Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Fastly measures traffic spikes vs download performance

Fastly published traffic analysis that delves into regional trends for key U.S. states, as well as the countries of France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the UK, that are some of the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (as of the end of March 2020). The overall conclusion is that the Internet is holding up to the surging traffic volumes resulting from home quarantines.

“Overall, the internet is in good health,” said Fastly’s Chief Architect and Founder, Artur Bergman. “This is partly due to the regionality of these trends, but modern websites and applications are also better able to adapt to changing internet conditions. We are seeing the internet bring people together, whether for work, entertainment, or to get in touch with family and friends. And while there’s more traffic than in previous months, the internet is resilient.”

For analysis of regional traffic, Fastly used the following metrics, which were gathered from sampled TCP connection stats (tcp_info) at connection close time as part of Fastly’s fleet-wide performance monitoring infrastructure:

Traffic represents the average number of data bytes per day that were delivered to various geographies from all of our servers (acked_bytes field in tcp_info).
Download speed represents the delivery rate reported by TCP over all connections from a region, averaged over a day (delivery_rate field in tcp_info). While the reported values are averages, various percentiles for download speeds all show similar trends and ratios to the average.
For global analysis of verticals, Fastly measured average requests per second (RPS) recorded at all our servers. RPS is a count of requests received at our serves from end users every second.

Some highlights


  • One-month traffic trends: Over one month, from respective traffic baselines, all regions analyzed reported increases in traffic with decreases in download speed, with the exceptions of Japan and California.
  • Most notably, Italy saw a 109.3% increase in traffic, with a 35.4% decrease in download speed.
  • Japan observed a 31.5% increase in traffic, but, markedly differentiated from other analyzed countries experiencing the impacts of COVID-19’s pandemic in their communities, it saw a 9.7% increase in download speed. Japan’s internet infrastructure seems to have absorbed this increased traffic.
  • In the U.S., New York and New Jersey saw a 44.6% increase in traffic, but were able to weather it with a relatively modest 5.5% decrease in download speed.
  • California saw a 46.5% increase in traffic, with a 1.2% increase in download speed. Similar to Japan, California’s internet infrastructure appears to have absorbed this increased traffic.
  • School closures and regional stay-at-home orders: In France, Fastly observed a 45.4% increase in traffic shortly after its government announced school closures on March 12. This increase in traffic did not show a noticeable reduction in download speed, but on March 17, when schools closed and the national lockdown went into effect, download speed decreased by 20.6%. In Italy, traffic increased by 47% around February 19, after public information about lockdowns of various parts of Northern Italy began. After school closures go into effect on February 24, download speeds fall by about 9.2% between February 18 and February 24. In Japan, traffic jumps by 38% and speed decreases by 9.2% between February 25 and February 29, when school closure announcements began. School closures in Spain on March 12 mark the beginning of traffic increases of 26.2%, while there is no speed reduction.
  • User experience: Across European nations, major streaming and VOD providers announced they would reduce the default bitrates of their video streams around March 19 in order to prevent the internet from acute strain. When analyzing traffic and download speed in France, Italy, and Spain, the reductions do not seem to have led to significant improvements in internet quality, but they may have helped keep it from deteriorating further. Additionally, beyond Europe, people who have had lower speed internet connections before coronavirus-related developments may currently be suffering from greater degradation than those who had higher speed broadband connections. Someone with a high-quality, 100Mbps internet connection might not even notice a download speed reduction of 35% — a typical 1080P video stream requires just 6Mbps and fits well within the resulting 65Mbps download speed. However someone with a lower-quality connection to the internet, such as 10Mbps, is likely to notice this quality degradation: their typical 1080P movie might now automatically adjust down to 720P to fit within the resulting 6.5Mbps.
  • From these findings, we learn that speed decreases may be more aligned with population shifts toward more internet use from homes, rather than with a traffic increase alone. In general, most regions saw their download speeds stabilize once school closures and lockdowns were fully enacted, when most of the population became homebound. For most regions, this happened mid-to-late March.


