Sunday, March 18, 2012

Video: Software-defined Networking, De-fragging the Data Center

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Kyle Forster, Co-founder of Big Switch Networks, discusses the latest in Open Flow and Software-defined Networking.

00:15 -- Key drivers for SDN: the challenge of multi-tenancy and the new imperative to "de-frag" the data center

03:00 -- How strong is the business case?

04:23 - How does software-defined networking improve VMware deployments?

05:54 -- How open is open?

07:28 -- Any proof points in 2012?

08:23 -- How far along is Big Switch with product commercialization?
09:56 -- Is Big Switch aligned with any major vendors?

Ixia's Atul Bhatnagar Steps Down as CEO

Atul Bhatnagar, Ixia's President and CEO, will step down as of May 10, 2012 and will not stand for re-election to the company's Board of Directors. Ixia has appointed Victor Alston as its new CEO, following Mr. Bhatnagar’s departure from the company.

Alston joined Ixia in 2004 and has served as the company’s Senior Vice President, Product Development since June 2007.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Atul for his leadership and service to the Company,�? said Errol Ginsberg, Chairman of the Board. “Atul deserves tremendous credit for his contributions to Ixia and the progress the Company has made under his leadership. I also deeply appreciate Atul’s commitment to make this a seamless transition."

AT&T to Donate $250 Million for High School Drop-Out Prevention

AT&T will donate $250 million over the next five years through an educational initiative aimed at promoting high school success and college/career readiness for students at-risk of dropping out.

Since 2008, the company has invested over $100 million in its AT&T Aspire program. Based on the success of the program in reversing the drop-out rate, AT&T is now launching the new quarter-billion-dollar campaign.

According to a March 19, 2012 report by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America's Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, Georgia has seen a 6.7 percentage increase in 2009 graduation rates, compared with data from 2002.

"It will take all of us working together and supporting educators' hard work to continue to improve graduation rates and preparedness for careers and college," said Sylvia Russell, AT&T Georgia State President. "American business has an enormous stake in the success of our students. It's time to commit more innovation and resources to the task."

NetZero Launches Low-Cost, No-Cost Mobile Broadband

NetZero Wireless, a subsidiary of United Online, began offering a 4G Mobile Broadband data service on the Clearwire network, with no-cost or low-cost pricing. An entry plan is $0 for 200MB of monthly data. The next tier is $9.95 per month for 500MB. Customers are not required to sign a contract. Modems cost $49 for a USB stick or $99 for a Wi-Fi mobile hotspot supporing up to 8 devices.

The NetZero service launches today in over 80 cities nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Miami.

NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband also lets customers switch the speed of their service. "LightSpeed" delivers download speeds of up to 1Mbps. "WarpSpeed" provides download speeds of up to 10Mbps. An alert lets customers know when they reach their monthly data limit, at which point, they have three options. Option One: If customers are on a pay plan, they can buy extra data "Top Ups" that they can use through the end of their current billing cycle. Option Two: Customers can upgrade to a higher capacity data plan. Option Three: Customers can wait until the next month to utilize the service with a fresh allotment of data according to

Verizon Aims to Reduce Carbon Intensity in Half by 2020

Verizon announced a new environmental sustainability target: the company aims to cut its CO2 intensity in half by 2020, as compared with its 2009 level.

Verizon defines carbon intensity as the amount of energy needed to move data across its network. The goal can be achieved by moving more data with same unit of energy, and cutting the absolute amount of energy used by the company.

"This is the era of big data," said Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. "Our business continues to grow at a rapid pace, but we're committed to innovating our way to growing responsibly by becoming more energy efficient, even as our business expands."

One focus of Verizon's sustainability efforts has been its vehicle fleet. By the end of 2011, about 7% of the fleet was running on alternative fuel, including CNG. The company aims to have 15% of vehicles on alternative fuels by 2015.

Some other efforts highlighted by the company:

In 2011, Verizon cut approximately 4 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to 3.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, by retiring network equipment that was underused or housed in facilities that were closing in Europe and Asia.

An estimated 55 million kilowatt hours annually, or 38,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, were eliminated by installing intelligent energy management systems in 32 data centers in the U.S., thereby allowing 40 percent of air conditioners to be shut off.

