Sunday, April 6, 2014

Numericable + SFR Merger is On

Vivendi accepted an offer by Altice/Numericable to acquire SFR for approximately €13.5 billion, with a potential earn-out of €750 million and a possibility to sell its remaining 20% stake at a later stage. This should represent a total value in excess of €17 billion.

Numericable currently has over 5.2 million fiber homes in France, with more than 10 million homes passed.  SFR has 3G/4G mobile networks in France as well as 1.6 million fiber homes.

Patrick Drahi, founder and Chairman of the Altice group, parent company to Numericable, said: "By bringing together SFR and Numericable we will create the French champion in very high speed broadband and in the convergence of fixed and mobile networks. This is a trend throughout the sector, borne out across Europe and around the world. Our project, which is founded upon perfectly complementary networks and skillsets, will generate strong growth, which in turn will create jobs and stimulate investment."

http://www.numericable.com/investors/financial-results

Thursday, April 3, 2014

MEF GEN14 Conference to Showcase Global Ethernet - Nov 2014

Kevin Vachon introduces MEF GEN14, a global gathering of the Ethernet community that is planned for 17-20-November-2014 in Washington, D.C.  The 3-day conference will cover all of the topics of Carrier Etherent ranging from enterprise business services, cloud services, mobile backhaul, etc.  The exhibition will showcase proof-of-concept for future Carrier Ethernet capabilities.


Dates: November 17-20, 2014
Venue: Gaylord National in Washington, D.C.
Website:  http://www.gen14.com/

Converge! Network Digest is a media partner for GEN14.

See 2-min introduction to GEN14

Comcast Wins Govt Contract for Business Ethernet Services

Comcast Business was awarded a Schedule 70 contract with the General Services Administration (GSA), which enables the company to sell directly to federal, state and local government customers.

The initial Schedule 70 applies to Comcast Business Ethernet services. Comcast currently offers Carrier Ethernet connectivity at rates ranging from 1 Mbps to 10 Gbps. In the future, Comcast plans to expand the Schedule to also include its full voice product suite, as well as its Business Internet and Business TV offerings.

“Our work with federal, state and local government customers has shown us that bandwidth usage in government agencies is rapidly increasing as technology and constituent programs demand it,” said Kevin Carney, executive director of Government, Comcast Business. “Now, federal government agencies can more easily turn to Comcast Business and our Ethernet services for secure, reliable, high-performance connectivity in many regions, including the Washington, D.C. area and other key federal markets.”

http://business.comcast.com/


  • Recently, Comcast Business was named the fastest growing Ethernet provider in the Vertical Systems Group 2013 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD. Comcast Business was also named the Metro Ethernet Forum's (MEF) Service Provider of the Year in its 2013 Carrier Ethernet Awards for North America. In addition, the MEF announced last year that Comcast Business was the first service provider in the world to achieve MEF CE 2.0 Certification.

Vertical Systems: Fiber Reaches 39% of U.S. Commercial Buildings with 20+ Employees

Fiber now reaches an estimated 39.3% of commercial buildings in the U.S. with twenty or more employees, according to latest research from Vertical Systems Group.  The remaining 60.7% of buildings are in the Fiber Gap with no accessibility to fiber.

"During the past year, network operators narrowed the business fiber gap through construction and acquisitions. The majority of new fiber deployments were focused on connecting medium and smaller buildings in the metro areas surrounding major cities across the U.S.," said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. "Broader accessibility to on-net fiber has started to shake up the services markets. Fiber-based providers and Cable MSOs are capitalizing on the reach and cost advantages of their footprints juxtaposed to legacy infrastructures. Customers are reaping the benefits of more service options, more competitive pricing, and faster service installations."

http://www.verticalsystems.com/vsgpr/u-s-business-fiber-gap-narrows-in-2013/

South Africa's Internet Solutions Deploys 500G Super-Channels with Infinera

Internet Solutions, a division of Dimension Data and part of the NTT group, announced the deployment of Infinera's DTN-X platform across its South African long distance network.

Internet Solutions provides telecommunications services to public and private sector companies across South Africa and serves more than 80% of companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The Infinera Intelligent Transport Network solution enables Internet Solutions to offer 10, 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services to its clients across the long distance fibres it manages across South Africa with short lead times, leading prices and excellent reliability. Infinera's platform delivers the industry’s only commercially available 500 Gbps FlexCoherent super-channels based on its photonic integrated circuits.  It is the first such deployment for South Africa and the African continent.  

