Wednesday, August 15, 2018

FWD: Intel focuses on Data-Centric Innovation

For months, many market watchers have described Intel as complacent as we've seen the surge in new products from companies such as ARM, NVIDIA and Xilinx. This week, Intel is hitting back. At an all-day media and analyst event at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California, Intel executives laid out their plans for extending the strength of the Xeon product family in data centers to the new frontiers of AI, network transformation, 5G, and supercomputing.

Navin Shenoy, executive vice president at Intel, kicked off the event with the roadmap showing how Xeon has come to dominate the server business and where it is headed next. 

The big takeaways from the events are:

(1) the new frontiers are enormous economic opportunities for silicon developers 
(2) Intel will integrate its Optane persistent memory with its Xeon processors 
(3) Intel is working directly with hyperscale cloud service providers to develop custom silicon 
(4) Intel is entering the SmartNICs business 
(5) the edge presents the opportunity to rebuild the central telco office

Video from all ten of the Data Centric Summit keynotes will be posted later this week to the Intel investor relations website:  http://intelstudios.edgesuite.net/180808_dcis/index.html

Here are some observations from the event.


Due to new projections about autonomous vehicles, and the impact of its Optane memory technology, Intel is raising its forecast for the total addressable market:



Network traffic trends are inescapable, especially east-west traffic in data centers.


 The market for network logic silicon could be worth $24 billion in just four years. Today, Intel has a growing share in silicon for the networking market but still was under 19% for 2017. 



 The biggest point of differentiation for Intel will be to leverage its Optane 3D memory technology to change the current compute-storage-network paradigm.




 Intel's goal is not just faster Xeon processors, but better ways of story and moving data.




The next iteration of Xeon is codenamed Cascade Lake and is optimized for AI with the Optane persistent memory. Intel expects an 11X improvement in inference performance.



 Here is a sneak peek at the roadmap.
 
  


The connectivity opportunity is growing at a 25% CAGR. It gives Intel a window to capture a greater share of the overall data center architecture.



to be continued 

Cisco delivers strong sales growth of 6%

Cisco reported revenue of $12.8 billion for its fourth quarter of FY 18, up 6% year-over-year -- its strongest sales growth in a while. Revenue growth in the 5% to 7% range is also forecast for this quarter (1Q FY 19)

GAAP net income was $3.8 billion or $0.81 per share, and non-GAAP net income was $3.3 billion or $0.70 per share.

"We had a very strong finish to a great year and generated our highest quarterly revenue of $12.8 billion," said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco. "Our results demonstrate a combination of strong customer adoption of our latest innovations, the ongoing value customers see in our software and subscription offerings, and excellent execution across our customer segments and geographies. Our strategy is working and we believe that are well-positioned to capture growth across our portfolio with our pipeline of innovation."

Some highlights

  • Product revenue was up 7%
  • Service revenue was up 3%. 
  • Recurring revenue as a percentage of total revenue was 32%, up 1 point year over year. 
  • Revenue by geographic segment was: Americas up 5%, EMEA up 8%, and APJC up 6%. 
  • Product revenue performance was generally broad based with growth in Security, up 12%, Applications, up 10%, and Infrastructure Platforms, up 7%.
  • By customer segment, enterprise was up 11%, commercial was up 9%, public sector was up 1% and service provider return to grow, up 6%. 
  • On a GAAP basis, total gross margin, product gross margin, and service gross margin were 61.7%, 60.2%, and 66.0%, respectively, as compared with 62.2%, 60.3%, and 67.8%, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • Deferred revenue amounted to $19.7 billion, up 6% in total, with deferred product revenue up 15%, driven largely by subscription-based and software offers, and deferred service revenue was up 1%. The portion of deferred product revenue related to recurring software and subscription offers increased 23%.
  • Ended Q4 with $46.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents
  • For the full FY18, revenue amounted to $49.3 billion, up 3%. Operating cash flow was $13.7 billion.
  • The Catalyst 9000 remains the fastest ramping product in company history. At the end of the quarter, there were over 9,650 customers

Telstra activates 5G pilot sites on Gold Coast

Telstra has turned on 5G in selected areas on the Gold Coast. The pilot sites use Telstra's licensed 3.4GHz spectrum and are connected to its new modernised production core network.
Telstra aims to have 200 5G-capable sites live around the country by the end of 2018.

In a blog post, Channa Seneviratne, Executive Director, Network and Infrastructure Engineering - Telstra Operations, discusses milestones in Telstra's network evolution, including:

  • open the 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast earlier this year
  • activating the world’s first precinct of 5G-enabled WiFi hotspots 
  • Australia’s first Connected Car, 
  • the world’s first end-to-end 5G data call on a commercial mobile network.

https://exchange.telstra.com.au/telstra-turns-on-5g/?ref=BP_MANUAL_TEL_EXCH_gold-coast-5g-switch-on_160818


F5 introduces NFV Manager

F5 Networks introduced a VNF Manager as part of a prepacked software-defined networking solution based on its BIG-IP capabilities.

The company said its goal is to make VNFs simple to purchase, deploy, manage, and upgrade in a “pay as you grow” model with subscription and perpetual licensing options. To help maximize utilization, resources can be automated and tailored for current initiatives, empowering customers to create, spin up, spin down, and add capacity to F5 VNF services immediately and automatically—all through the integrated F5 VNF Manager.

