Wednesday, June 1, 2016

OpenSwitch Project Now Under Linux Foundation

The OpenSwitch Project, which is developing an open source, Linux-based Network Operating System, will be managed as a Linux Foundation project.

OpenSwitch is designed to power enterprise grade switches from multiple hardware vendors that will enable organizations to rapidly build data center networks that are customized for unique business needs. OpenSwitch also includes optional integration with SnapRoute’s open source L2/L3 stack. The SnapRoute stack is designed with the principles of a modern network stack and safe software design, is built for developer use and includes extensive operator control and instrumentation.

Members and participating organizations include Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Cavium, Inc., Edgecore Networks, Extreme Networks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, LinkedIn, Marvell, Mellanox Technologies, Nephos Inc.,, Quattro Networks, Inc. and SnapRoute.

“OpenSwitch brings another important ingredient of the open networking stack to The Linux Foundation,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “We’re looking forward to working with this community to advance networking across the enterprise.”

HP Launches OpenSwitch Network Operating System

HP launched a new OpenSwitch network operating system (NOS) designed for data centers.

OpenSwitch is intended to be an open community that provides developers and users the ability to accelerate innovation, avoid vendor lock-in, and realize investment protection as they rapidly build data center networks. HP announced a number of early supporters including Accton Technology Corporation, Arista, Broadcom, Intel, and VMWare.

“Open source software, with its collaborative community of specialized developers, accelerates innovation and improves the stability of the software platform, providing organizations with a more powerful infrastructure to support their specific business requirements,” said Mark Carroll, chief technology officer for HP Networking. “The newly formed developer community and Linux-based OpenSwitch NOS early release code will help developers address the rapidly evolving business and web-scale networking needs in the industry.”

Initial components and key attributes of OpenSwitch include:

  • A fully featured NOS with L2/L3 protocols support
  • Open source cloud database for persistent and ephemeral configuration
  • All inter-module communication is through system database
  • Universal API approach: CLI, REST, Puppet/Chef, Ansible

Mellanox Intros ARM-based "BlueField" Processors for Networking

Mellanox Technologies introduced a new line of "BlueField" programmable processors for networking and storage applications, including dataplane offload for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), advanced networking and security, and serving as the embedded storage controller of an array of solid state Flash drives. Sampling is expected in Q1 2017.

BlueField incorporates Mellanox ConnectX network acceleration offload technology together with an array of high-performance 64-bit ARMv8 CPU cores that leverages the Tilera coherent mesh interconnect technology from the recent acquisition of EZchip.

BlueField offers multiple Virtual Protocol Interconnect (VPI) 100Gbps networking ports supporting InfiniBand and Ethernet. The company's SkyMesh coherent on-chip interconnect – proven in multiple generations of Tilera processors – enables scalable performance and leading power efficiency.

Key Technical Features

  • Both Ethernet and InfiniBand support
  • Multi-rate ports supporting 10, 25, 40, 50, 56 and 100 Gb/s
  • Networking offloads including VXLAN, NVGRE, GENEVE overlay networks, RSS, TSS, HDS, LRO, LSOv2, RDMA, and RoCE
  • Low latency NVMe over Fabrics translation between PCIe and Ethernet/InfiniBand
  • High-bandwidth PCIe controllers with Gen3 and Gen4 support as well as SRIOV
  • Tiled array of ARMv8 processor cores with unified virtual memory system
  • Three-level cache hierarchy with scalable distributed hardware coherency
  • Multi-DDR4 memory controllers with ECC, supporting up to 2667MT/s
  • Integrated security acceleration for protocols including IPsec, SSL/TLS, DTLS and data-at-rest applications
  • High-performance crypto acceleration for AES, SHA, RSA, DSA, Elliptic Curve and Diffie-Hellman
  • Integrated cores leverage the vast ARM software ecosystem for development tools and pre-ported applications
  • Typical runtime environment is based on KVM/Linux and standard frameworks and applications such as DPDK, OVS, Ceph, etc.

“We have leveraged our industry-leading ConnectX technology in the BlueField SOCs to achieve unmatched networking throughput and low-latencies,” said Kevin Deierling, vice president of marketing, Mellanox. “Our ConnectX adapter technology is the industry standard for connectivity and has become pervasive throughout the industry. Now, when combined with the multicore technology from EZchip, the vision of a Software-Defined dataplane accelerator can be realized.”

