Friday, December 13, 2013

Nimble Storage Rockets Ahead in IPO

On their first day of trading, shares in Nimble Storage  (NYSE: NMBL) rocketed up 62% from the initial price of $21 to close at $33.93, or $168 million for the company.

The company raised $168 million by selling 8 million shares.

  • Nimble, which is based in San Jose, California, supplies flash-optimized hybrid storage solutions. The company is headed by Suresh Vasuden, who previously servedd as CEO of Omneon (acquired by Harmonic), and as a senior executive at NetApp for over 10 years where he led the company's product strategy and development.

VMware Updates its Cloud Management Solutions

VMware releases updated software versions of its its vCloud Automation Center 6.0, vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 and IT Business Management Suite.

VMware has also updated the automation and management capabilities of its vCloud Suite 5.5.

“Providing cloud management solutions that simplify and automate how IT is managed is key to helping our customers on their journey to deliver IT-as-a-Service,” said Ramin Sayar, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Management, VMware. “With the availability of new products and enhancements across our management portfolio, customers can take advantage of the business opportunities that exist whether it’s increasing business agility, enabling cost transparency of IT services or expanding to the hybrid cloud.”

Some highlights:

  • VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0 offers a self-service catalog for requesting and managing all types of IT services across multiple clouds and platforms to on-demand access to any service and reducing time to value. Additionally, the product enables rapid application delivery, including application release automation and support for DevOps automation tools, through the incorporation of VMware vCloud Application Director.
  • VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite 5.8 extends visibility and insight into the performance of applications running on Microsoft Hyper-V and Amazon Web Services. This latest release also offers improved performance analytics for a broad range of storage arrays and business critical applications including Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server.
  • VMware IT Business Management Suite 1.0 Standard edition is a new product that allows infrastructure and business stakeholders to quickly understand the cost and consumption of their virtual infrastructure across private and public cloud environments. VMware IT Business Management Suite 8.0 Advanced and Enterprise editions introduce additional persona-based dashboards tailored to the CIO, CFO of IT, IT project managers and line-of-business owners.

IBM Patents Secure Virtual Machine Launcher for Mobiles

IBM was awarded a U.S. patent for a technique that prevents mobile devices from accessing software code that has been maliciously or inadvertently modified after it was encrypted.

U.S. Patent #8,341,747, "Method to provide a secure virtual machine launcher," provides security controls that restrict and prevent access to apps unless their original, previously encrypted code remains unchanged and uncompromised. IBM said its patented security mechanism will prevent an an app from running if it has been modified after being encrypted.

"This patented invention will help organizations confidently and securely embrace the advantages of a mobile workforce while remaining protected against malicious content or intent," said Andrew Cornwall, inventor and mobile software developer, IBM. "Our technique helps businesses prevent altered apps from running and unleashing their wrath on businesses, their networks and their customers."

Sonus to Acquire Performance Technologies for Virtualized Diameter Signaling Controller

Sonus Networks agreed to acquire Performance Technologies, a supplier of advanced, high availability network communications solutions, for $3.75 per share in cash, or approximately $30 million, net of PT’s cash and excluding acquisition-related costs.

PT brings an integrated, virtualized Diameter and SIP-based solution that enables service providers to offer new multimedia services through mobile, cloud-based, real-time communications. Its SEGway signaling products includes Diameter Signaling Controllers (DSC), which anchor the authentication, authorization and accounting messages sent across mobile networks.

Sonus said the Diameter Signaling Controller (DSC) market, which is expected to grow in coming years, is a natural extension of the Session Border Controller (SBC) market. SBCs and DSCs both serve as points of entry into core IP networks by providing security, admission control, intelligent routing and interworking capabilities.  PT’s SEGway Universal Diameter Routers and SS7 Signaling Systems provide tightly integrated signaling and advanced routing that span mission-critical demands of both existing and next-generation 4G/LTE and IMS networks.  Additionally, PT’s IPnexus Multi-Protocol Gateways and Servers enable a broad range of IP-interworking in data acquisition, sensor, radar and control applications for aviation, weather and other similar infrastructure networks. Providing an integrated, virtualized Diameter and SIP-based solution will enable Sonus to offer a more strategic value proposition to service providers seeking to deliver new multimedia services through mobile, Cloud-based, real-time communications.

