Monday, April 30, 2018

Verizon simplifies with multiservice edge

Verizon is using SDN to combine all of its existing service edge routers for Ethernet and IP-based services onto a single platform. Verizon is working with Cisco and Juniper on this new multi-service edge. The solution features a disaggregated control plane and leverages external compute to enhance the capabilities of that control plane beyond that of a traditional router.

“Software defined networking continues to deliver on its promise to improve network management and also enables us to be more nimble in the ways we serve our customers,” said Michael Altland, director, Network Infrastructure Planning, at Verizon. “By decoupling the control plane from a carrier-grade provider edge routing platform and moving it to general compute servers, we can serve our consumer and enterprise customers from the same platform, giving them all the functionality they need, while running our networks far more efficiently. This will also allow us to take advantage of future advances in server technology as our networks continue to grow.”

“Verizon continues to cross key milestones in transforming its networking practices to maximize performance and simplify operations,” said Sumeet Arora, senior vice president of engineering, Service Provider Business, Cisco. “With this new flexibility, Verizon can develop and launch innovative services for its customers faster, with improved efficiency.”

“Next-generation services that require low latency and real-time response are moving closer to users at the network edge, creating new gains in performance and business agility,” said Bikash Koley, chief technology officer, Juniper Networks.

Company profile: Adolite, an optical components start-up in Silicon Valley and Taiwan

Unlocking manufacturing bottlenecks for optical transceivers may be key in the race to 400G

Nearly two dozen companies announced 400G capabilities of some sort at the recent OFC 2018 conference, including transceivers in various formats, active optical cables, backplane interconnects, interface cards, optical module drivers, test equipment, and even full-blown switches. 

A few months ago, Broadcom announced commercial shipments of its StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 Ethernet switch silicon, boasting 12.8 Terabits/sec in a single device – enough to drive 32 x 400GbE ports. It has since followed up with the commercial shipment of a 400G gearbox device for hyperscale data centre and cloud applications – the BCM81724. This device is an 8x56-Gbps PAM-4 to 16x25-Gbps NRZ forward and reverse gearbox designed to enable next-generation high-performance switches with PAM-4 I/Os to connect to the large existing ecosystem of switches and plug-in modules with NRZ interface. We should see data centre switches with 400G ports on the market soon.

Put all of these together and we have a 400G ecosystem that is primed for rapid growth. Hyperscale data centres say their networks are besieged with a flood of east-west data flows. They are ready to deploy 400G backbones.

However, volume production of 400G transceivers may be a gating factor that holds back mass deployment of 400G data centre backbones for much of 2018 and into next year. Simply put, the market may remain supply constrained until transceiver manufacturers bring more manufacturing capacity online. This is difficult to do because building the highest performance optical transceivers requires skilled labor and specialised equipment to precisely align light sources, lenses and fibre in a repeatable fashion. The manufacturing, especially when we are talking about the multiple lanes required to achieve 400G, is hard to do.

Adolite, a privately-held start-up with its head office in Santa Clara, California and its manufacturing base in Taiwan’s Hsinchu Science Park, was founded earlier this year with a vision to solve this problem. The company has developed a breakthrough optical interconnect solution that simplifies the manufacturing of optical transceivers and on-board optics in high volume.

Adolite’s key innovation is to embed optical waveguides and electrical circuits into a single layer of flexible polymer circuit (FPC). The process directly integrates lasers and photo diodes onto the FPC using flip chip bonding techniques, eliminating the need for lenses and difficult fibre alignment and bonding, which is time consuming. Conventionally, microscopes were needed for the difficult and imprecise fibre alignment step and this led to low-yields and high costs in transceiver manufacturing.
By directly embedding the optical waveguides and electrical circuits into the FPC, the manufacturing process is greatly simplified and yields should go up, leading to faster production and lower costs. 
 
While other companies are using FPC technology, their implementations have been electric-only FPC bonded to optical layers, still requiring lenses and complex alignment during manufacturing.

Much of Adolite’s innovation is centred on the process of integrating optical reflectors and polymer waveguides on a single FPC layer. Adolite says thermal management and material science techniques enable its FPC to handle 400G data rates and up. The polymer material is sourced from Japan. The company says its design also uses significantly less power – perhaps as little as 10 percent of its competitors – which would also be a strategic advantage in dense data centres. Patents are pending. The company is also on track to receive ISO 9001: 2015 certification in the 2nd half of 2018 for its manufacturing operations in Taiwan. Patent filings are underway.