"Service provider organizations have plenty of options when it comes to virtualizing elements of their network, but what they haven’t had previously is a package that delivers consumption-based pricing that can be tied directly to business outcomes,” said James Feger, VP and General Manager of F5’s Service Provider business. “Beyond just VNFs and basic service management, F5’s new offering provides a preconfigured solution that gives customers push-button ease-of-use for capacity thresholds, along with service programmability and orchestration capabilities for specialized requirements.”

Some highlights:

  • Service providers can introduce differentiated services with flexible VNF service layering and programmable service chaining to expand network capabilities without sacrificing control. Preconfigured solutions support auto-scaling.
  • Network planning, sizing, and deployments can be accelerated with F5’s capacity-based consumption models and automation features, maximizing operational flexibility around elements such as the mobile core and virtual edge. In addition, the solution enables portable VNFs that can be easily moved as needed throughout the network.
  • F5’s automated, capacity-based NFV capabilities reduce the risk (and expense) of both underutilization and overprovisioning.

A10 Networks selected for 5G pilot in Japan

A major Japanese mobile carrier has selected the A10 Thunder Convergent Firewall (CFW) Gi/SGi firewall solution for a 5G pilot network, to complement the massive capacity demands of their existing mobile network and help lay the foundation for the mobile carrier’s 5G production network, expected to become commercially available beginning in 2020. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Japanese carrier has previously deployed A10's solutions to deliver a variety of security and networking services, such as application delivery, IPv4 preservation/IPv6 migration technologies, DDoS protection and Threat Intelligence.

A10 said its expanded relationship with this customer includes the Thunder CFW Gi/SGi firewall 5G-GiLANTM solution to scale and secure its GiLAN, and which will serve as the backbone network for data communication services of the carrier’s 5G network.

Highlights of the enhanced A10 Thunder CFW 5G-GiLAN solution include:

  • GiLAN Consolidation - Consolidates GiFW, CGNAT, application visibility and intelligent traffic steering to increase operational efficiency and better security on the GiLAN.
  • Application Visibility & Control - DPI-based L7 application visibility for effective policy enforcement and control provides enhanced Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) support and compliance.
  • Intelligent Traffic Steering - Subscriber-aware traffic steering to enhance new business models with differentiated service offerings for new revenue streams.
  • GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) Support - GTP Firewall with granular SCTP filtering defends the mobile core against GTP-based attacks initiated from RAN or GRX/IPX networks.
  • Accelerates Adoption of SDN/NFV - Achieve on-demand capacity with versatile software options (PNFs, VNFs, Containers and Bare Metal) across SDN/NFV environments. Supports A10 FlexPool subscription-based capacity pooling licensing model for flexible consumption.
  • A10 Thunder CFW provides a consolidated and secure 5G-GiLAN solution for an effective defense against attacks by delivering comprehensive mobile core infrastructure protection. Thunder CFW also helps customers achieve superior levels of performance, scalability and visibility, along with exceptionally high firewall connection rates in a compact form factor.

"We continue to work very closely with global carriers to enable them to lead the way with their 5G rollouts. This is demonstrating our trusted partnership and continued leadership to help carriers accelerate network transformation to 5G," said Lee Chen, CEO of A10 Networks. “The A10 Thunder CFW provides service providers with a highly scalable, consolidated and secure 5G-GiLAN solution for a comprehensive network defense, with automation for improved business agility, faster network rollout and overall reduction of TCO."


SK Telecom installs Xilinx FPGAs for AI acceleration in data centers

SK Telecom is running artificial intelligence (AI) acceleration boards powered Xilinx FPGAs in its data center.

The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGAs are now running SKT's automatic speech recognition (ASR) application to accelerate NUGU, its voice-activated assistant. The Xilinx FPGA add-in cards are installed in existing CPU-only servers.

The company reports up to 5X higher performance in ASR applications when compared to GPUs, and more importantly, 16X better performance-per-watt. This is the first commercial adoption of FPGA accelerators in the AI domain for large-scale data centers in South Korea.

"Over many years we have seen the shape of the industry evolve, and we are proud to be at the forefront of developing AI accelerators. By designing our solution based on the Xilinx KCU1500 board and our own bitstream image, we have developed a cost-effective, high-performance application," said Kang-Won Lee, senior vice president, software research and development center at SKT.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to deploy Xilinx FPGAs to SKT's AI data center, a first in South Korea," said Manish Muthal, vice president, marketing for data center at Xilinx. "Xilinx Kintex UltraScale KCU1500 FPGAs show that Xilinx has a major competitive edge in applications. Xilinx will continue to focus its technological capabilities and innovations on data center acceleration."


IX-Denver expands to EdgeConneX’s Edge Data Center Campus

IX-Denver has expanded its Denver area neutral internet exchange to EdgeConneX’s Edge Data Center Campus.

IX-Denver is operated by IX-West, a registered Colorado nonprofit organization, now has over 30 unique ASN’s or networks connected, making it the largest carrier and facility neutral interconnection platform in the state of Colorado.

“On the heels of our Denver Edge Campus expansion announcement, we are excited to welcome IX-Denver to our facility and enable customers access to the areas’ leading neutral exchange platform,” comments Jeff King, General Manager for the Denver Market. “In addition to EdgeConneX’s capabilities of supporting deployments of up to 30kW/rack, the new, 115,000-square-foot facility, built from the ground up in under six months, now provides access to 10 Gig ports on IX-Denver’s protected switching fabric, enabling greater access to content and improved quality of internet connectivity for our customers.”

T-Mobile revamps customer service with humans, not robots

T-Mobile U.S. announced its latest "un-carrier" move -- the revamping of its customer service.

