Monday, January 21, 2013

Infinera and Telstra Test 100G Soft Decision FEC on Submarine Cable

Infinera announced the first successful demonstration of a 100 Gbps signal enhanced with Soft Decision Forward Error Correction (SD-FEC) across Telstra Global’s dedicated fibre pair within Segment S5 of AAG Hawaii to California submarine cable -- a span of 4,200km.   The test used Infinera’s DTN-X platform and a prototype super-channel line card enabled with Infinera’s 3rd generation FlexCoherent Processor for real time SD-FEC processing combined with the industry’s only 500 Gbps Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs).

Infinera said SD-FEC technology has the potential to double the transmission capacity of existing submarine cables with its advanced error recovery capabilities.  In this test, multiple Infinera FlexCoherent modulation formats were able to close the link with no bit errors detected.  Infinera’s FlexCoherent technology enables its line card to be configured for a specific modulation format via simple software controls.

"We are delighted by the results of this field trial and this shows further increased capacity potential for Telstra Global’s leading submarine cable plant. Our continuing focus on cutting edge technologies will enable us to continue to deliver new services to our customers and meet their future capacity needs with a long term, reliable offering," stated Martijn Blanken, Telstra's Global Managing Director.

"We are pleased to see that our 3rd generation FlexCoherent™ Processor along with 500 Gb/s PICs, is performing exceptionally in real world environments. Over the past few months we’ve shown that a PIC-based long haul super-channel implementation can deal with record-breaking levels of PMD impairments in fiber; deliver a full 8Tb/s of capacity on Dispersion Shifted Fiber that service providers might have written off as useless, and now with Telstra’s help we’ve shown that with the addition of SD-FEC, this technology is capable of being deployed on some of the longest and most challenging cable routes in the world," stated Dr. David Welch, Infinera's co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer.

Huawei Hits 2012 Sales of US$35.40 Billion, Up 8%

Huawei announced 2012 global sales revenues to reach CNY 220.2 billion (UD$35.40 billion), an 8% year-on-year increase, with a net profit of CNY 15.4 billion (US$2.48 billion), a 33% increase from the previous year. (percentage increase based on CNY)

Huawei said about 70% of its revenue was generated from serving leading telecommunications operators, including 45 of the world's top 50.

Some notes:

  • Carrier Network business group - CNY 160.3 billion
  • Consumer business group -- CNY 48.4 billion -- sales continuing to grow in developed markets including Europe and Japan.
  • Enterprise business  -- CNY 11.5 billion.
  • R&D expenses in 2012 were CNY 29.9 billion (US$4.81 billion) , representing for more than 13% of the year's revenue.
  • The domestic market in China recorded CNY 73.6 billion in revenue.
  • Overseas revenue was CNY 145.3 billion (US$23.36 billion) or 66% of overall revenue: Asia-Pacific region saw revenue of CNY 37.4 billion (US$6.01 billion) , while Europe, Middle East and Africa recorded CNY 77.4 billion (US$12.44 billion) and the Americas contributed CNY 31.8 billion (US$5.18 billion). 

"We insist on strictly controlling G&A expenses and allocate more resources to bolster the front line and ensure continuous improvements on customer delivery and service quality," said Ms. Cathy Meng, Huawei's CFO. "In addition, Huawei continued its ongoing management transformation, raising combined operating efficiency with an integrated financial services program."

Huawei noted that its results are audited by KPMG.  The annual report will be released in April.

Ericsson Acquires Devoteam Telecom & Media

Ericsson agreed to acquire Devoteam Telecom & Media (France) for its consulting and systems integration for operations and business support systems, service delivery platforms and applications, IP Multimedia Subsystems, IP and radio networks and TV. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal will see 400 skilled, France-based, IT services professionals join Ericsson. It includes also the acquisition of TV SmartVision operations.

Devoteam Telecom & Media represents about 7% of Devoteam’s global turnover.

"Acquiring activities of Devoteam adds unique expertise in complex, strategic and technical consulting engagements that will enable us to immediately enhance the value that we bring to our customers," says Magnus Mandersson, Ericsson's Executive Vice President and Head of Business Unit Global Services. "It is further proof of Ericsson's commitment to act as the partner of choice for the business transformation currently taking place within the telecommunications industry."