Verizon collected more than 1 million no-longer-used wireless phones through its HopeLine phone recycling and reuse program
  • In April 2011, Verizon introduced a carbon intensity metric to quantify its energy efficiency in moving a terabyte of data across its global backbone. The new measurement, which was developed by Verizon's Sustainability Office and tested over the past 12 months, showed an improvement of approximately 15 percent in the company's carbon efficiency, from 2009 to 2010. Verizon is aiming for a further 15 percent improvement in 2011.

    The metric is derived by first combining Verizon's total carbon emissions (in metric tons) from the electricity, building fuels and vehicle fuels used to run the company's business. Then, that total is divided by the number of terabytes of data that the company transports across its network. (One terabyte equals about 300 feature-length movies.) Verizon transported 78.6 million terabytes across its global network in 2010 – an increase of about 16 percent, compared with 2009.

UNH-IOL to Conduct IPv6 Home Gateway Tests

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) will conduct interoperability testing of IPv6 enable home gateways next month. The deadline for companies to register for the test event is April 9, 2012.

Seagate Cites HDD Record - 1 Terabit per Square Inch

Seagate reported a new milestone for hard disk drive density -- 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) per square inch. The technology demonstration used heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). Current HDDs use Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), which was introduced in 2006 to replace longitudinal recording, a method in place since the advent of hard drives for computer storage in 1956, and is expected to reach its capacity limit near 1 terabit per square inch in the next few years.

Seagate said HAMMR technology could give rise to 3.5-inch hard drives with a capacity of up to 60 terabytes over the next 10 years.

Emobile Launches LTE in Japan

eAccess Ltd. launched its "EMOBILE LTE" service, covering roughly 40% of Japan's population with access speeds of up to 75 Mbps downstream and 25 Mbps upstream. Kick off coverage is provided in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, with plans to expand the footprint progressively thereafter.

eAccess already provides HSPA+ at up to 42 Mbps covering 93% of the population.

eAccess is initially shipping several Pocket WiFi LTE routers for connections to tablets, laptops and smartphones.

Big Switch Pitches Openness for OpenFlow

Big Switch Networks, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, marked its two-year anniversary with a call for greater openness and interoperability for software-defined networking. The Big Switch "Open SDN" architecture will be defined by three pillars:

1. Open Standards: Support for networking industry standards, including newer ones like OpenFlow, ensure better integration and interoperability today and in the future between different players within the SDN ecosystem. It allows for smooth deployment of SDN solutions into existing physical and virtual networks and for multi-vendor environments without increasing complexity.

2. Open APIs: Open APIs foster the creation of a vibrant ecosystem of infrastructure, networks services and orchestration applications. Solutions delivered by this ecosystem can transform networks into a competitive business advantage by enabling dynamic coordination between networking, compute and storage resources and by providing a tighter alignment with business priorities.

3. Open Source: Successes such as Hadoop, MySQL and Linux demonstrate the importance of open source in every major software revolution that has taken place in the past decades. As networking becomes more software-oriented, open source provides complete transparency on the quality of its code while enabling customers to benefit from contributions made by the active open source SDN community and, more importantly, prevents vendor lock-in in the new network landscape.

"SDN has the promise to change the networking landscape, helping drive innovation and increasing business agility and operational efficiency of the network," said Joe Skorupa, VP Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. "However to reach its full potential, it must integrate with the existing ecosystem and standards."

"OpenFlow and SDN have been gaining significant momentum and, as customers adopt these technologies, it is critical they look for open standards, open APIs and open source to ensure the SDN solution they implement is future-proof," said Guido Appenzeller, Co-Founder and CEO of Big Switch Networks. "Big Switch Networks has been at the forefront of the OpenFlow standard creation, offered enterprise-grade open source SDN solutions to the community and continuously expanded its ecosystem of partners. Openness will be core to SDN success and, by relentlessly delivering it in our Open SDN™ architecture, we plan to stay ahead of the market."

Telekom Austria Picks Procera for Service Optimization

Telekom Austria Group has selected Procera Networks' PacketLogic hardware and software platform as a Services Optimization Solution. The frame contract covers product deployment and services to all Telekom Austria Group companies, including Austria (A1), Slovenia (Si.mobil), Croatia (Vipnet), the Republic of Serbia (Vip mobile) and the Republic of Macedonia (Vip operator), Bulgaria (Mobiltel), Belarus (velcom) and Liechtenstein (mobilkom liechtenstein).