T-Mobile's "Team of Experts" approach aims to re-invent customer service by relying less on automation and more on trained representatives dedicated to solving customer complaints the first time. The program promises to eliminate the automated phone menu and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) by directing support calls directly to a human.

“Team of Experts isn’t just better customer service. It’s an entirely new way of thinking about customers … one that puts your happiness at the center of everything we do,” said Callie Field, EVP of Customer Care at T-Mobile. “Some brands attempt to give high-dollar customers the kind of treatment we give everyone with Team of Experts. Because at T-Mobile, we think just being our customer makes you a rock star. Team of Experts is ‘one percenter’ treatment for the rest of us!”

Team of Experts is now live for T-Mobile postpaid customers at no additional cost.

Exabeam raises $50 million for SIEM

Exabeam, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, raised $50 million in Series D funding for its next-gen Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions.

The funding round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and supported by existing investors Aspect Ventures, Cisco Investments, Icon Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and cybersecurity investor Shlomo Kramer.

Exabeam cites 250 percent market growth in 2017, coming off 300 percent growth in 2016, for its Security Intelligence Platform (SIP), which is built on open source, big data technology, including Elasticsearch and Hadood. It enables unlimited secure data collection, indexing and search but without volume-based pricing.

“Our investors have an amazing track record of investing in companies that truly are disruptive and typically become category leaders,” said Exabeam CEO Nir Polak. “Their experience with high-growth companies like MuleSoft, Nutanix, Zscaler, ForeScout – is invaluable to us in the advice and guidance they pass along to our executive team. The new funding will allow us to invest heavily in our new cloud solutions and reach even more enterprises around the world. We are on track to overtake Splunk and be the next SIEM market leader.”

Corning expands manufacturing in North Carolina

Corning is preparing to expand its optical cable manufacturing operations in North Carolina, according to the Charlotte Business Journal, which says the $60 million investment will add 110 jobs to its local workforce.

In April, the company announced plans for a high-volume manufacturing facility for Corning Valor Glass in Durham, North Carolina. Corning described this project as part of a plan to invest $500 million and create 1,000 new U.S. jobs as the first part of an investment of $4 billion leading to 4,000 new high-tech jobs. Corning anticipates that the new facility will be operational by year-end 2019.

Twistlock raises $33 million for container security

Twistlock, a start-up that specializes in container and cloud native cybersecurity, raised $33 million in series C funding.

Twistlock, which is based in Portland, Oregon, offers an automated and scalable container cybersecurity platform. The latest release, Twistlock 2.5, additionally provides automated forensic data collection and correlation across cloud-native environments.

The latest funding was led by ICONIQ Capital, with the participation of existing investors YL Ventures, TenEleven, Rally Ventures, Polaris Partners and Dell Technologies Capital. This brings Twistlock’s total funding to $63 million.

Hurricane Electric adds 3rd POP in Hong Kong

Hurricane Electric, which operates the world’s largest IPv6-native Internet backbone, has added its third location in Hong Kong, at HKCOLO, a neutral, network-dense carrier facility.

Tenants at the facility are able to exchange IP traffic with Hurricane Electric’s global network, which offers over 20,000 BGP sessions with over 7,200 different networks via more than 185 major exchange points and thousands of customer and private peering ports.

The Hong Kong PoP also provides access to Hurricane Electric’s extensive IPv4 and IPv6 network through 100GE, 10GE and GigE ports.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

FWD: The FCC's much needed Disaster Working Group

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) opened a nominating process to select members for a new Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC).

The long bureaucratic name might suggest to some a tedious process of government meetings, argumentation, and report writing geared at creating new rules that broadband service providers will likely find difficult to interpret, let alone implement without breaking their CAPEX budgets.

However, in light of the shocking telecom disaster in Puerto Rico last year, which revealed woeful preparedness and lax regulatory oversight, any action from the FCC on disaster response and preparedness should be welcomed.

The mission of the new working group is to provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on steps that can be taken to improve disaster preparation, response, and recovery for broadband infrastructure. The same is needed for mobile networks and for optical transport.

A good place to start would be Puerto Rico. All five of the island's mobile networks collapsed during Hurricane Maria, the strongest in a century, with understandable 95% cell tower outages in the early hours, but continued 80% outages lasting for weeks. Not only were all backhaul connections foolishly connected by aerial wire on an island with dense vegetation in hurricane alley, there simply were not plans in place to restore even basic SMS to the majority of the population in the first hours when communications are most needed. The situation soon devolved into the worst mobile telecom disaster in history -- 3.4 million people cut off from telecom services. The outage lasted not for minutes or hours or days, but for weeks!

The broadband network in Puerto Rico was equally impacted -- nearly a total blackout for cable customers and no restoration for weeks or months.  PREPANET, which is the telecom division of the local electric utility, was the leading provider of backhaul service across the island for all of the mobile and broadband operators. Their optical backbone suffered severe damage but the extent of this damage was never clear from the FCC reporting. Some reports claimed water damage disrupted the single point of interconnection between PREPANET's optical backbone and the main cable landing station for the island.

What made this record-breaking telecom disaster even more shocking was that it occurred in a territory of the United States, not a developing country or a place torn by war, extreme poverty or served by network operators with limited technical capabilities. Puerto Rico is served by a multitude of top-tier mobile operators: AT&T, Claro (America Movil), T-Mobile, Sprint and Open Mobile.

To respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the FCC did set up a Hurricane Recovery Task Force, which produced daily reports on the number of cell sites out of service. However, the Task Force was not capable of procuring equipment and personnel. It did not seem to have any meaningful budget and never imposed deadlines to get things done. Concerning emergency funds, the FCC did allocate $77 million to help restore networks, drawing upon funds that were already designated for universal service support on the island. In March, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a new $954 million fund for restoring and expanding communications networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is not clear if Congress has allocated money for this fund, and whether it would be given as grants or loans to the existing operators.