Derek Nutley, Telecoms Director at Devoteam declared: "This transaction fits with Devoteam's 2015 strategic plan. It will allow us to focus more on innovation around the Devoteam's value proposition. Ericsson is a key business partner of Devoteam - notably in UK and Mediterranean countries - and we hope that this transaction will further strengthen our relationship. I am convinced that the teams of Devoteam Telecom & Media in France will benefit from Ericsson's end-to-end know-how, scale and global presence."

Alcatel-Lucent Selected for Trans-Pacific Cable Upgrade

Alcatel-Lucent has been selected to upgrade a 9,600km trans-Pacific digital submarine cable system that provides direct connectivity from the Japanese east coast to California.  The cable, which is owned by 5 major carriers, originally was designed for an ultimate capacity of 960 Gbps per fiber pair. The upgrade will quadruple its original design capacity by use of Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced coherent technology, delivering an ultimate capacity of up to 4 Terabits per second (Tbps) per fiber pair.

The upgrade is based on the Alcatel-Lucent 1620 Light Manager submarine line terminal equipment using coherent technology at 40G, expandable to 100G, and managed by the Alcatel-Lucent 1350 optical management system.

The solution was demonstrated earlier this year on the trans-Pacific submarine cable system network.

NEC Tests 1 Tbps Super Channel using 100GbE subcarriers

NEC announced a test of a 1 Tbps super-channel based on 100GbE subcarriers and transmitted over a trans-oceanic distance.

NEC's super-channels are achieved using techniques such as parallel high-speed transceivers, advanced modulation formats and advanced pulse shaping. 

For this trial, NEC combined a software-defined pulse shaper together with flexible-grid real-time 100 Gbps subcarriers to create a 1 Tbps superchannel.  The pulse-shaper is designed to mitigate transmission impairments and to offer flexible bandwidth allocation capabilities. NEC reported error-free transmission over a 5,400km link consisting of commercially available optical fiber and cost-effective repeater spacing. 

NEC also implemented a 1 Tbps superchannel composed of full-digital100 Gbps subcarriers. Each subcarrier is equipped with a digital signal processor at the transmitter, which can potentially extend the re-configurability to a variable modulation format and/or for variable error-correction capabilities. This cutting-edge digital-transmitter technology enables the 1 Tbps superchannel to successfully transmit beyond 7,200-km.

ZTE Forecasts Net Loss for 2012 but Profit in Q1 2013

Citing delays with some domestic and international network projects, the recognition of earlier lower-margin contracts and a drop in revenue for terminal products, ZTE may post a net loss of between RMB2.5 billion and RMB2.9 billion for full year 2012, a reversal of 221.35% and 240.77% compared to a year earlier.

However, ZTE is forecasting a profit in the first quarter of 2013 as a result of the company’s operational review and strategic realignment efforts.

For 2013, ZTE said its reforms will include:

  • control its growth in employee numbers, reduce unnecessary consumption, and improve efficiency.
  • sharpen its focus on mainstream customers and products, improving internal coordination to ensure resources are channeled into the development and innovation of key projects.
  • streamline its internal organization to form simplified, three-layer structure, comprised of headquarters, operational division and representative office, thereby eliminating some regional and structural groupings.

  • In December, China Development Bank (CDB) agreed expand its financing facility for ZTE to US$20 billion. Citing the uncertain economic recovery in the United States and the debt crisis in Europe as primary factors that weaken growth in the global telecommunications market, CDB said its financial support could help ZTE achieve a stronger market position internationally.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Violin Memory Acquires GridIron for Acceleration and Caching

Violin Memory, which specializes in high-performance flash-based storage systems, has acquired GridIron Systems, a start-up developing data center application acceleration technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

GridIron offers a TurboCharger Appliance to optimize the performance of application traffic and data workloads traversing the SAN fabric. The appliance uses patented SetRanking technology to manage all "high value" reads from the storage array, enabling the array to focus on writes to disk.  The company has claimed a 2-10X application performance improvment. Deployment scenarios include online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehouses, virtualization and big data analytics.

Violin Memory, which provides tier 1 Flash Memory Arrays, said the GridIron acquisition brings sophisticated intellectual property for SAN-based caching and application acceleration.

"The acquisition of GridIron Systems complements and expands Violin Memory’s strategy of offering memory-based solutions that accelerate business critical applications while optimizing IT infrastructures," said Don Basile, CEO of Violin Memory. "The expanded talent, technology and intellectual property position Violin Memory at the forefront of the ongoing transformation of enterprise data centers to memory-based architectures."