"The Infinera Intelligent Transport Network solution provides us with a cutting edge optical transport solution, allowing us to offer the highest lit capacity in a South African backbone," said Prenesh Padayachee, CTO at Internet Solutions. "Internet Solutions is at the forefront of utilising the latest technology that will ensure reliable and rapid service delivery to our clients and it is critical that our vendors are able to deliver the latest and most cutting edge technology. Infinera has delivered this through their intelligent transport network system.”

http://www.infinera.com/j7/servlet/NewsItem?newsItemID=396
http://www.is.co.za/Pages/default.aspx

Zayo Plans New Metro Fiber Build for SF Bay Area

Zayo plans to build 550 new route miles of dark fiber in the San Francisco Bay Area, including throughout downtown San Francisco and the surrounding communities of Oakland, Berkeley, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Walnut Creek and Fairfield.  Construction on the project will start in May 2014 and is scheduled for completion in June 2016.

Zayo’s existing San Francisco fiber network includes 920 route miles and 443 buildings, connecting customers to deep metro and long haul fiber networks. When the expansion project is complete, Zayo will have more than 1,500 route miles of fiber assets in and around Silicon Valley.

“This expansion is the result of strong growth and demand from our existing customers, as well as new opportunities from prospective customers across the region,” says Matt Erickson, president of Zayo Fiber & Transport Infrastructure at Zayo Group. “Increasing our fiber network by more than 50% in one of the country’s most bandwidth intensive regions provides important connectivity for our customers.”

http://www.zayo.com/services/dark-fiber/san-francisco

Southern Cross Delivers 100G to CoreSite Silicon Valley

Southern Cross Cable Network, a leading Australasian supplier of international subsea capacity, is now delivering 100 Gbps connections at CoreSite’s “SV1” (Silicon Valley) data center, connecting the U.S. to Hawaii, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.

The 100 Gbps technology has been deployed across all segments of Southern Cross’ 30,000-kilometer submarine network.  The 100Gbps transmission technology increases total lit capacity across Southern Cross’ two cables to 2.6 Terabits per second (Tbps), which will grow to 3.6 Tbps by June 2014.

Tenants at CoreSite’s tethered Silicon Valley campus of data centers in San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara, Calif., will have access to seamless high-capacity connectivity without purchasing backhaul to a landing station.

“Through our partnership with Southern Cross, CoreSite customers can now take advantage of exceptional high-performance connectivity linking the heart of Silicon Valley to Australasia,” said Brian Warren, Senior Vice President of Product and Marketing at CoreSite. “Demand for capacity is growing and both CoreSite and Southern Cross share a commitment to providing best-in-class service to meet the needs of our customers.”

“With the exploding growth in customer content and cloud connectivity requirements, our commitment to technology and product development places Southern Cross in a strong position to assist customers in meeting their growing requirements. Southern Cross can currently deliver capacity from as little as 1Gbps up to 100Gbps directly into the CoreSite San Jose facility,” said Ross Pfeffer, sales and marketing director at Southern Cross. “Southern Cross and CoreSite customers now have a unique opportunity to receive high-capacity connectivity through CoreSite’s Silicon Valley data center campus, providing access to one of the largest concentrations of Internet and technology companies.”

http://www.coresite.com/locations/silicon-valley
http://www.southerncrosscables.com

Fujitsu Delivers Optical Upgrade for Missouri Research Network

The Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet) has upgraded its optical networking infrastructure using Fujitsu’s FLASHWAVE 9500 Packet Optical Networking Platform (Packet ONP).  The upgrade enables MOREnet to transport any combination of Ethernet, ROADM, SONET/SDH and OTN traffic with a single addressable network element. The FLASHWAVE 9500 platform supports 100G bandwidth today, and with the integration of Fujitsu’s next generation transceivers currently in field trials, seamlessly upgrades to 400G, 800G and 1T per channel in the future. The network is managed by Fujitsu’s NETSMART network management software, allowing MOREnet administrators to perform network-wide provisioning, maintenance and surveillance from a centralized location with point-and-click ease.

“The 100G circuit we created from Columbia to Kansas City and another 100G circuit from Columbia to St. Louis will help Missouri stay at the forefront of research and education,” said Hank Niederhelm, Director of Infrastructure at MOREnet. “We’re very excited that both circuits will connect to Internet2’s National Innovation Platform, making MOREnet the only research and education network providing network transport services for Internet2. The partnership and industry-leading technology of Fujitsu Network Communications are key factors in helping us serve our members and positions us for greater opportunities in the future.”