Even more surprising, the FCC never called on the CEOs of the mobile operators and broadband operators in Puerto Rico to explain in a public forum why their networks failed so spectacularly. Nor have we seen assurances that the rebuilt networks are substantially more resilient, or that minimal emergency communications services could be restarted following another disaster.

Could we imagine this intensity and duration of Puerto Rico telecom disruption occurring in Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Denver or San Diego? It has been nearly a year since Hurricane Maria, and so far we have yet to hear the key learnings from the worst mobile outage to date.

Maybe this new Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group will have something to say. It was not so long ago that Five Nines reliability was an absolute requirement.

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-seeks-applicants-bdac-disaster-response-and-recovery-group

Samsung unveils its first 5G modem - Exynos 5100

Samsung Electronics Co.unveiled its 5G modem that is fully compatible with 3GPP Release 15 (5G-NR).

The Samsung Exynos Modem 5100 is built on 10-nanometer (nm) process technology and supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrums specified in 3GPP’s 5G standard as well as legacy networks, including 2G GSM/CDMA, 3G WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, HSPA, and 4G LTE. The modem delivers a maximum downlink speed of up to 2-gigabits per second (Gbps) in 5G’s sub-6-gigahertz (GHz) settings and 6Gbps in mmWave settings, which are about 1.7 and five times the data transfer speeds of its predecessor respectively. Fast and stable data communication can also be secured in 4G networks with the downlink speed of 1.6Gbps. Exynos Modem 5100 is also offered with radio frequency IC (RFIC), Envelope Tracking (ET) and power management IC (PMIC) solutions, and will be available to customers by the end of 2018.

“Samsung’s leadership in communication technologies and market-proven knowledge allowed us to develop the industry’s first 5G modem, the Exynos Modem 5100, which fully complies with the latest 3GPP standards,” said Dr. Inyup Kang, president and head of System LSI Business at Samsung Electronics. “As the industry prepares the shift toward 5G, Samsung will continue to drive the growth of innovative ideas and new services in mobile applications and other emerging industries.”

Samsung said it has already successfully conducted an over-the-air (OTA) 5G-NR data call test under a wireless environment utilizing a 5G base station and 5G end-user equipment prototype embedded with Exynos Modem 5100.


Verizon schedules Indianapolis 5G residential launch

Verizon named Indianapolis as its fourth city scheduled to receive 5G residential broadband service in the second half of 2018, joining Houston, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

“The city of Indianapolis has been a strong partner in laying the groundwork for Verizon 5G,” said Tami Erwin, Verizon’s Executive Vice President, Wireless Operations. “We trialed 5G during the Indianapolis 500 in May 2017 and now we’re bringing next generation home broadband connectivity to residents. By becoming an early leader in 5G, Indianapolis will have a head start in seeing what this technology can do, using it to build an innovative city of the future.”

Verizon also announced today that YouTube TV and Apple TV 4K will be included with the initial 5G broadband offering in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Houston and Indianapolis. YouTube TV offers cable-free live TV with over 60 networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, plus popular cable networks like TNT, TBS, CNN, ESPN, AMC, and FX, and local sports networks from NBC Sports, FOX Sports, and NESN in select markets. You can watch YouTube TV on any screen - mobile, tablet or computer - and easily stream to your TV with apps built for Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, Android TVs and Samsung and LG 2016 and 2017 smart TVs; and Chromecast, Chromecast built-in TVs, and AirPlay through Apple TV. YouTube TV includes a cloud DVR, with no storage space limits.

Endace and Gigamon announce partnership for packet capture/visibility

Endace and Gigamon announced a technology partnership to provide visibility into network traffic for SecOps, NetOps and DevOps teams.

The partnership brings together the EndaceProbe Analytics Platform and the GigaSECURE Security Delivery Platform, which is a packet broker. Endace enables high-speed network recording, traffic playback and analytics hosting.  The companies said their joint solution enables customers to accurately record every packet on all segments of their network and decrypt encrypted traffic before it is delivered to hosted analytics applications and recorded by EndaceProbes.

"Investigating security threats or troubleshooting performance problems can be a slow, challenging and inconclusive process if you don't have access to the packets," said Stuart Wilson, CEO of Endace. "With the Endace and Gigamon partnership, customers have access to a highly scalable solution that delivers the definitive evidence they need to rapidly and accurately investigate and resolve issues."

Phil Griston, Senior Director of Partner Marketing and Development at Gigamon, commented: "Combining the GigaSECURE Security Delivery Platform with EndaceProbes gives our mutual customers total control over, and visibility into, the traffic on their networks. They can direct traffic with absolute precision to the EndaceProbe platforms on their network for analysis and recording. And control traffic flows to the security and performance analytics solutions they have deployed – both hosted on their EndaceProbes or standalone."

Interxion adds Google Cloud Interconnect PoPs across European network

Interxion announced dedicated access to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) across its European footprint through Cloud Connect, Interxion’s multi-cloud interconnection platform.

With Google Cloud deploying its Cloud Interconnect points of presence (PoPs) in Interxion’s Paris Marseille, Frankfurt and Stockholm data centres, customers can now directly connect to Google Cloud Platform from these locations. Moreover, because Interxion is a partner of Google Cloud’s newly launched Partner Interconnect service, customers can also connect from any of Interxion’s data centres across Europe via Cloud Connect. Customers using this service benefit from fully redundant, instant access to GCP from multiple metropolitan areas, ensuring a 99.99% availability SLA without the complexity and costs of having to build a networking solution themselves.

