Monday, February 10, 2020

NFV for Future-proofing the Enterprise



Customers want to put in place a platform that future-proofs their enterprise. In this video, Bob Victor, Head of Product at Comcast Business, shares the Comcast Business perspective on NFV.

https://youtu.be/hd52Wus2MBg

Vantage Data Centers launch $2 billion European expansion strategy

Vantage Data Centers has launched a $2 billion expansion into Europe with the aim of establishing itself in the hyperscale market.

As part of its expansion strategy, Vantage has acquired Etix Everywhere, which has 50MW of built data center capacity across its footprint and is building a 55MW hyperscale data center campus in Frankfurt, Germany. Financial terms were not disclosed. In conjunction with the Etix acquisition, Antoine Boniface, former CEO of Etix, has joined the Vantage executive team to serve as president, Europe.

In addition, Vantage Europe has secured land and is planning to develop hyperscale data center campuses in Berlin, Milan, Warsaw and Zurich. The facilities, which are currently underway, are in the following European markets:

  • Berlin: 64MW campus on 13 acres (5 hectares)
  • Milan: 32MW campus on 17 acres (7 hectares)
  • Warsaw: 64MW campus 12 acres (5 hectares)
  • Zurich: 40MW campus on 7 acres (3 hectares)

Vantage said intends to invest USD $2 billion in its planned European expansion, including more than USD $800 million in new equity capital provided by Vantage’s current investors and a new commitment from Digital Colony Partners.

“As data center demand from our customer base continues to rapidly increase worldwide, Vantage is embarking upon its largest expansion ever into Europe through the development of five strategic markets,” said Sureel Choksi, president and CEO of Vantage. “The acquisition of Etix accelerates our expansion to Frankfurt, Europe’s highest growth hyperscale market. We are very excited to welcome Antoine and his team to lead our European business.”

Inclusive of this European expansion, Vantage will operate hyperscale data center campuses in 11 markets globally.

Vantage Data Centers added 41MW capacity in 2019

In 2019, Vantage Data Centers added 41MW of capacity into operation across North America.

Vantage opened new facilities in Northern Virginia, Santa Clara, California, and Quebec City, in addition to its expansion in Montreal. The company also purchased land outside of Phoenix in Goodyear, Arizona, where it is developing the company’s largest campus to date.

“Our growth in 2019 was extraordinary, fulfilling the goals we set early in the year,” said Sureel Choksi, president and CEO, Vantage Data Centers. “Not only did we expand outside of the U.S. for the first time, we also opened three new facilities and entered four new markets. This tremendous growth has been fueled by demand from hyperscalers, cloud providers and large enterprises and powered by an innovative funding strategy.”

In addition, over the course of 2019, Vantage raised $1.6 billion in capital to support its expansion across North America. In addition, Vantage opened a second headquarters in Denver to facilitate the growth of its employee base.

Snowflake lands $479M for its cloud data platform

Snowflake, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, announced $479 million in new funding for its cloud data platform.

Snowflake’s cloud data platform supports a multi-cloud strategy, including availability on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Snowflake offers a common and interchangeable code base that delivers advantages such as global data replication, which means you can move your data to any cloud in any region, without having to re-code your applications. 

Since its general release in mid-2015, Snowflake has gained 3,400 customers, including recent customers include Accor, Brex, CONA Services, ConAgra Foods, Domino's Pizza Enterprises Limited, JetBlue, and Nationwide.

The new funding was co-led by new investors, Dragoneer Investment Group and Salesforce Ventures. Existing Snowflake investors, including Altimeter Capital, ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia, and Sutter Hill Ventures, are also participating in the round. This funding round raises Snowflake's post-money valuation to over $12.4 billion. T

“We look forward to Dragoneer’s experience and insights as we continue to serve our customers and grow our business,” Snowflake CEO, Frank Slootman said. “We also welcome our partnership with Salesforce and look forward to the positive impact our technologies and services will deliver to our customers and the broader market.”

Snowflake adds $450 million in funding for data warehousing

Snowflake Computing, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, closed $450 million in additional growth funding led by Sequoia Capital and including existing investors: Altimeter Capital, Capital One Growth Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Wing Ventures. New investor Meritech Capital also joined this round, which raises Snowflake’s pre-money valuation to $3.5 billion.

Earlier this year, Snowflake announced $263 million new venture funding in a round led by ICONIQ Capital, Altimeter Capital and newcomer Sequoia Capital.

This second round brings Snowflake’s total amount raised to $923 million.

Snowflake is headed by Bob Muglia, who previously was president of Microsoft’s $16 billion Server and Tools Business, responsible for products such as Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center and Windows Azure. Snowflake recently announced its availability on Microsoft Azure and its continued support for Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Snowflake has offered data warehousing services since 2015. It claims 1,000 active customers, including Netflix, Office Depot, DoorDash, Netgear, Ebates and Yamaha.