“Fujitsu is proud to be partnering with MOREnet for their next generation 100G packet-optical backbone, enabled by the FLASHWAVE 9500 Packet Optical Networking Platform,” said Rod Naphan, CTO of Fujitsu Network Communications. “MOREnet’s investment into their infrastructure enhances an already robust level of service for libraries, K-12, higher education facilities and state agencies which serves to benefit the quality of life for Missourians state-wide.”

http://www.fujitsu.com/us/services/telecom/news/newsroom.html

Accenture and Orange Business Services Form Cloud Alliance

Accenture and Orange Business Services have formed an alliance to support large enterprises with their cloud strategy and the transformation of their infrastructure and applications to cloud-based models. The alliance initially targets French businesses.

"We are delighted to announce this new relationship with Accenture. Cloud transformation is not just about transferring infrastructure and applications to the cloud. Each company’s IT legacy and strategy is unique. This is why they need customized support to make the right technology choices, to define their migration processes and pace and then manage their new cloud infrastructure. This is what we are offering them through our alliance with Accenture," said Philippe Laplane, Head of Orange Cloud for Business.

http://www.accenture.com
http://www.orange.com

Croatia's T-Hrvatski Telekom Deploys Mavenir's IMS Platform

T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT), Croatia's largest telecommunications company and a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, has deployed Mavenir Systems' IMS HSS-FE (Home Subscriber Server-Front End) system  to consolidate subscriber data on a single platform and pave the way for next gen services like Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Rich Communication Services (RCS).

The IMS HSS-FE is a software solution based on Mavenir’s mOne Convergence Platform is designed to interwork with Universal Data Repository (UDR) solutions.

Home Subscriber Servers (HSS) are deployed in LTE/EPC and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) networks for subscriber-specific authorizations, service profiles, and preferences as well as Mobile Authentication and other HLR-like functionalities.

“Mavenir’s suite of software-based IMS application servers provide the flexibility and innovation to accelerate time to market and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by minimizing network impacts and reducing complexity,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO, Mavenir Systems. “Within the T-HT mobile network, we are proud to support the next generation network and services for their mobile customers.”

http://www.mavenir.com

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cisco's OpFlex Protocol Offers Distributed Policy Control for SDN

Cisco introduced OpFlex - a new networking protocol designed to open up its vision of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) in the data center for automated applications and interoperability with other software-defined networking (SDN) elements.


OpFlex is a southbound protocol that is co-authored by Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, and Sungard Availability Services. It provides a mechanism that enables a network controller to transfer abstract policy to a set of “smart” devices capable of directly rendering rich network policy on the device.  OpFlex will enable leading hypervisors, switches and network services (layer 4-layer 7) to self-configure driven by application policy.

Cisco is submitting to the IETF for standardization. It is also an open source Contribution that Cisco is making to OpenDaylight in partnership with IBM, Plexxi and Midokura.  Other companies that are supporting OpFlex include Microsoft, RedHat, F5, Citrix, Canonical, and Embrane.  Hypervisor and software vendors will support OpFlex-enabled virtual switches and extend the Cisco ACI policy framework in their virtual environments. Network services vendors like Avi Networks, Citrix, Embrane, and F5 Networks will be shipping an OpFlex agent with their appliances.

In addition, Cisco is working with OpenDaylight to create a 100 percent open source, ACI-compatible policy model and OpFlex reference architecture.

Compared to the current SDN model, Cisco said its Application Centric Infrastructure avoids the scalability/resiliency challenge of having a single SDN controller managing the state of the network. Its ACI approach is to distribute complexity to the edges and operate disconnected from a central policy manager.  It also would not require application developers to describe their requirements with low level constructs.

Cisco is planning to support the OpFlex Protocol on the following Cisco products:

  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, Nexus 9000 Series
  • Cisco Nexus 1000V
  • Cisco ASR 9000 Series
  • Cisco Nexus 7000 Series
  • Cisco ASA
  • Cisco SourceFire

http://www.cisco.com

In January, as part of its recently launched Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) initiative, Cisco introduced an Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) Enterprise Module for extending
high-performing applications from the data center to wide-area networks (WAN) and local access networks (LAN). The goal is to provide enterprises with complete visibility into their networks, automating network and policy configuration while managing applications across the WAN and access networks.

The Cisco APIC serves as the single point of automation and fabric element management in
both physical and virtual environments.

The Cisco APIC Enterprise Module is constructed of three elements: a consolidated network information database, policy infrastructure and automation.

To address security concerns, Cisco APIC automates network-wide rapid threat detection and mitigation by integrating and automating Cisco Sourcefire  security solutions.  For compliance management across branches and headquarters, Cisco APIC also provides network-wide Quality of Service (QoS), and accelerates Intelligent WAN (IWAN) deployments. It can also be used with third-party solutions to provide an end-to-end WAN orchestration and management.