“We are seeing strong demand for private connectivity services to GCP as customers look to reap the benefits of Google Cloud's full portfolio of cloud services via a secure, performant and cost-efficient connection,” said Vincent in ’t Veld, vice president, platforms at Interxion. “By colocating at Interxion, businesses can interconnect their private cloud to Google Cloud, as well as to most other leading cloud platforms, making it easy to build hybrid or multi-cloud architectures.”

Interxion’s Cloud Connect already provides connectivity to Microsoft Azure, AWS, Oracle Cloud and IBM Cloud.

Sprint names LG as its first 5G phone

Sprint confirmed that it will offer a 5G smartphone from LG Electronics in the first half of 2019.

Sprint recently announced plans to launch its 5G mobile network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

"Sprint is moving fast on the road to 5G and we are thrilled to announce the first 5G smartphone with the innovative team at LG," said Dr. John Saw, Sprint chief technology officer. "LG has done tremendous work developing technical designs that enable us to be among the first movers in mobile 5G. Today's announcement brings us one step closer to putting a beautifully-designed advanced 5G smartphone in our customer's hands. And we're excited to revolutionize the mobile industry as we dramatically improve the way Sprint customers work, play and stay connected."

"LG has been working side-by-side with Sprint for nearly 20 years, and we are looking forward to expanding this partnership with 5G," said William Cho, LG Electronics North America President and CEO.  Building on LG's legacy of innovation, our teams are enthusiastic about partnering with Sprint's 5G experts to bring next-generation mobile to market in the U.S., while continuing to evolve LG's best-in-class design elements for Sprint customers."

Sprint now has over 15,000 small cells up and running

Sprint's CTO, John Saw, published an update on the company's next-gen network buildout. Here are some highlights:

  • Upgraded thousands of macro sites for all three of its spectrum bands (800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz).
  • Expanded 2.5 GHz to nearly two-thirds of its macro sites, up from approximately half of sites covered just a few quarters ago.
  • Current has more than 15,000 small cells on-air with its combination of strand mounts and mini macros to expand 2.5 GHz coverage.
  • Deployed approximately 7,000 strand mount 2.5 GHz small cells on cable infrastructure in Q1. Since the quarter ended, efforts have continued to accelerate, and today Sprint has more than 10,000 strand mount small cells deployed. 
  • Distributed more than 65,000 2.5 GHz Sprint Magic Boxes to improve indoor data speeds on average by 200%.  To date, Sprint has distributed more than 260,000 Sprint Magic Boxes to businesses and homes in more than 200 cities. Announced a new version of the Sprint Magic Box designed for the hospitality industry.
  • Speedtest Intelligence data from Ookla shows Sprint's 4G LTE network is the most improved network in the U.S. with national average download speeds up 30.9 percent year-over-year, more than any other national carrier.
  • In its first quarter of FY18, Sprint continued field testing and optimizing Massive MIMO radios in locations such as Dallas, Los Angeles and New York City. Some sites are now running commercial traffic and the initial performance results are very promising. Today we're seeing a more than 4X increase in speed on these sites, as well as increased coverage and cell edge performance.
  • In the first half of 2019, Sprint plans to launch mobile 5G in nine markets initially – Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. 

Viavi posts revenue of $264 million following Cobham acquisition

VIAVI reported net revenue was $264.0 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2018. GAAP net loss was $(28.8) million, or $(0.13) per share. Non-GAAP net income was $31.7 million, or $0.14 per share.

The results include the integration of Cobham's test and measurement group.

"VIAVI executed well on its strategic priorities in fiscal year 2018.  We improved NSE revenue quality, resulting in operating margin expansion, and increased revenue scale with the acquisitions of Trilithic and the recent T&M businesses of Cobham. We also diversified OSP's profit profile with the successful launch of 3D Sensing products. The 3D Sensing revenue is expected to see continued strong growth in fiscal year 2019," said Oleg Khaykin, VIAVI's President and Chief Executive Officer.  "Q4 had a strong finish as revenue, non-GAAP operating margin and EPS exceeded the midpoint guidance range."

Khaykin added, "Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, we are optimistic on several macro industry trends that is expected to further drive revenue and profitability growth for VIAVI through increased Fiber-to-the-Home deployment, 5G wireless deployment and further adoption of 3D Sensing on mobile devices."

VIAVI to Acquire Cobham's wireless test and measurement businesses


Viavi Solutions agreed to acquire the Test and Measurement business of Cobham plc for $455 million in cash. Viavi said the acquisition strengthens its competitive position in 5G deployment and diversifies the company into military, public safety and avionics test markets.  Cobham AvComm and Wireless T&M provides testing solutions for communication service providers' networks from the radio access network through to the network core. It...


Georgia Tech establishes Azure ExpressRoute with Internet2

Georgia Tech has established a Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute circuit in partnership with Internet 2.

A blog posting by Adam Smith, IT Service Delivery Lead, Georgia Tech discusses the challenges of turning up the Azure service while incorporating external private address space, routing issues, and cloud network architecture.


Internet2 is the advanced technology community founded by the leading higher education institutions in the U.S.
https://www.internet2.edu/blogs/detail/16404

Servato intros unified rectifier and battery management for cell sites

Servato, a start-up based in New Orleans, introduced its Smart Power System solutions suite for remote battery management. Servato supplies its active battery management solutions to telecom, power, transportation, and solar companies.