James Brear, CEO of Procera Networks said "We are very pleased to be chosen as the provider of the services optimization solution at TAG and look forward to working with TAG group companies to provide innovative optimization techniques that will assist TAG to maintain and enhance the excellent service levels that they currently provide to their fixed and mobile customers."

Zayo to Acquire AboveNet for $2.2 Billion

Zayo agreed to acquire AboveNet for approximately $2.2 billion, or $84.00 per share in cash, representing a 13% premium over AboveNet’s previous closing price.

Zayo’s network assets already include over 45,000 fiber route miles, covering 42 states plus Washington D.C. Additionally, Zayo has approximately 5,200 buildings and 2,300 cell towers on-net, and over 94,000 square feet of billable colocation space.

AboveNet operates a private, optical network delivering metro access, long haul services, and IP transit (Tier I IP provider) in and among top U.S. and European markets. Its network spans 2.3 million fiber miles with 2,800 buildings on-net.

The deal adds to Zayo's streak of acquisitions, which have included: MarquisNet(Las Vegas data center), 360networks, American Fiber Systems, AGL Networks, FiberNet Telecom Group, NTI, Citynet Fiber Network, Memphis Networx, PPL Telcom, Indiana Fiber Works, Onvoy, VoicePipe, Columbia Fiber Solutions and 5 CenturyTel CLEC markets.

"AboveNet and Zayo’s business models are closely aligned with a disciplined focus on high bandwidth fiber-based communications services for enterprises, government and carrier customers,�? said Dan Caruso, President and CEO of Zayo Group. “We have admired AboveNet's business model and results and believe the combination will create value for customers, employees and investors."

As part of the transaction, GTCR, a leading Chicago-based private equity firm, will make an equity investment in Zayo. "We have been looking for opportunities to make investments in the bandwidth infrastructure space and believe the exceptional leadership and assets of the combined company creates an excellent opportunity for our firm," said Phil Canfield, Principal at GTCR. In addition to GTCR’s new investment, Charlesbank Capital Partners, a current Zayo investor, will make an additional investment in the company.

The definitive agreement contains a 30-day "go-shop" provision, whereby AboveNet has the right to solicit and enter into discussions with respect to alternative acquisition proposals.
http://www.above.netIn December 2011, Zayo completed its previously announced acquisition of 360networks. This deal added 360networks' 18,500 route miles of metro and intercity fiber to Zayo's network, interconnecting 73 markets across the central and western United States, including 24 existing Zayo fiber markets. In addition to its intercity network, 360networks operates metropolitan fiber networks across 25 markets. The acquisition also provides Zayo access to a number of new markets including Albuquerque, Bismarck, Des Moines, San Diego, San Francisco and Tucson.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bell Canada to Acquire Québec’s Astral

BCE (Bell) announced plans to acquire Montréal-based Astral Media Inc. (Astral), which operates specialty and pay television channels, radio stations, digital media properties and out-of-home advertising platforms in Québec and across the rest of Canada. The deal was at approximately CDN$3.38 billion, representing a premium of 39% based on Astral’s volume-weighted average closing share price on the TSX for the last five trading days.

Bell said the acquisition strengthens its competitive position in Canada's French-speaking market and directly supports its strategy of investment and innovation in broadband networks and content.

“Bringing together two respected and longstanding Montréal brands, Bell’s acquisition of Astral firmly
establishes our company as Québec’s media leader. Bell is gaining a well-seasoned national Astral
management team, dramatically expanding our French-language content, and more than levelling the
playing field with our largest broadcast media competitor in Québec. We greatly look forward to welcoming
Astral’s renowned leader Ian Greenberg to our Board of Directors,�? said George Cope, President and
CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada.

Emerald Atlantis Signs TE SubCom for 100x100 Trans-Atlantic Cable

Emerald Networks has signed a system supply contract with TE SubCom for the construction of the Emerald Express Trans-Atlantic Cable System, which promises to deliver ultra-high capacity of 100 wavelengths operating at 100 Gbps along a low-latency route between New York and London.

Emerald Networks' submarine cable system span 6,700 km along the "Great Circle" route connecting North America to Europe via Iceland. The company has previous calculated that this northerly route will have a latency of less than 62 milliseconds round trip from New York to London, making it one of the fastest networks across the Atlantic.

