Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Intel's Highland Forest Revs Up Performance for SDN & NFV

Intel unveiled its third generation “Highland Forest” communications platform aimed at data center, cloud and telco networks.  The new solution combines Intel's latest Xeon E5 processors and a new “Coleto Creek” chipset to perform a variety of traffic workloads, including application, control plane, packet and some signal processing workloads.  The target is to power the next generation of open, standards-based, compute systems for software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).

In a webcast , Rose Schooler, GM and VP of Intel's Data Center Group, valued the overall opportunity at $16 billion, noting that Intel currently holds under 5% market share of this data networking market but has been making steady progress since introducing its first generation "Crystal Forest" communications platform in early 2012.  The new Highland Forest solution promises a 2X-6X performance gain over Crystal Forest, thanks to the continuous progress of Moore's Law and the implementation of several acceleration

Some performance highlight of Highland Forest include:

  • Up to 255 million packets/sec with Intel Data Plane Development Kit
  • Up to 140 Gbps Deep Packet Inspections with Hyperscan
  • Up to 100 Gbps IPsec
  • Up to 200 Gbps SSL.

Innovations in the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 chips include up to 20-cores and faster memories, built-in security features and improved virtualization.  These are implemented in 22nm.  The Coleto Creek chipset brings accelerators for RSA decryption, IPsec and SSL crypto, Kasumi/Snow3G wireless crypto, 24 Gbps compression and additional virtual function capabilities.  Coleto Creek is implemented in 32nm.  The Highland Forest solution will be implemented in telco-grade blades and servers from the likes of Dell, Emerson, Advantech and Radisys. Intel will offer QuickAssist Server Accelerator Cards, as will Silicom.

The Deep Packet Inspection with Hyperscan runs purely in software (no hardware accelerators) using a unique pattern matching technology developed by Australian-based Sensory Networks.  Intel acquired Sensory Networks in September.

Some notes from the presentation:

  • There are four network functions that have already been virtualized on the Intel architecture:  VMs used to deliver gateway, firewall, VPN and load balancer capabilities.
  • The key components in Intel's networking strategy include the Xeon CPUs, the Coleto Creek chipset accelerators, its NIC silicon, its Ethernet switching silicon, a data plane development kit, and Open Networking Software.  For its own testing, Intel uses software from its Windriver division.  It also supports software from 6wind and tieto.
  • While Highland Forest targets the high-end processing workloads, Intel said it is equally committed to low and mid-range packet processing.  At the low-end are dual-core Atom 2000 series processors with extremely low energy usage and capable of handling 30 million packets/sec.
  • NSN is using the Intel Architecture for its Liquid Core virtualization.
  • SK Telecom has verified the feasibility of telco cloud technology.
  • Intel currently has over 15 SDN/NFV qualification trials underway with carriers in all major regions.  Schooler emphasized that Intel has no intention to sell directly to service providers and is fully committed to launching an Intel Network Builders Ecosystem of industry players supporting the Intel Architecture.

China Issues TD-LTE Operating Licenses to 3 Carriers

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology officially granted 4G TD-LTE operating licenses to the China Mobile Communications Corporation, China Telecom and China United Network Communications Group Company (China Unicom).

China Mobile was also granted permission to operate a fixed-line telecommunications business.

Marlin Equity Expands its Packet/Optical Portfolio with Acquisition of Tellabs

Marlin Equity Partners, a Los Angeles California-based private investment firm with over US$2.6 billion of capital under management, completed its previously announced acquisition of all of the outstanding shares of Tellabs in a deal valued at $891 million ($2.45 per share in cash, representing a 4.3% premium over the closing price on October 18th).

Tellabs continues operations as a supplier of packet-optical, mobile backhaul and Optical LAN networking solutions. The company serves telecom service providers, independent operating companies, MSO/cable companies, enterprises and government agencies with networks in more than 90 countries around the world.

Marlin said the addition of Tellabs builds on its track record of acquisitions in the telecom sector, which includes Coriant (formerly the Optical Networks business of Nokia Siemens Networks), Coriant America, Inc. (formerly Sycamore Networks Solutions Inc.), Openwave Mobility and Openwave Messaging.