The SPS-R is a unified rectifier power and battery manage solution that integrates the functionality of Servato’s SPS-248 battery management system with GE’s Rectifier Modules.

Servato said it is taking remote power management to the next level to offer the combined value of battery management systems with a highly power efficient rectifier solution from GE. 

“We believe this is the next evolution in smart rectifiers,” said Chris Mangum, CEO of Servato.  “Our battery management solutions have always been IoT-enabled, giving carriers the ability to monitor and maintain systems remotely to save on costly manual intervention.  Now, we are doing it for both back-up power, battery management, and rectifier solutions. This is the future now and demonstrates how two important components of a carriers’ power infrastructure have been combined to offer unprecedented value.”

www.servatocorp.com

Ixia brings visibility into east-west flows without hypervisor access

Ixia announced a new feature for its CloudLens platform that provides visibility into East-West traffic without requiring hypervisor access. An administrator can virtually tap (vTap) or capture, filter and forward a copy network traffic directly to either tools or a network packet broker. The new Cloud Sensor vTap enables organizations to better manage their security risk in private and hybrid cloud environments, such as Microsoft Azure Stack.

“Private cloud environments, in which access to the underlying hypervisor platform and virtual switches is not possible, present unique visibility challenges,” said Scott Register, vice president of product management at Keysight’s Ixia Solutions Group. “Organizations have a limited view of virtualized network traffic which creates network blind spots for virtual or physical data center security, monitoring, and analytics tools. Cloud Sensor vTap delivers the visibility needed into incoming and outgoing traffic from a particular virtual workload, significantly improving overall security of private and hybrid cloud environments.”

Monday, August 13, 2018

Intel's Future of the Enterprise looks to cloud repatriation

A fundamental question regarding the astonishing rise of public cloud companies is how far will they go in capturing the enterprise networking and IT services businesses? 

Nearly every week, this journal tracks another "all-in" customer migration story to AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, Alicloud, etc. However, in reading the press announcements in detail, we often find caveats. Sometimes it is only one division of a corporation that is fully migrating to the cloud, or maybe it is a next-gen application that is all-in, or maybe the news is only the expression of an intent to go all-in to cloud but no timeline is given.

This topic was the subject of a  presentation given last week at the Intel Data Centric Innovation Summit by Rajeeb Hazra, Corporate Vice Presiden of Intel's Data Center Group. Earlier in the day, Intel had spoken quite enthusiastically about partnerships with the big cloud providers to build custom silicon for their pressing scalability challenges. It is clear that Intel is benefitting from the explosive growth of hyperscale data centers from these guys. The forthcoming Intel Xeon processors with integrated persistent memory is an effort to accelerate this fire even faster.

The afternoon talk by Hazra tackled the "Future of the Enterprise" from the Intel perspective. Plenty of Xeon chips have shipped to enterprise customers of the past two decades and the company is determined that this party won't end for any reason, even to be cannibalized by Xeon sales to the public cloud.

The key takeaway from Hazra's presentation is a data point cited from IDC: that 80% of enterprises are considering re-patriating workloads from public clouds to their on-premise infrastructure.

One argument for this trend is that biggest enterprise applications require many clusters of high-performance systems, which currently are best procured in a public cloud. However, if we think about the mid to long-term future of computing, we should question whether this assumption will always hold true. How big are the largest corporate applications? What would it take to run them in-memory?  Hundreds of cores and thousands of threads? Terabytes of persistent memory? 

The development of persistent memory technologies, such as Intel's Optane, promises to redraw the boundaries between computing and storage. In the microservices and containerization, could very efficient on-premise infrastructure do the job better than an all-in public cloud solution or hybrid cloud solution. Ten years from now or maybe sooner, the amount of compute and storage resources and AI resources that can be packed in one standard rack of equipment, may have caught up to the big data needs of most enterprise applications. In some sense, this is the same old question of whether it is better to rent or own. The answer depends on many factors, which may well shift away from public clouds when resources are cheap and powerful enough.

A video of Rajeeb Hazra's "Future of the Enterprise" is archived here:  http://intelstudios.edgesuite.net/180808_dcis/archive/rh.html










IETF completes Transport Layer Security 1.3

The IETF has officially completed and published Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.3, which is the most important security protocol update for the Internet since SSL was completed twenty years ago.

The preceding TLS 1.2 version was known to have several high profile vulnerabilities. TLS 1.3 brings major improvements in security, performance, and privacy in the way that client/server applications communicate over the Internet.

The IETF says it engaged with the cryptographic research community to analyze, improve, and validate the security of TLS 1.3 so to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, and message forgery.

Some highlights:

  • TLS 1.3 encrypts more of the negotiation handshake to protect it from eavesdroppers.  
  • TLS 1.3 enables forward secrecy by default which means that the compromise of long term secrets used in the protocol does not allow the decryption of data communicated while those long term secrets were in use. This ensures that current communications will remain secure even if future communications are compromised.
  • TLS 1.3 shaves an entire round trip from the connection establishment handshake. In the common case, new TLS 1.3 connections will complete in one round trip between client and server.

TLS v1.3: How Do We Get from Here to There?


Spirent has been leading the way in providing companies with the tools they need to prepare for TLS v1.3. I had a chance to sit down with David DeSanto, Director, Products and Threat Research for Spirent to talk about the transition to TLS v1.3 and some of the hurdles that organizations face as they make the switch to the new de facto standard.

Jim Carroll, OND: Tell me about the evolution of TLS. How did we get to this point?

