Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Google picks up the pace in cloud computing

When it comes to the cloud, Google certainly isn't taking a summer holiday. Over the past weeks there have been a string of cloud related developments from Google showing that is very focused, delivering innovative services and perhaps narrowing the considerable market share gap between itself and rivals IBM, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. There is a new Google cloud data centre in London, a new data transfer service, a new transfer appliance and a new offering for computational drug discovery. And this week came word from Bloomberg that Google is gearing up to launch its first quantum computing cloud services. While the company declined to comment directly about the Bloomberg story it is understood that quantum computing is an area of keen interest for Google.

New London data centre

Customers of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) can use the new region in London (europe-west2) to run applications. Google noted that London is its tenth region, joining the existing European region in Belgium. Future European regions include Frankfurt, the Netherlands and Finland. Google also stated that it is working diligently to address EU data protection requirements. Most recently, Google announced a commitment to GDPR compliance across GCP.

Introducing Google Transfer Appliance

This is a pre-configured solution that offers up to 480TB in 4U or 100TB in 2U of raw data capacity in a single rackmount device. Essentially, it is high-capacity storage server that a customer can install in a corporate data centre. Once the server is full, the customer simply ships the appliance back to Google for transferring the data to Google Cloud Storage. It offers a capacity of up to one-petabyte compressed.

The Google Transfer Appliance is a very practical solution even when massive bandwidth connections are available at both ends. For instance, for customers fortunate enough to possess a 10 Gbit/s connection, a 100TB data store would still take 30 hours to transfer electronically. A 1PB data library would take over 12 days using the same10 Gbit/s connection, and that is assuming no drops in connectivity performance. Google is now offering a 100TB model priced at $300, plus shipping via FedEx (approximately $500) and a 480TB model is priced at $1800, plus shipping (approximately $900). Amazon offers a similar Snowball Edge data migration appliance for migrating large volumes of data to its cloud the old-fashioned way.

Partnership for computational medicine

Under a partnership with Boston -based Silicon Therapeutics, Google recently deployed its INSITE Screening platform on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to analyse over 10 million commercially available molecular compounds as potential starting materials for next-generation medicines. In one week, it performed over 500 million docking computations to evaluate how a protein responds to a given molecule. Each computation involved a docking program that predicted the preferred orientation of a small molecule to a protein and the associated energetics so it could assess whether it will bind and alter the function of the target protein.

With a combination of Google Compute Engine standard and Preemptible VMs, the partners used up to 16,000 cores, for a total of 3 million core-hours and a cost of about $30,000. Google noted that a final stage of the calculations delivered all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on the top 1,000 molecules to determine which ones to purchase and experimentally assay for activity.

Pushing ahead with Kubernetes

The recent open source release of Kubernetes 1.7 is now available on Container Engine, Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) managed container service. The end result is better workload isolation within a cluster, which is a frequently requested security feature in Kubernetes. Google also announced that its Container Engine, which saw more than 10x growth last year, is now available from the following GCP regions:

•   Sydney (australia-southeast1).

•   Singapore (asia-southeast1).

•   Oregon (us-west1).

•   London (europe-west2).

Container engine clusters are already up and running at locations from Iowa to Belgium and Taiwan.

New strategic partnership with Nutanix

Google has formed a strategic partnership with Nutanix to help remove friction from hybrid cloud deployments for enterprises.

Reimagining virtual public clouds at global scale

Integrating cloud resources from different areas of the world no longer requires negotiating and installing a VPN solution from one or more service providers. Google can do it for you using its own global backbone. VPC is private, and with Google VPC customers can get private access to Google services such as storage, big data, analytics or machine learning, without having to give the service a public IP address. Global VPCs are divided into regional subnets that use Google’s private backbone to communicate as needed.

VPC, formerly known as GCP Virtual Networks, offers a privately administered space within Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This means global connectivity across locations and regions, and the elimination of silos across projects and teams.

Further information on Google Cloud Platform is available at the blog here:

AT&T Tops U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD

AT&T topped the newly released U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD from  Vertical Systems Group based on results for year-end 2016.

Eleven companies attained a position on the 2016 U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD as follows (in rank order by number of fiber lit buildings): AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, CenturyLink, Comcast, Level 3, Cox, Lightower, Zayo, Altice USA and Frontier.

Retail and wholesale fiber providers with 10,000 or more on-net fiber lit commercial buildings in the U.S. qualify for this new benchmark.

“On-net fiber lit buildings are valued strategic assets that give retail and wholesale providers a competitive edge in profitably delivering services to business customers. A major benefit of a fiber lit building is ready connectivity with provisioning through service orchestration, without the construction cost and extensive lead time required to light a building,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. “These dynamics are driving this year’s acquisitions among fiber providers that will significantly impact the U.S. fiber landscape. Eighteen of the twenty-eight Fiber LEADERBOARD and Challenge Tier companies have fiber-related transactions just completed or pending.”