Adolite is using its technology to build its own line of optical transceivers and on-board optic solutions for 25G, 100G, 200G, 400G and upwards. It product plans extend from 25 SFP28  AOCs to 400G QSFP DD PAM4 (FR4) transceivers. Adolite expects to have volume production of its 400G solutions by Q1 2019.

For a start-up, ramping up from prototype to manufacturing in only twelve months is a challenge.  In this case, there will be big rewards for companies that open up the 400G market. Adolite is headed by Abraham Jou (CEO), who worked five years on the R&D team at Apple and went on to found two start-ups, PayEase (payments and big data processing) and Silicon Valley Communications (optical communications). Its technical team includes Dr. David Chung, CTO, Dr. Paul Wu in the critical role of EVP of Production, and Dr. Kenny Young as Principle Engineer.. The company has not disclosed its investor or its funding level to date, but no doubt will attract the attention of the venture capital community as its transceivers based on its FPC technology are put to the test.

The Race to 400G

Adolite’s simplified production process could be especially useful to hyperscale data centres operators who find a constrained market for transceivers. Broadcom may already be shipping its 400G silicon to hyperscale data centre operators who are designing and building custom switches for their backbones. Clearly, a very large number of 400G ports will be needed in data centres hosting 100s of thousands of Xeon servers with 25G interfaces. Adolite’s flexible polymer circuit is a promising solution to ramp up manufacturing

Intel intros two AI software applications

Intel introduced two artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software applications that associative memory learning and reasoning to facilitate faster issue resolution. Target applications include issue resolution for manufacturing, software and aerospace.

The Intel Saffron AI Quality and Maintenance Decision Support Suite is comprised of:

Similarity Advisor finds the closest match to the issue under review, across both resolved and open cases, identifying paths to resolution from previous cases and surfacing duplicates to reduce backlogs.

Classification Advisor automatically classifies work issues into pre-set categories, regulator mandated or self-defined, speeding up and increasing reporting accuracy while improving operations planning.

“Testing is transforming into quality engineering where applied intelligence is at the core of driving productivity and agility,” said Kishore Durg, senior managing director, Growth and Strategy and Global Testing Services Lead for Accenture. “The Accenture Touchless Testing Platform is augmented with artificial intelligence technology from Intel Saffron AI that brings in analytics and visualization capabilities. These support rapid decision-making and help reduce over-engineering efforts that can save anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of time and effort.”

Intel Nervana Aims for AI

Intel introduced its "Nervana" platform and outlined its broad for artificial intelligence (AI), encompassing a range of new products, technologies and investments from the edge to the data center.

Intel currently powers 97 percent of data center servers running AI workloads on its existing Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi processors, along with more workload-optimized accelerators, including FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays).

Intel said the breakthrough technology acquired from Nervana earlier this summer will be integrated into its product roadmap. Intel will test first silicon (code-named “Lake Crest”) in the first half of 2017 and will make it available to key customers later in the year. In addition, Intel announced a new product (code-named “Knights Crest”) on the roadmap that tightly integrates best-in-class Intel Xeon processors with the technology from Nervana. Lake Crest is optimized specifically for neural networks to deliver the highest performance for deep learning and offers unprecedented compute density with a high-bandwidth interconnect.

Keysight announces 5G NR Emulation

Keysight Technologies announced its PROPSIM F64 5G Channel Emulation Solution – the industry’s first 5G New Radio (NR)-ready channel emulation solution. Keysight’s PROPSIM F64 5G Channel Emulation Solution enables chipset, device, and network equipment manufacturers to characterize end-to-end system performance of the latest 4G and 5G base stations and mobile devices by emulating real-world radio conditions in the lab.

Keysight said its PROPSIM F64 5G Channel Emulation Solution supports all 5G NR signal bandwidths, carrier aggregation (CA) schemes, and offers the highest number of channels for massive MIMO channel emulation and testing. The solution integrates channel modeling tools for user-defined 3D spatial scenarios and dynamic modeling of movement. It supports both conducted and Over-The-Air (OTA) testing across sub 6 GHz and mmWave frequencies.

“With the PROPSIM F64 5G launch, Keysight is the first to deliver a portfolio of 5G NR-ready channel emulation solutions across all 5G new radio signal bandwidths and carrier aggregation schemes,” said Kailash Narayanan, vice president and general manager for Wireless Device and Operators at Keysight. “The new 5G Channel Emulation solution delivers end-to-end realistic and repeatable real-world performance testing in the lab, and enables real world emulation of networks essential for 5G deployment.”

http://www.keysight.com/find/5G


  • In December 2017, Keysight was also first to introduce a 5G NR-ready network emulation solution which allows the entire mobile ecosystem to benefit from a common scripting engine that uses interactive 5G stack and tools, breaking down the silos and disconnected workflows between teams, and achieving cost-efficient testing.