David DeSanto, Spirent: Transport Layer Security, or TLS, is a cryptographic protocol used by many applications and services such as web browsing, email communications, and multimedia communications.  It made Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, obsolete as it offered better encryption properties such as perfect forward secrecy (PFS), newer cipher suites, etc.

TLS v1.2 is a considered the current de facto standard for cryptography when paired with a strong cipher suite and large private key (i.e., asymmetric key).  However, this comes at an impact to the user’s experience, as the protocol itself and the cipher suites offering elliptic curve with PFS and large asymmetric keys come at a performance hit.  Even in today’s world of data breach roulette, organizations choose to go with a lower encryption standard or cipher suite such that cryptographic steps do not overburden the user and potentially have them stop using their services altogether.
TLS v1.3 looks to address the concerns commonly seen with TLS v1.2.  This new standard includes performance improvements such that the user does not have as much overhead or burden in initializing the secure connection.  It also makes additional insecure cryptographic practices obsolete, which can lead to attackers improperly gaining access to the encrypted communication.

Jim Carroll, OND: What's the current status of TLS v1.3 and what is the next phase of specification development?

David DeSanto: TLS v1.3 is still in draft—specifically draft-28—and this draft has been submitted as the official standard. This was submitted in March to the IETC and is going through the IETF process to be a ratified standard.  It is expected to be ratified this year, and you can track its progress at https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-ietf-tls-tls13/.

Jim Carroll, ONDWhat is the market reaction so far?  Are customers implementing TLS v1.3 in big numbers?

David DeSanto: The market adoption has varied depending on the specific technology and vertical.
As TLS v1.3 is a cryptographic protocol used by a client and server to provide privacy and data integrity, users can be put into a “forced adoption” model without realizing it.  The best example of this is with one of the bigger champions of TLS v1.3: Google.  Google rolled out TLS v1.3 earlier this year within its services and consumer solutions.  If you have a Gmail account and access it using the Chrome browser, you are using TLS v1.3 and may not even know it.

There is a parallel effort—started by development at Google in 2016—to build a new transport layer protocol named QUIC (short for Quick UDP Internet Connections).  It was first submitted to the IETF in 2016 and is currently still in draft with draft-12 being the current working draft.  QUIC has encryption requirements built right into its standard and these requirements are based on TLS v1.3.  


Just these two examples show strong adoption of TLS v1.3 so far and it is expected to grow at a consistent rate.  TLS v1.3 is expected to be adopted at a much faster rate than previous iterations of the TLS protocol—due in large part to the providers we rely on today who are actively making the switch to support it quickly.  Google is joined by many others who have already implemented and have enabled support by default.

Jim Carroll, ONDWhat technical hurdles are there to implementing TLS v1.3?

David DeSanto: There are three crucial considerations that organizations need to keep in mind as they prepare to migrate to TLS v1.3. Every organization should be thinking about three crucial considerations:

1.      How to handle zero round trip time resumption (0-RTT)
2.      Preparing for downgrades to TLS v1.2
3.      The need for infrastructure and application testing

The 0-RTT option has the potential to significantly increase performance during an encrypted session between endpoints. With TLS v1.2, secure web communications requires two round trips between the client and server prior to the client making an HTTP request and the server generating a response. TLS v1.3 reduces this requirement to one round trip and offers the ability to inherit trust to accomplish zero round trips, or 0-RTT. 0-RTT potentially provides better performance, but it also creates a significant security risk. With 0-RTT, a transaction could be easy prey for a replay attack, in which a threat actor can intercept an encrypted client message and resend it to the server, tricking the server into improperly extending trust to the threat actor and thus potentially granting the threat actor access to sensitive data. Organizations should be wary of allowing or using 0-RTT due to the potential security risks.  Unless your application or service is highly latency sensitive, the new option is simply not worth the security risk.

Another concern is that TLS v1.3 is backward compatible to TLS v1.2 to allow for interoperability with legacy clients and servers during the transition to the new standard. It’s important to configure the security settings to ensure fallback to TLS v1.2 uses higher security standards. Organizations should disable lower cryptographic algorithms to prevent security breaches such as man-in-the-middle attacks. Select strong cipher suites, including ones that leverage elliptic curve key exchange, use large asymmetric keys, and implement PFS.

Testing is also crucial. The change to TLS v1.3 may be disruptive, and it’s important to discover and address issues proactively. Businesses should test for interoperability, security, and performance in a combined, holistic manner. Use a realistic load, generating, inspecting, and processing appropriate levels of encrypted traffic. Validate how internal and external users will interact with your systems and consider what this change in encryption may mean for an employee, customer, partner, or any other relevant stakeholder. You also have to test all clients—including mobile devices and tablets, and the entire network infrastructure, such as identity and access management systems, firewalls, web proxies, etc.

NVIDIA's 8th GPU architecture for real time graphics and AI

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang unveiled the company's  NVIDIA’s eighth-generation GPU architecture, which he described as "the greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006."

The new GPU architecture, which is codenamed "Turing", leverages dedicated ray-tracing processors — called RT Cores — accelerate the computation of how light and sound travel in 3D environments. It also employs Tensor Core processors to accelerate deep learning training and inferencing, providing up to 500 trillion tensor operations a second.

These hardware capabilities, along with a new software stack merging rastering and ray tracing, are expected "to fundamentally change how computer graphics is done."

Initial Turing-based products include the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000, Quadro RTX 6000 and Quadro RTX 5000 GPUs.

Samsung supplies 16Gb GDDR6 Memory for NVIDIA Quadro

Samsung Electronics has supplied its latest 16-gigabit (Gb) Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory for NVIDIA’s new Turing architecture-based Quadro RTX™ GPUs.