“The ever-increasing demand for data is driving fundamental network transformation and impacting multiple segments and applications, including mobile backhaul, metro/regional optical transport and enterprise LANs,” said Pat DiPietro, an operating partner at Marlin. “Tellabs has successfully demonstrated technology innovation and market leadership in each of these areas, as well as in emerging technologies such as Software Defined Networking. The proven experience and expertise of the Tellabs team, combined with Marlin’s commitment to the market opportunity and a growing portfolio of complementary solutions, will offer Tellabs’ service provider, enterprise and government customers an enhanced value proposition today and into the future as their networks and services evolve.”

Dan Kelly, Tellabs president and CEO, added, “With Marlin as our strategic investor, we have gained a partner who not only shares our vision for advancing smart networks, but also one with deep domain experience and the financial resources to help us bring new innovations to market and expand the service and support capabilities for our long-standing customers.”

Credit Suisse and Evercore acted as financial advisors, and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP acted as legal counsel to Marlin. Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor, and Sidley Austin LLP acted as legal counsel to Tellabs.

  • Earlier this year, Marlin acquired the Optical Networks business unit of Nokia Siemens Networks as well as Sycamore Networks.  The companies were combined into Coriant, a new optical transport company headquartered in Munich, Germany.
  • FCC Approves Verizon-Vodafone Transfer Of Control

    The FCC approved the transfer of control to Verizon Communications Inc. of Vodafone Group PLC’s
    stake in Verizon Wireless.

    Verizon said the $130 billion deal is now expected to close in Q1 2014.

    Randal Milch, executive vice president – public policy and general counsel of Verizon, said: “We thank the FCC for its quick action in approving our transaction with Vodafone, which will provide Verizon with 100 percent ownership of Verizon Wireless and a boost to one of the most important sectors of the U.S. economy. This application approval also marks the first use of the streamlined foreign-ownership review procedures that the FCC adopted earlier this year, and we are grateful to the commission for its commitment to process reforms that benefit wireless carriers and the customers we serve.”

    Washington Post: NSA Tracking Cell Phone Locations

    The Washington Post reported that the NSA is collecting nearly 5 billion records a day worldwide related to mobile phone location.  Citing documents revealed by Edward Snowden, the Washington Post says that data on hundreds of millions of devices is being collected from mobile networks globally.

    inexio Deploys ADVA 100G Metro in Germany and Luxembourg

    inexio, which operates over 5,000 km of fiber routes in Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Luxembourg, Lorraine and Belgium, has deployed the ADVA 100G Metro solution for regional connectivity in Germany and Luxembourg. The network serves both enterprise and residential customers. A long-standing customer of ADVA Optical Networking and Axians, inexio has benefited from the native scalability of the ADVA FSP 3000, gradually expanding its network infrastructure with customer demand.

    “We're a company that believes in technology, that believes in trust, that believes in providing customers with the best experience possible,” said David Zimmer, managing director, inexio. “That's why we've developed such a long-term relationship with the team at ADVA Optical Networking and their partner Axians. They share our focus, our passion. Together we've built an incredibly responsive network, one that continues to meet the expectations of all our customers, whether they're enterprises seeking robust business continuity solutions or residents seeking the latest high-bandwidth connections - we provide everything they need. The ADVA 100G Metro is key to this and ensures that we have access to all the bandwidth we could want.”

    Singapore's StarHub Tests VoLTE with NSN

    Singapore's StarHub completed the first Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call based on IR.92 in a live network in Southeast Asia. The tests uses Nokia Solutions and Networks’ end-to-end approach for providing voice call services over LTE.

    Specifically, StarHub deployed NSN’s Open TAS (Telecommunications Application Server) for voice, Home Subscriber Server (HSS) and IP Multi Media Subsystem (IMS). VoLTE services are part of an existing LTE agreement that was signed between NSN and StarHub in 2012. NSN had supplied its Single RAN (Single Radio Access Network) platform based on its compact and energy-efficient Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations to enable StarHub to run GSM and LTE concurrently on the 1800 MHz band.

    “Together with our key technology partner NSN, we are committed to continually enabling innovative future-ready technologies and services to benefit StarHub’s customers,” said Chan Kin Hung, head of personal solutions at StarHub. “StarHub’s landmark VoLTE achievement today reaffirms our commitment towards delivering an unparalleled user experience to our subscribers, who will soon enjoy crystal clear voice calls in HD over StarHub’s 4G and 3G network anytime, anywhere.”

    Dell'Oro: Service Provider Core Router Market Rebounds

    After almost two years of year-over-year declines, the Service Provider Core Router market grew by seven percent in the third quarter of 2013 versus the year-ago period, according to a new report by Dell'Oro Group.