“Today’s mobile broadband traffic nearly eclipses all Internet activity from just a decade ago, driving the necessity for intelligent and capable Diameter Signaling Controllers that will allow mobile operators to efficiently deploy 4G/LTE,” said Raymond P. Dolan, president and chief executive officer of Sonus.  “The combination of Sonus and PT allows us to address this significant opportunity by bringing together unique and complementary technologies in wireless and wireline network intelligence, thereby expanding our addressable market by 50% and advancing our mobility and virtualization strategies.  The transaction enhances Sonus’ best-in-class portfolio, further enabling service providers and enterprises to deliver on the promise of real-time communications.”

“Over our thirty-two year history, PT has been recognized for providing mission-critical solutions built on leading-edge technologies designed and supported by some of the best talent in our industry,” said John M. Slusser, president and chief executive officer of PT.  “The agreement with Sonus provides substantial value to our stockholders as the premium represents an approximately 25% per share premium to our closing stock price as of December 12, 2013."

  • PT is based in Rochester, NY.

Qualcomm Names Steve Mollenkopf CEO and President

Qualcomm named Steve Mollenkopf as its next CEO, succeeding Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, who remains Executive Chairman of the Board. Mollenkopf will continue to serve as the company's President, and will take over full CEO responsibilities effective March 4, 2014, following Qualcomm's 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

Mollenkopf has been at Qualcomm for nearly 20 years, serving in a variety of leadership positions including leading the chipset business (QCT). Under Mollenkopf, Qualcomm became the world's largest mobile chipset supplier, the global leader in LTE, and also completed the $3.1 billion acquisition of Atheros, its largest acquisition to date. Most recently, he served as Qualcomm's president and chief operating officer and as a member of the executive committee, helping to drive Qualcomm's overall global strategy.

"Qualcomm's board of directors is responsible for ensuring the continuity of the Company's senior leadership and that the executive team possesses the experience, skills and character required to achieve the Company's goals. With today's announcement, we enable a smooth transition to a proven executive in Steve Mollenkopf, while providing for ongoing executive guidance and Board-level leadership from Paul Jacobs. Qualcomm's Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Steve Mollenkopf to the board of directors and his transition to CEO.  We have the highest degree of confidence that his leadership will further expand Qualcomm's impressive record of innovation and continued stockholder value creation," said Sherry Lansing, Presiding Director of Qualcomm's Board of Directors and chair of its Governance Committee. 

Infonetics: SON Software Sales to Hit $5 Billion by 2017

The global mobile network optimization and self-organizing network (SON) market is on track to grow 13% in 2013, down from a 17% annual growth rate in 2012, according to a new report from Infonetics.

“Self-organizing networks (SON) remain baked in LTE, but as an evolutionary 3GGP technology, SON will continue to evolve, offering more and more advanced features. So deploying SON for 3G optimization – with the zero-touch network as the long-term goal – is something that’s natural and logical for many operators,” notes Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.

A few notes from the report:

  • In a large majority of cases, 3G network optimization, rather than LTE alone, is a key driver for using SON
  • Over 80% of mobile operators worldwide are using SON for 3G/HSPA/HSPA+ optimization
  • Centralized SON (C-SON) is predominant in optimization schemes
  • The burgeoning SON segment of the market tripled in 2012
  • Infonetics forecasts optimization and SON software to grow to nearly $5 billion by 2017.

Cisco Looks to Add R&D Jobs in Ontario, Canada

Cisco and the Province of Ontario, Canada have signed a 10-year agreement under which Cisco aims to add up to 1,700 high tech jobs in Ontario with a focus on R&D within the first six years.

The agreement also includes a framework with the potential to grow Cisco’s total Ontario employee footprint up to 5,000 by 2024, reflecting a potential total investment of up to $4 billion, including $2.2 billion in salaries alone.  The Province of Ontario will provide up to $220 million in support of the total initiative.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cisco Resets Long-term Growth Forecast to 3-6%

In its annual financial analyst conference, Cisco reset its long-term forecast to 3-6% annual growth over the next 3-5 years, down from the 5-7% range it had long held.  The long-term earnings per share growth forecast was also lowered to 5-7% from the previous target range of 7-%

Cisco executives cited historic transformations underway in the networking business as well as persistent challenges in emerging markets, such as Russia and Brazil, and ongoing issues in China.