In November 2013, Cisco unveiled its Application Centric Infrastructure for data centers and clouds. ACI is a step beyond virtualization and software-defined networks (SDN), said Chambers, because it brings agility and automation with full visibility and integrated management of both physical and virtual networked IT resources at the system, tenant, and application levels.  The architecture promises a pay-as-you-grow mode scaling to over 100,000 switch ports and capable of supporting more than one million IP end points in a data center spine with 60 Tbps capacity.  A key premise is that the network should adapt to application requirements through dynamic insertion and chaining of physical and virtual L4-7 network services including firewalls, application delivery controllers, and intrusion detection systems.  The new architecture is designed for multi-tenant cloud environments by providing real-time view of per tenant and per application health, statistics, and troubleshooting.  Real-time analytics will be used to drive intelligent application placement decisions.

The foundation for ACI is an Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), enhanced versions of the NX-OS data center switching operating system, and a new line of Nexus 9000 data center switches based on technology from Insieme Networks, the Cisco spin-in start-up that is being acquired and re-integrated into the company.

The Cisco APIC is a centralized clustered controller that is responsible for tasks ranging from fabric activation, maintenance of switch firmware, network policy configuration and instantiation. Cisco APIC is
completely removed from the data path.  The APIC exposes a northbound API through XML and JSON and provides both a command-line interface (CLI) and GUI that use this API to manage the
fabric. It will be delivered as an appliance.

The new Nexus 9000 platforms will be able to run both optimized NX-OS and an ACI-mode of NX-OS via the addition of APIC.  Cisco said this dual capability provides investment protection and a migration path to ACI though a software upgrade.

The new switches will use custom ASICs for scalable and merchant silicon for addressing time to market issues.  Cisco said its platforms will support 1/10/40G ports with support for future 100G transitions in existing and next generation data centers.  Another innovation in the Nexus 9000 portfolio is a backplane-free modular switch design that promises more efficient power and cooling.  Both the Cisco Nexus 9500 and 9300 platforms support VXLAN and NVGRE bridging and routing functions in hardware.

Google Activates Andromeda Virtualization in Cloud Data Centers

Google’s "Andromeda" network virtualization stack is now powering two of its Google Compute Engine zones: us-central1-b and europe-west1-a. The company will be migrating its other data centers to Andromeda in the coming months.

Google describes Andromeda as a Software Defined Networking (SDN)-based substrate that serves as  the orchestration point for provisioning, configuring, and managing virtual networks and in-network packet processing. The goal is to expose the raw performance of the underlying network while simultaneously exposing network function virtualization (NFV), including distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, transparent service load balancing, access control lists, and firewalls.

Google reports a significant performance gain in throughput for customers in the data centers running Andromeda, with TCP throughput for 200 streams soaring from under 2 Gbps (baseline) to 5 Gbps (powered by Andromeda).

http://googlecloudplatform.blogspot.com/2014/04/enter-andromeda-zone-google-cloud-platforms-latest-networking-stack.html

Gigamon Announces Multi-Purpose Visibility Fabric Node for Big Data

Gigamon is preparing to release the  GigaVUE-HC2 fabric node for the Services Layer of its Visibility Fabric architecture.

The GigaVUE-HC2 is a modular platform that combines multiple external functions such as compute for stateful and intelligent traffic correlation, secure in-band TAPs to prevent unauthorized access to traffic data, and sophisticated filtering, replication and aggregation, all in a single, compact modular form factor thereby eliminating the need for service chaining multiple external nodes. The GigaVUE-HC2 will launch with seven optional modules including 10Gb and 40Gb modules, GigaSMART intelligence as well as copper and fiber TAPs. The optional GigaSMART capabilities include packet slicing, masking, source port labeling, tunneling, header stripping and Layer 7 load balancing.

Visibility Fabric Applications provide stateful packet correlation capabilities that enable de-duplication, provide session awareness for enhanced visibility, insight and control over data traffic flows, as well as the ability to summarize and generate NetFlow statistics from incoming traffic streams.