    “All major core routing vendors have recently introduced, or will soon introduce new core routing platforms with significantly increased capacity,” said Alam Tamboli, Business Analyst at Dell’Oro Group.  “We expect the confluence of these new products to drive the core router market to double-digit growth for the full-year 2014 as service providers qualify these new products for their networks,” added Tamboli.

    The top four core routing vendors:

    • #1 Cisco -- remained the number-one ranked vendor and has introduced two new core routing platforms during the past six months.
    • #2 Juniper --  new product offerings gave the company a more complete core router product portfolio and spurred year-over-year growth in the third quarter.
    • #3 Huawei -- contract wins to provide its new higher capacity router to both domestic Chinese and international service providers drove year-over-year growth.
    • #4 Alcatel-Lucent -- held fourth place with sales of its first core routing product.

    Mavenir Posts 52% YoY Jump in Revenue - First Report Since IPO

    Mavenir Systems reported Q3 revenue of $26.0 million, an increase of 52% year-over-year. GAAP net loss for the third quarter of 2013 was $(4.5) million, compared with $(3.4) million in the third quarter of 2012. GAAP gross profit margin of 47.9% in the quarter was at the high end of the expected range provided in the prospectus for the company's recent initial public offering. Non-GAAP gross profit margin was 49.0%.

    "Mavenir delivered another solid quarter, reporting revenue at the high end of our expectations. Our business momentum continued to strengthen with record quarterly revenue and an expanded customer base, both of which are a direct result of our highly differentiated technology," said Pardeep Kohli, president and chief executive officer, Mavenir Systems. "Migration to 4G LTE is accelerating, increasing the demand for our Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Rich Communication Services (RCS) products and we see a substantial market opportunity ahead of us."

    • Mavenir completed its IPO on November 7 as is now traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “MVNR”.

    Harris Broadcast to Acquire Imagine Communications for Virtualized

    Harris Broadcast agreed to acquire Imagine Communications, a supplier of digital video solutions for content providers and system operators, for an undisclosed sum.

    Imagine Communications supplies TV Everywhere transcoding that utilizes software running in a virtualized blade server environment.  The solution combines video processing, Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) transcoding and statistical multiplexing technology tp provide the bandwidth efficiency and density needed to meet the demand for TV Everywhere services.

    Harris Broadcast said this is consistent with its long-term vision for product development focused on software and commercial-off-the-shelf hardware. Imagine solutions serve digital broadcast markets as well as emerging applications such as TV Everywhere, Network DVR (nDVR), Internet/Mobile Video and IPTV.

    “Many of our content originator customers have been adding services for OTT and TV Everywhere, but have had to do so with bifurcated systems for linear and non-linear services,” said Charlie Vogt, Harris Broadcast CEO. “This acquisition enables Harris Broadcast to take a leadership position in the OTT and TV Everywhere market, while laying the foundation for the first true software defined integration of sales, scheduling, automation, playout and delivery across both linear and non-linear content distribution networks. Additionally, through this acquisition, we will expand our R&D and innovation initiatives, strengthen our encoding, transcoding and ABR market position, and increase our total global addressable market.”

    Imagine Communications was founded in 2005 and is based in San Diego.

    Vello Systems Adds to its Management Team

    Vello Systems announced two key hires:  Alan McKee, VP – Engineering and Jeff Paine, VP – Marketing.

    Before joining Vello, McKee was Vice President of Engineering at Intelliden, where he led the product engineering efforts for Intelliden’s award winning R-Series software suite. McKee helped guide Intelliden’s successful acquisition by IBM Tivoli in 2010, where he stayed on to lead the network configuration products for the organization.

    Jeff Paine, Vice President of Marketing, has more than 20 years of experience as a high-tech marketing and business development executive. His previous assignments include pre-IPO Cisco Systems, New Zealand-based Endace (recently acquired by Emulex), Vividas and UTStarcom.

    • Last month, Vello Systems confirmed that Pacnet is building a pan-Asia Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform using Vello’s Connectivity Exchange software and OpenStack from Mirantis.  Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN) will provide carriers and large enterprises with the ability to provision network bandwidth on-demand across the Pacnet undersea cable system.  VellOS Connectivity Exchange also provides Pacnet with "intelligent overprovisioning."  Vello said this ensures that expensive WAN links between countries and data centers are always fully utilized and monetized via software control of data flows associated with tiered SLAs.