Cisco's core switching and routing business is expected to remain flat to up 1% over the 3-5 year horizon, said CEO John Chambers and Chief Financial Officer Frank Calderoni.

Some reporter notes from the webcast:

  • Areas of relative strength include data center, wireless, security and switching business.
  • Areas of relative weakness include sales in emerging markets, sales to Service Providers, and product transitions in routing and switching. Cisco continues to see macroeconomic uncertainty and difficult Service Provider market dynamics as ongoing headwinds.
  • In its last quarterly call, Cisco forecast that sales for this quarter will be down 8-10% down on a YoY basis.
  • Major growth drivers for Cisco going forward are cloud, mobility, security, services, software and the Internet of Everything.  Cisco has recently announced its Application Centric Infrastructure for next-generation data centers.
  • Cisco believes its main competitors continue to lack breadth and fail to define a total solution architecture.
  • Cisco will increase R&D spending in growth areas, including data center, mobility, security and services.
  • Cisco believes the SDN market will play out to its advantage because it will be necessary to embrace a full application-centric infrastructure to really deliver fast network programmability.
  • Cisco believes that network architecture is fundamental to its competitive differentiation.  Architectures are defined by ASICs + Software + Hardware + Services. Core routing and switching remain the foundation for Cisco.
  • Cisco believes there will be no "whitebox" SDN cost advantage compared with its branded switch with integrated hw/sf.
  • Since launching its Nexus 9000 switch five weeks ago, a pipeline of about 300 customers has developed.  Most deals are in the $100K to $1 million range.
  • Cisco's last 13 acquisitions have been in the software or cloud space.
  • Today, cloud infrastructure and services represent about 8% of the overall $2.056 trillion total IT market.  By 2017, Cisco expects cloud infrastructure and services to represent 14% of the market, which is expected to be in the $2.4 trillion range for total IT spending.  This means the total addressable market for Cisco Cloud products and services is $42 billion by 2017, compared to current Cisco sales of $22 billion for cloud products/services in 2013.
  • Hardware accounts for less than 30% of data center infrastructure spending. Labor, software and energy costs make up the rest.
  • Cisco believes the Internet of Everything will be the next big trend representing a multi-trillion dollar opportunity.
  • Cisco will strive to be more of  "services-led company" but is not transitioning into a service
  • Cisco continues to have a strong balance sheet.
  • Regarding the ongoing NSA scandal and its potential impact on Cisco in emerging markets, Chambers reiterated that Cisco does not design any unique capabilities into its products for any government and it does not give anybody access to its code. He said the NSA situation is continuing to have an impact in one market (China), but that talking to customers about security in other emerging market is just part of the sales cycle.

Archived materials from the full-day conference are online.

U.S. Mobile Operators Agree to Device Unlocking

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless agreed to adopt a voluntary set of six principles for unlocking of consumers’ mobile phones and tablets.

Key principles:

1. Disclosure of unlocking policies to consumers. Carriers agree to make their policies on postpaid and prepaid unlocking of mobile devices easy to understand and accessible.

2. Postpaid Unlocking.  Upon request, carriers will unlock mobile wireless mobile devices or provide information to consumers to unlock their devices.

3. Prepaid unlocking policy. Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.

4. Notice. Carriers that lock devices will clearly notify customers that their devices are eligible for unlocking at the time when their devices are eligible for unlocking or automatically unlock devices remotely without additional fee. Carriers reserve the right to charge non-customers or former-customers a reasonable fee for unlocking requests.

5. Response time. Carrier will unlock eligible mobile devices within two business days of receiving a request.

6. Deployed personnel unlocking policy.  Carriers will unlock wireless devices for deployed military personnel who are customers in good standing..

Carriers reserve the right to decline an unlocking request if they believe the request is fraudulent or stolen.

Dell's Cloud Partner Program Welcomes Windows Azure

Dell has extended its Cloud Partner Program to include Microsoft's Windows Azure services.

Under a newly expanded strategic alliance with Microsoft, Dell will offer customers a central point of solution integration, control and direct support, lessening the complexity and challenges of deploying cloud environments.

