Friday, April 12, 2013

Super Computing's XSEDE Connects to Internet2's 100GbE Backbone

XSEDE, which is a National Science Foundation-supported project that brings together 17 supercomputers, visualization and data analysis engines, and data storage resources, has migrated and upgraded its network backbone infrastructure to the Internet2 Network.

This enables XSEDE to use Internet2’s new 100 GbE optical network, platform, services and technologies.

Internet2 and the XSEDEnet networking group will work together to configure a private network between the XSEDE service provider sites across the shared backbone. A majority of sites will connect to the nearest Internet2 Advanced Layer 2 Service node at 10G and share bandwidth across a 100G backbone with other participants. Initially, Indiana University and Purdue University will have 100G connections.

"This is an extremely important milestone that advances the strategic alignment between the high performance computing and Internet2 communities," said Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie. "Having the massive computational capabilities of XSEDE coupled directly to the most advanced network capabilities with the broadest reach among the U.S. and global research communities is of critical importance to the success of XSEDE."

IBM to Invest $1 Billion in Flash

IBM announced plans to invest $1 billion in research and development of new Flash solutions for servers, storage systems and middleware.  Plans include opening a number of Centers of Competency around the globe to demonstrate to clients the projected performance gains that can be achieved with IBM Flash solutions.  The company said flash technology is proving to be transformative in addressing Big Data.

IBM also announced the availability of the IBM FlashSystem line of all-Flash storage appliances, which are based on technology acquired from Texas Memory Systems. The company said its FlashSystem 820 system, which is the size of a pizza box, is 20 times faster than spinning hard drives, and can store up to 24 terabytes of data.

IX Reach Opens in Telecity's Docklands Data Center

IX Reach, which operates an MPLS network reaching over 75 data centers in 30 major cities across Europe and North America, has opend its Global Carrier Centre in TelecityGroup’s Harbour Exchange (HEX) facility in the heart of the London Docklands.

Telecity's Docklands facility boasts over 150 global and local carriers, making it one of the most carrier dense colocation facilities in London.

Tenants of the Global Carrier Centre will have low-latency Metro access to over 20 London data centres, as well as IX Reach’s full range of products and services including: national and international Point-to-Point and Multipoint connectivity and access to major European and US Internet Exchanges, such as: AMS-IX, DE-CIX, Equinix, LINX and Netnod.

“London colocation has enjoyed a history of being a popular service of ours,” Stephen Wilcox, founder and Director of IX Reach commented. “With London being one of the main European economic and networking hubs, quality colocation is always in demand and that’s why we’re so pleased to have a considerable amount of new space in this high-spec Docklands data centre.”

MetroPCS Deploys IPv6 with Cisco

MetroPCS Communications, the fifth-largest facilities-based wireless service provider in the U.S., is rolling out Cisco®Carrier-Grade IPv6 (CGv6) solution.

MetroPCS is also using Cisco to perform critical system integration by leading the design, testing and production enablement of IPv6 in a multivendor mobile Internet network. The installation includes the Cisco ASR 5000 Series, Cisco Carrier Routing System, Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Service Routers in the core and IP aggregation, and the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switches. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"IPv6 is a foundational element for 3G and 4G and next-generation mobile Internet networking. The actions we are taking, thanks in part to Cisco, position MetroPCS to support increased service, application and end-user demands. We share a common vision with Cisco when it comes to delivering high-quality, advanced mobile Internet services," stated Ed Chao, senior vice president of corporate engineering and network operations, MetroPCS.

Cisco and Microsoft Partner on Data Center Solutions

Cisco and Microsoft are collaborating on data center solutions that combine Microsoft's Cloud OS with the Cisco Unified Data Center architecture.

The Cisco Unified Data Center technology and Microsoft Fast Track 3.0 architecture aim to reduce the complexity of management. Specifically, data center mangers are able to virtualize certain aspects of their data center networks by using the Cisco Nexus 1000V Series switch and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Extensible Switch and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1.  User are able to provision, configure, orchestrate and monitor physical and virtual infrastructures and Windows Server and application software.

The companies said they intend to roll out targeted channel initiatives in select countries to enable alignment in selling Microsoft Fast Track 3.0 architecture solutions.

Telecom New Zealand Expects LTE Launch in October

Telecom New Zealand announced plans to launch its first LTE service in in Auckland by October. The carrier said it intends to extend 4G LTE coverage to Wellington and Christchurch by Christmas, and expects to have 4G LTE live on close to half of its nationwide Smartphone Network during 2014.

