Monday, August 21, 2017

Cisco to acquire Springpath for hyperconvergence software - $320m

Cisco agreed to acquire Springpath, a start-up specializing in hyperconvergence software for $320 million in cash and assumed equity awards.

Springpath, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, has developed a distributed file system purpose-built for hyperconvergence that enables server-based storage systems. Cisco and Springpath have worked together since early 2016 to launch HyperFlex, a fully integrated hyperconverged infrastructure system.

Cisco said the acquisition will allow it to continue to deliver next-generation data center innovation to its customers.

"This acquisition is a meaningful addition to our data center portfolio and aligns with our overall transition to providing more software-centric solutions," said Rob Salvagno, Cisco vice president, Corporate Business Development. "Springpath's file system technology was built specifically for hyperconvergence, which we believe will deliver sustainable differentiation in this fast-growing segment. I'm excited to be able to provide our customers and partners with the simplicity and agility they need in data center innovation."

  • Springpath was co-founded by Mallik Mahalingam and Krishna Yadappanavar, both whom previously held senior engineering roles at VMware.

Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm hit 1.07 Gbps peak

Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies announced a new peak downlink speed of 1.07 Gbps using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem, the first announced modem to support Category 18 LTE speeds.

The new record was achieved during an Ericsson lab trial. using 12 simultaneous LTE streams, which allow for up to 20 percent increase in peak data rates and capacity with a corresponding improvement in average speeds. Ericsson's Radio System and LTE software was used in concert with a mobile test device based on the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem.

In the lab, the 1.07 Gbps speeds were achieved using all licensed band combinations with:

  • 12 LTE streams with 3 cell carrier aggregation of FDD spectrum
  • 4x4 MIMO per carrier (multiple in, multiple out), which uses multiple antennae at the cell tower and on consumers devices to optimize data speeds
  • 256 QAM per carrier, which enables customer devices and the network to exchange information in large amounts, delivering more bits of data in each transmission, significantly enhancing data speeds

Verizon said this 1.07 Gbps achievement builds on its recent announcement about Gigabit LTE with support for License Assisted Access (LAA). Also of significance, the 1.07 Gbps speed was achieved using only three 20MHz carriers of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex using separate transmit and receive frequencies) spectrum, achieving new levels of spectral efficiency for commercial networks and devices. These efficiencies will enable the delivery of the Gigabit class experience to more customers and lead to new wireless innovations.

"As technology leaders, Verizon continues to drive innovation for our customers. Today's achievement shows once again that while Verizon deploys the most advanced technologies to our customers in the real world environment, we are always looking ahead to what customers will need tomorrow," said Nicola Palmer, Verizon Wireless Chief Network Officer.

América Móvil sees ARPU rising as 4G smartphones take hold in Latin America

América Móvil, the Mexican telecommunications carrier with interests across Latin America and fourth largest mobile operator worldwide in terms of subscriber count, continues to travel along a familiar path – new subscribers in many markets are harder to find but surging demand for always-connected smartphones presents an opportunity to increase ARPU, which lags the consumer spend of developed markets. Competition across Latin America is fierce as reflected in the high subscriber churn rates.

Carlos Slim Helú (77), who at times has been ranked as the world's richest person but who now holds the No.6 position on the 2017 Forbes Billionaires list ahead of No.7 Larry Ellison but behind No.5 Mark Zuckerberg, still sits on América Móvil's board of directors, but his son Carlos Slim Domit (50) now serves as chairman of the board. In recent years, the company has faced regulatory challenges in its home market, where it continues to hold the leading share, built new bases through its Claro brand throughout Latin America, and completed deep investments in Europe (a 51% stake Telekom Austria and a 21% stake in KPN Netherlands).

In 2013/14, Mexico undertook a structural reform of its telecommunications sector, forcing América Móvil to sell off some or all of its Telmex wired assets in a process that is still underway. Discussions with the Mexican regulatory authority, IFETEL, on the legal separation of Telmex appear to be ongoing. The full effect of this reform perhaps will be felt next year, when a new wholesale, nationwide infrastructure provider known as Red Compartida (shared network) begins commercial 4G service.

In late July, América Móvil published financial results and operational metrics for Q2. These provide insight not only into the company but also the Latin American telecommunications sector in general. Several macroeconomic issues, however, continue to impact the sector, including the tense situation and declining economy in Brasil, and the wildly fluctuating value of the Mexican peso (declining 28% versus the real, 20% versus the Colombian peso, and 8% versus the dollar with respect to the entire year).