The Challenge Tier of providers includes companies with lit fiber connections to between 2,000 and 9,999 U.S. commercial buildings. Seventeen companies qualified for the 2016 Fiber Lit Buildings Challenge Tier as follows (in alphabetical order): Cincinnati Bell, Cleareon, Cogent, Consolidated Communications, Electric Lightwave, Fairpoint, FiberLight, FiberNet Direct, FirstLight, IFN, Lumos, Southern Light, Sunesys, Unite Private Networks, Uniti Fiber, Windstream and XO.

MEF Drives SD-WAN Managed Services

MEF is expanding from Carrier Ethernet to many new types of services, including SD-WAN managed services.  Ralph Santitoro, Distinguished Fellow, MEF, discusses a new white paper from MEF that introduces SD-WAN functions, terminology, and service components; explains how the components fit within the LSO Reference Architecture; and provides SD-WAN managed services use cases.  Ralph says that many of MEF’s successful programs related to Carrier Ethernet will be replicated with SD-WAN.

Recorded at the MEF Annual Members' Meeting in Toronto.

See video:

Nokia to expand development of 5G FIRST

Nokia announced that it is broadening its focus into multiple areas of early 5G mobility use cases, including enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency communications.

As part of this initiative, Nokia will seek to accelerate 3GPP industry standardisation while also building on early customer experiences through its Nokia 5G FIRST end-to-end solution, which was launched in February this year at Mobile World Congress.

Nokia noted that with interest in 5G mobility applications already building at operators, notably in markets including the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea, it will implement early 5G specifications by enhancing 5G FIRST with the 3GPP 5G Phase I protocol. This 5G NR (new radio) air interface standard, which is due to be released in early 2018, is designed to enable support for a variety of 5G devices and services.

Nokia will continue to develop and expand 5G FIRST as an end-to-end solution, designed to encourage the broader market adoption of 5G, for both mobility and fixed applications, as well as testing of multiple 5G use cases. Nokia stated that it will build on field experience already gained with its 5G FIRST solution, which has provided insights in areas including:

  • The use of radio propagation in higher frequencies.
  • Massive MIMO and beamforming.
  • Integration with existing networks versus standalone implementations.
  • The use of small cells in 5G deployments.
  • The importance of cloud native core and cloud RAN technologies.
The company noted that, along with other key elements of 3GPP-based 5G implementation, these features will enable it to extend the scope of interoperability testing with a range of devices. Nokia will also continue to apply advanced technologies such as chipset and radio frequency innovations as part of its end-to-end 5G strategy.

The 5G FIRST solution incorporates technology including the multi-access Nokia Cloud Packet Core and Shared Data Layer as part of a cloud-native core architecture designed to deliver the flexibility, scalability and performance operators require to quickly and cost-effectively deliver 5G services.

In addition, a comprehensive 'anyhaul' mobile transport portfolio from Nokia incorporates microwave, IP, optical and fixed access technologies designed to address the capacity, reliability and latency requirements of 5G networks.

Exaring deploys Juniper for delivery of IPTV

Juniper Networks announced that Exaring, a digital service provider based in Germany, has deployed its solutions to create a scalable and fully-automated infrastructure to support delivery of next generation, IP-based TV services.

Exaring's platform offers German households broadcast TV services in the cloud via a smart device. The company operates an extensive fibre infrastructure that is used exclusively for the transmission of IP entertainment services, combining high-definition TV content with intuitive apps and the flexibility of the web. Exaring has also created its own TV platform,

The flexible and automated network architecture created by Juniper's technology is designed to enable Exaring to integrate and deploy new services faster and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), as well as meet increasing demand for its IP TV playout platform. The automated solution also allows the company to monitor and dynamically adjust network performance based on data analysis.

For the deployment, Juniper supplied its QFX Series switching technology to support the automated delivery of TV services, including HD and 4K (ultra HD) video, to end-users utilising customers' existing Internet connections and without the need for additional installations.

Exaring's services run in a cloud environment created by the QFX switches, high capacity, high-density switching platforms featuring an open architecture that are designed to serve as universal building blocks for automated, programmable fabric architectures.

Specifically Exaring has deployed the Juniper QFX10000 at its data centre edge, which offers IPv4 and IPv6 peering functionality and enables low latency transport, together with Juniper's ASIC functionality, including Virtual output Queueing (VoQ) technology. The new network infrastructure runs on the Junos OS operating system, allowing centralised management to help streamline and simplify network operations, and integration into Exaring's existing orchestration and automation infrastructure.