“Learning to be data-driven is an imperative for every organization today, and a data-driven organization must be in control of its data,” Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia said. “Snowflake is the most powerful data warehouse in the world for analytics solutions. That power delivers the security, control and business answers needed to enable data-driven organizations. This is driving spectacular growth for our company, and this latest funding round will provide Snowflake with the resources we need to serve our rapidly growing set of new and existing customers around the world.”

PacketFabric to leverage Inphi's 100GbE QSFP28 DWDM optics

PacketFabric, which operates a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform for providing data center interconnects, has selected Inphi's COLORZ 100GbE QSFP28 DWDM optics to increase network capacity between metro data center locations.

Inphi says its COLORZ 100GbE QSFP28 DWDM optics can deliver up to 4 Tbps of bandwidth over a single fiber, enabling PacketFabric to dramatically scale its private layer 2 networking platform. PacketFabric has modernized network services by applying cloud-based concepts to provisioning, delivery, and billing.

“Our ability to deliver a cost effective 100GbE metro Ethernet service hinges on quickly turning up underlying optical metro connectivity,” said Lew Maggio, Director of Network Operations, PacketFabric. “The DWDM infrastructure modernization offered by COLORZ reduces our deployment time by over 60% for in metro capacity, allowing us to add terabytes of capacity in response to customer demands.”

“We are delighted to support PacketFabric’s vision and ability to build a disruptive SDN networking architecture,” said Tomas Maj, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Optical Interconnect at Inphi. “Low power and cost effective pay as you grow 100G DWDM optics are a critical enabler for efficiently connecting metro data centers.”

Inphi samples first 400ZR QSFP-DD transceiver

Inphi has begun sampling its COLORZ II 400ZR QSFP-DD pluggable coherent transceiver for cloud data center interconnects (DCIs) to major cloud operators and OEMs.

Inphi cites several industry firsts for its COLORZ II 400ZR QSFP-DD:

  • 400G single-chip, coherent Silicon Photonics Integrated Circuit (PIC) that includes all transmit and receive functions 
  • Innovative, low cost, passive alignment of fiber to the PIC that eliminates the complicated active alignment, using traditional optics
  • Low power, high performance, 7nm CMOS-based coherent DSP enabling 400ZR as well as extended reach 100/200/300/400G ZR+ modes
  • Integrated industry standard firmware management interface that enables full performance monitoring previously only available in DCI or transport systems directly from the optical module

ZenFi expands its C-RAN in New Jersey with 600 small cell nodes

ZenFi Networks, which operates a dense fiber network in the NY-NJ metro region, has expanded its C-RAN network with the deployment of over 600 turnkey small cell nodes in Northern New Jersey. In addition to deploying fronthaul fiber to each of these nodes, ZenFi Networks was selected by a major mobile network operator (MNO) to provide wireless siting and network edge colocation in support of the 5G network build out.

ZenFi Networks has been deploying mobile network infrastructure throughout NYC for more than 5 years, leveraging its augmented capabilities from its 2018 merger with Cross River Fiber to deploy C-RAN-enabling infrastructure in Northern New Jersey.

“The regional demand for wireless network infrastructure continues to explode,” comments ZenFi Networks’ Co-Founder and CEO, Ray LaChance. “Our customers benefit from our extensive New York City and New Jersey metro network that allows them to deploy their 4G and 5G capabilities. Now, as a strategic byproduct of this explosive growth, this highly dense, highly accessible network can be leveraged by others to provide value-added services.”

http://www.zenfi.com

ZenFi + Cross River Fiber merger creates NJ-NYC powerhouse

ZenFi Networks, which operates a high fiber count network across all five boroughs of the City of New York, completed its previously announced merger with Cross River Fiber, which operates high-capacity and latency-sensitive fiber optic backbone spans throughout New Jersey and New York. The deal will create a leading communications infrastructure provider in the New York and New Jersey metro areas with more than 700 route miles of fiber optic network, 130 on-net buildings, 49 colocation facilities and 1,700 outdoor wireless locations with more than 3,000 under contract.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

"We celebrate a new milestone as we formally merge two of the region’s most highly regarded communication infrastructure providers into one agile, innovative organization dedicated to delivering solutions to clients more efficiently,” comments Ray LaChance, CEO of ZenFi Networks. “This transaction enhances our network reach, deepens our product portfolio, and delivers a premier regional communications network infrastructure that is the foundation for 5G network deployments and tomorrow’s evolving network technology needs.”

