Monday, May 8, 2017

Dell Offers Flexible Models to Counter Public Cloud

Dell Technologies will offer flexible consumption models for its products company-wide. The idea is to let enterprise customers pay for IT products on an as-needed basis similar to public cloud services. The flexible payment model, which is arranged through Dell Financial Services, enable customers to reduce the large up-front costs of on-premises hardware.
tal costs.

The flex pricing is initially available for all Dell EMC storage solutions. Customers pay only for the storage capacity needed, which reduces costs associated with overprovisioning. Importantly, Flex on Demand provides instant access to additional buffer capacity during spikes driven by the business, with payments adjusting to match usage. DFS offers a low capacity commitment and a flexible payment period so customers may pay only for what is consumed, freeing up budgets for other projects.

“Many IT leaders worry about unforeseen costs and risks when adopting new or different technologies, but organizations that do not invest in IT Transformation initiatives risk falling behind their competitors,” said Howard Elias, President, Dell EMC Services and IT. “With flexible, simple and predictable payment solutions, we help organizations adopt the technology—from the desktop to the datacenter—that best suits their business needs today and allows a more pay-as-go model for modernizing and transforming IT.”

Dell Readies its 14G Poweredge Servers

Dell EMC will launch the 14th generation of its Poweredge servers as soon as Intel releases its new Xeon processors.

The new 14G PowerEdge servers will be embedded in storage and data center appliances, hyper-converged appliances and racks, ready nodes, bundles and other Dell EMC solutions. Key enhancements include:

  • Increasde application performance and response time – with 19X more Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) low latency storage than the prior generation.
  • One-click BIOS tuning enables quick-and-easy deployment of many processing-intensive workloads
  • Enhanced storage capacity and flexibility lets customers tailor their storage configurations to their application needs especially in a software-defined-storage (SDS) environment
  • Newly enhanced systems management features embedded in the Dell EMC PowerEdge portfolio uniquely automate productivity and simplify lifecycle management from server deployment to retirement.

Monthly update on the Indian telecommunications market - Part 3

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4


Part 2 covered the rapid process of vendor consolidation into four main groups that is taking place in the Indian telecoms market and looked in detail at the activities of the two market leaders, Bharti Airtel's merger with Telenor India and the even larger conjunction of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular, together with related minor acquisitions. Those two companies alone once all proposals have fully closed will, based on December 2016 data and financial sources, account for almost 65% of India's mobile subscribers and in the range 73 to 78% of total communications market revenue. Despite the seemingly very strong position on paper of the new Vodafone-Idea company, which would nominally take over as leader of the Indian telecoms market, there are legitimate doubts about the viability of the union, as covered in Part 2.

The other two groups likely to make up the Top 4 are Reliance Communications (RCOM), run by Anil Ambani, (Mukesh Ambani's younger and very competitive brother) and also Mukesh's own massive $20 billion-funded RJIO, which although still a minnow in revenue terms is eventually likely to dominate the Indian broadband market. There are also issues with both of them.

Despite its dramatic first few months apparent success after its launch in September, which has resulted in it already signing on more than 100 million customers, RJIO still remains something of an unknown quantity commercially, since early customers have been drawn to use its services by attractive initial offers of free voice and free or very cheap data services. How many customers it will retain once it starts to charge market-level prices is still rather uncertain. While due to the constantly extended RJIO launch date, both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have had time to adjust their pricing, products and marketing approach and are likely to stand firm in competition.

The second uncertainty is what will eventually be the settled relationship between RJIO and RCOM, which have been  drawing steadily closer together via a number of deals involving the sharing of spectrum and networks, but whose ultimate intentions are unclear. At one extreme the deals that have been done may have just been normal commercial deals beneficial to both parties and merely been able to be implemented faster than usual and more economically because of trust within the family. At the other extreme, it is a deliberate long term plan to dominate the market, which will eventually result in a full merger whereby Anil perhaps would become the manager of the combined company within the framework of the RIL conglomerate, managed by Mukesh (who has plenty of other opportunities to take in a fast growing country whose economy is likely to double in the next ten years). What view the TRAI regulator would take on such a proposal remains to be seen.

Group 3 – RCOM, Sistema, Aircel and Tata, plus network sharing with RJIO

Since at least mid-2015 RCOM, at one time a contender on its own account for a Top 3 position in terms of mobile subscriptions, has been in restructuring mode and has also for most of that time been steadily losing organic market share, resulting in a drop in its ranking amongst all 12 mobile operators of two places from No 4 to No 6.