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    Google Compute Engine Enters G.A. Status with 99.95% Uptime SLA

    Google announced general availability status for cloud computing services running on its data center infrastructure.

    Google Compute Engine offers virtual machines with 24/7 support, 99.95% monthly SLA, and pricing/performance/scalability that the company says beats its cloud competitors.

    Google Compute Engine supports any out-of-the-box Linux distribution (including Debian, Centos, SELinux, CoreOS, SUSE, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux ) as well as any kernel or software, such as Docker, FOG, xfs and aufs. The service offers a number of memory and CPU configurations with up to 16 cores and 104 GB of RAM.

    Google is also lowering the pricing of its  Persistent Disk service by 60% per Gigabyte and dropping I/O charges.

    Microsoft Expands its Dublin Data Center Complex

    Microsoft announced plans to invest €170 million to expand its data center campus near Dublin, Ireland.  The expansion will add 15,700 square meters (169,000 square feet) of floor space, bringing the facility to approximately 54,000 square meters (581,000 square feet).

    Microsoft's Dublin data center serves the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, delivering cloud services such as Office 365, Bing, Skype, Xbox Live and Windows Azure.

    Microsoft claims a 1.25 power usage effectiveness (PUE), thanks to the cool climate.  It also uses 99% less water for cooling purposes than conventional architecture.

    The Dublin data center has been operational since July 2009.

    • In March 2011, Microsoft opened the €5.3 million European Cloud & Interoperability Center (CIC) in Brussels – designed to drive innovation and economic growth across Europe through business use of cloud computing.

    Bell Labs Forecasts 560% Growth in Metro Traffic by 2017

    Data traffic on metro access and aggregation networks is set to increase by 560 percent by 2017, according to a new study by Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs.  The researchers predict that by 2017 more than 75 percent of that traffic will stay in metro networks, as compared to 57 percent today.

    Some highlight of the "Metro Network Traffic Growth: An Architecture Impact Study”:

    • Traffic from video services will skyrocket by as much as 720 percent by 2017.
    • Cloud and data center traffic - consumer connections to data centers and interconnection between data centers - will increase more than 440 percent by 2017.
    • Combined, video and data center traffic are the key drivers to the overall forecast increase of 560 percent traffic growth in the metro.
    • Total Metro traffic will grow approximately two times faster than traffic going into the backbone network by 2017.
    • By 2017, 75 percent of total traffic will terminate within the metro network and 25 percent of traffic will traverse the backbone network as video, data and web content is increasingly sourced from within metro networks.

    The 12-page paper is online.

    Crehan: Modular Ethernet Switches Propel Data Center Growth

    Strong shipment and revenue growth in the modular or chassis-based segment propelled the data center Ethernet switch market to new highs in 3Q13, according to a report from Crehan Research. The report shows that after some past underperformance compared to other major data center Ethernet switch segments, modular data center switches posted a second consecutive quarter of robust growth. According to the report, Cisco continues to hold a strong market share leadership position in this segment on the strength of its current flagship modular data center Ethernet switch, the Nexus 7000.

    "A strong upgrade cycle in server access Ethernet switches has driven demand for modular Ethernet switches in data-center network aggregation and core deployments,” said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “Furthermore, a recent flurry of exciting new product introductions with attractive throughput, pricing and port densities in conjunction with software-defined feature sets has reinvigorated interest in this segment," he said. "These modular data center product introductions include Arista’s 7300X and 7500E, Cisco’s Nexus 7700 and 9500, HP’s FlexFabric 11900 and 12900 and Juniper’s EX9200 core switch."

    With its mid-year long-range data center switch forecast, Crehan predicted that these types of next-gen product introductions would start to drive data center networking beyond the current 10 gigabit era.

    Congressmen Call for Updates to Communications Act

    It's time to examine and update the Communications Act of 1996, said U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) in a Google Hangout.

    "Today we are launching a multi-year effort to examine our nation’s communications laws and update them for the Internet era,” explained Upton. “The United States has been the global leader in innovation and growth of the Internet, but unfortunately, our communications laws have failed to keep pace. Throughout the recent economic downturn and recovery, the communications and technology sectors have remained stalwarts of our national economy - providing services that consumers demand while investing, innovating, and producing the high-quality jobs that all Americans strive for. We must ensure that our laws make sense for today but are also ready for the innovations of tomorrow.”

