Thursday, December 5, 2013

IBM Refines its Cloud Consulting Practice

IBM is expanding its Cloud Consulting Services portfolio with customizable options and a number of fast-start industry solutions delivered as a service for cloud-based applications.

IBM said this new strategy contrasts with the current "one size fits all" approach that most cloud providers offer when migrating businesses onto the cloud.

The fast-start industry solutions, which are hosted on a private cloud using SoftLayer and offered as a managed service through IBM Global Business Services, are designed for rapid deployment, implementation and experimentation in vertical industries – such as banking, insurance, retail, telecom and energy and utilities.

One example is the IBM Insurance Service Hub Cloud – a communication platform on the cloud that connects health insurance companies with multiple data providers such as clinics and physicians, as well as customers via their mobile devices.  Managed and hosted by IBM, the Insurance Service Hub Cloud replaces the traditional bilateral paper-based data exchange with digital information delivered in one standardized interface.

"Delivering more personalized services to customers with greater speed is a significant priority for businesses today," said Sanjay Rishi, Managing Partner, IBM Cloud Consulting Services. "In the era of cloud, the agenda of front office decision makers places a premium on flexibility and the ability to experiment. With these new cloud offerings, IBM will help front office leaders rapidly deploy business content for business value."

IBM noted that since 2007 it has invested more than $6 billion in acquisitions to accelerate its cloud initiatives.

IBM to Acquire SoftLayer for Cloud Services

IBM agreed to acquire SoftLayer Technologies, which operates 13 data centers in the United States, Asia and Europe.  Financial terms were not disclosed. Bloomberg valued the deal at about $2 billion. SoftLayer allows clients to buy enterprise-class cloud services on dedicated or shared servers, offering clients a choice of where to deploy their applications. The company is based in Dallas, Texas, and serves approximately 21,000 customers....

Verizon Cloud Implements Virtualized Traffic and Security with F5

F5 Networks confirmed that its BIG-IP product suite is providing network traffic and security management services for the new Verizon Cloud.

Specifically, Verizon embedded F5’s suite of application services into Verizon Cloud Compute, its new infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform. As part of this solution, F5’s BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager connects isolated environments and intelligently directs users to the best-performing data center to maintain high application performance. In addition, Verizon Cloud utilizes the advanced capabilities of BIG-IP Access Policy Manager® that allow for consistent deployment and enforcement of the policies governing security. These capabilities enable enterprises to confidently take advantage of the benefits Verizon Cloud has to offer.

Enterprises using Verizon Cloud can maintain consolidated security credentials to access business applications and networks globally. The companies said this use of network functions virtualization (NFV) demonstrates the core vision of the Verizon cloud, allowing clients to deploy best-of-breed, enterprise-ready virtual appliances that provide high levels of security, configurability, and flexibility to meet their demanding enterprise workloads.

“Verizon Cloud provides the availability, performance, and security enterprises demand from cloud services, and F5 is core to delivering those,” said John Considine, CTO at Verizon Terremark. “F5 was able to provision the components to support the dynamic scale and software-deployed management Verizon Cloud required to meet the needs of businesses adopting cloud today.”

“Helping customers effectively, securely, and efficiently combine application services and cloud environments—regardless of the specific makeup of their infrastructures—is a top priority for us,” said Karl Triebes, EVP of Product Development and CTO at F5. “Verizon Cloud demonstrates how organizations can use flexible, enterprise-class technologies to seamlessly and safely extend their applications to the cloud. With F5’s Software Defined Application Services, customers like Verizon can easily configure how optimization, security, and availability services are employed, tailoring environments to meet the needs of their business and cloud initiatives.”

In October, Verizon introduced its new cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform and cloud-based object storage service, saying its ambition is to fundamentally change how public clouds are built so that large enterprises, mid-size companies and small development shops can get the agility and economic benefit of a generic public cloud along with the reliability and scale of an enterprise-level service. 

Video: Procera's Deep Packet Inspection Software Engine

Procera Networks' Network Application Visibility Library (NAVL) features next-generation Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, providing real-time, Layer-7 application classification and metadata extraction for network traffic. NAVL uses a combination of deep packet inspection and application classification techniques to deliver industry leading coverage and accuracy of network traffic. 

NAVL is delivered as an OEM Software Development Kit (SDK) to dramatically reduce the time, cost and complexity of adding DPI technology and true Layer-7 application intelligence to your networking infrastructure device.   See video:

Verizon Wireless Marks 3 Years Since LTE Launch

Verizon Wireless marked the three year anniversary of the launch of its LTE network (05-Dec-2010).

The Verizon LTE network now extends to over 500 markets across the U.S., covering a population of 303 million in 50 states. With its initial rollout complete, Verizon Wireless is now adding Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum capacity nationwide.

During Q3 2013, Verizon Wireless added 6.8 million LTE devices, bringing its total to 36 million LTE devices on-net and representing 37.8% of its base.  Over 64% of total data traffic was riding the LTE network in Q3.

Reliance Globalcom Upgrades Trans-Atlantic Cable with Ciena’s GeoMesh

Reliance Globalcom has upgraded its FA-1 North submarine cable system with 100G wavelengths using Ciena’s converged packet optical and GeoMesh solution.  The undersea network now supports low-latency OTN and 100GbE client services between London and New York with greater capacity to meet soaring bandwidth demand.

The upgrade complements Reliance Globalcom’s deployment of Ciena’s GeoMesh technology on its FA-1 South submarine network that links New York to Paris, allowing the provider to offer additional capacity on two diverse routes across the Atlantic. Reliance Globalcom can now support trans-Atlantic OTN-based client services from 10Gb/s to 100Gb/s across its FA-1 North network link. Additionally, under Reliance Globalcom’s recently launched Optical Wave Service, 100GbE/OTU-4 services can also be provided between continental points of presence (PoPs) in London and New York.