In November 2015 it was announced that in a deal with a headline value of $690 million RCOM would, in exchange for a 10% stake in the merged association, acquire smaller rival Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), as a result of which it would get an additional 9 million customers and INR 15 billion ($229 million) in annual revenue. Also, RCOM claimed, it would be the largest holder of 800/850 MHz spectrum for 4G. Despite the agreement this deal does not yet seem to have fully closed. In fact, Russia's giant 70,000-employee Sistema Group and RCom only submitted documents for final approval of the transaction by India's DoT in November 2016. In early February 2017 the board chairman of Sistema, Vladimir Evtushenkov, told TASS that he expected the deal to close in March. Because of the long delay some circumstances may have changed. As of December 2016, TRAI only reported 5.9 million customers for Sistema compared to 9 million at the time the deal was first agreed (it is possible that some Sistema customers, by agreement, may already have been transferred to the RCOM network).

In December 2015 RCOM, then India's fourth largest operator in terms of mobile subscribers with around 110.4 million subscribers as of September 2015, announced that it was holding non-binding talks with Aircel’s majority owner Maxis Communications of Malaysia and shareholder Sindya Securities and Investments to merge its mobile business with Aircel, which served just under 84 million. At the time the two companies claimed synergies for the merger would amount to INR 20,000 crore. In September 2016 final details of the agreement were confirmed whereby RCom and Maxis Communications would hold 50% each in a newly created venture with equal representation on the board. Following the merger, the company would have an asset base of more than INR 65,000 crore and net worth of INR 35,000 crore. RCOM's overall debt, including the deferred spectrum payment liability, would be reduced by INR 20,000 crore and Aircel's debt would reduce by INR 4,000 crore upon completion of the transaction. According to their announcement the merged entity would have the second-largest spectrum holding amongst all operators, totalling 448 MHz across 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.

As with the SSTL acquisition, this is a complicated agreement and India is a very bureaucratic country where many different approvals have to be obtained for such a deal. In fact the agreement has only just been approved (on April 22nd) by Aircel shareholders and on April 24th 2017 by the shareholders of RCOM.

The company has already received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, BSE, National Stock Exchange of India and Competition Commission of India for the proposed scheme of arrangement but several other approvals are still required.

RCOM itself has, for a variety of reasons, including loss of licences, heavy debt and possibly a management distracted by all its many restructuring arrangements, not being doing that well. In January 2016 RCOM reported for the October to December quarter of 2015, a year on year decline of 2.9% in revenue to INR 5,277 crore and a 15% decline in net profit to INR 171 crore, which it said was mainly due to the expiry of 2G licences in five circles including Bihar, West Bengal and Assam.

As of December 2016, TRAI reported that RCOM now ranked only the sixth largest supplier served 86.5 million mobile subscriptions, a drop of almost 24 million from the 110.4 million at the end of September 2015.

Apart from the other deals, RCOM has concluded several extremely important network and spectrum-sharing agreements with RJIO. RJIO entered into a INR12,000 crore pact with RCOM in June 2013 to utilise the latter's telecom towers for providing broadband digital services. In 2014, RJIO signed a deal with RCOM to share the latter’s optic fibre infrastructure in some 300 cities and towns. In early January 2016, RCOM announced that it would, subject to regulatory approvals, sell its spectrum in the 800 MHz band across 9 circles, to RJIO and both companies would also share their spectrum in 800 MHz band across 17 circles with the eventual aim of sharing that spectrum across all 22 circles.

In late September 2016 speaking to investors Anil Ambani confirmed that RCOM and RJIO had 'all but' merged, saying specifically: 1As far as our 100 million customers are concerned, as far as our 1 million retailers are concerned, as far as our employees are concerned, and as far as our vendors and partners are concerned, there has already been a virtual merger of the two organisations (RCom and Jio)'.

Further comment

Apart from the two state-owned operators BSNL and  MTNL which together own almost 9% of the mobile market and have a dominant share of India's fixed-line market, there is only one other unconsolidated operator left of any significance, Tata Teleservices, which as of December 2016 served just under 53 million mobile subscriptions for a 4.70% market share. In early February 2017, India's Economic Times reported that persons familiar with the matter had told them that Anil Ambani had initiated talks with newly appointed Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekharan to explore a possible union. There are, however, two major problems that Tata Teleservices still has to deal with. The first is a massive debt of INR 30,000 crore and the second is an unresolved dispute between Tata and NTT DOCOMO related to their partnership in Tata Tele with a headline value of $1.17 billion. However, at least one source reported on March 14th that following what was described as a 'truce' between Tata and NTT due diligence talks had been started between RCOM and Tata on the possibility of a deal regarding Tata Teleservices.

