Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dell Pushes Ahead into SDN Cloud Data Centers

Dell advanced its strategy for cloud data centers with the introduction of a top-of-rack switch with 40G fabric uplinks and Fibre Channel over Ethernet , high performance 10/40G blade switching products, and the commercial release of OpenFlow software-defined networking in the Force10 operating system.

Dell said these additions underline its commitment to software-defined infrastructure. The company is pursuing a "complete and unbiased approach to SDN" by embracing legacy networking environments, greenfield controller-based deployments as well as hypervisor-oriented architectures.

Key elements of the announcement:

  • The new Dell S4820T top-of-rack (ToR) switch is powered by the Force10 operating system (FTOS) and designed to support both Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality required for Web 2.0, enterprise and cloud server provider data centers. It features low cost 10GBASE-T connectivity, a common data center bridging-enabled 10G switching fabric, support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) using twisted-pair cabling, and four 40G uplinks providing for high-speed fabric connectivity enabling scalable multi-rack deployments demanded by larger customers.
  • The new Dell MXL blade switch and the Dell PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator support migration of 10/40G in the data center and more streamlined architectures for server and storage connectivity.

    The Dell MXL - powered by FTOS and purpose-built for the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade server chassis - is a full-featured 1/10/40GbE Layer 2 and Layer 3 blade switch that offers increased bandwidth, scalability, performance and operational simplicity for data center and campus environments.

    The Dell PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator offers similar connectivity options and is optimized for plug-and-play simplicity and rapid configuration-free deployments.  Both products support local switching of server-to-server (east-west) traffic within the PowerEdge 1000e chassis.
  • The OpenFlow support is now available in the FTOS code base for the Dell Z9000 and S4810 data center switches.  Dell said it is fully compliant with available standards-based OpenFlow controllers, including the Big Switch Controller from Dell partner Big Switch Networks.

Telefónica Demos Multivendor VoLTE-to-3G Handover

Telefónica Deutschland has demonstrated multivendor handover of Voice-over LTE calls to 3G using Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC).  The handover test was achieved in Germany in a laboratory environment that simulates a real mobile network. Handsets and network components from at least six different manufacturers have been used, including Acme Packet, Ericsson, Huawei, NSN, Qualcomm and Sony Mobile.

Telefónica said future benefits of VoLTE could include HD voice services, faster call set-up, HD video calling, chat applications and other rich-media services from any device or location.

"Telefónica has achieved a significant landmark with the successful testing of this mobile broadband network for the future,” said Enrique Blanco, CTO of Telefónica.  “Most importantly, however, is our ability to deliver the very best customer experience – which is at the core to our long-term network strategy.  With VoLTE, our customers will be seamlessly connected to a superfast intelligent network that not only gives a top quality voice service – but also a network that opens up a new world of opportunities, such as high definition video calls".

Sprint's Network Vision Upgrades Completed at 8,000 Sites

Sprint reported Q4 revenue of $9 billion and full year 2012 consolidated net operating revenue of $35.3 billion. There was a net loss of $1.3 billion and a diluted net loss of $.44 per share for the fourth quarter of 2012 as compared to a net loss of $1.3 billion and a diluted net loss of $.43 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"Sprint’s strong performance was fueled by record wireless service revenue on the Sprint platform due to year-over-year postpaid ARPU growth and Sprint platform net additions,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. “As a result, quarterly Adjusted OIBDA* performance improved year-over-year in spite of significant cost increases related to Network Vision and the iPhone, both of which are key investments for our business that we expect will improve the customer experience and lead to growth in the years ahead.”

Some highlights:

  • Wireless service revenues for the Sprint platform grew 12 percent year-over-year for the quarter and nearly 15 percent for the full year thanks to increasing postpaid ARPU and subscriber growth.
  • Postpaid subscriber net add in Q4 totaled 401,000 driven by a postpaid Nextel recapture rate of 51 percent, or 333,000 subscribers, and strong 4G LTE smartphone sales. Sprint platform prepaid net additions equaled 525,000 due in part to the best ever quarterly prepaid Nextel recapture rate of 50 percent, or 188,000 subscribers.
  • Sprint sold approximately 2.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter with 38 percent purchased by new customers. As of the end of the fourth quarter, Sprint had sold more than 4 million 4G LTE smartphones. For all of 2012, Sprint sold 6.6 million iPhones.
  • In Q4, over 6.1 million smartphones were sold.
  •  Network Vision  is on track: the number of sites that are either ready for construction or already underway has grown to more than 19,500 – approximately half the total number of sites to be upgraded. To date more than 8,000 sites are on air and meeting speed and coverage enhancement targets. Recent weekly construction starts are up 56 percent from the third quarter. Sprint continues to expect to have 12,000 sites on air by the end of the first quarter of 2013.
  • Network Vision leasing is complete at over 27,000 sites and zoning is complete at nearly 29,000 sites.
  • Sprint is on track to shut down the Nextel network by the end of Q2.
  • Sprint has now launched 4G LTE in 58 cities and expects the service will be available in nearly 170 additional cities in the coming months.
  • Activation of 800 MHz spectrum for CDMA voice is underway.