Emerald Networks reports that a significant portion of the marine cable route survey has been completed and that the Emerald Express system could be ready for service in late 2013. The Emerald Express system will offer a high capacity connection to Iceland, with future expansion provided by a stubbed Branching Unit positioned off Ireland for direct connectivity into Portugal.

"The Emerald Express system’s combination of a 100x100Gbps per fiber pair design, unique route and optimized low latency will enable Emerald Networks to meet the tremendous demand for bandwidth driven by cloud services, while providing Iceland with the required connectivity to support data centers powered by long-term competitively
priced, 100% carbon free renewable energy,�? said Greg Varisco, President, Emerald Networks.
  • Dr. William C. Marra serves as Executive Chairman of Emerald Networks. Prior to retirement in late 2009, Dr. William C. Marra was the Vice President and General Manager of Tyco Telecommunications and was responsible for all facets of the business inclusive of Sales, Marine and Terrestrial Engineering and Operations, Manufacture, Research and Development. His pioneering work included many network architectural concepts used in undersea networks, such as the first transoceanic ring networks, the TPC-5 and TAT-12/13 Cable Networks.

NSN Appoints Chief Operating Officer

Nokia Siemens Networks has appointed Samih Elhage as its chief operating officer (COO), a new role at the company, reporting to Rajeev Suri (CEO).

Elhage was previously a senior advisor to leading private equity and global management consulting firms, focusing on investments and improving the operating performance of companies in the telecommunications sector. Prior to these advisory roles, until August 2010, Elhage held a number of leadership roles at Nortel, including president of Carrier Voice over IP and Applications Solutions and vice president of Corporate Business Operations.

Herbert Merz, who has been leading both Global Operations and Optical Networks for Nokia Siemens Networks, will focus on the optical business. Merz remains on the Executive Board and will continue to lead the Nokia Siemens Networks Germany supervisory board.

Sprint Calls Off Spectrum Hosting with LightSquared

Sprint cancelled a spectrum hosting agreement that was signed with LightSquared in June 2011, citing LightSquared's inability to resolve its regulatory issues. Sprint has returned $65 million in prepayments LightSquared made to cover costs that were not ultimately incurred by Sprint.

“Sprint has been and continues to be supportive of LightSquared’s business plans and appreciates the company’s efforts to find a resolution to the interference issues impacting its ability to offer service on the 1.6 GHz spectrum. However, due to these unresolved issues, and subject to the provisions of the agreement, Sprint has elected to exercise its right to terminate the agreement announced last summer. We remain open to considering future spectrum hosting agreements with LightSquared, should they resolve these interference issues, as well as other interested spectrum holders."
  • In June 2011, Sprint and LightSquared announced a 15-year agreement that includes spectrum hosting and network services, 4G wholesale, and 3G roaming. The deal would have given Sprint $9 billion in cash to build out its 4G network and provided LightSquared with a Tier-One partner for bringing its wholesale-only, nationwide LTE + L-Band broadband satellite service to market, should the FCC approve its GPS terrestrial interference mitigation proposals. Specifically, LightSquared agreed to pay Sprint to deploy and operate a nationwide LTE network that hosts L-Band spectrum licensed to or available to LightSquared. As a wholesale-only carrier with separate core network operations, LightSquared was planning to sell its 4G broadband capacity produced through this spectrum hosting relationship to Sprint, other wireless carriers, and retail partners.

China Mobile: the Chase for Value Added Services

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator, saw its revenue increase 8.8% in 2011 to RMB528.0 billion (US$83.6 billion) as it user base rose 11.2% to approach the 650 million mark. Profits rose 5.2% to RMB125.9 billion (US$19.9 billion), with profit margin reaching 23.8%. EBITDA rose 4.9% over last year to RMB251.0 billion, with EBITDA margin reaching 47.5%.

In a market described as "exuberant" for information and telecommunications service, China Mobile acknowledges that it must now face slower growth in user additions due to higher mobile penetration levels across China, intensified competition, industry convergence and a massive network upgrade to TD-LTE over the coming years. The company said its long-term strategy is to be a "Smart Pipe + Open Platform" extending across a full range of mobile life services.

Some notable operating metrics for China Mobile in 2011:

Added 65.55 million customers, bringing the total customer base close to 650 million by the end of 2011.

Total voice usage volume was 3,887.2 billion minutes, up 12.3% over last year.