Fastly also analyzed industry-specific internet activity by comparing average requests per second (RPS), week-over-week, between two sets of dates: January 6, 2020, and February 16, 2020; and February 16, 2020, to March 29, 2020. The first set of dates represent what Fastly considers to be activity attributed to organic growth, as mainstream attention on the pandemic had not yet picked up to its current pace. The second set of dates occur during a much more dynamic era of coronavirus-related developments, and was instructive in helping understand how human behavior may be shifting in response to COVID-19.

During those time frames for each of the below verticals, Fastly observed the following traffic patterns:

Streaming: From February 16 to March 29, streaming observed an increase in average RPS week-over-week by 29.6%. Similarly to gaming, this notable increase could reflect increased interest in streaming media content during lockdowns and social distancing.
News and digital publishing: Of all verticals analyzed, these brands saw the biggest increase in average RPS week-over-week from February 16 to March 29 at 70.16%. The elevated activity may correlate to increasing newsroom attention on COVID-19-related content as the first quarter of the year progressed.
Social Media: Social media platforms saw a 40.88% increase in average RPS week-over-week from February 16 to March 29. The greater increases in activity might represent a window into one way people are remaining connected with each other on various social media platforms.
GIFs/memes: Brands that help end users create and share things like memes and GIFs observed a 30.28% increase in average RPS week-over-week from February 16 to March 29. The unusually high increase in activity may indicate that, in reaction to disruptions to daily life, some consumers have turned to humor to get through difficult times and connect with others.
Gaming: From February 16 to March 29, gaming observed an increase in average RPS week-over-week by 28.54%. This could indicate that people are playing more virtual and online games as many communities look for ways to stay engaged while sheltering in place.
EdTech: From February 16 to March 29, edtech observed a noticeably sharp increase in average RPS week-over-week by 34.55%. This could indicate that edtech platforms are indeed growing their usage as more school-age children are educated from home.

https://www.fastly.com/blog/how-covid-19-is-affecting-internet-performance

DT offers managed networking services for Azure

Deutsche Telekom is now offering managed network services for Microsoft Azure and has joined the Azure Networking Managed Service Provider (MSP) partner program.

Managed networking includes

  • Virtual WAN (to connect various locations)
  • ExpressRoute (for private connections with Azure data centers)
  • Security measures (firewall, combating DDOS attacks)
  • In Europe, Deutsche Telekom covers managed services in the areas of Cloud Connectivity and Cloud Security. Being an Azure MSP member, Deutsche Telekom experts are able to provide customers with even more support when migrating to Azure and operating Microsoft services. They are also involved in the further technical development of network elements. 

“Deutsche Telekom is Europe’s leading telco. We are proud that we can leverage our proven network know-how together with our partner Microsoft to provide enterprise customers with excellent cloud services,” said Frank Strecker, SVP Cloud Managed Services and responsible for DT’s public cloud business.
Sunil Kishen, Principal Program Manager, Azure Networking, Microsoft said, “Microsoft’s collaboration with Deutsche Telekom is part of our commitment to the region, bringing digital innovation to everyone. By combining the Microsoft Azure ecosystem and DT’s network capabilities, we support the creative power and growth opportunities of our customers.”

VMware milestone: 15,000 virtual cloud network customers

VMware announced a big milestone: its number of Virtual Cloud Network customers now exceeds 15,000, including 89 of the Fortune 100 and eight of the top 10 Telcos, and has grown on average 50 percent each fiscal year since May 2018.

VMware’s Virtual Cloud Network solution is an integral component of VMware Cloud Foundation, which is offered on all major hyperscale cloud providers – AWS, Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud.

“Our Virtual Cloud Network solution is helping our customers provide the public cloud experience on-premise, removing the inefficient IT ticket requests and long waits for networking and security changes,” said Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager, Networking and Security Business Unit at VMware. “Across private, public and Telco clouds, and from the data center to the branch office, the Virtual Cloud Network has simplified networking, and saved customers time and money. Our data shows customers can experience as much as a 59 percent reduction in capital expenditures and 55 percent reduction in operational expenditures over traditional networking solutions (1).”

