Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Microsoft Acquires Deis for Kubernetes Management

Microsoft is acquiring Deis, a start-up specializing in Kubernetes container management technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Deis has offices in San Franciso and Boulder, Colorado.

"At Microsoft, we’ve seen explosive growth in both interest and deployment of containerized workloads on Azure," stated Scott Guthrie - Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft, in a company blog.


Huawei Eyes the Public Cloud

Huawei is launching a major push to build public cloud infrastructure. In a keynote address at the Huawei Global Analyst Summit (HAS) in Shenzhen, Eric Xu, Huawei's Rotating CEO, said the ambition is to drive digital transformation by focusing on ICT infrastructure and smart devices.

"Beginning in 2017, Huawei will focus on public cloud services. We will invest heavily in building an open and trusted public cloud platform, which will be the foundation of a Huawei Cloud Family. This family will include public clouds we develop together with operators, and public clouds that we operate on our own."


IDC: Accelerating IT Infrastructure Spending for Public Clouds

Total spending on IT infrastructure products (server, enterprise storage, and Ethernet switches) for deployment in cloud environments will increase 15.3% year over year in 2017 to $41.7 billion, according to a new forecast from IDC.

"After the slowdown seen in 2016, we expect to see spending on IT infrastructure for public cloud deployments return to double-digit growth in 2017," said Natalya Yezhkova, research director, Storage Systems. "Growing demand for access to agile IT resources and proliferation of next generation workloads will continue driving adoption of cloud-based services. In turn, this move leads to a shift in IT infrastructure spending from traditional enterprise on-premises deployments to datacenters delivering cloud services and corporate private clouds."

Some highlights from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker:

  • Public cloud datacenters will account for the majority of spending, 60.5%, while off-premises private cloud environments will represent 14.9% of spending. On-premises private clouds will account for 62.3% of spending on private cloud IT infrastructure and will grow 13.1% year over year in 2017.
  • Overall, worldwide spending on traditional, non-cloud, IT infrastructure will decline 5.3% in 2017. However, it will still account for the largest share, 57.9%, of end user spending.
  • In cloud environments, Ethernet switches will be the fastest growing technology segment at 21.8% year over year growth in 2017, while spending on servers and enterprise storage will grow 17.9% and 10.7%, respectively. 
  • Long term, IDC expects spending on off-premises cloud IT infrastructure will grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7%, reaching $47.2 billion in 2021. Public cloud datacenters will account for 80.4% of this amount. 


Google Joins INDIGO Undersea Cable Project

A consortium comprising AARNet, Google, Indosat Ooredoo, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra announced that they have entered into an agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) for the construction of a new subsea cable system.

On completion, the new INDIGO cable system (previously known as APX West & Central) will expand connectivity between Australia and South East Asia markets, and will enable higher speed services and improved reliability.

The INDIGO cable system will span approximately 9,000 km between Singapore and Perth, Australia, and onwards to Sydney. The system will land at existing facilities in Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, providing connections between Singapore and Jakarta.

The system will feature a two-fibre pair 'open cable' design and spectrum- sharing technology. This design will allow consortium members to share ownership of spectrum resources provided by the cable and allow them to independently leverage technology advances and implement future upgrades as required.

Utilising coherent optical technology, each of the two fibre pairs will provide a minimum capacity of 18 Tbit/s, with the option to further increase this capacity in the future.

In addition to Google, the INDIGO consortium is made up of: AARNet, a provider of national and international telecom infrastructure to Australia's research and education sector; Indosat Ooredoo, an Ooredoo Group company providing telecom services in Indonesia; Singtel of Singapore, with a presence in Asia, Australia and Africa; and SubPartners based in Brisbane, Australia, which focuses on delivering major telecoms infrastructure projects in partnership with other companies.

ASN will undertake construction of the subsea cable system, which is expected to be completed by mid-2019

Calix unveils AXOS OFx OpenFlow Connector for ONOS/CORD

Calix of Petaluma, California, a provider of Subscriber Driven Intelligent Access solutions, has announced the completion of the AXOS OFx (OpenFlow) Connector for the ON.Lab vOLT-HA (virtual optical line terminal-hardware abstraction) open source project.

Leveraging the native NetConf/Yang interfaces of the Calix AXOS platform, OFx si designed to enable the rapid integration of the AXOS Software Defined Access platform into ON.Lab ONOS and CORD (Central Office Re-imaged as a Datacenter) networks.