Alcatel-Lucent Posts Q4 Revenue of EUR 4.096 Billion, Down 1.3% YoY

Citing persistent cautious spending in Europe and low activity in China, Alcatel-Lucent reported revenue of Euro 4.096 billion for Q4 2012, down 1.3% YoY but up 13.8% compared to the previous quarter.  At constant currency exchange rates and perimeter, revenues increased 16.2% sequentially and decreased 3.9% year-over-year.  

Gross margin came in at 30.4% of revenue for the quarter, compared to 34.4% in the year ago quarter and 27.9% in the third quarter 2012.  Fourth quarter reported net loss (group share) came in at Euro (1.372) billion or Euro (0.60) per share, including restructuring charges of Euro (247) million and other adjustments.

For Q4, Alcatel-Lucent's Networks posted a mid single-digit decline year-over-year, a substantially lower rate than in the first three quarters of the year.

The IP business recorded a double-digit increase and its highest revenues level ever, while Wireless stabilized after four quarters of double digit declines, driven by US service providers stronger spending.

The Optics business declined at a double digit rate, driven by muted spending in terrestrial and low point in submarine.

The Wireline business declined at a low double digit rate in the fourth quarter.

The Software, Services & Solutions (S3) segment shifted to positive territory, benefiting from Network Applications’ strong performance.

The Enterprise segment posted a mid single-digit decline.

From a geographic standpoint, also adjusted for constant currency and compared to the year ago period, North America posted a 10% growth rate. Asia Pacific posted a low double-digit decline, traction in Japan being offset by continued low activity in China. Europe declined at a low double-digit rate. Rest of world was resilient, driven by continuous traction in Brazil and by Middle East and Africa, which returned back to growth after several quarters of decline.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO Alcatel-Lucent, commented: “Our fourth quarter reflects the early progress of The Performance Program announced last July. We announced clear choices on where we would operate, how we would operate and where we would differentiate.”

“We have seen progress on all these choices, and close 2012 ahead on our cost reduction plans. We have addressed half of the previously margin-diluting Managed Services contracts, and show continued and strong growth in IP and Next Generation Wireless. We can see a clear statement of customer confidence through growth in both our order book and backlog.”

“In addition, we completed a Euro 2 billion financing which enables us to extend our near-term maturities, stabilizes our balance sheet and provides us with the flexibility to finalize The Performance Program.”

Fujitsu and Panasonic to Combine Semiconductor Units

Fujitsu Limited and Panasonic Corporation agreed to combine their semiconductor businesses into a new company with a fabless business model.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) envisions a new integrated company that focuses on key fields, including LSI devices for high-performance servers and networks in cloud infrastructure, visual and imaging solutions (next-generation DTV, applications for image recognition, etc.), and wireless solutions (mobile and extremely low-power wireless connectivity solutions that support ubiquitous networks).

Fujitsu and Panasonic will have the backing of third party investors, including Development Bank of Japan.

Fujitsu and Panasonic said bringing together their respective advanced technologies and customer bases is vital to build a competitive business globally. Specifically, the plan would consolidate the design and development functions of the system LSI businesses of Panasonic and Fujitsu Semiconductor.

TIM Brazil Builds Long-haul 100G on G.653 Fiber with Huawei

TIM Brazil has deployed a coherent 100G WDM network over G.653 optical fiber using equipment from Huawei.

The G.653 optical fiber (also called dispersion shifted fiber) used on TIM's current networks was generally thought to be incompatible with 100G long-haul WDM due to strong non-linear effects such as four-wave mixing (FWM).

Huawei said it was able to overcome these long-haul constraints using modulation format technologies, non-linearity suppression algorithms, and PMD compensation algorithms. Consequently, 100G signals over 1,000km spans have been maintained.

TIM Brazil is a subsidiary of Telecom Italia.

