Tuesday, August 13, 2013

HP Refines Software-defined Storage with Automated Data Tiering

HP is adding new software functionality to its Converged Storage solutions to help customers maximize the return on investment (ROI) of their virtual infrastructure by lowering costs while increasing agility and capacity utilization.

HP said its StoreVirtual VSA is the industry’s first scale-out software-defined storage solution to offer data tiering. This feature moves data blocks to high-performance or cost-optimized storage automatically, based on application needs.

Specifically, new HP StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) software functionality adds supports for automated sub-LUN (logical unit number) storage tiering.  It also increases VMware and Microsoft integration to improve efficiency and performance. New licensing options provide deployment flexibility to support current workload requirements and future growth needs.

HP also introduced two software plug-ins for HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, one for use with VMware, and the other for use with SAP software.

“To reduce data center investment and operational costs, budget-conscious organizations are transitioning from dedicated physical hardware to software-defined storage embedded on existing industry standard servers,” said David Scott, senior vice president and general manager, Storage, HP. “Having pioneered software-defined storage with an installed base of over 170,000 StoreVirtual VSA licenses, HP is now extending its leadership in this area with auto-tiering capability to further optimize cost and performance for small or medium-sized businesses as well as remote enterprise branches.”


Amazon Web Services Launches Mobile Push Notification Service

Amazon Web Services announced a new "Mobile Push" for its Amazon Simple Notification Service that transmits push notifications from backend server applications to mobile apps on Apple, Google and Kindle Fire devices using a simple, unified API.

The new feature lets app developers send a message to a particular device (direct addressing), or send a message to every device that is subscribed to a particular SNS topic (broadcast).

The AWS Free Tier means all AWS customers can send one million push notifications per month across iOS, Android and Kindle platforms at no charge. After that, app developers must pay $0.50 for every million publishes and $0.50 per million push deliveries.


Japan's StarBED3 Deploys Juniper's QFabric

StarBED3, the advanced IP network simulator run by Japan's  National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), has deployed Juniper Networks' QFX3000-M QFabric System to support research and development of next-generation networks, security and services.

Located at the Hokuriku StarBED Technology Center, StarBED3 is NICT's third-generation IP network test bed, aimed at emulating large and complex network environments. It comprises more than 1,100 physical servers, together with network switch clusters for controlling experimental nodes and supporting interactive communication over a backbone operating at speeds of up to 200 Gbps. Specifically, NICT is using a QFabric System in a single-layer, distributed switch architecture featuring top-of-rack access nodes and a centralized control node for each logical device, significantly reducing operating costs. The QFabric System currently links 224 experimental servers at StarBED3 at high speed and with less than three microseconds of latency, all within a compact space and with low power consumption.

Juniper said a key issue in constructing the StarBED3 network infrastructure was how to connect the largest possible number of servers at high speed with low latency while working within physical space and power consumption limitations. Another challenge was the traditional approach of concentrating core switches in a single location, creating high cable densities that significantly compromise operational maintenance procedures. NICT was able to overcome these challenges with QFabric technology.

"We have to provide a highly flexible PC server cluster network suitable for a wide range of R&D projects on ICT technology. But often, when you try to design a flexible configuration consisting of many PC server groups linked together by small network devices, you run into problems with speed limitations and latency as well as with operational and administration standardization. QFabric addresses these issues and provides the ideal configuration for next-generation data centers. We see QFabric as a powerful tool for taking our large-scale emulation environment into the next generation," Shinsuke Miwa, director, NICT Hokuriku StarBED Technology Center.


NeoPhotonics and Inphi Begin Shipping High Dynamic Range ICR (HD-ICR) for 100G Colorless Coherent

NeoPhotonics and Inphi announced shipment to multiple customers of a new High Dynamic Range-Integrated Coherent Receiver (HD-ICR) in production volume.

The HD-ICR couples the high dynamic range, low noise and high input current handling capabilities of the Inphi IN3250TA TIA with the high sensitivity of the NeoPhotonics photodiodes and is designed to deliver the high performance that is necessary for next generation 100G colorless coherent transmission systems.

The companies said "colorless" optical transmission is more efficient because add/drop ports are not limited to fixed predetermined wavelength channels, meaning any wavelength channel can enter or exit any port.  However, colorless operation improves the efficiency and cost of coherent transport networks but places additional requirements on receiver performance.  For colorless applications where the remaining channels are not filtered out optically, the incoming signal power can vary significantly depending on how many other channels are present, resulting in up to 100 times higher optical power falling on the receiver than in the single channel case.  For this case, NeoPhotonics integrates a PIC variable optical attenuator that is designed to set the incoming optical power at the optimum point to avoid saturating the detector, while the high dynamic range and low noise of the Inphi IN3250TA enables the desired signal to be reproduced with high fidelity.