Telecom also announced today that it has selected Huawei to build its network of 4G-capable mobile sites – known as the eUTRAN, Cisco to provide the Enhanced Packet Core (EPC), and Ericsson to build the new HSS (Home Subscriber Service) and the replacement HLR (Home Location Register).

"Huawei’s selection was based on two main factors. The first is that they have extensive experience, having built 73 LTE networks in 42 countries. The second is that they are truly pushing the boundaries of LTE technology.  Over the past 3 months we have been trialling Huawei’s 4G LTE technology in Auckland and Rotorua. Our testing has encompassed some very exciting new developments like ‘carrier aggregation’. Carrier aggregation allows us to use two different spectrums simultaneously, and in our trials it produced maximum peak speeds of up to 250 Mbps," stated Telecom's Chief Technology Officer, David Havercroft.

Alvarion's CEO Resigns

Hezi Lapid has resigned as President and Chief Executive Officer of Alvarion.

In addition, Robin Hacke is resigning from her position as a member of the company's board of directors, effective immediately.

"The company intends to continue implementing its turnaround plan, which during the past year has been realized through the pending sale of its carrier licensed business to Telrad Networks, the sale of certain patents, and the refocus on being a pure play in high growth vertical and Wi-Fi markets," said Amnon Yacoby, Chairman of the Board.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Huawei Develops Protocol-Oblivious Forwarding Control Plane

Huawei introduced a software-defined networking (SDN) forwarding plane technology named Protocol-Oblivious Forwarding (POF).

Huawei said the goal of its Protocol-Oblivious Forwarding is to evolve the Open Networking Foundation's OpenFlow protocol towards a more flexible programming model where forwarding devices are no longer limited by pre-defined packet protocols or forwarding rules.  Data plane hardware is not limited by hard­-wired protocol implementations.

With POF, packet forwarding processes are defined by software in a controller which can program forwarding devices via fine-grained forwarding instructions (including data offsets and lengths). This software-based programming is flexible and the actual packet processing and forwarding is performed by the program in forwarding devices (i.e. packets do not flow through the controller).

Huawei has developed POF prototypes based on the NE5000E core router platform and has tested the forwarding of multiple services. The company said its testing has shown that, with POF, the forwarding devices no longer need to directly support specific protocols and those requirements around forwarding performance are successfully met in various scenarios.

"Our hope is to help accelerate the pace of innovation for open SDN and future-proof evolution of networks. Carriers and users of networks in particular can benefit from more flexible switches and can reduce the total cost of ownership by focusing on building simpler, fit-for-purpose networks where only required forwarding behaviors need to be programmed in each switch. Such forwarding plane evolution technologies help remove protocol dependency in forwarding devices and can ultimately enable support of any existing/customized packet-based protocols via generic instructions. "We believe that openness and software-based programmability of forwarding devices can help increase the adoption of OpenFlow, particularly in the carrier space where we see a huge potential for simplification." said Dr. Justin Joubine Dustzadeh, VP of Technology Strategy & CTO of Networks at Huawei Technologies.

"With the POF technology, user-defined fields can be added to packets to implement advanced network functions. Forwarding devices will be able to more flexibly support layer 4-7 services and enable network functions virtualization (NFV) through programming of the POF engine."

Huawei Marine Achieves Financial Breakeven

Huawei Marine, which builds and maintains submarine cable networks, achieved its first, financial breakeven year in 2012 after only four years of operation.

Huawei Marine was formed in late 2008 as a Joint Venture between Global Marine Systems Limited and Huawei Tech Invest HKG with the specific intent to develop a series of high-quality products for the submarine optical market and build a capability in delivering turn-key submarine cable systems.

Key milestones for the company have included the development of a unique, two fibre pair repeater housed in an extended universal joint casing and which was deployed it in the SGSCS system in South America during 2009.  The company has developed several extended-distance variants of this original R1 repeater.  Huawei Marine is also working on the first ever titanium-cased six fibre pair repeater, with an innovative narrow design to improve burial confidence using standard ploughs. Achievements also include a 1,600m2 clean room for repeater and BU production in Dongguan, China. Currently the repeater production capability is 20 pcs per month, with a ceiling of four times this, and the integration assembly and testing containers support 10 pcs per month in each of our portable containerized assets.

Lightower and Sidera Complete Merger -- 20,000 Fiber Route Miles

Lightower Fiber Networks completed its merger with Sidera Networks, creating one of the largest metro fiber providers in the United States.