Charter to Acquire Optimum West from Cablevision for $1.6 Billion

Charter Communications, which is the fourth largest cable operator in the U.S., will acquire Cablevision's Bresnan Broadband Holdings (Optimum West) for $1.625 billion in cash.  Optimum West manages cable operating systems in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah that pass more than 660,000 homes and serve 304,000 video subscribers and 366,000 customer relationships.

"With this transaction, Charter will acquire some of the fastest growing cable assets in the United States," said Tom Rutledge, Charter's President and CEO.  "These former Bresnan properties operate in growing communities, and the network, employees and customer base have been well served for many years. In particular, over the past two years Cablevision, as Optimum West, has grown video, Internet and telephone customers through the execution of a product and service strategy, which is the same as the one we recently implemented at Charter.  Optimum West is an ideal fit for Charter and we anticipate an efficient integration process."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ixia Posts Q4 Revenue of $124 Million

Ixia reported revenue of $124.1 million for Q4 2012, compared with $83.7 million reported for the 2011 fourth quarter and $109.6 million reported for the 2012 third quarter. The Q4 results include $30.3 million in revenue from the recent acquisitions of Anue Systems and BreakingPoint Systems. which closed in June and August 2012, respectively. Excluding Anue and BreakingPoint, fourth quarter revenue grew 12 percent to $93.8 million in 2012 from $83.7 million a year ago.

Total revenue for the fiscal year 2012 was a record $411.7 million, an increase of 34 percent compared with $308.4 million reported for fiscal year 2011. Fiscal year 2012 includes $54.9 million in revenue attributable to Anue and BreakingPoint. For the full year, excluding Anue and BreakingPoint revenue in calendar 2012, revenue grew 16 percent to $356.8 million.

“Our strong fourth quarter capped off a transformational year that included completing two significant acquisitions and achieving record revenue and profit,” commented Vic Alston, Ixia's president and chief executive officer. “In the quarter, demand was strong across our entire solution offering with revenue from our Anue and BreakingPoint solutions exceeding our expectations. We made solid progress expanding our customer base with service provider and enterprise accounts hitting 50 percent of revenue in the quarter.”

France Telecom Activates 400G Paris-Lyon Wavelength with Alcatel-Lucent

France Telecom-Orange has activated a 400 Gbps wavelength over its live network between Paris and Lyon using equipment from Alcatel-Lucent.

Alcatel-Lucent said its optical transmission platform could carry up to 44 wavelengths at 400G, representing a total capacity of up to 17.6 Terabits per second (Tbps).

RENATER, the Public Interest Group that manages the telecommunications network for "Technology, Teaching and Research" institutions in France and that is a customer of Orange Business Services, will be the first to test the functionality of this technological development in a real-life situation.

"As part of our innovation programme, we plan to test this optical fiber link in real conditions by using it to route traffic across one of our main backbone arteries between Paris and Lyon. This link transports the bulk of France's scientific data that passes through our network. This pilot phase also aims to test the latest switching equipment supplied by major OEMs on a network running at this capacity and will enable us the anticipate the architecture of RENATER's network in the coming years. A 400 Gbps network is an important step forward for the networks and research projects of tomorrow," stated Patrick Donath, Managing Director of RENATER.

  • In March 2012, Alcatel-Lucent unveiled its Photonic Service Engine (PSE), a new chip for coherent optical networking that supports data rates of 400 Gbps.  Alcatel-Lucent said its 400G PSE chip can be deployed in a broad range of network configurations - from metro to regional to ultra-long haul - and transmit wavelengths over existing or new photonic lines. It is designed specifically for use in a family of line cards in the Alcatel-Lucent 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS). Specifically, the company is planning to use the PSE in a 100G muxponder card, a 100G transponder and a 100G backplane uplink. Alcatel-Lucent is also pushing ahead with a 400G line card for the 1830 Photonic Service Switch.

New Relic Raises $80 Million for Cloud App Performance Mgt

New Relic, a start-up based in San Francisco, raised $80 million in mezzanine financing for its SaaS-based cloud application performance management.

New Relic offers a web application performance tool that measures performance from the end user experience, through servers, and down to the line of application code.  The company claims over 35,000 active accounts and millions of app instances monitored.  The company also said it nearly tripled its revenue growth and more than doubled its customer base during 2012.

The funding was led by Insight Venture Partners and included a major investment from accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Other participants included Dragoneer Investment Group, Passport Ventures and the company’s existing investors Allen & Company, Benchmark Capital, Trinity Ventures and Tenaya Capital.