Highlights for Q2 2017

Total accesses of 362,593,00 as of June 30, 2017, including 77% wireless, 9.2% fixed line, 7.6% broadband and 6.0% TV, as below (millions):

                                                  2017                                        2016

Wireless subscribers                  280                                          283

Revenue Generating Units         83                                            82

Revenues (US$)                         13.4bn                                    12.9bn

EBITDA (US$)                         3.7bn                                      3.4bn

Capex (US$)                             1.2bn                                      1.8bn

The company reports continued disconnection of prepaid subscribers in many countries, but a 5.1% net increase in postpaid subscribers, with Chile's increasing 17.8%, Brazil’s 10.0%, Colombia's 7.7% and Mexico's 6.4%l. On the fixed-line platform RGUs rose 1.1% from the prior year, with broadband accesses up 5.7% year-on-year after connecting 209,000 new accesses in the quarter, mainly in Central America, Colombia and Brazil. Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru were the main forces behind the strong expansion of service revenues.

Outstanding debt declined from MXP 629.7 billion (approx. $35.2 billion) in December to MXP 550.8 billion pesos ($30.8 billion) in June, a 12.5% decrease, reflecting the company’s debt reduction efforts and the appreciation of the Mexican peso versus other currencies in the period. Approximately 21.6% of company revenues are U.S. dollar-based.

ARPU in Mexico was MXP 137 pesos ($7.69), up 7.5% over last year, with churn at 4.1%; ARPU in Chile was CLP 5,826 ($8.96), up 6.9% over last year, with churn of 5.3%; ARPU in Colombia was COP 16,815 ($5.6), up 1.6% over last year, with churn of 4.3%.

Major spectrum acquisition in Mexico

Earlier this year, América Móvil acquired 60 MHz of wireless spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band from Grupo MVS on undisclosed terms. The deal was approved in May 2017 by Mexico's telecom regulator. The 2.5 GHz spectrum gives América Móvil a similar spectrum position as Sprint, which recently published the results of a field trial using massive MIMO with 8T8R (8 transmit, 8 receive) radios in a 20 MHz channel in the 2.5 GHz band. The trial was conducted with Samsung and reportedly delivered peak speeds of 330 Mbit/s. Capacity per channel increased approximately four-fold, cell edge performance increased three times and the overall coverage area expanded compared with current radios. América Móvil may now be looking for a similar outcome for its newly acquired spectrum in Mexico.

Pact with Samsung Electronics

Coincidentally, in July, Samsung Electronics reached a framework agreement with América Móvil to supply 4.5G networking gear in Mexico and other Latin American markets. The deal also covers the development of IoT solutions and the use of Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S7Edge, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+.

Massive fine in Colombia

In late July, a Colombian arbitration panel ordered América Móvil's Colombian affiliate, Comunicación Celular (COMCEL, operating under the Claro brand) to pay $1 billion in a dispute over ownership of network architecture. The case dates back to a contract signed in 1994 by COMCEL under which it was bound to return certain infrastructure to the state after a period of ten years. Movistar, the local affiliate of Telefonica, has also been hit with a $529 million fine for the same reason. The operators argue that they have continually upgraded the infrastructure over time and that new contracts and conditions have superseded the outdated agreement. Both carriers are expected to appeal. América Móvil has sought the intervention of the Mexican government, arguing that such a massive fine for such a dubious case will have negative repercussions between the countries.

Zayo tops $636m in revenue but misses expectations

Zayo Group reported $638.0 million of consolidated revenue for the quarter ending 30-June-2017, including $509.1 million from the Communications Infrastructure segments and $128.9 million from the Allstream segment.

Net income amounted to $23.2 million, including $11.3 million from the Communications Infrastructure segments and $11.9 million from the Allstream segment.

The company reported $310.8 million of adjusted EBITDA, including $280.8 million from Communications Infrastructure and $30.0 million from the Allstream segment.

Excluding Allstream, Zayo's churn was 1.2%1 , resulting in net installs of $1.4M, implying an organic growth rate of 3%.

Intel Launches 8th gen Core processors

Intel officially introduced its 8th Gen Intel Core processors, including a range of mobile processors designed specifically for sleek thin and light notebooks and 2 in 1s.

The new mobile processors promises a boost of up to 40 percent gen over gen1 devices or 2x the performance if you compare it with a 5-year-old machine. The processors feature a new quad-core configuration, power-efficient microarchitecture, advanced process technology and a huge range of silicon optimizations.