Average minutes of usage per user per month (MOU) reached 525 minutes.

Average revenue per user per month (ARPU) was RMB71 (US$11.24).

Data services revenue increased 15.4% over last year, accounting for 26.4% of operating revenue.

Wireless data traffic surged 45.0% in revenue over last year and accounted for 8.4% of operating revenue.

Wireless Music service contributed RMB22.1 billion (US$3.50 billion) in revenue.

Mobile Reading, Mobile Video and Mobile Mailbox growing rapidly. Mobile Reading reached RMB627 million in revenue, up 7.8%; Mobile Video reached RMB571 million, up 136%; and Mobile Mailbox reached RMB1,539 million, up 60%.

The 3G customer base exceeded 51 million by year's end. 3G customer market share is over 40%.

3G network coverage reached county level and above cities, with nearly 220,000 3G base stations and good network quality.

Network quality continues to improve. In 2011, GSM call drop rate was reduced to 0.32%, successful connection rate
increased to 99.26%.

The GSM network now encompasses 700,000 base stations with network utilization between 70 to 75%.

The TD-SCDMA network has close to 220,000 base stations. Data traffic here was up 58.4%.

China Mobile has 2.2 million WLAN APs in operation.

CAPEX was RMB128.5 billion (US$20.34 billion), representing 24.3% of operating revenue.

For 2012, the CAPEX budget is projected at RMB131.9 billion (US$20.88 billion).

In 2012, Phase 2 of the TD-LTE rollout will reach 20,000 base stations in 9 cities. By the end of 2013, China Mobile aims to have 200,000 TD-LTE base stations enabled.

NXP Intros New Silicon Tuners for STBs

NXP Semiconductors introduced its latest high-performance single and dual silicon tuners for cable set-top-boxes (STBs) covering worldwide digital cable standards. The company is offering two new silicon tuners supporting zero-power loop-through, enabling STB manufacturers to comply with the latest EU Ecodesign Directive requirements, which set standby power consumption levels at less than half a watt for simple STBs starting in 2013.

NXP said its newest generation of cable silicon tuners is also the industry’s first to fully integrate 8-kV of ESD protection inside the chip, enhancing robustness and further reducing the number of components required. Together, the integrated zero-power loop-through and ESD protection help to save PCB space in the STB, simplifying layout at the critical RF antenna input section, enabling better RF performance, and bringing down the total of bill of materials (BoM) by approximately US 20 cents.

Anue Enhances its Carrier Ethernet Test System

Anue Systems introduced a new system designed to simplify and improve testing efficiency of mobile backhaul and Carrier Ethernet network equipment, including support for IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and Synchronous Ethernet. Some key features of the new Anue 3500 v1.1:
  • Time of day and frequency stability testing

  • Full real-time measurement and analysis with automatic pass / fail results

  • Test automation API

  • Higher Ethernet test port count.

AT&T and Union Reach Tentative Southwest Contract

AT&T announced the highlights of a tentative agreement with the Communications Workers of America in Mobility that was reached earlier this month. The contract covers approximately 8,800 employees in CWA District 6 (AT&T's Southwest region). Among provisions of the tentative agreement:

  • A $1,000 one-time lump sum cash payment to eligible employees upon ratification

  • General wage increases in each year of the contract – 2 percent the first year, 2.5 percent the second year, 2.25 percent the third year, and 2.5 percent the fourth year.

  • Pension plans for current employees remain unchanged.

  • New hires continue to be eligible for a cash-balance pension.

  • Continued 401(k) savings plan with generous 80 percent company match on up to 6 percent of employee's contribution.

  • Health care benefits are bargained separately and are not included in this agreement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Extreme Supplies 40G for Cyber Security Initiative

Extreme Networks has supplied its high-performance 40 Gigabit network solution for the Scalable Network Monitoring Program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA) and hosted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Laurel, MD. Extreme Networks Summit X670 switch with 40GbE ports are able to transport traffic at up to 160 Gbps speeds, allowing the ability to vary testing sessions, without stopping, and alter variables such as malware and session size.

Extreme Networks noted that more than 700 education institutions are using its equipment in their campus networks, including UC Berkeley, Georgia State University, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, Jeju National University Korea, the University of Miami, the University of Sao Paulo Brazil, Texas A&M University, and Villanova University.