“At the heart of Dell’s Cloud strategy are customer choice and flexibility, the underlying reasons driving our continued expansion of the Dell Cloud Partner Program and our open, scalable cloud solutions and services across Dell,” said Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president, Dell Software Strategy, Operations and Cloud. “The evolution of our Windows Azure alliance combined with Dell’s end-to-end solutions, services and support will help Dell customers globally truly reap the benefits of cloud to achieve tangible business results.”

Dell Cloud Manager will support Windows Azure Compute as well as Windows Azure Storage. 

Dell's Cloud Partner Program Welcomes the Google Cloud

Dell will promote the Google Cloud Platform and its compute, storage and application services to developers and businesses worldwide through the Dell Cloud Partner Program beginning next year.

“Putting the power of cloud in our customers’ hands – and giving them the choice and flexibility to pursue the right cloud for their unique needs – will not only help individual businesses thrive, but collectively it will drive the whole technology industry forward to a new era of innovation,” said Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president, Dell Software Strategy, Operations and Cloud.

“Combining over 15 years of technical innovation and datacenter expertise at Google with Dell’s business and integration solutions will enable new ways for customers to take advantage of the benefits of cloud,” said Shailesh Rao, Head of Google Cloud Platform, Google.

Google Cloud Platform gives developers with access to Google Compute Engine (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), App Engine (Platform-as-a-Service), storage and APIs, developers and business can easily deploy applications into a highly scalable public cloud environment for their specific needs.

Dell and Red Hat Team on OpenStack Private Clouds

Dell and Red Hat agree to jointly develop enterprise-grade, private cloud solutions based on OpenStack.

Under the deal, Dell becomes the first company to OEM Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. The co-engineered solution will be built on Dell infrastructure and Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. The solution will be delivered by a Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform practice within Dell Cloud Services.

The companies also will contribute code to the OpenStack community and collaborate on Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 4, currently in beta, which integrates OpenStack Havana, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5. In addition, Dell plans to work closely with Red Hat on several future-state projects including:

OpenStack Networking (Neutron) to enable Software-Defined Networking and Networking-as-a-Service between interface devices such as virtual network interface cards, and
OpenStack Telemetry (Ceilometer) to provide OpenStack resource instrumentation, which can help support service monitoring and customer billing systems.

Lastly, Dell is joining the Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Network as an Alliance Partner.

Nimble Storage Raises $168 Million in IPO

Nimble Storage priced an initial public offering of 8 million shares at $21, or $168 million for the company.

Shares will begin trading on the NYSE under the symbol NMBL on Dec. 13.

  • Nimble, which is based in San Jose, California, supplies flash-optimized hybrid storage solutions. The company is headed by Suresh Vasuden, who previously servedd as CEO of Omneon (acquired by Harmonic), and as a senior executive at NetApp for over 10 years where he led the company's product strategy and development.

Australia's NBN Co Appoints Bill Morrow as CEO

Australia's NBN Co named Bill Morrow as its new CEO.

Bill Morrow has headed up Vodafone Australia since March 2012. Previously, he was Chief Executive of Clearwire Incorporated and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. He is a former Europe Chief Executive with Vodafone Group and has run the Group's businesses in Japan and the UK.

Morrow’s appointment by the Board of NBN Co comes as the company lays out the framework for delivering very fast broadband to Australian homes and businesses sooner and at less cost to taxpayers than previously was the case. The new approach is contained in the Strategic Review of the NBN which the company presenting to the Government.

Ciena Posts Q4 Revenue of $583.4 Million

Ciena reported Q4 revenue of $583.4 million as compared to $465.5 million for the fiscal fourth quarter 2012. For fiscal year 2013, Ciena reported revenue of $2.1 billion, as compared to $1.8 billion for fiscal year 2012.  Net loss (GAAP) for the fiscal fourth quarter 2013 was $(9.8) million, or $(0.09) per common share, which compares to a GAAP net loss of $(38.8) million, or $(0.39) per common share, for the fiscal fourth quarter 2012.

“Fiscal 2013 was a strong year for Ciena, with industry-leading revenue growth, record backlog, increased market share, and a three-fold improvement in adjusted operating profit over last year,” said Gary Smith, president and CEO of Ciena. “This performance validates the strategic market differentiation we’ve established with our OPn architecture, our unique approach to customer engagement, and our continued technology innovation. These differentiators will help us continue to grow revenue and increase operating leverage in 2014.”