The new Lightower operates a broad, dense and unique fiber-optic network throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Chicago metro areas. The fiber footprint extends 20,000 route miles  throughout New England, the New York metro region, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Virginia and west to Chicago, with additional connectivity to landing points in London and Toronto. Lightower provides access to over 7,500 service locations, including more than 130 data centers, over 115 carrier hotels and central offices, 40 financial exchanges and 18 Lightower colocation centers.

The transaction, valued at more than $2 billion, was led by Boston-based Berkshire Partners. Pamlico Capital, a significant Lightower investor, and ABRY Partners, a significant Sidera investor, will remain as investors in the new company. 

Lightower is headquartered in Boxborough, MA.  The company is led by Rob Shanahan, President & CEO.

Deutsche Telekom Raises Offer for MetroPCS

Deutsche Telekom AG (XETRA: DTE) announced a "best and final offer" to acquire MetroPCS and merge it with its subsidiary, T-Mobile USA.

Under the terms of the current agreement between MetroPCS and Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USA would be contributed to the combined company with shareholder loans totaling US$15 billion. In its improved offer, Deutsche Telekom will reduce these shareholder loans by US$3.8 billion to US$11.2 billion, significantly increasing the equity value of the combined company.

Deutsche Telekom will also reduce the interest rate on the US$11.2 billion of shareholder loans by 50 basis points. This lower rate reflects the new capital structure of the combined company, the improved capital markets environment in recent months, and the interest rate level of MetroPCS newly issued USD 3.5 billion of bonds priced in March.

The lock-up period during which Deutsche Telekom is prohibited from publicly selling shares in the combined company will be extended to 18 months (previously 6 months).

The company does not believe any further regulatory review is necessary for its sweetened offer.

Level 3 Names Jeff Storey as CEO

Level 3 Communications named Jeff K. Storey as its new president and CEO effective immediately, replacing James Q. Crowe.

Storey joined Level 3 in 2008 as the company's president and chief operating officer.  Prior to joining Level 3, Storey served as president of Leucadia Telecommunications Group where he was responsible for investments and operations across various industries. Before Leucadia, Storey served as president and chief executive officer of WilTel Communications. Prior to that, he was a senior executive at Cox Communications, where he was one of the founding members of Cox Business Services. Storey began his career in telecommunications with Southwestern Bell Telephone.

"Jim Crowe created a bold vision for our company over 15 years ago, and I want to thank him on behalf of the Level 3 Board of Directors for his extraordinary contribution," said Walter Scott, Jr., chairman of the Board of Directors of Level 3.  "He envisioned a new kind of communications company, and he built it from the ground up. I think it's no exaggeration to say that he helped transform the communications industry."

Jim Crowe also confirmed that he will not stand for reelection to the company's Board of Directors at the company's 2013 Annual Meeting.

Avago to Acquire CyOptics for InP Expertise

Avago Technologies agreed to acquire CyOptics, a specialist in Indium Phosphide (InP) optical chip and component technologies, for approximately $400 million in cash.

CyOptics designs, fabricates and packages a broad portfolio of optical component products across enterprise, data center, access, metro and long-haul market segments. It optical components are integrated into optical transceivers, transponders and line cards. Its expertise includes single-mode InP laser, receiver and photonics integration capability. The privately-held company reports 2012 sales of approximately $210 million, up 21% from 2011.

Avago said the acquisition will strengthen its fiber optics product portfolio for emerging 40G and 100G enterprise and data center applications. Avago's optical transceiver products primarily leverage VCSEL-based technology today. In addition, the acquisition of CyOptics will facilitate Avago's establishment of a complementary optical components business, not only to serve growing segments of the access, metro and long-haul markets, but also for enterprise and data center segments.

"We believe CyOptics' leading InP technology and optical manufacturing capability will strengthen Avago's fiber optics portfolio and accelerate our ability to capture next generation 40G and 100G enterprise and data center sockets," stated Hock Tan, President and CEO of Avago. "With CyOptics, we also see interesting revenue growth opportunities in delivering a broad range of proprietary components to the market."

CyOptics was founded in 1999 and is based in Breinigsville, PA.

Deutsche Telekom Selects Tail-f's SDN for TeraStream Project

Deutsche Telekom has chosen Tail-f Systems to deliver key SDN components for its TeraStream project.

As the face of networking is changing, TeraStream’s goal is to create an all-IP transformation to cope with exponential traffic growth while streamlining the delivery of network services in real time. 

Specifically, the TeraStream project will use Tail-f’s NCS (Network Control System) to provide a network-wide and service-aware unified application programming interface (API). NCS leverages YANG (RFC 6020) and NETCONF (RFC 6241)to provide service and device modeling and fail-safe mechanisms for changing network configurations.