Calix stated that AXOS OFx, which was implemented in under four weeks, represents the start of the anySDN era, and marks the first time that CORD has been extended to commercial OLT systems, thereby allowing service providers to advance with the plug-and-play adoption of CORD for production networks.

The new AXOS OFx Connector is the next step in Calix's ongoing involvement with the ON.Lab ONOS and CORD projects. The company noted that as service providers begin to implement a CORD architecture, OFx Connector and the vOLT-HA software will provide the integration layer and enable operators to integrate OSS and SDN controllers into their business systems.

In addition, the OFx and vOLT-HA solutions will allow new products such as Calix's AXOS E9-2 intelligent edge system to be quickly installed into the network without the need for integration work.

Calix noted that service providers seeking to leverage its anySDN technology offering can download AXOS Sandbox to enable integration and testing of production software releases of Calix systems virtually, without the need for Calix hardware.

AXOS Sandbox offers a virtualised AXOS system software implementation that complements the AXOS architecture and is designed to allow OSS/BSS integration in a risk-free environment. AXOS Sandbox provides virtual instances of production Calix system software, allowing partners to create a virtual network for testing of broadband services. As well as the management plane of AXOS systems, AXOS Sandbox also provides the data plane and control plane elements.

Huawei and Colt DCS partner on Hyper-scale Cloud

Huawei has announced at CeBIT 2017 a collaboration with Colt Data Center Services (Colt DCS), a unit of Colt Technology Services, under which the two companies will work together to address the market for hyper-scale cloud-based data centre solutions, with the aim of meeting industry requirements for dynamic, cost-effective and customer-oriented data centre infrastructure in the cloud era.

As a major hosting service provider, Colt DCS builds and operates data centres designed to reduce operating costs for carriers while ensuring high quality, reliable connectivity and security. Huawei's data centre solutions are designed to allow flexible deployment to enable tailored, cost-efficient solutions for a range of client requirements.

The new partnership between Huawei and Colt DCS is intended to leverage the experience, technology and resources of both parties to support development in the cloud era and advance the capabilities of data centre infrastructure.

Colt DCS, a unit of UK-based Colt, provides colocation and IT infrastructure solutions for enterprise customers. The company operates 29 data centres across Europe and Asia Pacific, with connectivity to a further 530-plus third party data centres across its network and private links into the major public cloud providers.

Recently, Colt DCS announced it had added private connectivity into public cloud providers Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure at its three London, UK and at three German data centres in Frankfurt, Berlin, and Hamburg. The service allows customers to consume connectivity services on-demand and in real-time via an intuitive online customer portal.

At the time, Colt DCS also announced that German Internet exchanges DE-CIX and BCIX would become available at its Frankfurt and Berlin data centres, respectively.

China Telco Data and Market Update - Part 3

China telco subscription data for February, other China market news updates and operator results for 2016 - Part 3

Alibaba maintains explosive momentum with a 53% revenue growth

Alibaba results for the 5 years 2012 to 16 ended March 31st 
(RMB millions):

Latest financial Q3 and YTD 2017 results

On January 24th Alibaba stock was up 3% following Q3 FY2017 results that beat market expectations on both revenue and earnings. Specifically, Alibaba reported:

1.  Revenue up 54% to RMB 53.25 billion ($7.67 billion), ahead of analyst calls by about $375 million (5%). CFO Maggie Wu said that with three quarters already ahead of expectations Alibaba was raising its growth-rate forecast for the full year from 48% to 53%, versus 33% growth for FY 2015/16.

2.  Net earnings of RMB 17.12 billion ($2.57 billion) and adjusted EPS of $1.30, 17 `cents, or 15 % more than the markets were expecting; free cash flow during the quarter was RMB 31 billion ($4.9 billion).

3.  Core e-commerce revenue for Q3 generated by its Taobao and Tmall business systems was RMB 46.58 billion ($6.71 billion), up 45% YoY. Alibaba claims it now has over 493 million users, of which 443 million are classified as active buyers, a significant proportion of China's estimated 731 million Internet users, of whom 95% do their business via mobile phones.

