Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Arbor Networks: Largest DDoS Attack Hits 579 Gbps

The largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack data during the first six months of 2016, as measured by Arbor Networks, reached 579 Gbps -- up 75% over the largest DDoS attack seen by the same research in 2015.  The data from the Arbor study shows a continuing escalation in both the size and frequency of attacks.

Arbor’s data is gathered through the Active Threat Level Analysis System (ATLAS), a collaborative partnership with more than 330 service provider customers who share anonymous traffic data with Arbor in order to deliver a comprehensive, aggregated view of global traffic and threats.

ATLAS has recorded:

An average of 124,000 events per week over the last 18 months.
A 73% increase in peak attack size over 2015, to 579Gbps.
274 attacks over 100Gbps monitored in 1H 2016, versus 223 in all of 2015.
46 attacks over 200Gbps monitored in 1H 2016, versus 16 in all of 2015.
USA, France and Great Britain are the top targets for attacks over 10Gbps.

Here are some highlights released by the company:

LizardStresser, an IoT botnet was used to launch attacks as large as 400Gbps targeting gaming sites worldwide, Brazilian financial institutions, Internet service providers (ISPs) and government institutions.
Average attack size in 1H 2016 was 986Mbps, a 30% increase over 2015.
Average attack size is projected to be 1.15Gbps by end of 2016.
DNS is the most prevalent protocol used in 2016, taking over from NTP and SSDP in 2015.
Average size of DNS reflection amplification attacks is growing strongly.
Peak monitored reflection amplification attack size in 1H 2016 was 480Gbps (DNS).


Cedexis Measures Latencies of Major U.S. Public Clouds

Cedexis, which specializes in Internet performance monitoring and optimization, released data measuring the performance of major clouds in the U.S. during March/April 2016.

The data includes Real End User Measurements for:

  • AWS
  • Azure
  • SoftLayer
  • Rackspace
  • Google

The report specifically includes findings on the following:

  • Worst to First: Latency of 17 US based Clouds (in Milliseconds)
  • Regional comparison of US based Clouds - US Latency in Milliseconds
  • Regional comparison - 8 best clouds with regard to US Latency, March/April 2016
  • Regional Comparison of top 4 Clouds with regard to Latency
  • US Availability of Clouds – Regional Breakout
  • Southwest latency over a 48 hour period – abnormal diurnal congestion
  • Southwest Availability over same 48 hour period – Google wins!

Cedexis noted that there are significant diurnal patterns that indicate congestion of major peering points, and that this congestion effects the different clouds to varying degrees.


Video: A10 Networks at a Glance

You may not have heard of A10 Networks since it is one of the best kept secrets in the industry, but the company is a major supplier of networking equipment to the video gaming industry, the financial industry, and even for some of the largest casinos in Las Vegas.

Gunter Reiss, VP of Strategic Alliances, A10 Networks, provides a two-minute overview of the 12-year old, Silicon Valley-based company, which has grown to roughly 5,000 customers worldwide. A10 Networks is known for its feature-rich, high-scalable, high-performance, application delivery controller that can be used for carrier-grade NAT, DDoS mitigation, SSL decryption visibility and as a converged firewall.

See video: https://youtu.be/EOtr45E43Mg

Zayo Introduces Encryption as a Service

Zayo Group Holdings announced an Encryption-as-a-Service offering over its fiber network.

Zayo’s Encryption as a Service, which leverages Ciena’s WaveLogic Encryption solution, provides managed wavelength services configured with 10G wire speed encryption at Layer 1, with additional higher speed options in progress.

Zayo’s initial customers include a leading global bank using the service to encrypt credit card transaction data, enabling them to maintain compliance with international security standards.

“Data security continues to be one of the top concerns for global industries, an issue that’s been intensified by recent high-profile attacks in healthcare, retail, banks, hospitality and entertainment,” said Dennis Kyle, senior vice president of Strategic Marketing and Alliances at Zayo. “Our encryption solution is quick and easy to provision and provides high levels of protection without sacrificing network performance. It’s another way we are providing a critical layer of security to protect our customers.”


LinkedIn's Open19 Project Aims for New Rack/Server Spec

LinkedIn is launching a new Open19 project that aims to establish a new open standard for servers based on a common form factor.