“The GigaVUE-HC2 provides a versatile multi-purpose platform that addresses the needs of a broad variety of tools. Its  performance and GigaSMART intelligence addresses not only the monitoring needs of today, but scales to meet the needs of the future,” said Shehzad Merchant, Chief Strategy Officer at Gigamon. “ Big Data traffic intelligence requires compute elasticity to meet the dynamic needs of today’s organizations.  Gigamon’s architecture supports distributed intelligence, centralized intelligence, or a hybrid of the two and ensures that multiple H-Series platforms can be managed as a single virtual chassis in a cluster.  GigaVUE-HC2 offers traffic intelligence at the right place in the network for the right price.”

http://www.gigamon.com/visibility-fabric-architecture

Skype App for Windows Phone 8.1 Allows In-Call Switch to Video

A new Skype app for Windows Phone 8.1 promises tight integration of Skype on mobile devices.  Windows Phone users will be able to easily "upgrade" a regular mobile calls to a Skype video call.

In addition, people with a Windows Phone 8.1 device can use Microsoft's new "Cortana" virtual digital assistant to quickly and easily start Skype calls: for example, just say "Skype, get Lara Kingwell on video".  Cortana will be included in a Skype for Windows Phone 8.1 update.

http://blogs.skype.com/2014/04/02/introducing-the-new-skype-for-windows-phone-8-1-and-improved-skype-for-windows-8-1
/

ALU Enterprise Debuts SDN-enabled OmniSwitch 6860

Alcatel-Lucent's Enterprise division unveiled its new OmniSwitch 6860 (OS6860) family featuring gigabit access speeds coupled with embedded analytics and programmability. Highlights include:

  • Powered by a custom ASIC and coprocessor providing wire-rate deep packet inspection (DPI) and policy enforcement right at the edge of the network. 
  • SDN-enabled with the support of OpenFlow and OpenStack.
  • Four unique 1G PoE ports that offer up to 60W Power over Ethernet (PoE) to support next generation devices that require high power, such as small cells that combine cellular and Wi-Fi, and high definition video surveillance cameras.
  • Data center and IT friendly: all ports are in the front, with front-to-back cooling and an innovative Bluetooth management connection so smart devices can be used to manage the switch. In addition, it can be used in the data center as a 1GbE top-of-rack switch.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise said it is adding deep packet inspection at the wired and wireless access layer to advance its Application Fluent Network capabilities. It can now consolidate this information with network analytics tools that help IT teams gain improved visibility into the applications, and also create policies and enforce them at the edge of the network to secure and optimize delivery of applications to employees and customers.

Additionally, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise's entire portfolio now has Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities -- extending across the access, to the core and into the data center. The SDN capabilities include REST API’s, OpenFlow 1.0/1.3 and the ability to leverage OpenStack plug-ins for full orchestration across the entire network.

http://www.alcatel-lucent.com

Alcatel-Lucent Completes Sale of LGS Innovations

Alcatel-Lucent completed its previously announced sale of its subsidiary LGS Innovations LLC to a US-based company owned by a Madison Dearborn Partners-led investor group that includes CoVant.

LGS Innovations LLC provides secure networking, satellite communications, VoIP, optical routers and other solutions for the US national security, defense, and advanced research communities, and has a heritage as a trusted partner of the US Federal Government extending back over 60 years.  The company is based in Herndon, Virginia.

The sale price was $200 million, of which 50% is paid at closing.

http://www.alcatel-lucent.com

NTT Data Opens R&D Labs in China, Singapore, Indonesia

NTT DATA has established an R&D Lab with the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.  The two organizations will collaborate on solutions for social networking services and healthcare.

NTT DATA also announced the opening of R&D Labs in Singapore and in Bandung, Indonesia.

http://www.nttdata.com/

ADTRAN Trims Q1 Financial Guidance

ADTRAN trimmed its revenue and earnings estimates for the first quarter ending March 31, 2014, saying it now expects revenue to range from $146.0 million to $147.0 million. GAAP earnings per share for the quarter, assuming dilution, are expected to range from $0.16 to $0.17. Non-GAAP earnings per share for the quarter are expected to range from $0.20 to $0.21. Non-GAAP earnings per share exclude the effect of acquisition related expenses, amortizations and adjustments, and stock compensation expense.

ADTRAN Chief Executive Officer Tom Stanton stated, “Although revenue for the quarter came in lower than expected, operating income increased approximately 74% over the same period last year driven by significant improvements in gross margin. Our domestic revenues were negatively impacted by a slower start to spending with our tier 2 and tier 3 service provider customers. International revenues were strong for the quarter, increasing approximately 56% over the same period last year. We saw a notable acceleration in bookings later in the quarter, but the timing precluded us from meeting our prior revenue expectations. The significant acceleration we saw in bookings exiting the quarter leads us to anticipate revenue in the second quarter of 2014 to be in the range of $172 million to $180 million.”

http://www.adtran.com

See also