, discloses that the TPUs have already been in deployment in Google data centers for over a year, where they "deliver an order of magnitude better-optimized performance per watt for machine learning." The stealthy project to develop in-house silicon has been underway for several years.

A number of Google applications are already running on the Tensor Processing Units, including RankBrain, Street View, and the AlphaGo application that recently defeated the Go world champion, Lee Sedol.

Google plans to deliver machine learning as a service on its Google Cloud Platform by providing APIs for computer vision, speech, human language translation, etc.

  • TensorFlow was originally developed by the Google Brain team and released under the Apache 2.0 open source license in November 2015. At the time, Google said TensorFlow can run on multiple CPUs and GPUs.

Cisco Posts Solid Quarterly Revenue of $12.0 Billion, up 3% YoY

Cisco reported third quarter revenue of $12.0 billion, GAAP net income of $2.3 billion or $0.46 per share, and non-GAAP net income of $2.9 billion or $0.57 per share.

"We delivered a strong Q3, executing well despite the challenging environment," said Chuck Robbins, Cisco chief executive officer. "I'm pleased with our performance today as well as the progress we're making in transitioning our business to a more software and subscription focus, which we'll continue to apply across our entire portfolio."

Some highlights for quarter:
  • Product revenue was up 1% 
  • Service revenue was up 11%
  • Revenue by geographic segment was: Americas up 4%, EMEA down 2%, and APJC up 10%. 
  • Product revenue growth was led by Security, Collaboration and SP Video which increased by 17%, 10% and 18%, respectively. Wireless and Data Center each increased by 1%, while Switching and NGN Routing decreased by 3% and 5%, respectively.
  • Total gross margin and product gross margin (GAA) were 64.3% and 63.8%, respectively. 
  • GAAP service margin was 65.9% and non-GAAP service gross margin was 67.1%.
  • Total gross margins by geographic segment were: 66.3% for the Americas, 65.5% for EMEA and 60.4% for APJC.

Video: DE-CIX - Increasing Internet Traffic Flows from East and South

Understanding Internet traffic patterns on a global basis is fundamental to improving user experience.  With its massive Internet exchange located in Frankfurt, Germany, and now many more exchange points worldwide, DE-CIX is ideally positioned to learn from the changing traffic flows.

In this video, Harald A. Summa discusses the increasing Internet traffic flow from the east and the south, and how DE-CIX has positioned itself to handle this change.

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Video: Hibernia - Demand Rises for Lowest Latency, Transatlantic Capacity

When it set out to build its new Hibernia Express transatlantic cable system, Hibernia Networks really was looking to achieve a couple of goals. The top goal was to provide absolutely the lowest latency across the Atlantic. Another ambition was to provide another diverse, high-capacity system that would be attractive to multiple customer segments.

In this video,  Al DiGabiele, SVP Product Management & Marketing at Hibernia Networks, talks about rising demand on the new cable system and a new protected-wavelength service with automated failure switching.

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Video: Digital Realty - The Connected Campus

Following its acquisition of Telx last year, Digital Realty is positioned to bring new switching and networking services to key locations.

Tony Rossabi talks about the "Connected Campus", where colocation and connectivity resources from Telx and integrated with Digital Realty's wholesale business.

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CENX Lands a Tier 1 for its Orchestrated Service Assurance

CENX announced a contract with a Tier 1 global communications service provider based in southern Europe (name not disclosed). CENX systems will be used to orchestrate and assure on-demand cloud and data center services.

CENX’s Exanova Service Intelligence software will enable on-demand deployment and real-time assurance of innovative services for the service provider’s international enterprise and wholesale carrier customers. Initial services will include highly reliable connectivity to the public cloud and data center interconnect (DCI). Using a customer portal, subscribers will be able to order, activate, manage and monitor new cloud connectivity and DCI services, on demand. Exanova automates the workflow of the operations tasks required to fulfil customer requests, interfacing with underlying multi-vendor network infrastructure, thus dramatically reducing the time to deploy new services. For ongoing 24/7 assurance, performance and utilization metrics are ingested and analyzed in real time, to provide operations personnel a unified view of the state of the network for rapid troubleshooting, and to provide corporate customers accurate SLA metrics.

“This win represents a significant addition to our European footprint and we look forward to supporting the growth of our customers in the region as they transform their network operations,” said Jay McMullan, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, CENX. “Exanova Service Intelligence enables new, revenue-generating services, in combination with scalability and extensibility, which together provide a future-proof solution for the quick adoption of NFV and SDN infrastructure.”


Nokia Plans Return to Mobile Phones

Nearly three years after selling its device business to Microsoft, Nokia is preparing to return to the mobile phone business on a global basis.

Nokia is working with a newly founded company based in Finland that is called HMD global Oy (HMD). This new company will have an exclusive global license to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years and Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments. HMD will be headed by Arto Nummela, who previously held senior positions at Nokia and is currently the head of Microsoft's Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa, as well as Microsoft's global Feature Phones business.

In addition, HMD has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights. The Microsoft transaction is expected to close in H2 2016. Together these agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.

The remainder of Microsoft's feature phone business assets, including manufacturing, sales and distribution, will be acquired by FIH Mobile Limited (FIH), a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries (trading as Foxconn Technology Group).  HMD and Nokia Technologies have signed an agreement with FIH to establish a collaboration framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.

"Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Nokia brand in an industry where Nokia remains a truly iconic name. Instead of Nokia returning to manufacturing mobile phones itself, HMD plans to produce mobile phones and tablets that can leverage and grow the value of the Nokia brand in global markets. Working with HMD and FIH will let us participate in one of the largest consumer electronics markets in the world while staying true to our licensing business model," stated Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies.

Video: Secure Cloud Connections - a perspective by Patrick Shutt @UnitasGlobal

Enterprises have absolute aspirations to move from their on-premise infrastructure to the hyperscale cloud.

Patrick Shutt, CEO of Unitas Global, speaks about building secure connections to the cloud for enterprises.