“We believe carriers can no longer afford to hard-code services into the OSS if they want to get to market quickly with new services,” said Axel Clauberg, Vice President, Aggregation, Transport, IP and Fixed Access, Deutsche Telekom AG. “The Tail-f NCS solution, with both services and the network modeled in a standardized high-level language, shortens time to market, increases vendor independence and dramatically improves the cost structure. This SDN solution is a key component in TeraStream’s real-time OSS.”

“As a multi-vendor SDN solution provider, we are excited to partner with Deutsche Telekom to change the way network operations are being done,” said Hakan Millroth, CTO of Tail-f Systems. “Tail-f has been driving standardization of network service programmability for a long time to reduce key pain points such as vendor dependence, lack of service innovation and high operating costs. The adoption of these standards by TeraStream and its network equipment providers will fundamentally change the networking industry.”

Neul Appoints Stan Boland as CEO

Neul, a startup developing solutions for whitespace wireless, has appointed Stan Boland as its new CEO.

Boland was previously CEO and co-founder of Icera, a UK-based company building 4G/3G/2G cellular chipsets and software which was acquired by Nvidia in 2011 for $367 million. Prior to this, he was CEO and co-founder of Element 14, a UK company building ADSL chipsets and software which was acquired by Broadcom in 2000 for $640 million.

Neul, which is based in Cambridge, U.K., is the first to deploy white space wireless network technology based on the royalty-free, open network standard, Weightless, and the first to develop a single chip white space transceiver.

"I am thrilled to be joining Neul, probably the most exciting company globally in the wireless space. Its technology is strongly complementary to cellular technologies through the provision of coverage and capacity needed for the large numbers of devices intrinsic to industrial applications for the internet", commented Stan Boland.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ethernet in the Data Center: 100GbE, 40Gbase-T, PoE

Click here to view video:

In this interview, Scott Kipp, President of the Ethernet Alliance and Principal Engineer at Brocade discusses the continued evolution of Ethernet, including:

0:42 - Hot Topics for the Ethernet Alliance
1:29 - Is there consensus on a 400 GbE standard?
2:13 - How is 100 GbE being accepted in the market?
2:50 - Is 10GBase-T finally taking off?  What about 40GBase-T?
3:46 - What's next for Power over Ethernet?
4:27 - What's next for the Ethernet Alliance?
5:04 - Ethernet's 40th Anniversary

Intel Reimagines the Data Center

Intel disclosed key details on new data center processors based on its 22-nanometer (nm) technology and outlined key features of a rack scale architecture for mega data centers.  The announcements, which were made at the annual Intel developer forum in Beijing this week, represent what the company is calling a re-imagining of the data center.

Here are highlights of the announcements:

Building on its introduction of the  Atom S1200 processor for data center servers, Intel revealed three new low-power SoCs in the same line and coming in 2013:

  • Atom S12x9 product family for storage -- these offer up to 40 lanes of integrated PCIe 2.0, or physical paths between I/O and the processor and provide the capacity so that multiple devices can be handled more efficiently. Of the 40 lanes of PCIe 2.0, there are 24 Root Port lanes and 16 Non Transparent Bridge lanes, for failover support.
  • Avoton -- the second generation of 64-bit Intel Atom processor for microservers. Built on Intel’s 22nm process technology and new microarchitecture "Silvermont," Avoton will feature an integrated Ethernet controller and is expected to deliver significant improvements in performance-per-watt. Avoton is now being sampled to customers and the first systems are expected to be available in the second half of 2013.
  • Rangeley -- this Intel Atom processor based SoC is targeted at network and communications infrastructure. Rangeley aims to provide an energy-efficient mechanism for processing communication workloads and is targeted for entry level to mid-range routers, switches and security appliances. Rangeley is targeted to be available in second half of 2013.

For greater performance, Intel will introduce the Xeon processor E3 1200 v3 product family based on Haswell architecture, and the next-generation Xeon processor E5 family based on the 22nm manufacturing process, and the Xeon processor E7 family featuring triple the memory capacity – up to 12 Terabytes (TB) in an eight-socket node for data-demanding, transaction-intensive workloads such as in-memory databases and real-time business analytics.

Rack Scale Architecture

Intel is also working on a reference design for rack scale architecture for hyper-scale data centers. The reference design will be modular at the subsystem level (storage, CPU, memory, network) and is being designed to provision and refresh or logically allocate resources based on application specific workload requirements.  Intel plans to leverage Silicon Photonics technology to enable complete disaggregation of racks to drive optimal flexibility for large scale data centers.