4.  Although still quite a small percentage of its total business Alibaba's cloud computing revenue grew 115% from Q3 2016 to RMB 1.76 billion ($254 million) and was up nearly 50% sequentially. Apart from the encouraging growth rate the cloud business loss in Q3 was $49 million, a significant improvement on its Q2 loss of $66 million, suggesting it could become profitable within the next three quarters. The cloud computing unit added 114,000 paying customers during the quarter to a total of 755,000 customers. At the same time Alibaba launched data centres internationally, following its Chinese customers to new markets as well as acquiring new customers outside China.

5.  Mobile MAUs were up 43 million to a total of 493 million.

6.  Revenue per annual active buyer continued to increase reaching $35 in the December quarter; on the mobile front, revenue per mobile user, which had also been increasing for several quarters, reached $24 in the quarter.

7.  Digital media and entertainment business rose 273% to RMB 4.1 billion ($585 million) as Alibaba continued to integrate its Youku Toudou multi-screen entertainment and media company and other investments in film, music and sports.

8.  Other activities accounted for RMB 845 million ($122 million), up 61%.

Other Alibaba strategic developments

In its January 24th releases Alibaba noted that Koubei , a 12 years old Alibaba affiliate focused on enabling local commerce, had closed a $1.1 billion financing round in January. A major part of Alibaba's e-commerce strategy is now being devoted to its so called 'online-to-offline' initiative, or O2O,which attempts to blur the line between physical and electronic retail.

On January 9th Alibaba announced that, together with the founder of the target company, Shen Guo Jun, it was leading an offer of $2.6. billion to delist from the Hong Kong stock exchange and privatise the Intime Retail Group, a company registered in the Cayman Islands that operates 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls across urban China, mainly in Zhejiang province. Alibaba already owned 28%, acquired in 2014 for $692 million In the official announcement Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang commented:

-    "China’s total retail sector is a US$4.5 trillion economy and is growing at 10.7% a year. Alibaba is working with offline retailers to transform conventional approach, create new consumer shopping experience and use actions to embrace future opportunities under the new retail model".

-    "We don’t divide the world into real or virtual economies, only the old and the new. Those who cling on to the old ways of retailing will be disrupted, and brick and mortar businesses will be able to create value for consumers if they are integrated with the power of mobile reach, real-time consumer insights, and technology capability to improve operating efficiency".

On February 21st it was announced that Alibaba had agreed for its delivery affiliate, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, to work with the 4,700-store Shanghai Bailian Group, one of China's largest supermarket and department store chains, to employ its various e-commerce technologies to improve the traditional physically-based retail sector in areas such as customer relations, payment and logistics. This is similar to its tie-ups with other players such as electronics chain Suning Commerce Group and the Sanjiang Shopping Club (in November 2016 Alibaba invested around $300 million to acquire 30% of Sanjiang SC).

Alibaba is now beginning also to accelerate its international expansion. In April 2016 the company invested $1 billion to acquire a majority share of Lazada.com a privately owned German e-commerce company with sites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In early February 2017 sources claimed that Alibaba and its affiliate company ANT Financial were leading an additional investment of up to $200 million in Indian e-commerce and digital payment platform Paytm (a company in which they had already invested $680 million and owned 42%). The deal that would essentially give them a majority stake in the company. Paytm competes in the emerging Indian e-commerce market with companies such as Amazon India, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Nokia and University of Technology Sydney enter MoU

Nokia and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which Nokia will join the university's UTS: Rapido, a new technology development unit, and support the development of IoT-based business applications leveraging high-speed, ultra-low latency technologies such as 5G.

Through the technology partnership with UTS: Rapido, which is intended to help businesses realise the potential of IoT, Nokia will work on engineering projects to support the development of future network services designed to address the technological requirements of service providers and enterprises. Nokia and UTS will also explore the expansion of engineering work into additional areas and poof of concept development.

The MoU encompasses the creation of a collaborative innovation and training facility at UTS, for which Nokia will provide IP routing, optical, fixed and 4G and 5G mobile network components, as well as applications and analytics platforms to support project work and training. Nokia will also participate on the UTS Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology advisory board.

As part of an early UTS: Rapido project, researchers at the university are integrating video downloads filmed at locations worldwide using the Nokia OZO virtual reality camera into the UTS 3D data arena. This is designed to show how operators could combine 3D content with real time data and graphics to support development of new services and address new business opportunities.

Nokia noted that it has been working with UTS for more than 15 years and that UTS is a key member of its Australian graduate program.