Dell Technologies Capital: One third of new bets focused on AI/ML

Since emerging from stealth a year ago, Dell Technologies Capital, the venture investment practice for Dell Technologies, has completed 24 new and follow-on investments as part of its $100 million average annual investment run rate.

The company reports that a third of its new investments are focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and the remaining investments focused on security, next-gen infrastructure and other technology areas strategic to the Dell Technologies family of companies.

Some other notes.

  • Dell Technologies Capital had 11 exits in the past year, of which three of its portfolio companies IPO'd in the past seven months. 
  • Dell Technologies Capital was the first institutional investor in Zscaler (NASDAQ: ZS), a leading pioneer in transforming network security for the cloud era; the startup went public in March 2018. 
  • Dell Technologies Capital invested in MongoDB (NASDAQ: MDB) which went public in October 2017 
  • Dell Technologies Capital invested in DocuSign (NASDAQ: DOCU), which also went public recently
  • Dell Technologies Capital's portfolio includes several startups currently experiencing growth rates of more than 100% and several exceeding $50 million in revenue. 

"Since coming out of stealth at Dell EMC World last year, we've had a very busy, and very successful, year," said Scott Darling, president of Dell Technologies Capital. "We are delighted with our continued strong performance and the market reception to the DocuSign, MongoDB and Zscaler IPOs. The real value we bring to Dell Technologies and our startup portfolio companies is through our joint work, which allows us to deliver best-of-breed solutions for our customers faster, especially in emerging tech areas."


https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-us/capital/ventures/portfolio.htm

Akamai continued to grow at 11% annual clip in Q1

Akamai Technologies reported revenue was $669 million, an 11% increase over first quarter 2017 revenue of $600 million and a 9% increase when adjusted for foreign exchange. GAAP net income was $54 million, a 28% decrease from first quarter 2017. Non-GAAP net income* was $136 million, a 19% increase from first quarter 2017.


  • Web Division revenue was $353 million, up 16% year-over-year and up 13% when adjusted for foreign exchange.
  • Media and Carrier Division revenue was $316 million, up 6% year-over-year and up 4% when adjusted for foreign exchange
  • Cloud Security Solutions revenue was $149 million, up 36% year-over-year and up 32% when adjusted for foreign exchange
  • Revenue from Internet Platform Customers was $44 million, down 14% year-over-year and when adjusted for foreign exchange.

"We are very pleased with the results of our first quarter performance, which featured continued outstanding growth in our security business, substantial improvement in our media business, margin expansion and accelerated revenue growth overall," said Dr. Tom Leighton, Chief Executive Officer.



ZTE posted a Q1 growth rate of 12% prior to export ban on its suppliers

ZTE reported revenue of RMB 28.879 billion (US$5.548 billion) for the first quarter of 2018, up 12% over the same period in 2017. Net profit after extraordinary items attributable to holders of ordinary shares of the listed company amounted to RMB 1.368 billion (US$216 million).

The company said it is still assessing the impact of the export ban imposed on its U.S. suppliers by the U.S. Department of Commerce, stating that this action will have adverse effects.

The 2018 First Quarterly Report was prepared prior to the issuance of the export ban order, therefore ZTE said it was unable  "to ensure the truthfulness, accuracy and completeness of the contents of this report" in light of the order.


Semiconductor sales top $111 billion in Q1, up 20%

Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $111.1 billion during the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 20 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, but 2.5 percent less than the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Sales for the month of March 2018 came in at $37.0 billion, an increase of 20 percent compared to the March 2017 total of $30.8 billion and 0.7 percent more than the February 2018 total of $36.8 billion.

"The global semiconductor market has demonstrated impressive growth through the first quarter of 2018, far exceeding sales through the same point in 2017, which was a record year for semiconductor revenues," said John Neuffer, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. "Sales in March increased year-to-year for the 20th consecutive month. All regional markets experienced double-digit growth compared to last year, and all major semiconductor product categories experienced year-to-year growth, with memory products continuing to lead the way."

Chris McGugan returns to Avaya as Chief Technologist

Chris McGugan has re-joined Avaya in a new role as Chief Technology Strategist.

In his previous tenure with Avaya, McGugan was Vice President of Emerging Products and Technology, and of Contact Center Solutions and Marketing. He has also held executive and management positions at Belkin, Cisco and Motorola/Symbol Technologies, in addition to several board advisory positions at technology companies around the globe.

See also