In November, New Relic announced at Amazon Web Services’ global customer conference in Las Vegas that it now has 12,000 customers building, deploying and monitoring apps in the cloud. New Relic has been a long-time partner of AWS and charter member of the AWS Solution Providers Program.  It provides 24x7 visibility into the performance of AWS web application environments, including real user monitoring, server resources and app code.

Devicescape Scales its Curated Virtual Network of Wi-Fi Hotspots to 12 Million

Devicescape now has over 12 million Wi-Fi access points in its Curated Virtual Network (CVN) of hotspots.  The Devicescape CVN provides mobile operators, device partners, and active subscribers with curated access to quickly growing list of amenity Wi-Fi hotspots.

Devicescape, which is based in San Bruno, California, is now projecting that its CVN will grow from 12 million access points today to 100 million by the end of 2017.  The company modeled the CVN’s future size by analyzing growth patterns in conjunction with a detailed multi-country study including, but not limited to, the deployed-device-to-CVN-access-point discovery ratio, open versus secured hotspot ratios and the pace and actual growth in the number of amenity Wi-Fi hotspots occurring worldwide.

Devicescape's announced customers include Republic Wireless, U.S. Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Bouygues Telecom and Flash Wireless, Intel and Microsoft.  Powered by Devicescape CVN data, Microsoft already launched the Data Sense application for Windows Phone 8 devices being used exclusively by Verizon in the U.S.

“Amenity Wi-Fi is an irreversible mega-trend and, increasingly, mobile operators are adding it to their heterogeneous network strategies,” said Dave Fraser, CEO of Devicescape. “As more venue owners offer complimentary Wi-Fi to their customers, operators have identified Wi-Fi as a key asset that can help elevate customer experience, magnify their mobile network and serve as a platform for offering new, creative services.”

“Moving into 2013, we expect to see significant international growth as operators around the globe strategize the best options to capitalize on mobile data demand and consider the ongoing challenge of retaining and growing a customer base that has ever increasing expectations for service availability, quality, and affordability,” said Fraser.

Vasona Builds Cell Site Application Controller

Vasona Networks, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California with R&D in Tel Aviv, introduced its SmartAIR1000 edge application controller to address cellular bandwidth congestion.

 Vasona determines each cell's current capacity and characteristics of each of its concurrent sessions, whether streaming audio and video, web browsing, file downloads, or others. The platform, which sits between the RAN and the core network, then allocates bandwidth to each application in real time at the cell site level.

Vasona said its SmartAIR1000 is compatible with 3G and 4G networks, including cdma2000, UMTS/HSPA and LTE.

"Mobile networks can be unruly because traffic has no regard for other traffic — selfishly contending for as much resource and capacity as it can get," says Biren Sood, CEO of Vasona Networks. "Vasona Networks is working closely with mobile operators on establishing the SmartAIR platform to overcome bandwidth contention problems and enhance subscriber experiences."

Samsung Invests in Cloudant for Database-as-a-Service

Samsung Ventures has made a strategic investment in Cloudant, a start-up offering a globally distributed database-as-a-service, which distributes application data across a global network of highly secure, high-performance data centers while providing non-stop data access with low-latency for its customers.

Cloudant said its DBaaS managed service helps developers eliminate the delays, costs, and distractions inherent in working with databases while providing scalability, availability, and performance.  The company is based in Boston.

AT&T and Union Reach Labor Deal for Southwest Wireline Employees

AT&T and the Communications Workers of America reached a new tentative labor agreement covering about 20,000 wireline employees in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

The four-year deal includes general wage increases in each year of the contract -- 2.25 percent the first year, 2.5 percent the second year, 2.75 percent the third year, and 3 percent the fourth year. It includes a 1 percent pension band increase in each year of the contract for most employees, and an expansion to additional employees of a guaranteed job offer provision that promises qualified surplus employees a guaranteed job opportunity with AT&T. It maintains one of the most robust health care plans in the nation, with increases in employee contributions.

AT&T said that if the new agreement is ratified on or before Feb. 27, 2013, a ratification bonus of $1,000 will be paid to each eligible employee. The agreement would be effective April 7, 2013 and expire April 8, 2017.

Tekelec and Allot Test Interoperability on PCRF to Service Gateway

 Tekelec and Allot Communications have completed Interoperability Testing (IOT) on a 3GPP Sd Diameter Interface between their systems. The companies are the first to announce IOT over the new Sd Diameter Interface, which communicates between the Tekelec Policy Server (PCRF) and Allot’s Service Gateway Sigma E Traffic Detection Function (TDF) in order to enable detection and enforcement control over applications.