  • GridIron is based in Sunnyvale, California.  Violin Memory is based in Mountain View, California.
  • GridIron's founders include Som Sikdar (previously the founder of Shomiti Systems (Finisar) and Force10 Networks) and Herb Schneider (a founder and VP of engineering at Extreme Networks).

CoreSite Builds Open Cloud Exchange in its Data Centers

CoreSite launched an Open Cloud Exchange to help its data center customers to connect directly to the cloud service providers of their choice.

The CoreSite Open Cloud Exchange is available immediately in seven of CoreSite's North American data center campuses including Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, New York, Northern Virginia, Boston, and Washington, DC.

CoreSite's partners in providing initial Open Cloud Exchange services include:

  • CENX, a leader in Carrier Ethernet interconnect systems and services, will provide its CENX Automated Ethernet Lifecycle Management software specially designed for CoreSite's Open Cloud Exchange, enabling single sign-on management of Layer 2 cloud infrastructure services and full MEF CE 2.0 compatibility.
  • RightScale, the leader in cloud computing management, will provide the platform to deploy and manage business-critical applications across public, private, and hybrid clouds. RightScale offers efficient configuration, monitoring, automation, and governance of cloud computing infrastructure and applications.
  • RiverMeadow Software will deliver its automated cloud onboarding SaaS developed specifically for migrating servers and workloads into and between Carrier Service Provider Clouds.
  • Brocade will provide the hardware infrastructure and switching logic at the heart of the Open Cloud Exchange.

"We're building the industry's premier home for cloud services," said Jarrett Appleby, COO, CoreSite. "With networks—the oxygen for cloud services—as the foundation, adding the industry's leading cloud providers will create best-in-class scalability, management, automation, software, and many-to-many exchange capability. The Open Cloud Exchange offers our customers enormous provider flexibility, guaranteed performance, real-time monitoring, and easy management of cloud infrastructure services."

Separately, CoreSite announced plans to acquire a 280,000 square-foot building and 10 acres of land in Secaucus, New Jersey.  The new facility, which will be referred to as NY2, will offer up to 18 critical megawatts of capacity. CoreSite expects to invest $65.0 million to acquire the facility, redevelop the powered shell, and complete the initial phase of inventory consisting of 65,000 square feet.  The company said there is potential to build additional data centers at the site as market demand warrants.

Taiwan Strait Express-1 Cable Links Mainland China and Taiwan

Taiwan Strait Express-1 (TSE-1), the first, direct undersea fiber cable between Taiwan and mainland China, has entered service.  The submarine cable spans 270 km between Tamsui, Taiwan and Fuzhou, Fujian Province,  China.  Partnets include Taiwan’s Far EasTone, Taiwan Mobile, Chunghwa Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

Dialog to Launch LTE TDD in Sri Lanka with Huawei

Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN) has launched an LTE TDD network in Sri Lanka using equipment from Huawei. The network has been activated in the capital Colombo, with an extension across wider Sri Lanka expected soon.

DBN has deployed Huawei's end-to-end solutions for RAN and EPC bundled with Huawei application software and customer-provided equipment (CPE).

Huawei aslo noted that Dialog's LTE TDD network is set to provide the world's first commercial VoIP service, adopting a VPN solution to provide comprehensive wireless access network services for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and home connections.

Huawei's VPN solution offers QoS  for E2EM (end-to-end management) with precise charging and centralized VPN subscriber management. The solution also supports transparent transmissions on an LTE network to complement or act as a substitute for traditional fixed-lines.

Tail-f Supplies Configuration and Automation Software for Pulsecom's Ethernet Line

Pulsecom has licensed Tail-f Systems’ multi-vendor configuration management and network automation software to develop its carrier-class Element Management System (EMS) for its SuperG family of Access and Network Interface Device (NID) products.

Tail-f’s NCS  is a network abstraction layer designed to accelerate EMS platform development.  Key features include automated service provisioning and transaction-safe configuration management as well as well as a seamless EMS-to-OSS/BSS interface.

Pulsecom’s SuperG Multiservice Access Switch is a CE 2.0-ready Ethernet and DS1 access solution supporting multiple generations of cell site backhaul and evolving business service requirements.  Its SuperG NID is a CE 2.0-ready Ethernet access solution optimized for cell site and customer premise applications requiring MEF-compliant Ethernet services.