  • * Earlier this year, ADVA Optical Networking announced that Exaring had deployed its technology to cerate what was claimed to be Germany's first integrated platform for the delivery of IP entertainment services. Based on the ADVA FSP 3000 solution, Exaring's upgraded national 100 Gbit/s backbone was designed to transmit on-demand TV and gaming services to approximately 23 million households across the country.

Hyperoptic secures GBP 100m to accelerate fibre rollout

Hyperoptic, a major residential gigabit broadband provider in the UK, announced that it has secured an additional GBP 100 million in funding to accelerate the build of its full-fibre network.

The new funding is being provided by a consortium of four major European banks, BNP Paribas, ING, RBS and Dutch investment bank NIBC, with LionTree Advisors acting as exclusive financial advisor to Hyperoptic.

Hyperoptic stated that its fibre-based broadband service is currently available across 28 cities and towns in the UK, and over the past six years it has expanded its network five-fold to pass approximately 350,000 homes and business units. The new funding will support Hyperoptic's plan to expand its infrastructure a further six-fold with the aim of making its hyperfast broadband service available to two million homes by 2022 and five million by 2025.

In conjunction with the new funding, Hyperoptic is also evolving its business model to deliver its services to sites with as few as 25 units and based upon the demand for its services and the proximity of its fibre network to serve smaller sites.

Hyperoptic operates its own dedicated FTTP network that enables it to offer symmetrical gigabit broadband services. It has expanded its network reach by over 100% in each of the last three years and has installed more than 20,000 km of dedicated cable.

Hyperoptic noted that it has previously received funding of over GBP 75 million, and that in 2016 the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide GBP 21 million to support its rollout and addressable market expansion. Previously, in 2013 Hyperoptic received an equity investment led by Quantum Strategic Partners, a private investment vehicle managed by Soros Fund Management.

S-Net teams with Versa Networks to provide SD-WAN

Chicago-based S-Net Communications, a provider of fibre Internet and VoIP business phone systems, announced it has partnered with next-generation software-based networking and security solutions supplier Versa Networks to offer enterprise and SMB customers a comprehensive communications solution supporting cloud voice services with enhanced security.

S-Net noted that developments in cloud, SDN and NFV technology is making it possible for service providers to use the cloud to deliver traditional and new communications services. However, this delivery model means that networking technologies such as MPLS are becoming too costly for enterprise customers, as well as being difficult to manage and scale compared with hybrid networks leveraging SD-WAN technology.

The new partnership with Versa Networks provides S-Net with a feature-rich secure SD-WAN solution designed to mitigate the challenges relating to cost and complexity. Utilising SD-WAN to augment or replace MPLS connectivity for its voice services allows S-Net to reduce complexity, increase agility and lower costs, while also delivering high call quality.

* In May, Versa Networks announced a significant expansion of its SDN capabilities from SD-WAN to the software-defined branch (SD-Branch). The expanded Versa Cloud IP Platform enables large enterprises and service providers to virtualise and software-define the branch and WAN to help reduce complexity and increase IT agility.

Managed service providers can use the Versa Cloud platform to offer a portfolio of managed services that combine MPLS, broadband Internet and mobile (3G/4G) network services with SD-Branch, SD-WAN, SD-Security or SD-Router functionality.

* S-Net is a major provider of high speed fibre-based Internet and VoIP business phone systems to enterprises and SMBs, currently serving over 30,000 subscribers on its communications platform.

Molex launches zSFP+ for 56 Gbit/s PAM4 channels

Molex announced it has expanded its zSFP+ Interconnect System to support 56 Gbit/s PAM4 channels in a stacked 2 x N port configuration, allowing next-generation Ethernet and Fibre Channel applications to receive improved signal integrity.

Molex claims the product is the first of its kind on the market, enabling OEMs requiring high-density interconnect applications now to utilise channels with individual lane data rates up to 56 Gbit/s PAM4. The updated Molex product also maintains a low insertion loss, crosstalk, thermal and electromagnetic interference (EMI) containment as provided by the previous generation zSFP+ interconnect system.

The updated interconnect system offers multiple features designed to allow greater flexibility and lower costs for users. The 56 Gbit/s PAM4 channel products include EMI ganged cages, available in multiple port configurations from 2 x 1 through 2 x 12, providing flexibility of PCB signal routing of LEDs.

Molex has also developed a next-generation terminal and wafer on the stacked integrated connectors within the zSFP+ interconnect system. The advanced terminal is designed to provide superior signal integrity for 56 Gbit/s PAM4 applications. The system also allows users to merge standard cables and modules with the increased data-rate accepted.

The new zSFP+ interconnect system targets applications in cellular infrastructure, telecom equipment, switches, data networking servers and storage systems.