For the case where a single wavelength enters the receiver, the high sensitivity of the HD-ICR may eliminate the need for optical pre-amplifier in front of the receiver -- reducing cost and simplifying operation.

“We are pleased to add the HD-ICR to our extensive line of PIC based intradyne coherent receivers and we feel that working closely with Inphi has effectively made available to our customers the high performance of both companies’ technology,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. “Our next-generation 100G optical solutions coupled with Inphi’s 100G electronic chips can help us meet the needs of our customers in next generation 100G systems and beyond.”


FCC Updates Rules for 57-64 GHz Unlicensed Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission updated rules governing unlicensed communication equipment in the 57-64 GHz band, saying the changes support using the spectrum for relatively low-cost, high-capacity short-range backhaul alternative to connect wireless broadband networks and for other wireless applications.

The FCC said the spectrum could provide wireless broadband network connectivity over distances up to a mile at data rates of 7 Gbps, potentially relieving the need and expense of wiring facilities or using existing facilities with less capability.

At the same time the rules for equipment located indoors will remain unchanged, providing regulatory certainty for an emerging family of products that can provide data rates of 7 Gbps for applications such as wireless docking of digital devices and distribution of uncompressed video to TV receivers and video displays.

In the 1990s, the Commission adopted rules for unlicensed operations over a 7-gigahertz wide bandwidth, in the 57-64 GHz band. Because of the wide bandwidth, this spectrum is very desirable for high-capacity uses, both in point-to-point fixed operations outdoors (extending the reach of fiber optic networks by providing broadband access to adjacent structures in commercial facilities), and as networking equipment indoors (enabling users to send data between entertainment equipment such as high-definition televisions and video players within the same room, eliminating the need for complex wiring).

Under the new rules, new limits are set for the power permitted for outdoor operations between fixed points using highly directional antennas. This maximum power permitted is tied to the precision of the antenna beam which determines its potential for causing interference to other users, including to indoor low-power networks. This rule change would permit outdoor devices to deliver high-capacity communication links over longer distances, enhancing the utility of the unlicensed 57-64 GHz band as a vehicle for broadband. It will also facilitate the use of this unlicensed spectrum as a backhaul alternative in densely-populated areas where 4G and other wireless services are experiencing an ever-increasing need for additional spectrum.

The Commission also took additional actions to reduce the regulatory burden on these operations by eliminating a station identification rule that has become unnecessary, and by modifying the measurement units to promote uniformity and consistency.


CloudPhysics Releases SaaS-based IT Management for VMware

CloudPhysics, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, announced $10 million in Series B funding and released its SaaS offering, which automatically uncovers hidden operational hazards before problems emerge as well as identifies radical efficiency improvements in storage, compute and networking with VMware workloads.  The CloudPhysics tools give IT more power to understand, troubleshoot and optimize their virtualized systems.

CloudPhysics is opening a Card Store, essentially an app store built on an industry-wide dataset and community. The CloudPhysics user interface is composed of Cards, each of which is a highly focused app to solve a particular IT operations problem. Cards are built by CloudPhysics and members of its user community using the Card Builder feature of the cloud-based service and range across all IT operations use cases from planning, procurement, reporting, analysis, troubleshooting and capacity management.

The new funding was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Previous investors the Mayfield Fund, Mark
Leslie, Peter Wagner, Carl Waldspurger, Nigel Stokes, Matt Ocko and VMware co-founders also
participated in this round.

"Managing virtualized IT means managing an ever-changing, dynamic set of conditions," said John Blumenthal, CEO and Co-Founder of CloudPhysics. "Today's static solutions can't keep pace and a new approach is called for -- leveraging collective intelligence drawn from industrywide operations big data and delivering solutions rapidly via SaaS as users encounter new operational problems.


  • CloudPhysics, which was founded in 2011 by former VMware executives John Blumenthal and Irfan Ahmad, provides virtualization administrators and architects detailed real-time analytics about their physical infrastructure and specific application workloads.

Telekom Austria and KPN Form Wholesale Partnership

Telekom Austria Group and KPN International have formed a wholesale partnership that encompasses the interconnection of Ethernet, IP VPN, Wavelength and IPT services across Europe.

The combined network footprint doubles the reach of the carriers individually, reaching 73 Points of Presence (PoP) within 35 countries and making it one of Europe's largest fiber networks. Notable, the IP backbone connects the four most important Internet Exchange Points in Europe: Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris.