Some notes:

  • Non-U.S. customers contributed 44.1% of total revenue.
  • One customer represented a total of 16.5% of revenue.
  • Cash and investments totaled $486.5 million.
  • Cash flow from operations totaled $3.6 million.
  • Average days' sales outstanding (DSOs) were 75.

Ciena to Transfer to from NASDAQ to NYSE

Ciena will transfer the listing of its common stock from NASDAQ to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 23, 2013, under its current ticker symbol "CIEN". The company will continue to trade on the NASDAQ until the transfer is complete.

China Telecom Picks ALU to Support LTE-TDD and LTE-FDD in 12 provinces

Alcatel-Lucent confirmed that China Telecom has chosen it as one of the top three suppliers for its network infrastructure operating in both the LTE TDD and FDD modes.

Specifically, China Telecom has selected Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio LTE Radio Access Network (RAN) as a key piece of its new nationwide ultra-broadband mobile access network.  Alcatel-Lucent will provide 9,892 base stations as one of the top three suppliers for China Telecom's deployment of LTE-TDD and LTE-FDD technologies in 12 provinces in China.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

China Mobile to Deploy ALU's Small Cells in TD-LTE Network

China Mobile will deploy Alcatel-Lucent's small cells solution in the world's largest TD-LTE network.

China Mobile and Alcatel-Lucent co-created the lightRadio 9768 Metro Radio Outdoor (MRO), which was launched in February 2013 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  The companies have completed small cell tests on high-traffic roads in the Zhejiang, Fujian, Liaoning and Shandong provinces and Downtown shopping Mall in Jiangsu.

China Mobile has also confirmed the selection of Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio Radio Access Network (RAN) as part of its TD-LTE mobile broadband network, and Alcatel-Lucent is providing 24 percent of the Evolved Packet Core for the network.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oracle Opens Up to OpenStack in a Big Way

Oracle announced plans to integrate OpenStack cloud management components into Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, Oracle Infrastructure as a Service, Oracle’s ZS3 Series, Axiom storage systems and StorageTek tape systems.  The company also intends to achieve OpenStack compatibility with Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, Oracle Compute Cloud Service and Oracle Storage Cloud Service.

Oracle said its goal isto enable customers to use OpenStack to manage Oracle technology-based clouds.

“Oracle is pleased to join the OpenStack Foundation and plans to integrate OpenStack capabilities into a broad set of Oracle products and cloud services,” said Edward Screven, chief corporate architect, Oracle. “Our goal is to give customers greater choice and flexibility in how they use Oracle products and services in public and private clouds.”

In addition, Oracle is planning to provide Oracle Compute Cloud Service compatibility with OpenStack Nova.

AT&T Launches Gigapower Fiber Internet Service in Austin

AT&T launched its "GigaPower" all-fiber Internet network in Austin, Texas.
The service features initial speeds of up to 300 Mbps, although AT&T expects to upgrade the performance to 1 Gbps + in 2014.

“Our all-fiber network enables U-verse with GigaPower to give Austinites the fastest speeds available to consumers in the city,” said Dahna Hull, AT&T’s vice president and general manager for Austin. “With U-verse with GigaPower, our customers can download movies and music and navigate, post and interact on the web faster than ever before, and have one of the best TV experiences around. It’s reliable, crazy fast and priced to attract more and more people to give us a try.”

In addition to fast Internet, the service offers interactive TV services including a 1 terabyte of storage DVR and the ability to watch and record five shows at the same time.

AT&T will have two U-verse with GigaPower Internet offers:

  • Premier: Internet speeds up to 300 Mbps for $70 per month, includes waiver of equipment, installation and activation fees.  Customers who also select U-verse TV will receive free HBO, HBO GO for 36 months, and HD service for $120 per month with qualifying TV services.
  • Standard: Internet speeds up to 300 mbps – download your favorite TV show in less than nine seconds² – for $99 per month.

In April 2013, Google announced that Austin, Texas will be the next Google Fiber city.

Two years after launching the first Google Fiber project in Kansas City, Google confirmed its intention to bring a similar network to Austin by mid-2014. 

Google provides a free 5-7 Mbps data service to residents who pay the upfront fiber connection fee.  Service plans then scale up to symmetric Gigabit connectivity ($70 per month).  A separate Google Fiber TV service now offers nearly 200 HD TV channels.