Arm debuts Neural Processing Unit and Cortex-M55

Arm introduced its first microNPU (Neural Processing Unit) for delivering machine learning for its Cortex-M processor line. The company also introduced its Cortex-M55, its most AI-capable Cortex-M processor to date and the first based on the Armv8.1-M architecture with Arm Helium vector processing technology for significantly enhanced, energy-efficient DSP and ML performance. Cortex-M55 delivers up to a 15x uplift in ML performance and a 5x uplift in DSP performance, with greater efficiency, compared to previous Cortex-M generations. Arm claims a combined 480x leap in ML performance to microcontrollers.

“Enabling AI everywhere requires device makers and developers to deliver machine learning locally on billions, and ultimately trillions of devices,” said Dipti Vachani, senior vice president and general manager, Automotive and IoT Line of Business, Arm.

“Google and Arm have been collaborating to fully optimize TensorFlow on Arm’s architecture, enabling machine learning on embedded devices for very power-constrained and cost-sensitive applications, often deployed without network connectivity. This new IP from Arm furthers our shared vision of billions of TensorFlow-enabled devices using ML at the endpoint. These devices can run neural network models on batteries for years, and deliver low-latency inference directly on the device,” states Ian Nappier, Product Manager, TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers, Google.

https://www.arm.com/company/news/2020/02/new-ai-technology-from-arm

Aqua Comms expands submarine system presence at 1025Connect

Aqua Comms, which operates subsea cable connecting the U.S. and Europe, is expanding its presence at 1025Connect, a 200,000-square-foot Technology Center and colocation facility located at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury, New York. This provides 1025Connect customers with access to the North Atlantic Loop, a resilient dual-path network across the Atlantic.

1025Connect is a premier colocation interconnection facility on Long Island with more than 15 carriers and service providers available in the building, now including Aqua Comms’ North Atlantic Loop dual-path transAtlantic subsea cable system, along with Altice/Lightpath, CenturyLink, Crown Castle, DE-CIX Internet Exchange, Epsilon, OCG, RCN and Verizon. 1025Connect delivers direct access to multiple submarine cable systems connecting North America, Europe and Latin America, with the ability to bypass Manhattan fiber routes for greater network redundancy and diversity.

“Aqua Comms' expansion within 1025Connect is a boon for operators and businesses on Long Island who are looking for cost-effective, resilient and reliable infrastructure for their global communication requirements,” comments John Danko, Director of Business Development for 1025Connect. “Along with a number of other subsea cable systems, terrestrial networks and the world’s leading Internet exchange, having Aqua Comms now directly available at 1025Connect’s colocation facility, customers gain more control and access than ever before, offering a truly viable option for domestic and international companies seeking affordable and manageable connectivity solutions.”

Aqua Comm's AEC-2 subsea cable to tie into Interxion Copenhagen

Aqua Comms will interconnect its America Europe Connect-2 (AEC-2) subsea cable system at Interxion’s data center in Copenhagen.

AEC-2 is Aqua Comms’s portion of the Havfrue subsea cable project, connecting New Jersey, U.S.A., to Ireland, and Denmark. The America Europe Connect-2 cable is scheduled to land in Blaabjerg, near Esbjerg in September 2019 and will be the first new cable connecting Denmark to the U.S. in nearly two decades.

Aqua Comms supplies fiber pairs, spectrum and capacity networking solutions to the global media, content and carrier markets.

“The large number of networks and content platforms present at Interxion’s Copenhagen campus makes it an efficient location for AEC-2 to interconnect with our target customers,” said Nigel Bayliff, CEO of Aqua Comms. “The investment Interxion is making to develop its campus in Copenhagen aligns with the growth in demand we are seeing for highly resilient network capacity between northern Europe and the U.S”.

AEC-2 will complement Aqua Comms’ existing transatlantic cable, AEC-1, and deliver on its vision of creating a “North Atlantic Loop”, a resilient dual-path network across the Atlantic. This will be further enhanced by North Sea Connect (NSC) from Denmark to the UK and Celtix-Connect-2 (CC-2) as a second Irish Sea cable crossing from the UK to Ireland, both of which will follow shortly after AEC-2.

MWC20 cancellation updates

Accedian: “After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to withdraw from MWC 2020. This was not a decision taken lightly. We’ve been extensively following the development of the virus and the recommendations of the WHO, and we have come to the conclusion that we must take the necessary precautions to protect our most cherished and valued assets: our employees,” said Dion Joannou, CEO, Accedian.

Amdocs statement: "In the face of the public health concern from the novel coronavirus, we are placing the highest priority on protecting the health of our employees, customers and partners. While we appreciate the precautionary measures put into place by the GSMA, we believe the safest option is not to attend MWC 2020 in Barcelona," said Shuky Sheffer, president and chief executive officer, Amdocs.

CommScope statement: "This is not a decision our executive team took lightly, and although the likelihood of contracting the virus is low, we will not risk the health of our employees, nor the business impact that would result if a quarantine were ordered. The team is currently exploring virtual trade show and meeting options to showcase the new CommScope portfolio."