Mellanox Samples its High-end Network Processor

Mellanox Technologies has begun sampling its next generation, NPS-400 network processor, which is capable of performing advanced deep packet processing for security and telecommunications applications at over 800 Gbps.

The NPS features programmable CPU cores that are highly optimized for packet processing and leverage deep packet processing and applications experience, a traffic manager, hardware accelerators for security and DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) tailored for efficiency and performance, on-chip search engines including TCAM with scaling through algorithmic extension to external low-cost low-power DRAM memory and a multitude of network interfaces providing an aggregated bandwidth of 800-Gigabits per second including 10-, 40- and 100-Gigabit Ethernet, Interlaken and PCI Express interfaces. It offers C‑based programming, a standard toolset, support of the Linux operating system, large code space, and a run-to-completion or pipeline programming style. Mellanox supplies a library of source code for a variety of applications.

ZTE plans to use the NPS-400 for its new line cards design for carrier-grade router platforms.

“We are pleased that the NPS network processing unit is now available and shipping to communication technology leaders such as ZTE,” said Marc Sultzbaugh, senior vice president, Mellanox Technologies. “Through the acquisition of EZchip we’ve gained tremendous expertise and advanced network processing capabilities. The NPS is a sixth generation network processor and has evolved to provide unmatched performance and flexibility that meets the needs of the most advanced data center and communications customers.”

  • Last month, Mellanox completed its acquisition of EZchip at a total purchase price of approximately $811 million (approximately $606 million net of cash).

99Cloud and Aliyun Partner on OpenStack Cloud

Aliyun, the largest cloud operator in China, and China’s leading OpenStack service provider, 99Cloud, agreed to collaborate on hybrid cloud solutions for business customers.

99Cloud will leverage its expertise in the design, deployment, implementation, and operation of OpenStack platforms.  These will be integrated into the Aliyun public cloud through tailor-made APIs. Jointly, 99Cloud and Aliyun will provide customers with best enterprise hybrid cloud experiences.

IDC: Server Sales Drop in Q1 Due to Hyperscale Slowdown

Vendor revenue in the worldwide server market decreased 3.6% year over year to $12.4 billion in the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16), according to IDC's freshly updated Worldwide Server Tracker. The research firm attributed the decline to a pause in hyperscale server deployments as well as a clear end to the enterprise refresh cycle. IDC said worldwide server shipments decreased 3.0% to 2.2 million units in 1Q16 when compared with the same year-ago period.

"As expected, server growth slowed in the first quarter, with a clear end to the Intel-led enterprise refresh, a pause in hyperscale cloud expansion, and a very difficult year-on-year comparison in the high end of the market, coming off of a major mainframe refresh from IBM one year ago," said Kuba Stolarski, Research Director, Computing Platforms at IDC. "Now that the cyclical refresh has comes to an end, the market focus is shifting towards software-defined infrastructure, hybrid environment management, and next-gen IT domains such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and cognitive analytics. In the short term, IDC expects the second half of 2016 to re-energize hyperscale cloud infrastructure expansion with existing data centers filling out and new cloud data centers standing up across the globe."

Some highlights:

  • On a year-over-year basis, volume system revenue increased 1.8% and midrange system demand increased 8.3% in 1Q16 to $9.8 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. 
  • Midrange systems were helped by enterprise investment in scalable systems for virtualization and consolidation, as well as increases in x86-based mission critical systems. 
  • 1Q16 demand for high-end systems experienced a year-over-year revenue decline of 33.4% to $1.4 billion on a difficult compare to the prior year, in which a major IBM system z upgrade drove a spike in mainframe system refresh.
  • Demand for x86 servers improved in 1Q16 with revenues increasing 2.6% year over year in the quarter to $10.6 billion worldwide while unit shipments declined 2.9% to 2.2 million servers. HPE led the market with 29.7% revenue share based on 5.5% revenue growth over 1Q15. Dell retained second place, securing 21.5% revenue share following a 1.8% year-over-year revenue decline.
  • Non-x86 servers experienced a revenue decline of 28.7% year over year to $1.8 billion, representing 14.7% of quarterly server revenue. IBM leads the segment with 62.7% revenue share despite a 32.9% revenue decline when compared with the first quarter of 2015. IDC also continued to track falling revenue from ARM server sales in 1Q16, with the HP Moonshot system deployments representing the largest single component.