LinkedIn believes a new spec could lead to lower cost per rack, lower cost per server, and optimized power utilization in its hyperscale, cloud data centers. The project is open and industry participation is welcomed.

The Open19 platform is based on standard building blocks with the following specifications:

  • Standard 19-inch 4 post rack;
  • Brick cage;
  • Brick (B), Double Brick (DB), Double High Brick (DHB);
  • Power shelf—12 volt distribution, OTS power modules;
  • Optional Battery Backup Unit (BBU);
  • Optional Networking switch (ToR);
  • Snap-on power cables/PCB—200-250 watts per brick;
  • Snap-on data cables—up to 100G per brick;
  • Provides linear growth on power and bandwidth based on brick size.


LinkedIn Acquisition Brings More Cloud Services and Traffic

Microsoft agreed to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash, giving it the world’s largest social network for professional contacts. LinkedIn highlights: 19 percent growth year over year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide 9 percent growth YOY to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month 49 percent growth YOY to 60 percent mobile usage 34 percent growth YOY to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views 101 percent...

LinkedIn Develops its Own Data Center Switch

LinkedIn's engineering team has developed its own data center switch to keep up with the rapidly growing traffic demands of its professional, social network. The new switch, dubbed "Pigeon", is a 3.2 Tbps switching platform that can be used as a leaf or spine switch. It uses Broadcom's latest Tomahawk silicon (32X100G) and switch software developed in house. In a blog post, Zaid Ali Kahn describes why the company decided to take on the difficult...

Why did SoftBank offer £24.3 billion (US$32.4 billion) in cash to acquire ARM Holdings? - Part 1

To make this purchase, SoftBank will need to part with cash-on-hand and take out an additional loan from Mizuho Bank of Japan, adding to its mountainous pile of debt?

ARM is the leading developer of RISC processor designs that are widely licensed for use in smartphones and tablets.  The company, which is based in Cambridge, England, posted 2015 revenue of £968.3 million. A total of 14.8 billion ARM-powered SoCs shipped in 2015, up from just over 12 billion in 2014.

SoftBank is mostly a telco, mobile operator and ISP business in Japan. It also owns the majority stake in Sprint, the fourth largest mobile operator in the U.S., as well as a substantial stake in Alibaba, China's leading cloud and B2B business.

Executives at both firms pointed to IoT as their common future.  Most analysts agree that there will be many years of tremendous growth ahead as the world goes about connecting every machine. ARM processors are already well positioned for this opportunity.  SoftBank's investments in Alibaba and Sprint should also get a boost as more connected devices take off.  But it is not apparent that SoftBank's ownership of ARM could boost its number of IoT design wins.  Nor should we expect ARM-based devices to generate any additional traffic or value just because they are on SoftBank infrastructure.

For ARM executives and shareholders, a 43% jump is valuation is certainly good news.  It more money to grow the business, and more money in the retirement account.

For SoftBank, what other reasons could be driving its decision to take on more corporate debt, especially in the highly-volatile semiconductor business, where it has now prior experience? 

Some considerations:

•   ARM Holdings is a profitable business and holds a 95% share of the market for processors used in smartphones.

•   SoftBank can borrow large amounts of cash at negative interest rates in Japan. The negative interest rates in Japan tend to force spare cash overseas.  Japanese lenders would rather put their money into a fast growing concern like ARM than see it languish at home.

•   The British pound has depreciated significantly versus the yen.  Today's rate is approximately 140 yen for 1 British pound, verses 190 yen for 1 British pound about a year ago.

•   ARM's RISC processors could play a key role in robotics, which is an area of intense interest for SoftBank and its chairman in particular. SoftBank owns the "Pepper" humanoid robots that have made quite a splash of late in Japan.

•   SoftBank may be forecasting a positive entry for ARM into the processor market for servers used in hyperscale data centres, such as those owned by Alibaba.  A strong entry in to this market could significantly weaken Intel.

It has also been revealed that the deal came together in great haste -- just two weeks.  Masayoshi Son denied that the timing was influenced by Brexit or the decline in the value of the pound, instead stating that he has admired ARM for many years. He decided to approach the company with his offer two weeks ago (that would be around June 30th). The SoftBank offer was so compelling that the ARM board decided to approve it rapidly (apparently without shopping around for any other alternative suitors) and to recommend it to shareholders.  ARM's financial advisors were Goldman Sachs and Lazard & Co.

The companies are expecting a straight-forward approval process because they have no areas of competitive overlap. Completion is expected by November 2016.

Masoyoshi Son said the deal is a mark of confidence in the UK, noting that some other Japanese companies he knew were considering whether they should move their European headquarters out of the UK. He said he strongly believes that now is the time to invest in the UK.

On the merger conference call, as well as in previous financial calls, Son reminds investors that SoftBank has the highest EBITDA operating margins and greatest free cash flow of any major carrier at 54%, ahead of Verizon, AT&T or China Mobile. ARM also enjoys nice margins.

Balanced against these reasons in favour of the giant SoftBank + ARM merger are several immediate concerns.  First, did SoftBank offer too high a price?  With a 43% premium over how the LSE valued the ARM business, SoftBank is certainly seeing positive prospects. We know that ARM devices are inside nearly every smartphone, that nearly everyone on the planet own or aspires to own a smartphone, and that these devices need to be replaced on a regular basis.

 Good for the UK?

Then there is a nationalist concern. ARM is currently at the top of its game and it has many bright prospects ahead in mobile phones, tablets, embedded devices, automotive, IoT devices, network infrastructure, and cloud servers.  It one of the few remaining British technology firms with a global impact. Selling out to a Japanese firm, raises the possibility that the UK's influence in the IT sector could be diminished by this transfer of ownership.  ARM and SoftBank addressed this issue at the top of their press event, stating that the ARM organisation would remain intact with its current senior management team, and that it would continue to be based in Cambridge.  The companies are also assuring that employee headcount in the UK will roughly double over the next five years, representing the addition of 1,500 or so high-paying jobs.

SoftBank has successfully kept its word with its other big properties. Following the acquisition of Sprint in 2013, there has not been any changed public perception of the company.  In other words, the U.S. consumer market accepts Sprint as a top four American mobile operator -- not as a Japanese carrier doing business in the U.S. (the same can be said of T-Mobile USA, which is also widely seen as a local player and not a German company).  In China, there is the potentially sensitive issue of a Japanese firm owning major shares of the country's leading cloud and B2B firm.  Whereas other Japanese companies have struggled through several recent episodes of public anger regarding China's political relationship with Japan, SoftBank has brilliantly navigated these waters largely thanks to Masoyoshi Son's charisma and personal friendship with Alibaba's Jack Ma.  As a Japanese citizen of Korean ancestry, Son has long been the outsider willing to take chances and disrupt the established order. His bold investments and entrepreneurial spirit have helped him open doors, whether in Tokyo, Silicon Valley, Hangzhou or Beijing.  Foreign takeovers are never easy, but Son's chances of adapting to Cambridge are probably better than others (just consider if ARM were to be bought by Huawei or Samsung).

ARM's business model as a licensor of intellectual property would also remain unchanged.  ARM is an intellectual property firm. Unlike Intel, which designs and fabricates its own silicon, ARM does not own or control the manufacturing process.  Building fabs is an extremely capital intensive business, especially as the lithography moved under the 90nm threshold a decade ago.  Each new fab is a multi-billion project that takes years of planning but with a short time window in which to recoup the investment.  ARM licensees build their own devices, largely in the fabs of TSMC, UMC, and Global Foundries. This type of manufacturing has long left the UK.  While the idea of a fab-less semiconductor company seemed radical in the early 1990s, the virtual enterprise is all the rage these days.  Investors much prefer a smaller company with very high margins to a behemoth with high levels of production but low productivity. As long as ARM can continue to improve its architecture so that its customers can continue the unending technology update cycle, the company will continue to prosper, as ARM has demonstrated since its founding in 1991.

Ericsson's Q2 Sales Declined 11% YoY, Further Cuts Announced

Ericsson's Q2 sales decreased by 11% YoY, or down 7% YoY when adjusted for comparable units and currency, as mobile broadband sales continued to decline particularly in markets impacted by a weak macro-economic environment, such as Brazil, Russia and the Middle East.

"The negative industry trends from the first quarter have intensified impacting demand for mobile broadband, especially in markets with a weak macro-economic environment. We are delivering on ongoing cost reduction activities. However, in light of market development, management has, with the support of the Board of Directors, initiated significant actions to further reduce cost," stated Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson.

In addition to its ongoing cost and efficiency program targeting savings of SEK 9 b. during 2017, Ericsson said it now plans to reduce R&D investments in IP and capture efficiency gains from the new company structure. Together, these activities are expected to reduce the annual run rate of operating expenses, excluding restructuring charges, to SEK 53 b. in the second half of 2017. This is to be compared with SEK 63 b. for full-year 2014 and equates to double the previously targeted savings in operating expenses.

Some highlights:

  • In Europe, completion of mobile broadband projects in 2015 continued to have a negative effect on sales growth YoY. 4G sales in Mainland China were stable YoY as the fast pace of deployments continued.
  • Network sales in North America were stable YoY driven by continued mobile broadband capacity investments. Global Services sales declined in North America as activities in Professional Services were lower.
  • The transition from 3G to 4G continued primarily in parts of Asia, contributing to solid sales growth in region South East Asia and Oceania.
  • Sales in the targeted growth areas were 20% of total sales and grew by 5% in the quarter in constant currencies. 


Broadcom Samples NVMe over Fibre Channel

Broadcom announced sampling of its Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) over Fibre Channel solution on its Emulex Gen 6 Host Bus Adapters- a first for the industry.

The NVMe over Fibre Channel solution delivers 55% lower latency when used with NVMe drives compared to SCSI drives and a 28% performance advantage versus Ethernet solutions.

Broadcom said its NVMe over Fibre Channel builds on the performance improvements delivered by Emulex Gen 6 HBAs, which cuts latency in half versus the previous generation.  The combination of Emulex Gen 6 with NVMe over Fibre Channel delivers an even greater reduction of 75% in latency versus legacy 8Gb Fibre Channel storage networks.

“NVMe over Fabrics is going to fundamentally change datacenter architectures over the next few years,” said Jeff Hoogenboom, vice president and general manager, Emulex Connectivity Division, Broadcom Limited. “Fibre Channel will play a pivotal role in NVMe deployments because it delivers a superior connectivity solution by providing better performance, lossless and reliable networking with no dropped packets, and it’s incredibly easy to deploy.”


Skycure Raises $16.5 Million for Mobile Threat Defense

Skycure, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, announced $16.5 million in series B funding for its mobile threat defense.

Skycure helps enterprises secure employee mobile devices when adopting BYOD to increase productivity.

The new funding was led by Foundation Capital and included the participation of all of the company’s previous investors, including Shasta Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, Skycure customer New York Life, and private investors Peter McKay, and Michael Weider. This round brings Skycure’s total funding to $27.5 million.  The company also added Lane Bess, industry veteran and former CEO of Palo Alto Networks, as a private investor in this series.
“The more devices we carry to streamline business, the larger the attack surface to the organizations grows,” said Yair Amit, CTO and co-founder of Skycure. “IT departments just can’t deal with the massive assault on their mobile devices every day from vulnerability exploits, malware, and network threats. Skycure’s predictive technology uses a multi-layered approach that leverages our crowd-sourced threat intelligence, plus device- and server-based analysis, to proactively protect mobile devices from all of these threats. Solutions using a single approach are just not effective. With our new funding we can focus more on research and invest more in development, further enhancing our security innovation and expanding our product leadership in the market.”


NETSCOUT Announces nGenius for Flows

NETSCOUT SYSTEMS announced its "nGenius for Flows" solution for extending its Adaptive Service Intelligence analysis to flow-based data sources

Specifically, nGenius for Flows, which is an integrated extension to nGeniusONE, adds NetFlow and other flow data to the core packet flow. The data sources all are converted to proprietary Adaptive Service Intelligence® (ASI) data for business assurance analytics.

“The digital transformation pace today requires enterprises to have real-time visibility into the health and dependencies of their key digital initiatives and into the infrastructure supporting them so that they can accelerate time to deployment and reduce risk to service continuity and quality,” explained Michael Szabados, chief operating officer at NETSCOUT. “With the introduction of nGenius for Flows, NETSCOUT offers the most extensive and most scalable service monitoring capability and enables the largest global enterprises and government agencies to deploy major new initiatives with confidence.