The cooperation is already in operation.

Stefan Amon, Director of Wholesale at Telekom Austria Group stated "I am really proud to announce this pan-European wholesale partnership with our two regionally complementary infrastructures. I see an excellent operational fit as both backbone network providers focus on top quality. This infrastructure throughout 35 countries will be one of the largest in Europe, offering technological as well as local know-how and experience from Telekom Austria Group in CEE and from KPN International in Western Europe."


Monday, August 12, 2013

Telstra and Ericsson Complete LTE-A Call on 1800MHz and 900MHz

Telstra and Ericsson completed the first call using LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) Carrier Aggregation technology on 1800MHz and 900MHz spectrum bands.

The test took place on July 31, when Telstra transferred data across its live network on a number of sites in Queensland (Australia) carrying commercial traffic.

Mike Wright, Executive Director Networks, Telstra, says: "Telstra's LTE subscriber numbers are growing dramatically, with nearly 3 million subscribers currently using the LTE network, up from 2.1 million six months ago. The capacity, higher data speeds and efficiencies provided by LTE-Advanced will help manage growth in data traffic as more customers choose our network. This will allow us to continue providing additional capacity and high-quality service, and we look forward to working with Ericsson to make this happen."

"When we get access to 700MHz spectrum in 2015 we also intend to deploy the next-generation of LTE-Advanced by combining larger blocks of spectrum in the 700MHz and 1800MHz bands to deliver blistering peak speeds in the theoretical range of 300Mbps."

Ericsson noted that it is supporting the deployment of LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation on other spectrum bands in other countries such as South Korea. On July 18, for instance, Ericsson supported LG U+ in South Korea to commercially launch LTE-Advanced using both 2100MHz and 850MHz bands.


Verizon Tests Ciena's 200G on NY-Boston Route

Verizon has successfully completed a field trial of 200G technology on a network route between New York and Boston.

The trial, which ran for more than a month on the live network, used the same hardware that currently supports Verizon's 100G ultra-long-haul traffic, along with pre-production software to configure a Ciena Wavelogic3 coherent optical processor. The trial used 16QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) on a single wavelength with the typical 50GHz channel spacing to increase the amount of traffic carried.

Verizon said the test proves the ability to double spectral efficiency while reducing the cost per bit when compared with 100G technology.

"Verizon continues to lead the industry in next-generation technology research and take our network to the next level to meet future needs of our business and consumer customers," said Ed Chan, vice president of network technology for Verizon. "This accomplishment is a key technology differentiator and lays the groundwork for Verizon to continue to deliver capacity relief in a robust and scalable way."

"Proving greater spectral efficiency and a lower cost per bit, this trial illustrates the ability to double the traffic carrying capacity of optical channels with no change to the underlying infrastructure," said Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president, Global Products Group, Ciena. "And the fact that this field trial was successfully conducted on a critical route of Verizon's production network alongside live customer traffic demonstrates Ciena's commitment to delivering innovative, real-world solutions that allow customers to extract additional value from existing infrastructure investments."


Open Networking User Group Plans SDN Test Next Month

The Open Networking User Group (ONUG), will conduct an open industry SDN network virtualization test to provide its members with comparative performance, scalability, reliability, and functionality test data.  Results of the testing will be shared at ONUG Fall 2013, which will be hosted by JPMorgan Chase on October 29-30, 2013 in New York City.

Specifically, ONUG is planning three performance tests and one functionality test. The performance tests seek to measure scale, reliability and CPU utilization under load. Three separate tests are defined for data, control and management plane functions. The functionality evaluation is a checklist that verifies a basic set of network virtualization features.

Vendor participation in the ONUG SDN network virtualization test is free and can accommodate 10 vendors. Testing will be conducted September 30 through October 12, 2013 and vendors have until August 30, 2013 to sign-up for participation.

“As IT business leaders begin piloting and deploying open networking solutions, scalability, reliability, performance, and feature verification of available solutions have arisen as critical issues,” said Nick Lippis, ONUG chairman and co-founder.  “To avoid costly, time-consuming, redundant testing, and pilots that fail to address minimum levels of performance and scale, ONUG has developed the ONUG SDN Test Suite for vendors to demonstrate their production-ready solutions. All test scripts developed for the ONUG SDN Test Suite will be open sourced to ensure that ONUG SDN Benchmarks are available and repeatable for the ONUG community and industry at large.”