The company also announced the following new networking and security innovation:

Delivering the Public Cloud Experience:  NSX-T 3.0 introduces NSX Federation, enabling enterprises to deliver a cloud-like operating model with fault isolation domains and global policies that are synchronized across all locations. A fault isolation domain allows customers to better ensure that networks aren’t brittle. They will now be able to contain any network problems to a single zone minimizing the severity and impact of problems when they arise. VMware vRealize Network Insight 5.2 introduces flow-based application discovery across multiple VMware platforms using machine learning to better understand categorized applications by tier.
Making Security Intrinsic: VMware is taking internal security to the next level following the introductions of the industry-first Service-defined firewall and NSX Intelligence with the general availability of Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDS/IPS) capabilities for the Service-defined Firewall. NSX Distributed IDS/IPS takes advantage of VMware’s unique intrinsic understanding of the services that make up applications to match IDS/IPS signatures to specific parts of the application. NSX Distributed IDS/IPS signatures are application specific and only applied to the appropriate servers, resulting in fewer false positives and significantly higher throughput. These capabilities enable efficiency and flexibility that cannot be matched by legacy and proprietary hardware-defined systems and are a major differentiator of the software-based scale-out approach of VMware NSX.
Full Stack Networking and Security for Modern Applications: Applications and microservices run on a wide variety of heterogenous endpoints such as VMs, containers, and bare metal servers, creating a challenge to consistently connect and secure them. NSX-T treats containers and VMs as first-class citizens, having supported Kubernetes platforms for more than two years. With the NSX-T 3.0 release, enterprises can extend its full stack container networking services including switching, routing, distributed firewall, micro-segmentation, and load balancing to the newly released VMware vSphere with Kubernetes and VMware Cloud Foundation 4 platforms, the VMware Tanzu portfolio, and non-VMware Kubernetes platforms.
End-to-End Visibility and Analytics: VMware vRealize Network Insight, available as on-premises software or SaaS, provides end-to-end network visibility and analytics to optimize network performance and troubleshoot the entire Virtual Cloud Network, including the virtual overlay and physical underlay, and spanning data centers, multi-cloud environments, and branch locations. New flow-based application discovery leverages unsupervised learning, statistical techniques, enriched network flows, and advanced application labelling algorithms to discover application and tier boundaries, providing insights into network communication density, applications patterns, and enhanced security recommendations. Other enhancements include, AWS Direct Connect support, VMware SD-WAN application and business policy statistics, enhanced Kubernetes visibility and support for VMware NSX-T 3.0.
Networking for Next-Generation Telco Clouds and 5G: With the Virtual Cloud Network, operators can build scalable networks to support 5G and edge strategies. VMware NSX plays a key role in accelerating network performance and efficient end-to-end network operations in the network core, serving as an SDN layer for virtual network functions. NSX-T 3.0 introduces capabilities such as L3 EVPN for VM mobility, multicast routing for scalable networking, and accelerated data plane performance. Additionally, VMware SD-WAN acts as an intelligent overlay in conjunction with 5G’s network sliced underlays to deliver more cost-effective, high-performance, application-aware services at the network edge.
Virtual Cloud Networking for Azure Edge Zones: VMware is working with Microsoft to offer SD-WAN solutions for Azure Edge Zones, which deliver Azure services and enable customers to seamlessly deploy and run Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) including VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud. The VMware SD-WAN solution is fully integrated with the Azure portal and will enable Zero Touch Provisioning across Azure Edge Zones while shielding customers from operations and VNF life cycle management complexities. VMware SD-WAN makes intelligent decisions based on network conditions and steers traffic on the optimal network path that meets SLAs and helps optimize the user experience for applications such as Office 365 or Microsoft Teams.

https://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed.VMware-Surpasses-Major-Virtual-Cloud-Network-Milestones.522aece5-adb1-4cd5-97c7-d8bce81ea91e.html

Extreme Networks builds out its cloud footprint

Extreme Networks is expanding its 4th generation cloud footprint, extending its ExtremeCloud IQ unified management platform, and introducing a simplified Pilot subscription model across its family of edge switches and access points.