Full article: Part 1Part 2 , Part 3Part 4

ADVA partners with Brocade on 32G Fibre Channel over 100 km

ADVA Optical Networking announced that it has demonstrated transmission of 32 Gbit/s Fibre Channel over 100 km, which is claimed as an industry first, during a joint field trial that utilised Brocade X6 directors and the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform.

The trial was designed to illustrate the ability of ADVA's data centre interconnect (DCI) technology to interoperate seamlessly with Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel products. The joint solution will enable enterprise customers to address the demand for higher speed transmission in the data centre, as well as support the transition to flash-based storage solutions.

The combination of Brocade's newly introduced Gen 6 Fibre Channel technology and the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform is designed to offer customers increased performance, availability and scalability.

ADVA noted that transmission of 32 Gbit/s Fibre Channel over 100 km represents a key capability for business continuity and disaster recovery planning. As companies move towards a low-cost, high-performance storage model, they require networks that can deliver low-latency and high-capacity bandwidth together with high reliability. This demonstration of 32Gbit/s Fibre Channel connectivity shows that networks can now maximize the performance of flash array technology.

Brocade announced in March the launch of its G610 storage switch as part of the Gen 6 Fibre Channel portfolio that support 32 Gbit/s performance and designed to provide always-on connectivity to the all-flash data centre. The company noted that the transition to flash storage and the emergence of non-volatile memory express (NVMe) requires infrastructure that can optimise application performance and adapt to evolving data centre needs.

The Brocade G610 is an entry-level switch designed for applications ranging from small shared storage fabrics to network edge deployments in data centres. The switch is scalable, offering support for from eight ports up to 24 ports, and features Fabric Vision technology with newly introduced VM Insight functionality providing visibility into VM-level application performance.

Regarding the joint demonstration, Scott Shimomura, senior director, product marketing, Storage Networking at Brocade, said, "A seismic shift is taking place as organisations move from legacy storage to all-flash arrays… but a lack of fast, responsive and reliable connectivity can be a roadblock… the Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel portfolio and ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect enable the reliable, low-latency Fibre Channel storage networks that data centres need to (support) flash storage".

Equinix provides direct access to Oracle Cloud at Washington DC IBX facility

Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company and member of Oracle PartnerNetwork, announced the availability of dedicated, private access to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure IaaS offering via the Equinix Cloud Exchange.

Direct access via Equinix enables enterprise customers to migrate applications and data to Oracle Cloud and gain low latency connectivity for an enhanced user experience. The latest agreement builds on previous collaborations between Equinix and Oracle to enable direct access to Oracle's suite of cloud services, including PaaS and SaaS solutions, in markets worldwide.

Under the new agreement, access to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will initially be available via the Oracle Cloud Network Service FastConnect in the Equinix Washington, DC International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre; additional markets scheduled to be added during the year.

Equinix noted that leveraging Cloud Exchange and API integration with Oracle's FastConnect, customers are able to establish direct connectivity between on-premises infrastructure and Oracle Cloud environments. This allows customers to adopt a hybrid cloud model, with the ability to reliably and efficiently move application, middleware and database workloads between on-premises systems and the Oracle Cloud.

Equinix cited examples of hybrid deployments enabled by the collaboration including:

1.         Customers wishing to migrate and host complex, multi-tier solutions in the cloud while minimising production downtime.
2.         Customers with the need to perform analytics on large data sets residing in Oracle databases, which can host Oracle solutions on-premises inside Equinix and, via FastConnect on Equinix Cloud Exchange, extend their network into the Oracle Cloud, so removing data size limits, increasing throughput and reducing latency.

3.         Customers wishing to consolidate databases into Oracle Exadata Cloud Service but with limited capacity in their existing data centre, who can place Oracle Exadata racks inside Equinix and connect to Oracle Cloud for high availability.

Oracle FastConnect, offering private access to Oracle Cloud on Equinix Cloud Exchange, is scheduled to be available in six markets, including Washington DC, Chicago, Amsterdam, London and Sydney, by the end of 2017. Equinix Cloud Exchange is currently available in 21 markets worldwide across North America, Europe and Asia.

Zayo Buys Kio data centres in San Diego

Zayo Group announced that it has completed the acquisition for $12 million of Kio Networks' San Diego data centres, specifically two facilities located at 12270 World Trade Drive and 9606 Aero Drive.