Amazon Web Services Enhances CloudFormation

Amazon Web Services introduced two new capabilities for its CloudFormation toolset for creating and managing a collection of related AWS resources in an orderly and predictable fashion.  AWS CloudFormation provides sample templates that describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run an application.

The two new capabilities are parallel stack processing and nested stack updates.

Parallel Stack Processing -- CloudFormation now creates, updates, and deletes resources in parallel in order to improve performance of these operations. For example, provisioning a RAID 0 setup, which involves the creation of multiple EBS volumes, is now faster because CloudFormation can provision the volumes in parallel. CloudFormation automatically determines which resources in a template can be created in parallel. CloudFormation template authors can use the DependsOn attribute for control over the order of resource creation.

Parallel Stack Updates -- CloudFormation allows nesting a stack as a resource inside a template. AWS is introducing the ability to update a top-level stack and nested stacks together.


North Carolina Completes Golden LEAF Project

MCNC, the private, not-for-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), officially completed the second and final phase of the $144 million Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI).

The Golden LEAF project deployed fiber connections at universities, community colleges, schools, health and safety facilities, libraries, county offices, and other community anchor institutions to a statewide network. 

NCREN now spans 2,600 miles across the state. The first phase of the project was completed in April 2012 with 957 total operated miles (442 of which were new construction). The second phase completed today was much larger with total operated miles at 1,696 (1,300 of being new).

MCNC said this historic project is having a positive impact on student learning, patient outcomes in health care, and is accelerating innovation and research all across the state. Community institutions now being served in the state include K-12 schools, universities, community colleges, health care facilities, public health facilities, libraries, research institutions, and other sectors. 

The GLRBI is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and significant matching funds from private donations and investments including a $24 million investment from the Golden LEAF Foundation and $10 million from the MCNC Endowment. No state funds were utilized as matching funds for the MCNC awards. 

Vendors and contractors for Round 1 included: Fiber Technologies, Globe Communications, Comtech, Cisco Systems, CommScope, and ONUG Communications. Participating vendors and contractors for Round 2 included: BroadPlex, Cisco Systems, CommScope, Comtech, ECC Technologies, Edwards Telecommunications, Fiber Technologies, Globe Communications, Kimley-Horn & Associates, and World Fiber Technologies.

Level 3 Announces Refinancing of $815 Million Term Loan

Level 3 Communications successfully completed the refinancing of its senior secured Tranche B 2019 Term Loan.

The $815 million Tranche B-III 2019 Term Loan will bear interest at LIBOR plus 3.00 percent, with a minimum LIBOR of 1.00 percent, and will mature on Aug. 1, 2019. The term loan is being priced to lenders at par. The previous Tranche B 2019 Term Loan had an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.75 percent, with a minimum LIBOR of 1.50 percent and matured on Aug. 1, 2019. With the reduction in interest rates as a result of this transaction, the company expects to save approximately $10 million of cash interest expense on an annualized basis.

Tegile Raises $35 Million for Hybrid SSD/Disk Storage Arrays

Tegile Systems, a start-up based in Newark, California, closed $35 million in Round C funding for its hybrid storage systems.

Tegile offers enterprise storage arrays that leverage the performance of SSD and low cost per TB of high capacity disk drives to deliver up to seven times the performance and require up to 75 percent less capacity than legacy arrays. Tegile's patented MASS technology accelerates the Zebi's performance and enables on-the-fly de-duplication and compression of data so each Zebi has a usable capacity far greater than its raw capacity.

Tegile said it currently has more than 300 production customers utilizing its Zebi hybrid storage arrays.

The new funding was led by late-stage venture firm Meritech Capital Partners with additional investment by original stakeholder August Capital and strategic partners Western Digital and SanDisk.


tw telecom Seeks to Raise $800 Million

tw telecom inc. (NASDAQ: TWTC) has priced an $800 million offering of Senior Notes, including $450 million aggregate principal amount of 5.375% Senior Notes due 2022 and $350 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.375% Senior Notes due 2023, in a private offering to "qualified institutional buyers".

The company plans to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund the repurchase of tw telecom holdings inc.'s 8% Senior Notes due 2018 in a concurrent cash tender offer and for general corporate purposes.


NEC Selected for 2,000km Papua Cable System

PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia has awarded a contract to NEC to construct the Papua Cable System reaching the island of New Guinea.

The Papua Cable System, measuring 2,000 kilometers, is the first optical fiber submarine cable system to connect the Papua provinces of Indonesia and is designed to carry transmission speeds of 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps. The cable is slated for completion by the end of 2014.