The companies said the value of the Sd interface is that it enables operators to:

  • Create application-based service tiers and one-time offers through better application identification and control.
  • Extend policy intelligence and control to new traffic management functions.
  • Enable single unified traffic management for converged networks.
  • Simplify network architecture and operations by eliminating the need for a RADIUS interface between the TDF/DPI and the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN). The Sd Diameter Interface allows operators to transfer some tasks the GGSN manages to the Policy Server, thereby removing the need for a separate connection between the TDF/DPI and GGSN.
  • Enhance Quality of Service (QoS) for applications such as video streaming and voice over LTE, both expected to be the largest generators of diameter messages by 2016 according to Tekelec’s LTE Diameter Signaling Index forecast.

Akamai Hits Q4 Revenue of $378 million, up 17% YoY

Akamai Technologies reported Q4 2012 revenue of $378 million, a 9 percent increase over third quarter revenue of $345 million, and a 17 percent increase over fourth quarter 2011 revenue of $324 million.  Total revenue for 2012 was $1,374 million, a 19 percent increase over 2011 revenue of $1,159 million. GAAP net income for Q4 was $68 million, or $0.38 per diluted share.

"With strong revenue and profit performance in the fourth quarter, Akamai closed out 2012 with record results on both the top and bottom line," said Tom Leighton, CEO of Akamai.  "Throughout the year, we announced new products across every solution line, closed a record number of strategic acquisitions, and achieved margin expansion through continued improvement in our network efficiency even as we expanded its capacity worldwide to meet rising demand for Akamai services.  We believe these efforts have positioned us well to help our customers capitalize on the opportunities, and mitigate the challenges, of conducting business online."

NTCA and OPASTCO to Merge

The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) agreed to merge.

NCTA represents more than 580 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. 

OPASTCO represents more than 372 small, independently owned, local telecommunications companies, serving primarily rural areas of the United States and Canada.

As of March 1, the new organization will be known as NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association.

"It is encouraging to see the rural telecom industry unify their organizations and policy initiatives," stated Robert M. McDowell, commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. "This enables the industry to lead with one voice and focus their efforts. I look forward to working with the new organization."

Ben Verwaayen Resigns as CEO of Alcatel-Lucent

Ben Verwaayen will step down as CEO of Alcatel-Lucent and has decided not to seek re-election as a director of the firm.

Verwaayen has serves as Alcatel-Lucent's CEO since September 2008, when he replaced Patricia Russo. Previously, Verwaayen was CEO of BT.  A search committee has been formed to identify a successor.

In a press release, Ben Verwaayen stated "Alcatel-Lucent has been an enormous part of my life.  It was therefore a difficult decision to not seek a further term, but it was clear to me that now is an appropriate moment for the Board to seek fresh leadership to take the company forward."

D-Link Adds10GbE L2/L3 Aggregation Switches

D-Link introduced a family of 10-Gigabit Ethernet Layer 2 and Layer 3 managed aggregation switches designed for enterprise, education, and data center networks.

The D-Link DXS-3600-16S and DXS-3600-32S are compact switches offering eight and 24 fixed 10-gigabit Ethernet SFP+ ports respectively, with an optional expansion slot. Expansion modules provide extra 1000BASE-T ports, 10-Gigabit SFP+ ports, 40-Gigabit QSFP+ uplinks, or low cost 10GBASE-T interfaces for a wide range of applications.

The DXS-3600 switches support Data Center Bridging protocols to help prevent data loss during network congestion, and feature selectable store-and-forward, or cut-through switching modes to reduce network latency. The switches also utilize two hot-swappable power modules for 1+1 power redundancy and load sharing, and three hot-swappable smart fans for redundancy.

Piston Cloud Raises $8 Million for Enterprise OpenStack

Piston Cloud Computing, a start-up based in San Francisco, raised $8 million in Series B funding for its enterprise OpenStack solutions.

The company's flagship Piston Enterprise OpenStack is designed for building, scaling and managing a private Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud on bare-metal, converged commodity hardware.  Piston Cloud enables Cloud Foundry's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering to run on OpenStack. It also supports leading automation solutions, including Opscode, Puppet Labs and RightScale.

The funding include the participation of Cisco Systems, Data Collective and Swisscom Ventures, joining Divergent Ventures, Hummer Winblad and True Ventures as principal investors.