  • Intel UHD Graphics are integrated into these next-generation processors. A media engine, with power-efficient VP9 and HEVC 10-bit hardware acceleration, means great battery life, even with 4K UHD viewing andcontent creation. 
  • I/O in 8th generation Intel Core Processor U-series includes PCIe 3.0, delivering data transfer rates at 8 GT/s versus 5
  • GT/s with PCIe 2.0. 
  • The latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology supports NVMe PCIe x4 Solid State Drives, and it is capable of utilizing PCIe 3.0 speed. 
  • Thunderbolt 3 technology (USB-C) supports up to 40 Gbps transfer speeds, two 4K 60 Hz displays, system charging up to 100W, external graphics, and Thunderbolt networking.

The first wave of 8th Gen Intel Core processor-powered devices featuring i5/i7 processors will come to market beginning in September.

Redis Labs secures $44m in venture funding

Redis Labs, a start-up based in Mountain View, California with offices in Tel Aviv and London, raised $44 million in Series D funding, bringing its total equity to $86 million.

The latest funding round was led by new investor Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing and existing investors Bain Capital Ventures and Carmel Ventures, with participation from Dell Technologies Capital.

Redis Labs is home of open source Redis, the world's most popular in-memory database platform and currently the fastest growing database of any kind (SQL or NoSQL). Redis was created in 2009 by Salvatore Sanfilippo, who leads open source development at Redis Labs.

Redis Labs reports 70 percent year-over-year revenue growth in the most recent quarter.

"This funding round is a testament to the growing market demand and adoption of the open source Redis and Redis Enterprise to power next-generation applications as real-time, ultra-responsive capabilities become mandatory," said Ofer Bengal, CEO and co-founder at Redis Labs. "The investment will support our continued market penetration and allow us to meet the enterprise demand we're seeing for a modern in-memory database platform across wider geographies and industry sectors."

Rackspace is rolling out a VMware private cloud offering

Rackspace Private Cloud powered by VMware built on VMware Cloud Foundation will enable full software defined data center (SDDC) capabilities including compute, storage and networking that span the public and private cloud.

"Provisioning hardware quickly is no longer considered a value for customers, it's expected," said Peter FitzGibbon, vice president and general manager of VMware at Rackspace. "The enhancement in our VMware private cloud delivery model through VMware Cloud Foundation will provide further value to new and existing Rackspace Private Cloud powered by VMware customers by giving them access to the most streamlined and innovative VMware SDDC capabilities and lifecycle management. We are excited to use VMware Cloud Foundation and look forward to continued innovation on the platform."

Benefits include:

  • Standardized Architecture: Rackspace Private Cloud powered by VMware is built on VMware Validated Designs, which are based on best practices, making deployments more predictable and lower risk.
  • Continuous Updates and Lifecycle Management: Continuous updates allow for the most up-to-date VMware capabilities through lifecycle management of VMware components, thereby helping to improve users' security posture.
  • Leverage Existing VMware Investments: Users leverage the control, flexibility and choice needed to run VMware as easily as they would in their own data center.IT departments can migrate or extend to the VMware cloud with consistent tooling and skills. Consistent infrastructure architecture can be leveraged across multiple locations without the need to refactor code. Mutual customers maintain value of existing investments made in training, VMware technology and familiar tools by accelerating adoption of software-defined infrastructure.
  • Offload Physical and Virtual Infrastructure Operations: Rackspace delivers a hosted model, which eliminates many of the procurement and integration challenges that IT organizations face in their own data centers. Mutual customers also benefit from the ability to scale their solution quickly and as needed without the need for significant upfront capex investments in data centers and hardware.

CoreSite Extends Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to more data centers

CoreSite announced the expanded availability of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, which can now be privately accessed from seven of CoreSite’s markets across the country, including Northern Virginia, Chicago, Silicon Valley, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

This enables CoreSite customers to privately connect to Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 via the CoreSite Open Cloud Exchange, which provides high-performance, SLA-backed virtual connections and on-demand provisioning.

“We are excited to announce the expanded availability of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute connectivity to our customers across seven of our key markets,” said Brian Warren, Senior Vice President of Engineering & Product at CoreSite. “We are enabling our customers with the solutions necessary to bring together all of their applications, data, devices, and resources, both on-premise and in the cloud, with predictable, reliable and secure high-throughput connections.”