Dali Wireless: “This was not a decision we took lightly, but ultimately, it’s not worth us potentially exposing our employees to health and safety risks, or propagating the spread of the virus with international travel,” said Dr. Albert Lee, CEO. iconectiv

InterDigital:
"“InterDigital has a very proud history at Mobile World Congress: over the years we’ve taken advantage of the event to unveil numerous world’s firsts in communications technology, and this year we were excited to show some groundbreaking demos including a working 6G platform. However, nothing is more important to us than the health and welfare of our employees. We’ll be reaching out to our various stakeholders to discuss better means of bringing our new technologies to them and engaging in the important discussions that always take place in Barcelona,” said William J. Merritt, President and CEO."

NTT

Sony

Previously announced cancellations: Amazon, Ericsson, LG, NVIDIA, Viavi Solutions

Verizon opens 5G Lab & Studio in London

Verizon has opened a new 5G Lab and production studio in central London – the company’s first 5G-enabled facility outside the United States – to support its international business and media customers. Verizon already operates 5G Labs in New York, Washington D.C., Cambridge, MA, San Jose, CA and Los Angeles. The company also opened a 5G First Responder Lab within its Washington DC facility, and a 5G esports training facility within its Los Angeles facility.

The London Lab showcases a selection of 5G-enabled use cases across a number of different verticals, including advertising and entertainment, education, manufacturing, medical, retail, utilities and venues. These include a mobile command center, an augmented shopping experience and smart retail shelving, intelligent asset management and AR-enabled workspace reimagining.

In addition, Verizon will open a 5G-enabled production studio in London in April 2020 to complement the 5G Lab facility. The studio will offer a space where Verizon Media’s owned and operated brands, as well as its partners and customers, can produce premium quality, 3D content including virtual and augmented reality experiences using state-of-the-art facilities like volumetric capture, motion capture and AR broadcast. It is also 5G-enabled, providing an incubator space for innovative creative companies to test and learn about how they can build content in the future that benefits from its capabilities to transmit massive amounts of data almost instantaneously.

China warns regarding Ericsson and Nokia

The government of China has warned that France or other EU nations should not place restrictions or bans on Huawei equipment in 5G rollouts, as China has treated Ericsson and Nokia fairly in its domestic market.  The statement was posted online by the Embassy of China in France.

http://www.amb-chine.fr/chn/ttxw/t1742544.htm

Orange picks Nokia and Ericsson for 5G in mainland France

Orange officially named Nokia and Ericsson as its vendors for 5G in mainland France. The companies will provide a package of products and services that will enable the deployment of 5G across the country. The agreement includes antennas and associated professional services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The decision follows pressure from the U.S. government and contentious debate over the security of the critical infrastructure. Orange had taken the position that vendors should not be excluded without due cause. The EU then issued a set of 5G network security recommendations that stopped short of banning any vendors.

In a press statement, Orange said its decision follows a year-long RFP process and extensive testing. Both Ericsson and Nokia "demonstrated the quality of their products, their support and commitment to a high-quality customer experience on the mobile network for many years."

The partnership with Nokia is focused on the West and South-East regions of France, zones where Nokia already supplies 2G/3G/4G on the mobile network (RAN). Nokia will initially support Orange’s 5G commercial launch by enabling the rollout of its state-of-the-art SRAN network to 5G through software upgrades, streamlining the initial steps to build 5G. It will also introduce 5G New Radio (5G NR)-based AirScale hardware, and software for the new 5G frequency bands.

Ericsson confirmed that it was selected by Orange France to deploy 5G radio access network (RAN) in three major French regions, including the capital Paris, and modernize its existing 2G/3G/4G radio access network. Ericsson 5G RAN products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio will be deployed in the Orange network in the North-East, South-West and Ile de France/Paris regions of France. The five-year deal will make Ericsson the major RAN provider to Orange France. The partnership also includes maintenance and deployment services. Deployment will begin as soon as possible so that the Orange France 5G network will be ready to launch 5G services when the frequencies are made available during 2020.

Fabienne Dulac, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and CEO of Orange France, stated: “For Orange, the deployment of 5G represents a huge challenge and is one of the main priorities of our Engage 2025 strategic plan. We are delighted to be pursuing our partnerships with both Nokia and Ericsson, two key long-term partners, in order to develop a powerful and innovative 5G network. 5G will enable the development of new use-cases and new services, and will provide an enriched experience for our customers - both in the consumer and business segments. Through these agreements, Orange reaffirms its ambition to being network leader.”

Ericsson notes that it now has 80 commercial 5G agreements and contracts with unique operators, of which 34 are publicly announced 5G deals, including 24 live 5G networks on four continents.

See also