Ciena’s GeoMesh solution are built on its 6500 Packet-Optical Platform powered by WaveLogic coherent optical processors. Additionally, Ciena highlighted the programmability of its WaveLogic technology to meet differentiated service and latency requirements, carrying traditional SDH/DWDM as well as OTN-based applications over the same platform.

"Growing requirements for access speed in broadband Internet, the digitalization of information, and cloud-based applications continue to drive the need for bandwidth demand. By making strategic upgrades with market-leading technologies such as those provided by Ciena, we are ensuring that we meet this demand in a highly-efficient and cost-effective manner, while providing a superior service experience to our customers. This deployment further builds upon a long-standing relationship with Ciena to support Reliance Globalcom’s strategic capacity upgrades on its submarine network," stated Punit Garg, President and CEO, Reliance Globalcom.

Hong Kong's CSL Readies VoLTE with ZTE

Hong Kong's CSL has activated VoLTE in its network using ZTE's 4G and IMS solutions.  The full commercial launch is expected to take place in the first half of 2014.

ZTE’s IMS solution supports eSRVCC (enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity), delivering smooth handovers between voice calls on 4G and 3G networks for CSL’s VoLTE service. Customers can also access CSL’s 4G mobile data services simultaneously, while conducting VoLTE calls ensuring improved usability and a high-quality experience. Customers will also be able to enjoy faster call setup speeds compared with 3G.

“We have worked closely with CSL to deliver this state of the art VoLTE service to its customers, and will continue to maintain CSL’s leading network position for the Hong Kong market,” said Shi Lirong, President of ZTE.

AT&T and Bharti Airtel Sign MPLS Network Agreement

AT&T and Bharti Airtel signed a Network-to-Network Interconnect (NNI) agreement that will give AT&T customers access to more than 100 cities across India via Bharti Airtel’s more than 130 MPLS-enabled IP Network nodes.

AT&T previously operated 8 MPLS network nodes in India (Delhi / National Capital Region, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad).

HP's Sarwar Raza to Head ONF's Northbound Interfaces Working Group

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has appointed Sarwar Raza, director of Cloud Networking and SDN in the Advanced Technology Group within the Networking organization at HP, as chairperson of the Northbound Interfaces (NBI) Working Group.

The NBI Working Group was established in October 2013 and is designed to develop information models for NBIs, validated by prototyping and gaining end-user feedback on selected examples with real code.

“ONF began its work on Northbound Interfaces in 2012 as part of the Architecture and Framework Working Group’s study of existing SDN NBI use cases and controller Northbound Interfaces,” said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation. “Since that time the number of approaches to the Northbound Interface has mushroomed to more than 20 and we have catalogued NBIs at many latitudes and longitudes. The profusion has created a confusion of programmatic interfaces that network-service vendors, orchestration systems, and application developers must write to in order to serve diverse SDN use cases. We are taking the lead in helping end users, operators, and programmers better understand what NBIs serve what needs, and we welcome the collaboration of other standards bodies, industry forums, and open source communities to jointly develop and implement these interfaces.”

Initial information modeling for the NBI Working Group will be completed in 2014.

Swiss Researchers Announce Breakthrough in Optical Efficiency

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have discovered a way to increase the capacity of fiber optic cables by optimizing the shape of each photonic pulse.

The breakthrough produces "Nyquist sinc pulses" almost perfectly. The pulses have a pointed shape, which enables them "to fit together tightly like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle." By reducing the spacing between pulses, more data can be transmitted in the same period.  The researchers claim a 10X improvement in throughput using a simple laser and modulator to generate a pulse that is more than 99% perfect.

"These pulses have a shape that's more pointed, making it possible to fit them together, a little bit like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle lock together," says Camille Brès of the Photonics Systems Laboratory (PHOSL). "There is of course some interference, but not at the locations where we actually read the data."

Windows Azure Expands in Brazil

Microsoft launched a Windows Azure Region in Brazil.

Brazilian customers will experience reduced latency for Windows Azure cloud services.  They will also have the ability to keep all of their data within the national borders of Brazil.  Microsoft's Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) can ensure three copies of customer data are replicated inside the country.

Equinix Opens Osaka Data Center

Equinix is continuing its expansion with the opening of a new data center in Osaka, Japan.

The new carrier-neutral facility - called OS1 — was opened in partnership with K-Opticom, one of the largest access providers in the Osaka/Kansai area, and Kanden Energy Solutions (KENES) with support from O-BIC, an Osaka government agency that supports foreign-owned companies establishing businesses in the region.

The first phase of OS1 will offer an initial 320 cabinets, expanding to over 800 in 2014. Customers inside OS1 will have access to more than 950 domestic and international carriers, establishing Osaka as a global network hub by directly connecting to Dojima, the network core in Osaka.

“The opening of our first data center in Osaka with the support of K-Opticom, KENES and O-BIC allows our customers around the globe with a diversity of networks and connectivity options in Osaka, driving synergies with our Tokyo operations. With the two key hubs in Japan, cloud, content and network providers, as well as financial services firms, can access the broadest choice of networks in the region, enabling them to rapidly and cost effectively expand their business, while better serving their international customers,” stated Kei Furuta, managing director of Equinix Japan.

  • In August 2013, Equinix opened of its fourth International Business Exchange (IBX) data center in Japan, located in Ōtemachi, Tokyo. The new data center has a total capacity of 750 cabinet equivalents with 450 cabinets available in the first phase. Equinix said the facility is an earthquake-resistant building in one of the most secure locations in Tokyo with multiple anti-disaster measures.

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.”

    See also