    “When the Communications Act was updated almost 18 years ago, no one could have dreamed of the many innovations and advancements that make the Internet what it is today. Written during the Great Depression and last updated when 56 kilobits per second via dial-up modem was state of the art, the Communications Act is now painfully out of date,” said Walden. “We plan to look at the Communications Act and all of the changes that have been made piecemeal over the last 89 years and ask the simple question: ‘Is this working for today’s communications marketplace?’ Our goal is to make sure this critical sector of our economy thrives because of the laws around it, not in spite of them.”


    Australia's Nexgen Tests Alcatel-Lucent's 400G Transmission

    Australian network services provider Nextgen tested Alcatel-Lucent's 400 Gbps data transmission over an existing optical link carrying live network traffic. The trial was conducted over a 350 kilometer route between Sydney and Canberra using Nextgen’s newly commissioned high-capacity 100G transport network delivering services up to 100 Gbps. The trial was Alcatel-Lucent’s first 400G DWDM demonstration in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The trial used Alcatel-Lucent’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch PSS with the 400G Photonic Service Engine (PSE).  Alcatel-Lucent said its optical solution trial demonstrated Agile Optical Networking with adaptive 100G/200G/400G transmission on a live network.  The live optical channel successfully adapting to different speeds, distances and spectrum.

    Sean O’Halloran, Alcatel-Lucent Australia President and Managing Director, said:  “Alcatel-Lucent’s success with Nextgen is the latest in a series of successful 400G trials conducted this year in Europe and North America.  It was our first 400G DWDM demo in the Asia-Pacific region and, unlike those of our competitors, it was carried out over a live network. We’re very proud of our role keeping Nextgen and its customers at the forefront of the network technology developments that will support new service innovation and demand growth.”

    DE-CIX Leases NYC Fiber from OCG for Distributed Internet Exchange

    Optical Communications Group (OCG) will provide a dark fiber backbone for DE-CIX New York, which is building a distributed Internet Exchange consisting of five Points of Presence (PoPs) across the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area.

    The agreement includes a service location at 325 Hudson, the carrier-neutral core interconnection facility strategically located on New York City's fiber-dense crossroads of Hudson Street and the Holland Tunnel.

    "OCG has provided us with a dark fiber ring that covers all key facilities for DE-CIX New York," explains Nipper. "Using the same robust setup we have used in Frankfurt for years, our initial backbone design will provide up to 320 Gbps of capacity that can be upgraded to support numerous terabits per second as demand dictates," stated DE-CIX CTO Arnold Nipper.

    ASSIA Prevails in Patent Case Versus BT

    The High Court of Justice in London ruled that two patents on DSL management technologies held by ASSIA are valid and that British Telecom infringes one of the patents. The court determined that BT uses ASSIA’s patented DSL management technology in BT’s Next Generation Access (“NGA”) network.

    The two patents in the case, EP (UK) 1,869,790 and EP (UK) 2,259,495, describe inventions fundamental to dynamic monitoring and automatic optimization of DSL networks.

    "As a software developer, ASSIA’s principal business is to deliver our award-winning products and services to customers,” ASSIA CTO Marc Goldburg said.   “We attempted for years to work with BT in this spirit.    When it became clear that BT was using ASSIA’s technology without a license and was not willing to license ASSIA’s technology or products, it became necessary to bring this patent infringement claim.”

    Broadcom Intros Residential Gateway with Small Cell Functionality

    Broadcom announced an integrated gateway platform for small cell deployment in emerging markets.

    The new platform combines Broadcom's BCM61630 single-chip solution with Alcatel-Lucent's widely-deployed small cells software for Ultra-Broadband Access.  It includes digital baseband processor and RF transceiver, enabling small cells to be built straight into DSL, cable or fiber-fed home gateways.

    Key features include:

    • Highly integrated CMOS device
    • Second generation in Broadcom's line of WCDMA femtocell access point SoCs
    • High HSPA data rates with maximum throughput at up to 21.6 Mbps
    • Advanced SON and sniffing capabilities without addition of external components
    • Highly integrated multiband RF and soft GPS receiver enable ultra-low power and lowest cost bill of materials.

    "Our integrated gateway platform combines the best of both worlds. By bringing together our hardware and wireless connectivity expertise with Alcatel-Lucent's leadership in small cells, operators now have the option to deliver advanced connectivity to customers in emerging markets," said Greg Fischer, Broadcom Vice President and General Manager, Broadband Carrier Access. "Together, we are driving the next generation of converged, flexible and smarter networks."