"NEC is honored to be selected by PT Telkom as the supplier of the most advanced optical fiber submarine cable system to connect the eastern Indonesian provinces. We are proud that NEC has contributed to PT Telkom's network diversification since first providing the company with an optical fiber submarine cable system in 1991," said Naoki Yoshida, general manager, Submarine Network Division, NEC Corporation.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Deutsche Telekom, WEB.DE and GMX Launch Secure "E-mail made in Germany"

Deutsche Telekom and United Internet have launched an initiative for secure e-mail across Germany.

The "E-mail made in Germany" program utilizes an additional security standard that for the very first time enables GMX, T-Online and WEB.DE users to automatically encrypt data over all transmission paths.  The partners will also ensure that data are handled in compliance with German data privacy laws.

A special designation allows users to see before dispatching their e-mail which of the recipients selected also use secure e-mail addresses and thus comply with the initiative's security standards.

Beginning immediately, e-mail communication between data centers at GMX, T-Online and WEB.DE is being sent in encrypted form. Transmission from the handset to the e-mail server is already encrypted for all customers who use an e-mail application from one of the partners or who have activated SSL encryption in their e-mail program (e.g., Outlook). For security reasons, from the beginning of 2014 the initiative partners will only transport SSL-encrypted e-mails to ensure that data traffic over all of their transmission paths is secure.

"Germans are deeply unsettled by the latest reports on the potential interception of communication data. Our initiative is designed to counteract this concern and make e-mail communication throughout Germany more secure in general. Protection of the private sphere is a valuable commodity," said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG.


American Tower Acquires Tower Sites in Mexico and Brazil

American Tower Corporation will acquire up to 2,790 towers in Brazil and 1,666 towers in Mexico from NII Holdings for approximately $413 million and $398 million, respectively.

American Tower said the majority of the portfolio consists of towers located in and around major population areas and along major highways. On average, the towers have a tenancy ratio of just over one tenant per tower, with Nextel Brazil or Nextel Mexico as the primary tenant, providing significant opportunities for future site leasing growth.

Both Nextel Brazil and Nextel Mexico have agreed to leaseback the towers from American Tower for a minimum 12-year initial lease term with additional renewal options thereafter. NII International Telecom S.C.A, a subsidiary of NII based in Luxembourg, has agreed to provide certain credit support with respect to the obligations of Nextel Brazil.

"Through this acquisition, American Tower will gain significant incremental scale in our Mexican and Brazilian operations, and we anticipate leveraging the strong demand backdrop in both markets to drive meaningful revenue and cash flow growth for many years to come," stated Jim Taiclet, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Tower.

American Tower currently owns and operates over 56,000 communications sites in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Uganda.


América Móvil Bids for KPN

América Móvil launched a tender offer in cash to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of KPN for EUR 2.40 per share.  The offer represents a premium of approximately 35.4% over the average closing price of KPN's ordinary shares on Euronext Amsterdam for the last 30 trading days.

América Móvil said the acquisition would give it the opportunity to expand to other regions outside the Americas in order to achieve geographical diversification and create attractive long-term returns for its shareholders.

América Móvil aims to support to a greater extent KPN's plans in a rapidly changing environment in Europe so that both companies benefit from their respective experiences in the sector.

Currently, América Móvil holds (directly and indirectly) 1,267,677,000 ordinary shares in the capital of KPN, representing approximately 29.77% of all issued and outstanding ordinary shares in the capital of KPN.

América Móvil also noted that it is evaluating KPN's proposed sales of E-Plus.


  • On July 23, 2013, KPN announced that it had “entered into a transaction, subject to shareholder approval, to sell and transfer 100% of its interest in E-Plus to Telefonica Deutschland for EUR 5.0 billion in cash and a 17.6% stake in Telefonica Deutschland post transaction”.
  • América Móvil is headed by Carlos Slim

CyrusOne Plans Another Huge Data Center in San Antonio

CyrusOne announced plans to build a second data center in San Antonio near its existing facility, which was commissioned in October 2012. The new site is expected to have more than 200,000 square feet of data center and superior Class A office space that can be used by customer employees. As a result, CyrusOne’s San Antonio footprint will grow to more than 300,000 square feet of data center and Class A office space.

"As we anticipated, demand for colocation space in our existing San Antonio data center has been strong, and we’re excited to get started on the new facility,” said Kevin Timmons, chief technology officer for CyrusOne. “We anticipate breaking ground in the fourth quarter of 2013 and plan to use our innovative Massively Modular facility engineering approach to achieve construction and asset utilization efficiencies and enable a speedy commissioning of the site."