  • * Recently, the SFP-DD MSA Group, which includes Molex as a founding member, announced plans to develop the specification for a high-speed, double-density small form-factor pluggable (SFP-DD) interface. The MSA plan to develop operating parameters, signal transmission speed goals and protocols for the SFP-DD interface, which expands on the SFP pluggable form factor.

  • The SFP interface's single electrical lane operates at up to 25 Gbit/s NRZ or 56 Gbit/s PAM4, with the new SFP-DD electrical interfaces designed to support 2 lanes operating at up to 25 Gbit/s NRZ or 56 Gbit/s PAM4 per lane to support 50/112 Gbit/s aggregate bandwidth

Talari enhances SD-WAN with WAN optimisation, security

Talari Networks, a developer of SD-WAN technology, announced that its latest software release includes WAN optimisation services that run natively in the core platform, and introduced a solution jointly validated with Zscaler, a provider of cloud security, to help companies transition to secure, direct-to-cloud connections.

Integrated WAN optimisation

Talari SD-WAN solutions now provide native support for core WAN optimisation features such as data compression and deduplication of data, in addition to congestion controls. Talari WAN Optimization (WAN-Op) is designed to improve efficiency across the WAN for bulk file-transfer traffic, particularly for data requested by more than one user at the same location. The integration of WAN-Op with the SD-WAN software is designed to help organisations simplify the branch office and realise cost efficiencies.

Secure solution

The solution validated with Zscaler enables Talari SD-WAN edge nodes to transparently forward all Internet traffic to the Zscaler cloud over IPsec tunnels, enabling faster performance, reduced bandwidth requirements and simplified operations. The service will be delivered via Talari's Adaptive Path Networking (APN) software (Release 7.0), available on currently supported physical, virtual and cloud appliances.
The Talari joint solution specifically delivers IPsec tunnels to the Zscaler cloud, with one active tunnel per Talari SD-WAN node, and Talari app-aware routing rules to selectively determine what traffic to forward to Zscaler.

SD-WAN performance enhancements

In addition to secure cloud gateway and WAN-Op services, Talari APN 7.0 provides new performance features for Talari appliances. Talari is expanding the VT800 virtual appliance performance rating to multi-gigabit, allowing the virtual appliance to address data centre as well as small branch location requirements.

In addition, for the cloud new performance enhancements for Azure enable customers decommissioning legacy data centres to utilise cloud servers. Talari is also extending the performance of VT1000 virtual appliances to 1 Gbit/s on VMware ESX to address the performance requirements of mid-market sites.

Talari is also enhancing the performance of its E100, T800, T3010 and T5200 hardware products.

Sedona appoints David Amzallag, formerly at Vodafone, as special strategic advisor

Sedona Systems, a provider of multi-layer IP/optical network automation and control solutions, announced the appointment of David Amzallag, former leader of network virtualisation transformation at Vodafone, as a special strategic advisor.

In his new role, Mr. Amzallag brings extensive industry experience and understanding of carrier networks and will help to expand and develop Sedona's NetFusion product line.

At Vodafone, David Amzallag served as group head of network virtualisation, SDN and NFV, and led the company's major Vodafone Ocean SDN/NFV transformation program. Since leaving Vodafone, he has worked with select companies that are helping carriers to create next-generation, end-to-end network architectures.

Prior to Vodafone, Mr. Amzallag served as VP for virtual telecommunications and NFV with Alcatel-Lucent, where he designed the first company-wide vision and strategy for network virtualisation and for NFV management and orchestration. Previously, David Amzallag served as CTO at Amdocs and as chief scientist, BT 21CN, with BT.

Mr. Amzallag holds a PhD in Computer Science from Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), a MS in Operations Research, and bachelor's degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science and Industrial Engineering from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Sedona's NetFusion is a software-defined networking (SDN) solution that automatically discovers and visualises a carrier's IP/MPLS and optical network layers into a single, abstracted model. This real-time view of multi-layer, multi-vendor, multi-domain topology and traffic is designed to provide detailed visibility and enable network convergence and software agility, including with existing network infrastructure.

The NetFusion App Suite furthers this converged solution with optimisation and automation apps that can help to improve network resiliency and efficiency. As SDN controllers are added to the network, NetFusion can evolve into a network controller, providing automation and control across multiple vendors and domains, and abstracting the network to service orchestrators.

Sedona Raises $13.6M for IP/Optical Converged Control

Sedona Systems, a start-up based in Israel with offices in Cupertino, California, announced $13.6 million in Series B funding for its IP/optical converged control platform for service provider networks. Sedona said its NetFusion software platform enables coordinated control of the IP and Optical layers in multi-vendor networks, automatically creating a live map of all traffic paths and cross-connections. Following this unique network discovery process,...