"Tail-f’s NCS software is the backbone for Pulsecom’s NetPulse EMS and has the advanced feature set necessary for Tier 1 carriers. The model-driven development approach allows us to rapidly add and modify management capabilities to meet our customers’ evolving needs. In addition, northbound interfaces are standards-based for smooth integration with OSS/BSS platforms and automated provisioning enables consistent and accurate subscriber service turn-up," stated Paula DeCarlo, Director Pulsecom Engineering Operations.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Open Compute Project Disaggregates the Data Center

The Open Compute Project (OCP), which was launched by Facebook in April 2011, has moved from early design work to seeing the first commercial products based on its specifications hit the open market.

Facebook's original idea was to share its specifications for "vanity-free" servers using barebones AMD and Intel motherboards and optimized for low-power in highly dense data centers.

The Open Compute Project has evolved to challenge the industry to rethink all aspects of data center design, from motherboards, to storage, I/O, power, cooling and rack design.

A big focus is on "breaking the monolith" by developing a next generation "disaggregated rack", where compute, network and storage are separate modules that can be scaled and upgraded independently of other server elements.

This week, the group attracted a full house of 2,000 attendees to the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley for its fourth Open Compute Summit.

Here are some notes taken from the keynotes (a webcast is online):

  • Orange and NTT are the latest carriers to join the Open Compute Project.
  • During the first 9 months of 2012, Facebook spent $1.0 billion for servers, networking equipment, storage infrastructure and the construction of data centers.  Facebook is accelerating its data center operations to handle the data deluge from a billion users, its growing number of services, the widespread adoption of smartphones, and the fact that 82% of users are outside the United States while most of its data centers are domestic.
  • Facebook currently stores about 240 billion unique photos and is adding 350 million new photos added per day - this means 7PB of new storage is consumed by Facebook photos per month.  This is accelerating with the adoption of smartphones.  Keeping all of the photos online all of the itme is a Big Data challenge requiring changes to the data center, the servers and the software.
  • Rackspace will design and build its own infrastructure using OCP designs as a starting point.
  • Riot Games will purchase systems based on the OCP design.
  • Avnet, Delta, Emerson, and Sanmina introduced products for the Open Rack design.
  • Intel is working on silicon photonics for Open Rack and is contributing designs that enable 100 Gbps interconnects.
  • Fusion-io is contributing some design work on its new 3.2TB ioScale flash card to OCP.
  • Facebook has developed a new common slot architecture specification for motherboards that it calls “Group Hug”.  The idea to create boards that are completely CPU silicon vendor-neutral and will last through multiple processor generations. The specification uses a simple PCIe x8 connector to link the SOCs to the board.
  • AMD, Applied Micro, Calxeda, and Intel and supporting the Group Hug board idea.

Key components that Facebook is looking for a disaggregated rack:

  • Compute Nodes -- each compute node would use 2 processors, 8 or 16 DIMM slots, no hard drive but instead a small flash boot partition, and a big NIC or 10 Gbps or more.  Moore's Law means that Facebook would expect to depreciate these modules over a 2-year period rather than the typical  3-year replacement cycle.
  • RAM sled  -- a rack tray on rails offering 128GB to 512GB with an FPGA, mobile processor or desktop processor on-board.  Performance should range from 450k to 1 million key/value gets/second. The cost should be $500-700 excluding RAM costs
  • Storage Sled  -- a rack tray on rails holding 15 spinning disc drives.  Instead of a SAS expander, the sled would use a small server.  The cost should be $500 to $700 excluding drives, which should costs less than $0.01 per GB
  • Flash Sled  -  a rack tray on rails offering 500GB to 7TB of flash. The cost should be $500-$700 excluding the cost of the flash.  Facebook would like to keep longer and depreciate over the read/write lifetime of flash - perhaps 4-6 years.
The disaggregated rack will be helpful for Facebook's newly announced Graph Search service because the optimum ratio of RAM/Flash is changing quickly as price declines.

Pacnet Plans 100G OTN Cable Upgrade for Asia

Pacnet plans to upgrade its EAC-C2C submarine cable system in Asia using 100G and integrated Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching technology. The upgrades are scheduled to begin in early 2013.  A vendor has not been publicly announced.

EAC-C2C spans 36,800 km with cable landing stations throughout Asia including Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines and China.

“With the rapid intra-Asia digital content growth continuing to fuel soaring bandwidth demands in the region, this latest initiative is a significant step in strengthening our network services to handle the continued growth of Internet traffic,” said Andy Lumsden, Chief Technology Officer of Pacnet.