Zayo stated that it has experienced increasing demand for data centre and interconnection services in San Diego, driven by customers in the IT, healthcare and professional services sectors. The acquisition of Kio's data centres not only provides capacity to meet this demand, but also an embedded revenue base that supports the financial profile of the deal.

The San Diego facilities will provide extensive interconnection and access to Zayo’s fiber backbone in California, which now encompasses more than 8,000 route miles. Zayo’s high-count fibre also connects to multiple landing stations providing subsea cable access up the California coast and to the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

Zayo noted that the acquisition builds on its continuing expansion on the West Coast, which includes network assets acquired with Electric Lightwave and recently announced data centres in Santa Clara and Los Angeles. Zayo announced in April that it would significantly expand its Los Angeles data centre presence with a new location at One Wilshire Building, 624 S Grand Ave., marking its fifth facility in California, to meet customer demand.

  • Zayo recently announced it had achieved Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification from the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). It noted that the certification strengthens its ability to deliver standards-based local, national and global Ethernet services with the same interoperability and performance to any location.
  • The MEF CE 2.0 certification also validates Zayo's ability to provide Ethernet solutions that meet operator-to-operator requirements. Zayo services include E-Line, point-to-point, multipoint and E-LAN configurations. Zayo also offers Ethernet Private Dedicated Network (E-PDN), offering customers dedicated fibre and equipment and FlexConnect.

NeoPhotonics reports Q1 revenue of $71.69m, net loss of $11.52m

NeoPhotonics, a designer and manufacturer of optoelectronic solutions for the communications networks for telecom and data centres applications, announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2017, as follows:

1.         Revenue for the first quarter of 2017 of $71.69 million, down 34.7% versus $109.84 million in the fourth quarter and down 27.7% from $99.14 million in the first quarter of 2016.

2.         Gross income for the first quarter of $18.50 million, down 40.3% versus $31.03 million in the fourth quarter and down 40.5% from $31.12 million in the first quarter of 2016.

3.         R&D expenditure for the first quarter of $15.54 million, up 2.4% versus $15.17 million in the fourth quarter and up 20.0% from $12.95 million in the first quarter of 2016.

4.         SG&A expenditure for the first quarter of $16.36 million, up 30.0% versus $12.58 million in the fourth quarter and up 25.8% from $13.01 million in the first quarter of 2016.

5.         Total operating expenditure for the first quarter of $30.38 million, up 4.1% versus $29.19 million in the fourth quarter and up 15.0% from $26.42 million in the first quarter of 2016.

6.         On a GAAP basis, a net loss for the first quarter of $11.52, versus net income of $2.00 in the fourth quarter and net income of $2.31 million in the first quarter of 2016.

On a non-GAAP basis, a net loss for the first quarter of $10.74 million, versus net income of $6.29 million in the fourth quarter and net income of $6.95 million in the first quarter of 2016.

7.         Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of March 31, 2017 of $87.75 million, compared with $101.51 million as at December 31, 2016.

Additional results and notes

For the first quarter of 2017, NeoPhotonics reported that sales of high speed products were $58.7 million (82% of the total), with network products and solutions representing $13.0 million (18% of total revenue). Revenue excluding low speed transceiver products for the quarter was $70.2 million.

On a geographic basis by shipment destination, in the first quarter Americas revenue was 17% of total sales, compared to 18% in the fourth quarter, China accounted for 54% of the total, compared to 65% in the prior quarter, Japan revenue was 5%, compared to 4% in the prior quarter, with rest of the world sales 24% of the total, compared to 13% in the prior quarter.

For the first quarter, NeoPhotonic's stated it had two 10%-or-greater customers, with Ciena representing approximately 14% of total revenue, flat with the fourth quarter, and Huawei Technologies and affiliate Hi-Silicon Technologies accounting for 41% of total revenue, compared to 53% in fourth quarter, or 50% of total revenue excluding low speed products for that period.


For the first quarter ending June 30, 2017, NeoPhotonics expects revenue of between $68 and $74 million, representing a sequential decline of 1.0% at the midpoint.

CEO comment

Regarding the results, Tim Jenks, chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics, said, "As expected, softness in the overall China market affected sales in the first quarter… I see the China market as being in a transition as it moves from primarily national backbone to provincial and metro 100 Gbit/s deployments, while worldwide the metro and data centre interconnect markets continue to grow at a rapid pace".