Recently, the UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT and Vietnam's National University launched a joint research centre and announced the joint delivery of the first research workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam. The new Joint Technology and Innovation Research Centre (JTIRC) is intended to facilitate research collaboration and transfer through PhD training, industry engagement and expert training packages.

UTS also recently announced it had established the Centre for Artificial Intelligence (UTS: CAI), which will focus on the theoretical foundations and advanced technologies that will create intelligent machines with enhanced capacity for perception, learning and reasoning.

UTS: Rapido has more than 200 researchers at the university's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (FEIT), who are engaged in research across a range of technology areas including data analytics, cyber security, 5G and IoT.

Vocus deploys ADTRAN XGS-PON in Aus and NZ

ADTRAN, a provider of next-generation open networking solutions, announced that Vocus Communications, a service provider serving Australia and New Zealand, is deploying a range of its next generation access technologies including ADTRAN's XGS-PON solutions and Mosaic architecture.

Vocus has built an advanced infrastructure platform across Australia designed to support business and backhaul services and residential applications. The deployment with Vocus, which is nearing completion, is designed to enable increased utilisation of the company's metro fibre network and enable the delivery of 10 Gbit/s symmetrical business grade services.

For the project, Vocus is utilising ADTRAN's MSAN, 10 Gbit/s optical line termination (OLT) equipment and 10 Gbit/s optical network termination (ONT) units for the 10 Gbit/s PON deployment. Vocus is also using the ADTRAN Mosaic Cloud Platform, which separates control and management functions from underlying network elements, to provide an open microservices architecture supporting network management and SDN control for the 10 Gbit/s services access network.

Vocus Group is a vertically integrated telecoms provider operating in Australia and New Zealand leveraging a national network of metro and backhaul fibre connecting capital cities and the bulk of regional centres across Australia and New Zealand. Vocus infrastructure connects to 5,500-plus buildings. Vocus addresses the corporate, small business, government and residential, as well as the wholesale market sectors.

In December 2016, Vocus announced an agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) for the construction of the Australia Singapore Cable (ASC), a 4,600 km submarine cable linking Australia with Singapore and Indonesia. The system has a design capacity of 40 Tbit/s of capacity. The ASC cable system, which has an estimated cost of approximately $170 million, is due to be completed by August 2018.

Vocus noted that following the completion of its acquisition of Nextgen Networks, it had secured Singapore IDA approval and renewed landing rights with MoCIT in Indonesia, which together with agreement with ASN fulfilled the necessary requirements for the launch of the project.


Enablence to raise C$6m for PLCs

Enablence Technologies of Ottawa and Fremont, California, a supplier of optical components and subsystems for access, metro and long-haul markets, announced its intention to complete additional financing for approximately C$6 million.

Enablence also announced the termination, by mutual agreement, of the non-binding letter of intent (LoI) with Esrey Energy as announced on December 8, 2016, under which the two companies proposed to implement a business combination. Esrey is a Canadian exploration and development company focused on developing oil and gas reserves in Papua New Guinea and Bulgaria.

However, Enablence stated that it expects to meet its stated goal as announced at the same time for the execution of a LoI to raise funds of C$10 million to support growth. The company plans to achieve this via a combination of the exercise of outstanding warrants, the private placements completed in December 2016 and January 2017, which totalled approximately C$4 million, cash advances of C$2 million and with the closing of financings.

As previously announced, Enablence intends to use the funds as growth capital for current and future products and for general corporate purposes. Part of the funding will be used for a capex program to expand the production of its planar lightwave circuit (PLC) chips to meet demand resulting from both existing purchase orders and anticipated demand for its metro market-focused 100 Gbit/s TxRx products.

In addition, a portion of the funds will be allocated to complete the development of a new 100 Gbit/s TxRx product targeting the data centre market and for R&D activities relating to next generation 200/400 Gbit/s products.

To raise the C$10 million funding, Enablence intends to complete a non-brokered private placement financing of common shares at 7c per share for gross proceeds of approximately C$4 million and to conduct a non-brokered private placement of C$1,000 principal amount of unsecured convertible debentures for gross proceeds of up to C$2 million.

As part of the financing, certain investors propose to enter into debt settlement agreements with Enablence to settle outstanding non-interest bearing cash advances totalling C$2 million through issuing 7.14 million shares for an aggregate C$500,000 and the issue of C$1.5 million principal amount of debentures, subject to approval by the TSX venture exchange.