Comcast Upgrades Ciena’s 6500 in Core Network

Comcast Cable has selected Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with third generation WaveLogic coherent optical line interfaces for use in its core network.  Ciena is also providing Comcast with network management system capabilities and a range of professional services via its Ciena Specialist Services portfolio, including furnishing and installation.

“Adding Ciena’s WaveLogic 3 to our already installed 6500 Packet-Optical Platforms lets us leverage that investment to deliver more content, faster Internet speeds and enable new cloud-based applications for our customers, while also providing future core 400G scalability,” said Kevin McElearney, senior vice president, Network Engineering, at Comcast Cable. “As we scale beyond our 100G network, Ciena’s coherent optical technology will help us to deliver on our ongoing commitment to maintain and operate a high-performance, feature-rich advanced network.”

Ciena and Comcast have a long-standing relationship. Ciena noted that Comcast has been deploying Ciena’s coherent 40G and 100G technologies across its national fiber network since 2009. More recently, Comcast deployed Ciena’s packet networking solutions to support its Metro Ethernet services offering.  In addition, Comcast Business Class, a division of Comcast Cable, is a Managed Service Provider partner in Ciena’s BizConnect partner program.

WSJ: AT&T Ponders Possible European Acquisitions

AT&T is considering possible European acquisitions as a strategic expansion path, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Possible targets could include carriers such as Everything Everywhere (EE in the UK) or KPN (Netherlands), although the article describes the company's thinking as preliminary at this point.

Telx Offers AWS Direct Connect in Data Centers

Telx, which operates 19 data centers across the U.S., has begun offering Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect with its own Datacenter Connect for Telx clients across the United States.

The new option enables Telx clients to use private interconnection to reach an expanded roster of AWS facilities spanning coast to coast. 

"Extending Telx’s service offerings with AWS enables clients to design their applications to achieve faster end-user response times, greater security and availability, and better protection from potential regional failures. Today’s enterprises face an array of complex application and architectural requirements. Telx’s continued investments in state-of-the-art facilities and ever-increasing ability to provide a rich variety of interconnection solutions between facilities and to AWS continues to increase the value of the Telx ecosystem,” said Joe Weinman, senior vice president of cloud services and strategy for Telx.

Orange Horizons Looks to OTT Services Outside Network Footprint

Orange has launched a new subsidiary called Orange Horizons that aims to seek out new business opportunities in countries where the Group is not already present as a mass-market telecommunications provider.  The idea is to leverage the Orange brand in areas outside its geographic network footprint. Possible market activities could include online stores selling telecoms-related equipment or airtime; the introduction of flexible travel solutions; or the launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity.

Orange Horizons has already begun operations in South Africa where it is developing e-commerce and online content services. Orange  plans to launch business ventures in several other countries in 2013 in Europe and Africa, and will also look at opportunities in South America in order to leverage existing content-related assets.

Cisco Extends Extend Jabber's HD Voice/Video to Virtual Desktops

Cisco released  new software that extends the Cisco Jabber unified communications application to virtualized desktops.

The new Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME) software enables virtual desktop users to access Jabber's enterprise-class collaboration capabilities such as voice and high-definition (HD) video, presence and instant messaging (IM) as part of the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution. With the Cisco VXI end-to-end solution for desktop virtualization, virtual desktops, applications and collaboration services are centrally hosted on the Cisco Unified Data Center and delivered across a Cisco network to a broad array of user devices for a superior virtual workspace experience.

Cisco said the new software will be available initially on thin clients, followed by support for third-party devices, starting with Dell Wyse thin clients, and then Windows-based thin clients and Windows PCs.

Nokia Trims IT Services, Transfers Employees

Nokia will cut its global IT organization by up to 300 employees and transfer certain activities and up to 820 employees to HCL Technologies and TATA Consultancy Services.  Most of the affected employees are based in Finland.  The company said the changes are part of its ongoing restructuring.

CenturyLink Builds R&D Lab in Monroe, La

CenturyLink is building a new Technology Center of Excellence at this home base in Monroe, Louisiana.

The facility will include technology research and development labs, a network operations center and office and meeting space. The company plans to invite vendors in to collaborate on network technology and IT skill projects in the new building.  CenturyLink hopes to break ground on the center in early 2013. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, and should be operational in early 2015.