Dish Plans to Use AWS-4 spectrum (2000-2020 MHz) for downlink

DISH Network notified the FCC that it is electing to use 20 MHz of AWS-4 uplink spectrum (2000-2020 MHz) for downlink operations, resulting in all 40 MHz of DISH’s AWS-4 spectrum being designated for downlink operations.

The 3GPP's RAN4 working group recently agreed on Band 70 specifications. Band 70 combines three spectrum blocks encompassing DISH’s current AWS-4 spectrum as downlink (2000-2020 MHz), DISH's H block downlink spectrum (1995-2000 MHz), and unpaired AWS-3 uplink spectrum (1695-1710 MHz). 3GPP formal approval will enable the development of devices and infrastructure that supports Band 70.

“Similar to Band 66 approved in December 2015, the asymmetric Band 70 includes a greater proportion of downlink spectrum relative to uplink, enhancing the overall utility of the spectrum as the growth of video and other downlink-intensive traffic continues to increase,” said Tom Cullen, DISH executive vice president of Corporate Development. “Consumer trends clearly support the efficient combination of different spectrum blocks into a single, asymmetric band. Moreover, our AWS-4 election leads to a better coexistence with the adjacent downlink PCS operations. We’re pleased with the working group level completion of Band 70 as these standards efforts are a necessary step in developing the ecosystem.”

DISH noted that it directly or indirectly has on average almost 80 MHz of spectrum nationwide, covering over 23 billion MHz-POPs.

Softbank to Sell $7.9 Billion of its Stake in Alibaba

Softbank announced plans to sell US$7.9 billion of the shares it holds in Alibaba Group Holding Limited (“Alibaba”).

Specifically, the transactions are comprised of (i) the intended sale of $2.0 billion of Alibaba ordinary
shares to Alibaba, (ii) the intended sale of $400 million of Alibaba ordinary shares to members of the Alibaba Partnership acting collectively, and the sale of $500 million of Alibaba ordinary shares to a major sovereign wealth fund pursuant to an exemption from registration under the U.S. Securities Act and (iii) an intention to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $5.0 billion aggregate purchase price of its mandatory exchangeable trust securities exchangeable into American depositary shares of Alibaba in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the U.S. Securities Act.

After the sale, Softbank would continue to hold approximately 28%3 of Alibaba’s total outstanding shares.

“When I first met Jack Ma, I knew immediately he had the vision and passion to build the world’s leading e-commerce company, and I was very happy to invest alongside him to help him realize his ambition.” said SBG Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son. “This investment has been phenomenally successful and, over the past 16 years, we have built a close relationship, working together on many exciting projects. In that time, we have not sold any Alibaba shares. There are huge opportunities ahead for Alibaba and SBG looks forward to the continued partnership.”

Video: Christie Pitts on Turning Start-ups into Strategic Assets at Verizon Ventures

Christie Pitts, Venture Development Manager at Verizon Ventures, highlights some of hot tech areas with adjacencies to Verizon's core businesses.

Think drones, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and 5G. Verizon Ventures also runs a #BuiltByGirls fund to encourage female entrepreneurs.

See video:

Video: Parissa Pandkhou on Developing LTE Multicast at Verizon

Staying at the forefront of innovation, Parissa Pandkhou, Director, Product Development at Verizon , talks about working on LTE Multicast.

Her advice for the next generation of innovators is to believe in what you are doing and be resilient.

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Video: Susan Lyne on Investing in Female Entrepreneurs

BBG Ventures, a seed fund with backing from Verizon and AOL, invests in tech start-ups with at least one female founder.

Susan Lyne, Founder and President of BBG Ventures, a Verizon and AOL initiative, talks about the huge tech opportunities where women are leading the charge. The #builtbygirls program encourages young women to use technology to make their dreams come true.

See video:

Contact BBG Ventures #builtbygirls -

Video: Bridgevoice - Bridging Global Voice Services

Bankim Brahmbhatt, CEO and President of Bridgevoice, talks about launching a carrier portal for bridging global voice services.

Small carriers are able to access the large carriers directly, which is not possible today in the legacy way of doing business. Bridgevoice acts as a mediator, providing funding to operators while maintaining the quality of service. Bridgevoice also provides a bidding desk, enabling carriers to change their rates on a real time basis. Carriers can use this portal to sell available capacity.

See video: