Thursday, March 9, 2017

Google Builds out its Cloud Portfolio

Google rolled out significant enhancements to its cloud platform. Here are some highlights:

  • Google has invested an estimated  $26 billion over the past 3 years in its infrastructure, including data centers and networks
  • Google has built a custom security chip codenamed Titan that operates at the BIOS level. Intel is also introducing new security tools to keep customer data secure. 
  • Three new Google Cloud Platform Regions are coming online -- The Netherlands, Montreal (Canada), and California, in addition to other data center construction underway in Northern Virginia, São Paulo, London, Finland, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Singapore, and Sydney.
  • Google is already deploying Intel's latest Skylake processors in its servers
  • New developer tools and data analytic services that will help enterprises build apps in the cloud and find new value from their data. 
  • Google Cloud Platform now offers an expanded environment for Google App Engine and welcomes all developers to use the public beta of Cloud Functions, including its new integration with Firebase. 
  • BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse, now features new pipelines that make it easy for customers to analyze their data from Google Adwords, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick for Publishers, and YouTube Analytics. This enables marketers and advertisers to gain a single view of their customer experience. 
  • Google Cloud launched a new Commercial Dataset program that enables users to access licensed datasets within BigQuery. This will offer the opportunity for businesses to access more data and find more robust insights and more easily build machine learning models.
  • Cloud Dataprep is a new data preparation tool that is capable of automatically detecting types of data, enabling data analysts and scientists to find insights at a faster rate.

Video: Google Cloud Next - Day 1

Here is the archived livestream of Day 1 of the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco, March 8, 2017.

The 3 hour 25 minute video includes the presentations by Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud; Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google; Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Alphabet and Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist for Google Cloud Machine Learning and AI and Professor of Computer Science at Stanford.

See video:

AT&T Suffers Widespread 911 Calling Outage

AT&T experienced a widespread outage of 911 emergency calling service for mobile customers on Wednesday evening and lasting for approximately five hours.

Media reports suggested the outage impacted at least 14 states and Washington D.C.. AT&T Mobility confirmed that service interruptions were preventing callers from reaching 911 emergency centers but the company did not disclose the extent of the problem or the cause.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement saying the FCC would investigate.

“Every call to 911 must go through,” said Chairman Pai.  “So when I first learned of yesterday’s outage, I immediately directed FCC staff to contact AT&T about it and the company’s efforts to restore access to emergency services to the American public.  I also spoke with Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief
executive officer, and stressed the urgent need to restore service and to communicate with first responders, as well as AT&T customers, about the status of operations.  Additionally, I announced last night that I have directed Commission staff to track down the root cause of this outage.”

“The FCC’s public safety professionals are on the case,” said Lisa Fowlkes, Acting Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.  “Access to 911 emergency services is essential for all Americans, especially the most vulnerable.  We will fully investigate this outage and determine the root cause and its impact.”

Alibaba Looks to Intel FPGAs for Cloud Acceleration Service

Alibaba Cloud (Aliyun), is kicking off a pilot program with Intel for a cloud-based FPGA (field programmable gate array) acceleration service.

Specifically, Aliyun will use Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go preconfigured infrastructure.  The Aliyun service offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure.

“At Alibaba Cloud, we offer customers access to a number of services in the cloud, and adding an FPGA-based acceleration offering means they can access that powerful computing without the cost or requirement of building out their own infrastructure,” said Jin Li, senior director, Alibaba Cloud. “This service greatly adds to our value as a leading provider of highly scalable cloud computing and data management services that provide businesses with flexible, reliable connectivity.”

“Intel FPGAs are enabling exciting new business models such as Alibaba’s approach of using FPGAs to accelerate diverse workloads via cloud services,” said Dan McNamara, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Programmable Solutions Group. “In addition, Intel offers customers scalable solutions for accelerated computing with its data center leadership in Intel Xeon processors, FPGAs, optimized tools and software, and a global partner ecosystem across the spectrum of deployment models.”

Coriant Announces Short Reach CFP2-ACO Pluggable for Groove Network Disaggregation Platform

Coriant introduced a Short Reach CFP2-ACO pluggable for its Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform (NDP). The Groove Short Reach CFP2-ACO pluggable, which uses silicon photonics from Elenion Technologies, enables cost-optimized, power-efficient 200G connectivity for carrier transport and Data Center Interconnect (DCI) applications.

Coriant said its Short Reach CFP2-ACO represents a new class of analog coherent devices purpose-built for surging data traffic growth. Compared to PAM-4, the Short Reach CFP2-ACO preserves the operational and network engineering simplicity of coherent transmission while significantly lowering the cost and power for short reach interconnect applications. In combination with the Coriant Groove G30 Muxponder solution, the Short Reach CFP2-ACO helps support delivery of very high-capacity, low power, and cost-optimized connectivity for all applications requiring 10G, 40G, and 100G service aggregation and 200G DWDM transport. It also complements the Coriant Groove™ G30 Open Line System (OLS), enabling the industry’s highest density and lowest cost short reach transport.

“A faster pace of innovation and the shift to more open, disaggregated network solutions are enabling network operators and content providers to redefine their network architectures for scale, quality of experience, and total cost of ownership,” said J.C. Fahmy, Vice President of Product Management and Business Development, Data Center Solutions, Coriant. “With the Coriant Short Reach CFP2-ACO we are redefining the economics of short reach transport while building upon the proven value of our market-leading Groove Network Disaggregation Platform.”

Arista introduces cEOS containerised software for cloud networking applications

Arista Networks, a provider of software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data centre and computing environments, has announced the introduction of its Containerized EOS (containerised Extensible Operating System) designed to support alternate models of procuring, packaging and deploying its EOS for cloud, enterprises and service providers.

Leveraging the industry-standard container development/operations (DevOps) model, Arista is extending the architectural options beyond its own hardware to enable support for EOS on virtual machines, containers and third-party merchant silicon-based switches.

Containerized EOS

Arista's new cEOS provides for the containerised packaging of EOS software and agents for deployment in cloud infrastructure based on the same proven EOS software image that runs on all Arista products. The flexible deployment options are designed to allow cloud network operators that are customising their operating environments to create a uniform workflow for development, testing and deployment of differentiated services.

Arista stated that the initial roll-out of Arista cEOS has been endorsed by ecosystem partners including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Microsoft Azure Networking. The new capability means that Arista EOS is supported on a range of open hardware, including three form factors: Arista's merchant silicon-based platforms, bare metal switches, and industry standard virtual machines or containers.

Arista EOS for DevOps

Arista is also extending the DevOps approach to microservice architecture and containerisation to support workloads, workflows and complex development and validation at large scale. For example, as cEOS can execute as a container, customers can run other containerised applications on the same platform, such as automation or monitoring tools.

In addition, Arista cEOS extends the core EOS architecture to offer a lightweight module for use in network modelling, development and validation in the cloud. As with virtualisation, this capability helps developers to seamlessly migrate from development to production for the entire operating environment using a consistent cloud network approach.

Arista EOS additionally now offers support for the container ecosystem as follows: can run in a container on a range of hardware and cloud operating platforms; supports applications running concurrently within its workspace, either in a VM, as native Linux apps or as a container; allows automated discovery and provisioning of services for container workloads running within EOS or in external containers via Container Tracer.

EOS disaggregation

Customers can also now use cEOS with industry standard white box hardware and support an array of tools and applications from the container ecosystem.

The new Arista cEOS is available immediately for customer trials on selected third-party hardware platforms.

China Telecom deploys Huawei CloudFabric for Cloud-based Multi-Tenant Data Centre

China Telecom Wuxi Branch (Wuxi Telecom) announced it has completed an upgrade from a traditional data centre facility to a new cloud-based multi-tenant data centre utilising Huawei's CloudFabric data centre network solution.

The new cloud-based multi-tenant data centre network is designed to integrate the segmented resources of traditional data centre operations, while also improving collaboration and operations and maintenance (O&M) capabilities of tenant service provisioning and network configuration. The enhanced performance is intended to help Wuxi Telecom meet the evolving demands of local enterprises, government and research institutions, as well as providing a foundation for future cloud transformation.

Huawei noted that Wuxi Telecom's data centre operations, with a focus on supporting traditional services such as solution consultation, IT infrastructure rental, and IT outsourcing, have suffered bottlenecks, and additionally contained segmented infrastructure resources, such as standalone racks.

Huawei staed that different racks rented by the same tenant may be located in different equipment rooms or even data centres, and to reduce opex and improve the tenant experience operators need to efficiently utilise segmented resources, simplify O&M of tenant resources across multiple data centres and deliver efficient collaboration and provisioning of tenant services and network configurations.

The new cloud-based multi-tenant data centre is designed to enable Wuxi Telecom to improve resource utilisation, speed service provisioning and simplify O&M in its data centre. The new facility is based on Huawei's CloudFabric data centre network solution, which comprises an agile controller and CloudEngine switches. The solution also features a SDN architecture and uses VXLAN technology to enable a large Layer 2 virtual network.

The solution is designed to enable Wuxi Telecom to integrate scattered rack resources and unify the management of resources in different regions for a single tenant. Additionally, the agile controller serves to automatically translate service languages into network configurations, allowing automated deployment and helping reduce service provisioning time, as well as supporting future cloud transformation initiatives.

The Huawei solution additionally provides visibility of both virtual and physical network infrastructure and delivers big data-based intelligent analysis for enahnced O&M efficiency.

Edgecore Showcases 25/100 GBE switches, virtual OLT based on AT&T XGS-PON specification

Edgecore Networks, a provider of open networking solutions and a subsidiary of Accton Technology, has announced design contributions to the Open Compute Project (OCP) of a 25 Gigabit Ethernet top-of-rack switch and high-density 100 Gigabit Ethernet spine switch designed to lower the cost of high capacity data centre networks, as well as 802.1ac WiFi access point designs.

At the OCP Summit Edgecore is showcasing new open hardware platforms that extend open networking into telecom applications, including a modular packet optical switch integrating Ethernet networking at up to 100 Gigabit Ethernet and featuring analogue coherent optics (ACO) and digital coherent optics (DCO) technology from multiple partners.

The company is also displaying a disaggregated virtual OLT for PON deployment at up to 10 Gbit/ that is based on the AT&T Open XGS-PON 1RU OLT specification contributed to the OCP Telco working group.

Edgecore is contributing the specification and design package for the AS7800-64X, the first open network switch design to be based on the Broadcom StrataXGS Tomahawk II switch series, which provides 64 x QSFP28 ports in a 2U form factor and is designed to deliver a cost effective 100 Gigabit Ethernet networking alternative.

In addition, to meet demand for optimised 25 Gigabit Ethernet top-of-rack switching, Edgecore is contributing the specification and design for the AS7300-54X open network switch, based on Broadcom's StrataXGS Tomahawk switch series, providing 48 x SFP28 ports, each supporting 10 or 25 Gigabit Ethernet and 6 x QSFP28 100 Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports.

The AS7300-54X and AS7800-64X designs feature options for CPU modules incorporating Intel Atom, Xeon Processor D or NXP QorIQ T2080 processors. The switches also initially offer support for OCP-ACCEPTED networking software, including Open Network Install Environment (ONIE), Open Network Linux, Open Optical Monitoring (OOM) API and SnapRoute's FlexSwitch NOS.

At the OCP Summit, Edgecore is showcasing new open networking demonstrations and products including:

1. Its ASFvOLT16 disaggregated virtual OLT, an OCP-INSPIRED product conformant with AT&T Open XGS-PON 1RU OLT specification based on Broadcom StrataDNX switch and PON MAC SOC silicon and offering 16 ports of XGS-PON or NG-PON2 with 4 x QSFP28 ports for next generation PON deployments and R-CORD telecom infrastructure.

2. The AS7812-24S open packet optical switch, a 1.5U modular platform based on Broadcom StrataXGS Tomahawk switch silicon that provides 3.2 Tbit/s bandwidth over a mix of 10 to 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 100/200 Gbit/s CFP2 coherent optical ports, integrating optics and coherent DSP technology from partners Acacia Communications, Finisar and NTT Electronics.

3. The OCP-ACCEPTED AS7512-32X 100 Gigabit Ethernet open network switch based on Cavium XPliant switch silicon with Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC), the open source networking software contributed to OCP by Microsoft and co-contributors.

4. An Open Optical Monitoring (OOM) API demonstration based on Edgecore open switch hardware, Cumulus Linux NOS, and 25 and 100 Gbit/s optical transceivers from Finisar that shows the OCP-ACCEPTED OOM integrating asset management and health monitoring of optical transceivers and switches.

5 Its Wedge100BF-65X open network switch, offering 65 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports and based on Barefoot Networks programmable Tofino switch silicon, which is being contributed to OCP.

Vietnam's MobiFone selects Nokia solution for 100 Gbit/s OTN + DWDM regional network

Nokia announced that MobiFone of Vietnam, the largest mobile operator in the country with over 40 million subscribers, is deploying a 100 Gbit/s OTN and DWDM regional network from Ho Chi Minh City to 10 provinces in southern Vietnam.

The new transport network supplied by Nokia is designed to enable MobiFone to deliver new, high capacity services in the key economic zones in the south of Vietnam, where a significant proportion of its subscribers are located.

Under the agreement, Nokia will provide its 100 Gbit/s DWDM solution with L1 GMPLS transport capability to support traffic growth in the regions. Nokia's 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) will to increase network capacity and improve efficiency, as well as helping speed the deployment of new services. When completed, the new transport network will be support increased traffic capacity of up to 300 Gbit/s and enable system expansion up to 8 Tbit/s capacity in future.

MobiFone is one of the three major mobile network operators in Vietnam claiming a market share of around 30% and operating nearly 30,000 2G and 20,000 3G base stations across the country. The company is planning to launch 4G services during 2017.

Earlier in February, Nokia announced it was providing Xiaomi, a major electronics manufacture and ISP in China, with a an optical network to link 7 data centres in the Beijing region. The Nokia data centre interconnect (DCI) solution was based on the 1830 PSS, managed by the Network Services Platform.

In November 2016, Nokia announced that dtac, part of the Telenor Group and the second mobile operator in Thailand, had selected products from its IP/optical portfolio to upgrade its backbone network, to include implementing a software-defined network (SDN)-ready IP and Optical network. For the project, Nokia was to supply the 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS) and 1830 PSS.

Ciena reports Q1 revenue of $621.50m, up 8.4% yr/yr, net income of $3.86m

Ciena announced unaudited financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended January 31, 2017 as follow:

1. Revenue for the first quarter of 2016 of $621.50 million, down 13.2% compared to $716.19 million in the fourth quarter and up 8.4% versus $573.11 million for the first quarter of 2015.

2. Gross profit for the first quarter of $273.78 million, down 14.0% compared to $318.55 million in the third quarter and up 8.9% versus $251.45 million for the first quarter of 2015.

3. R&D expenditure for the first quarter of $116.87 million, up 3.9% compared to $112.45 million in the fourth quarter and up 8.1% versus $108.05 million for the first quarter of 2015.

4. SG&A expenditure for the first quarter of $120.87 million, down 6.3% compared to $129.00 million in the fourth quarter and up 6.4% versus $113.62 million for the first quarter of 2015.

5. Total operating expenditure for the first quarter of $254.68 million, 1.6% compared to $258.87 million in the fourth quarter and up 6.0% versus $240.21 million for the first quarter of 2015.

6. On a GAAP basis, net income for the first quarter of $3.86 million, compared to a net income of $36.59 million in the fourth quarter and a net loss of $11.55 million for the first quarter of 2015.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the first quarter of $38.40 million, compared to a net income of $69.40 million in the fourth quarter and versus a net income of $25.23 million for the fourth quarter of 2015.

7. Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of January 31, 2017 of $943.91 million, compared with $1.05 billion as at October 31, 2016.

Additional results and notes

For the first quarter of 2017, Ciena noted that North America customers contributed 65.3% of total revenue (including 61.1% for U.S. customers), versus 64.7% in the fourth quarter, with EMEA accounting for 14.7%, versus 15.7% in the prior quarter, CALA 5.7%, versus 6.5% in the fourth quarter, and Asia Pacific 14.3%, versus 13.1% in the prior quarter, of total sales.

The company had two customers that accounted for greater than 10% of total revenue, overall representing 27% of total revenue, in the first quarter.

Headcount at the end of the first quarter was 5,613, compared with 5,555 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.


For the second quarter of 2017, Ciena expects revenue in the range $680 to $710 million, representing a sequential increase of 11.8% at the midpoint.

MRV enhances Pro-Vision orchestration software with RestConf northbound API

MRV Communications, a provider of advanced packet and optical solutions for service providers, data centre operators and enterprises, has announced an upgrade to its Pro-Vision service management and orchestration software platform via the addition of a RestConf northbound application program interface (API).

The new Pro-Vision interface is based on standards-compliant Yang models, including those defined by the Open Networking Foundation's (ONF) T-API open standard, enabling integration with high-order orchestration platforms, thereby providing full lifecycle service orchestration (LSO) for transport services.

Pro-Vision integrates with MRV's family of optical transport and switching platforms and is designed to enable service providers to create, manage, diagnose, visualise and optimise multi-layer networks, while also reducing their opex costs.

MRV stated that through the addition of the next generation RestConf northbound API, Pro-Vision can help to further simplify the use and service orchestration of SDN-enabled networks, as well as supporting troubleshooting functions and new optical and packet products and features.

MRV's Pro-Vision is designed to scale to address a range of customer requirements, from regional operators to large global service providers. The solution offers an intuitive GUI to help automate provisioning and management for thousands of network elements, and delivers enhanced control, awareness and troubleshooting capabilities to support service provisioning, assurance, monitoring, reporting, maintenance and inventory management functions.

MRV launched Pro-Vision 3.2.1 for the provisioning, management, troubleshooting and reporting for packet and optical services in late 2015. The platform is designed to streamline lifecycle orchestration of MEF CE2.0 and optical transport services using GUI-based screens. Combined with MRV's OptiDriver, OptiPacket and OptiSwitch products featuring ROADM and 100 Gbit/s interfaces, the solution can support full control of optical transport and packet services.

Pro-Vision is designed to address LSO from planning to activation and monitoring, including maintenance and troubleshooting. The new release also introduced an optical channel monitoring capability that works together with a dedicated module from MRV's optical transport portfolio to allow automated monitoring for up to eight 40- or 80-channel DWDM trunks per module.

Lumos offers fibre connectivity from Virginia Beach cable landing to Richmond and Ashburn

Lumos Networks, a fibre-based service provider serving the mid-Atlantic region with over 9,200 fibre route miles of infrastructure, has announced continued expansion of its sales pipeline for prospective carrier customers seeking diverse fibre routes from the Virginia Beach undersea cable landing site into both Richmond and Ashburn, Virginia.

Lumos noted that carriers have requested proposals for both lit and dark services to address demand for secure, high bandwidth solutions into data centre facilities in Richmond and Ashburn.

Lumos Networks announced it had extended fibre connectivity into the EdgeConneX Edge Data Center (EDC) in Norfolk, Virginia last year, noting that the new data centre connection leveraged its 822 fibre route mile expansion in Virginia that included 270 route miles of fibre in the Hampton Roads/Norfolk markets, encompassing the cities of Hampton, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News and Virginia Beach.

In May 2016, Telefonica, which had previously detailed plans to deploy the BRUSA 11,000 km subsea cable linking Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza in Brazil with Puerto Rico and the U.S., purchased a site from Virginia Beach Development Authority to develop a cable landing station for the new cable system. Telefónica International Wholesale Services USA acquired the site in Virginia Beach to build a 20,000 sq-foot data centre to house what was claimed as the first trans-oceanic fibre cable station in the Mid-Atlantic region.

On February 20th Lumos Networks announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Sweden-based EQT Infrastructure for $18.00 per share, representing an enterprise value of approximately $950 million.

Earlier this year, Lumos announced it had acquired Charlotte, North Carolina based DC74 Data Centers and that it had closed its acquisition of Clarity Communications, with a 730 mile fibre network with 75 on-net locations, mainly in North Carolina.

Commenting on the expansion, Timothy G. Biltz, president and CEO of Lumos Networks, said, "Over the next several years a number of undersea cables (are) scheduled to reach the Virginia Beach landing site, which is less than half a mile from Lumos' dense fibre footprint… I estimate that the two Telefonica cables, MAREA Cable (also funded by Microsoft and Facebook) and the BRUSA Cable, could begin carrying traffic in the third quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018, respectively".