Intel said its sees the evolution of rack design happening in three phases:

  • Physical Aggregation. All non-critical sheet metal removed and key components such as power supplies and fans taken out of individual servers and consolidated at the rack level. Savings are expected due to higher levels of efficiency and lower costs by reducing the number of fans and power supplies.
  • Fabric Integration and Storage Virtualization. Disaggregate and separate out the storage from compute systems with direct attached storage, and achieve higher utilization through storage virtualization. The compute and network fabric is the key technology that is enabling disaggregation of storage without impact to performance. Intel Silicon
  • Photonics interconnects will enable higher speed connections between various computing resources within the rack, thus enabling the eventual disaggregation of server, memory, network and storage within the rack. 
Ultimately, Intel sees the industry moving to subsystem disaggregation, where processing, memory and I/O will be completely separated into modular subsystems.

At the event, the company also discussed progress with the new Intel Atom processor Z2580 ("Clover Trail+") for smartphones and the Intel Atom Processor Z2760 ("Clover Trail") for tablets, both of which are helping to usher in a range of new devices and user experiences.  Intel's quad-core Atom SoC ("Bay Trail") will be the most powerful Atom processor to-date, doubling the computing performance of Intel's current-generation tablet offering1. Scheduled for holiday 2013 tablets, "Bay Trail" will help enable new experiences and designs as thin as 8mm that have all-day battery life and weeks of standby.

Another Atom SoC, codenamed "Merrifield," which is scheduled to ship to customers by the end of this year, targets smartphones.

Germany's DE-CIX Upgrades World's Biggest Internet Exchange

DE-CIX, which operates the world's largest Internet Exchange in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), introduced its newest interconnection platform, DE-CIX Apollon.

The platform leverages ADVA Optical Networking's flagship FSP 3000 platform for optical transport capacity of up to 2 Terabits/sec per fiber pair.

The switching layer is powered by Alcatel-Lucent's Core Router 7950 XRS, which supports the world-leading port density of up to 80 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis. The core of the DE-CIX Apollon network is based on four supernodes that are built from the Alcatel-Lucent 7950 XRS and which are fed by customer-facing switches, both located at secure locations spread throughout the Frankfurt metro.

DE-CIX operates carrier-neutral exchanges for carriers, Internet service providers, content delivery networks and cloud computing providers in Frankfurt, Germany and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. DE-CIX in Frankfurt currently serves and connects over 500 networks from more than 50 countries.

"DE-CIX Apollon's interconnection capabilities represent the largest interconnection architecture in the market, enabling clients to not only peer but establish immediate dedicated-capacity connections with other global service providers," states Harald A. Summa, CEO for DE-CIX. "Partnering with industry leaders such as ADVA Optical Networking and Alcatel-Lucent further ensures DE-CIX continues to deliver best-in-class interconnection. With the launch of DE-CIX Apollon, we've set the foundation to support the demand for Layer 2 interconnection services and the creation of an even broader marketplace at DE-CIX."

Verizon and NEC Set Optical Transmission Record: 54.2 Tbps

Verizon and NEC reported a new record for optical transmission: the companies were able to transmit 40.5 terabits per second (Tbps) for a long-haul distance of more than 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) and 54.2 Tbps over a regional distance of more than 630 kilometers (391 miles), using Verizon’s fiber loop outside Dallas. The DWDM system used both the C-band and the L-band.

The results of the latest trial, performed in late 2012, were accepted and presented as a post-deadline paper at the OFC/NFOEC Conference and Expo last month in Anaheim, California.

“Successful scientific accomplishments such as this demonstrate that Verizon is taking major steps to advance the industry’s understanding of high-capacity optical technology,” said Ed Chan, vice president of network technology for Verizon. “Verizon continues to address the challenge of maximizing performance on our global network while providing lasting business value and best-in-class services for our customers.”

Integra Picks Ciena for 100G

Integra, which owns and operates a 5,000-mile long-haul fiber-optic network, 3,000–miles of metropolitan fiber and a nationwide IP/MPLS network,has selected Ciena's converged packet-optical and packet networking solutions to support the expansion of Integra’s long-haul fiber optic network.

Specifically, Integra will adopt Ciena’s 6500 packet optical series for long-haul and metro network integration, supporting its move to 100G.  Integra will also rely on the Ciena OneControl Unified Management system for centralized network management and seamless service deployment.

Integra’s selection of Ciena follows a year of business transformation, product and network expansion for the company. In February, Integra unveiled a new brand identity, including a new logo, corporate tagline and targeted messaging reflecting how the company serves its markets today.