Highlights of the announcements

  • ExtremeCloud IQ is the first networking-focused cloud management architecture to be both cloud-hosting agnostic and cloud operating system agnostic. It is a machine learning and AI-driven cloud management platform that simplifies onboarding, configuration, monitoring, managing, troubleshooting, alerting, and reporting for network infrastructure devices.
  • ExtremeCloud IQ adoption has grown by 40% in the trailing 12 months, and currently manages over 1 million devices, with an average of 25,000+ administrator logins per day and ingests over 4 billion management messages daily that feed its machine learning and artificial intelligence engine. ExtremeCloud IQ has a global footprint of 15 regional data centers hosted by Amazon, Google, and soon Microsoft, enabling the infrastructure devices under management, and the clients connected to them, to process more than 4 petabytes of data per day.
  • Extreme has moved quickly and ahead of schedule to make ExtremeCloud IQ available across Extreme's edge solutions, including the X465 premium, stackable multi-rate Gigabit Ethernet switch, the top-selling X440-G2 family of scalable, cost-effective switches, and ExtremeWireless™ access points and controllers, including new generation Wi-Fi 6 access points and the ExtremeCloud Appliance. More of the portfolio will be integrated into ExtremeCloud IQ in the coming months to provide IT with extended platform options and ML and AI capabilities.
  • Extreme will complete migrating its market-leading, microservices-based 3rd generation cloud architecture to a 4th generation, fully containerized, microservices-based architecture by the end of April. The updated cloud architecture and cloud execution model adds extensive instrumentation and automation capabilities, strengthens its proven cloud-hosting agnostic capability, and now makes the ExtremeCloud IQ cloud operating system agnostic as well.
  • ExtremeCloud IQ is available in multiple service tiers. ExtremeCloud IQ Connect provides basic device management and is free with the purchase of any supported hardware platform. ExtremeCloud IQ Pilot builds on Connect's features, offering advanced infrastructure management, reporting, and remediation tools, including ML and AI-driven insights and analytics. The new Pilot subscription is portable across the entire Extreme portfolio of products for the same $150 USD list price, delivering unmatched simplicity and license portability. Additionally, the new Pilot subscription comes with 90 days of data perspective for every customer who purchases the ExtremeCloud IQ Pilot-level subscription starting in May 2020.
  • New, curated Portable Branch Kits (PBK) and the Rapid Outdoor Connectivity Kit (ROCK) help hospitals and other organizations extend secure wireless connectivity to pop-up sites in support of quarantine, testing, and patient care efforts associated with COVID-19. These cloud-managed Wi-Fi 6 solutions deliver secure, encrypted access to the existing infrastructure while maintaining HIPAA compliance.

HPE offers $2 billion in financing to help customers with cash flow

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is designating more than $2 billion in financing specifically to help customers with their financial challenges stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, including cash-flow or liquidity issues. HPE Financial Services is also introducing initiatives including a Payment Relief Program to help customers acquire new technology and alleviate some of the financial strain as they navigate this uncertain climate.

This is a challenging time to lead a business. Today more than ever, IT leaders and CFOs play a central role in ensuring financial health while continuing operations”, said Irv Rothman, President and CEO of HPE Financial Services. “At HPE Financial Services, we are committed to helping businesses align their priorities from an IT economics perspective and provide them with concrete solutions so they can move forward.”

The $2 billion in HPEFS financing will be applied to help customers ensure business continuity and adapt in the current environment by addressing new technology financing needs, and convert their IT infrastructure into new sources of capital. Additionally, through the new Payment Relief Program, customers can acquire the technology they need today and pay only 1% of the total contract value each month for the first eight months, deferring over 90% of the cost until 2021. This can be a safety buoy for many businesses to help navigate the financial impact of COVID-19 in the next few months. Beginning in 2021, each monthly payment would equal approximately 3.3% of total contract value.

ZTE wins 2nd share of China Unicom’s 5G transport tender

ZTE won the second largest share in China Unicom’s 2020 intelligent MAN (5G Transport) centralized procurement tender.

Specifically, ZTE has been selected in all of the core aggregation and access bid packages. Financial terms were not disclosed.

China Unicom and ZTE  announced a study on 5G intelligent MAN architecture and technical standards in 2018. To date, ZTE has shipped nearly 40,000 5G transport devices for commercial deployments in China’s Tier-1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

ZTE also notes that its platform supports 50GE and 100GE FlexE, and exclusively allow  25GE FlexE, thereby providing operators with more flexible choices and lower CAPEX.

The centralized procurement for 5G transport equipment in 2020 of three major Chinese operators have now come to an end. ZTE has won the bidding of all the three operators, covering access, aggregation and core network products.

See also