Sonus Virtual SBC validated with Wind River Titanium Cloud

Sonus Networks, a provider of solutions that enable secure and intelligent cloud communications, announced that its cloud native session border controller (SBC) Software edition (SBC SWe) has completed the testing and validation process under the Wind River Titanium Cloud ecosystem program.

Following the validation, in collaboration with Wind River Sonus can offer a proven, carrier-grade virtual SBC that is designed to meet service provider requirements in terms of performance, reliability and availability. The partnership expands Sonus' NFVI partner network to simplify onboarding in Wind River environments.

The Wind River Titanium Cloud ecosystem enables the delivery of interoperable standard products optimised for NFV deployment with Titanium Cloud and is intended to speed time-to-market. The combination of Wind River's Titanium Cloud and the Sonus cloud native SBC, is designed to enable service providers to reliably deliver carrier-class, real-time communications in the cloud.

The Sonus SBC SWe offers an advanced software-based, cloud native SBC designed to enable and secure real-time communications. The SBC SWe is designed to provide security, transcoding and signalling and media interworking with the same reliability as Sonus' hardware-based SBC appliances. Sonus noted that validation with Titanium Cloud further enhances its cloud native SBC VNF and expands its strategy of enabling a multi-vendor cloud ecosystem.

Wind River Titanium Cloud is an integrated, high reliability and deployment-ready portfolio of virtualisation software products. Titanium Cloud technologies are designed to allow organisations including service providers to deploy reliable virtualised services faster at lower cost. Titanium Cloud is based on open software standards including Linux, KVM, carrier-grade plugins for OpenStack, Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) and accelerated virtual switching, optimised for Intel architecture platforms.

CityFibre appoints Jatinder Sispal as head of carrier and national providers

CityFibre, the UK’s largest alternative provider of wholesale fibre network infrastructure, announced the appointment of Jatinder Sispal as Head of Carrier and National Providers.

In his new role with CityFibre, Jatinder Sispal will focus on selling the company's independent, full-fibre infrastructure to the carrier and national provider sector, including content providers and data centre operators, in the UK.

Mr. Sispal joins CityFibre from BT where he was head of the BT Local Business, with responsibility for the enterprise division that serves around 700,000 customers each year.

Jatinder Sispal has extensive experience in the technology and telecommunications sectors, including in senior leadership roles with Telstra, where he was responsible for building up the wholesale division, and Colt, where he led the UK wholesale and Northern European indirect sales and marketing divisions.

London-based CityFibre is deploying fibre infrastructure designed to enable Gigabit Cities across the UK, with a major metro duct and fibre footprint serving 42 cities and a national long distance network that connects to key UK data centres across and peering points in London.

CityFibre offers a range of active and dark fibre services to customers including service integrators, enterprise and consumer service providers and mobile operators leveraging a network that connects around 28,000 public sites, 7,800 mobile masts, 280,000 businesses and 4 million homes.

  • The company states it has launched Gigabit City projects in 41 cities, including in the following cities: Aberdeen; Bracknell; Bradford; Bristol; Coventry; Doncaster; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Huddersfield; Hull; Leeds; Maidenhead; Milton Keynes; Northampton; Peterborough; Reading; Rotherham; Sheffield; Slough; Southend-on-Sea; and York.

Exceda of Brazil expands XCDN content delivery network worldwide via partners

Exceda based in Sao Paolo, announced that XCDN, a major eCommerce-based CDN, that is currently available only to customers in the Americas region, is to be expanded via collaborations with multiple CDN partners to enable the delivery of website content to and from locations worldwide.

Established in 2002 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Exceda is a major Akamai channel partner providing CDN, DDoS, WAF, data analysis and professional services designed to help customers accelerate web performance while reducing their infrastructure costs.

Exceda XCDN works by caching customer website content in hundreds of thousands of servers located in networks and data centres worldwide. This allows content to be served from the location nearest to the end user, based on both the distance and network conditions, to reduce latency. The service is designed to protect users from site outages and slowdowns due to heavy visitor traffic, Internet outages and malicious traffic, as well as help reduce expenditure on physical or cloud web infrastructure.

XCDN, which is delivered via a partnership with Akamai, is currently available to customers across the Americas region and is due to be available for sales outside of the Americas from July 2017.

Describing the service, Exceda's CTO, Terry Drozdowski, said, "Simplicity is at the heart of XCDN, customers pay a flat rate for traffic delivered anywhere in the world… I believe that XCDN will be extremely attractive to small businesses throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa who will be able deliver their sites via XCDN starting in July".