Samsung's 16Gb GDDR6, which doubles the device capacity of the company’s 20-nanometer 8Gb GDDR5 memory. The new solution performs at a 14 Gbps pin speed with data transfers of 56 gigabytes per second (GB/s), which represents a 75 percent increase over 8Gb GDDR5 with its 8Gbps pin speed.

Samsung says its GDDR6 consumes 35 percent less power than that required by the leading GDDR5 graphics solutions.

"It’s a tremendous privilege to have been selected by NVIDIA to launch Samsung’s 16Gb GDDR6, and to have enjoyed the full confidence of their design team in making our key contribution to the NVIDIA Quadro RTX GPUs," said Jim Elliott, Corporate Senior Vice President at Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

BAE Systems partners with Flexera for government cloud migration

BAE Systems, the British defence, security and aerospace company, has formed a partnership with  Flexera to help government agencies moving to the cloud better manage their software licenses and more accurately plan and budget for their future information technology (IT) needs.

Specifically, BAE Systems will integrate Flexera’s  asset and license management tools into its scalable, hybrid cloud environment for government. The federated secure cloud, developed by BAE Systems and Dell EMC, is designed for any U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defense (DoD), or federal/civilian government organization.

Flexera is based in Itasca, Illinois.

“With our federated secure cloud, we’re helping government agencies rethink how they share data, analyze information, and collaborate across their enterprises real-time while remaining consistent with strict governance and security requirements,” said Peder Jungck, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Intelligence Solutions business. “It’s only natural that we’d partner with Flexera – a company reimagining how government IT assets and software licenses are bought, sold, managed, and secured.”

U.S. Defense Authorization Act bans Huawei and ZTE from government purchase

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019, which was signed into law by President Trump, officially prohibits the  U.S. government from purchasing telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation, or any of their affiliates.  The U.S. government is also prohibited from using telecommunications or video surveillance services from any entities using such equipment.

Earlier versions of the legislation had threatened more severe action against Huawei and ZTE but were later removed from the bill.


Nokia supplies Optical LAN for new Korean resort hotel

Nokia has completed the first phase of an Optical LAN deployment for the Jeju Shinhwa World in Jeju, South Korea. The new hotel is a massive resort project that will incorporate a theme park and other attractions.

The installation brings fiber to each of the 1,326 hotel rooms for supporting in-room IT services such as IPTV, VoIP, room control and Wi-Fi.

Technology used for the deployment:


  • Nokia's 7360 Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) FX serves as a high-capacity access node
  • Nokia's 7368 Intelligent Service Access Manager (ISAM) Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) deliver superior triple-play services with high bandwidth capacity to the end users.
  • Nokia's 5571 PCC controls all LAN systems from one centralized advanced management platform optimized for performance and usability.

256 GB microSD cards are aimed at mobile gamers

Kingston Technology introduced a 256 microSD car under its HyperX brand aimed at gamers.

The new Gaming microSD Card line is designed for mobile gamers who need additional storage to store and play games. The HyperX Gaming microSD cards feature read speeds of 100MB/s and write speeds of 80MB/s, meeting or exceeding Nintendo Switch requirements. The new product line is available in 64G, 128G and 256G capacities.

The HyperX Gaming microSD Card is compatible with Nintendo Switch, mobile phones, tablets and other portable gaming devices that have a microSD slot for extended storage.

Deutsche Telekom activates vectoring upgrade in more areas

Deutscke Telekom announced another milestone for its broadband upgrade program as 226,400 households in 151 municipalities can now surf faster on the Internet with download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps.

The cities benefiting include Haltern am See, with 12,000 households, Werdau, with 11,200, Aachen with 10,900, Illingen with 8,300, and Peißenberg with another 6,400 households.

“We’re not just building information superhighways between major metropolises and population centers; our network also extends to rural areas. We are the only company pursuing comprehensive broadband expansion," says Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. “Some of our build-out projects are designed to serve tens of thousands of households, while others benefit just a handful. For us, every line counts. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Aachen, Chemnitz or Munich or in Aulendorf, Bisingen or Schwindegg.” No other company is investing as much in broadband expansion in rural areas as Deutsche Telekom. The next wave of commissioning is scheduled for September 17.

Switch posts $102 million in revenue

Switch, the Las Vegas based company that develops and operates the SUPERNAP data centers, reported record quarterly revenue of $102.2 million, compared to $92.1 million for the same quarter in 2017, an increase of 11%. Operating income of $15.8 million, compared to $23.5 million for the same quarter last year, a decrease of 33%. Operating income in the second quarter of 2018 includes the impact of $8.2 million in equity-based compensation expense compared with $1.3 million in the same quarter of 2017. A significant portion of this equity-based compensation expense in the second quarter of 2018 relates to the continued vesting of Common Unit awards granted in connection with Switch's initial public offering.

Adjusted EBITDA was $50.3 million, compared to $46.8 million for the same quarter in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA margin of 49.2%, compared to 50.8% for the same quarter in 2017, a decrease of 160 basis points.
Capital expenditures of $99.4 million, compared to $112.9 million for the same quarter in 2017, a decrease of 12%.

"The logistics and timing required for customer implementation of our holistic cloud solution impacted our expectations for the year," said Thomas Morton, president of Switch. "We firmly believe in the long-term growth prospects of our business, and that the unique and market-defining solutions available only at the Switch PRIME campus ecosystems will establish our organization as the recognized pillar of enterprise hybrid cloud."

See also