Friday, June 20, 2014

IBM and Pure Storage Announce Patent and Cross-License Agreements

Pure Storage has acquired over 100 storage and related technology patents from IBM and the companies have signed a patent cross-license agreement.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This transaction significantly increases the number of Pure’s patents, creating a more robust and strategic patent portfolio that will allow our customers to benefit even more from our focus on advancing storage innovation,” said Joe FitzGerald, vice president, Legal for Pure Storage.

“This agreement with Pure Storage demonstrates the value of IBM’s patented inventions and our dedication to encouraging innovation by licensing access to our extensive patent portfolio  IBM's extensive R&D investment and the industry's largest storage array patent portfolio are key drivers behind our flash storage leadership,” said Dr. William LaFontaine, General Manager, Intellectual Property, for IBM.

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/44199.wss


  • In April, Pure Storage, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, closed a $225 million Series F funding round, at a pre-money valuation of over $3 billion, to support its all-flash enterprise storage array strategy.  The round included contributions from previous public market investors including T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and Tiger Global and new investor, Wellington Management Company. The round also included participation from prior venture capital investors Greylock Partners, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Sutter Hill Ventures. The new funding brings the company’s total capital raised to $470 million to date.
  • Pure Storage offers all-flash enterprise arrays for high performance workloads, including server virtualization, desktop virtualization (VDI), database (OLTP, real-time analytics) and cloud computing.  The company's approach combines proprietary data deduplication and compression technologies with affordable multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory.

TierPoint Acquires Another Data Center -- its 6th Acquisition

TierPoint has expanded its national data center footprint with the acquisition of Philadelphia-based Philadelphia Technology Park, which operates a 25,700 sq. ft. data center within the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  The data center is an SSAE 16 Type II audited facility with N+1 power delivery systems.

The acquisition is the sixth for TierPoint, LLC, previously known as Cequel Data Centers. With its prior acquisitions - including facilities in Dallas, Spokane, Seattle, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Baltimore - TierPoint now owns and operates more than 141,000 square feet of raised-floor, data center space.

http://www.tierpoint.com/news/tierpoint-acquires-philadelphia-technology-park


  • Earlier this month, Cequel Data Centers, the parent company of TierPoint, announced today that it has been acquired by an investor group comprised of management and experienced investors across the communications infrastructure industry. The investor group includes Chairman Jerry Kent, RedBird Capital Partners, The Stephens Group, Jordan/Zalaznick Advisers, Inc., and Thompson Street Capital Partners. Terms were not disclosed.


Huawei Announced Metro WDM Contract with China Mobile Sichuan

China Mobile has selected Huawei to deploy WDM-based full-service metropolitan bearer networks in over 10 cities across Sichuan Province, including the capital, Chengdu. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sichuan Mobile estimates that the bandwidth demand from its metro aggregation sites will exceed 100G over the coming three years. The project to deploy full-service metropolitan bearer networks uses Huawei's Packet Optical Transport System (POTS).

"The 'WDM/OTN to the edge' idea advocated by Huawei perfectly matches China Mobile's strategic plan to deploy full-service metropolitan bearer networks. They focus on future readiness, providing protection for bandwidth investment, and facilitating fixed mobile convergence," said Jack Wang, President of Huawei's Transmission Network Product Line.

http://pr.huawei.com/en/news/hw-346337-ict.htm

NTT Com Bolsters its WideAngle Managed Security Services

NTT Com Security (formerly Integralis) announced improved threat detection and analysis functionality for its Managed Security Services (MSS) platform delivered under the WideAngle brand.

The enhancements, which include Time Based Analysis Intelligence and a Correlated Log Analysis (CLA) service, will provide significantly improved detection rates of up to 500% of unknown security threats for NTT Com Security customers worldwide. They will also enable better correlation of threat intelligence from different sources and between security and non-security devices, including authentication servers, web proxy servers, databases and networks devices, as well as conventional security devices like firewalls, IPS and anti virus.

Additional functionality includes Enhanced Packet Capture (PCAP) support for IDS/IPS vendors, delivering improved analysis and fewer false positives to customers. In addition, newly developed Intelpacks – sets of algorithms implemented within the MSS analysis engine – provide tailored detection and ensure organisations stay up to date with the very latest attack methods and tools.

http://www.ntt.com/aboutus_e/news/data/20140618.html

  • NTT Communications acquired Integralis AG in 2009 for its IT security expertise.

Facebook Hit by 30 Minute Outage

On June 20th, Facebook experienced a global outage lasting approximately half an hour.  The company later cited a faulty update to its software, which it identified immediately and reversed.

The outage was believed to be the longest for the company in several years.

http://www.facebook.com

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Facebook Unveils "Wedge" Top-of-Rack Programmable Switch

Facebook introduced a new top-of-rack network switch, code-named “Wedge,” and a new Linux-based operating system for that switch, code-named “FBOSS.”  Both products are part of Facebook's efforts to "disaggregate" the network from traditional product categories so as to create more flexible, more scalable and more efficient data centers. 

The Wedge switch features a modular design that brings capabilities of a micro-server using a range of processors, including Intel, AMD and ARM.  On the software side, the "FBOSS" uses the same libraries that Facebook currently uses to manage its server fleet.  This will let Facebook program the switch with the same abstraction layer used for other software services.

In an engineering blog posting, Facebook describes its capabilities as a hybrid of distributed and centralized  control models.

Facebook is currently testing Wedge and FBOSS and plans to contribute key elements to the Open Compute Project (OCP).

https://code.facebook.com/posts/681382905244727/introducing-wedge-and-fboss-the-next-steps-toward-a-disaggregated-network/

In May 2013, The Open Compute Project announced plans to develop an open, OS-agnostic top-of-rack switch.  The effort will be led by Najam Ahmad, who runs the network engineering team at Facebook. Companies that are supporting the effort include Big Switch Networks, Broadcom, Cumulus Networks, Facebook, Intel, Netronome, OpenDaylight, the Open Networking Foundation, and VMware.

In November 2013,  OCP said that it had received more than 30 potential contributions, covering most of the network hardware stack and even some of the network software stack.  In a blog posting, the Open Compute Project highlights four contributions in particular, all of them currently being considered by the OCP Incubation Committee and likely to be accepted soon.   These included  Broadcom's full specification for and implementation of an open switch;  Cumulus Networks' Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) software;  Intel's specification for an open switch; and Mellanox's open switch.

T-Mobile US Expands VoLTE and Wideband LTE Rollouts

T-Mobile has expanded its deployment of 15+15MHz Wideband LTE to 16 total markets and VoLTE to 15 total markets reaching over 100 million people.  The carrier's overall LTE footprint will exceed 230 million pops by the end this month.

Wideband LTE enables peak network download speeds up to nearly 150 Mbps.

T-Mobile was the first major provider to launch VoLTE. It now supports VoLTE on four devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S 5. In addition to expanding the number of markets served by VoLTE, the company is nearly doubling the amount of data dedicated to voice calls for highest fidelity HD Voice and faster call setup times. For HD Voice, T-Mobile US uses a 23.85 Kbps voice codec rate.  In addition, the company confirmed that it now expects to have VoLTE nationwide by the end of the year.

“The old telecoms designed their networks for a time when your phone’s only app was a phone call—and they haven’t shaken that dial-tone mind-set,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile. “Our 4G LTE network was built in the last year and a half, so naturally we built it differently.  We built it for the way people use smartphones and tablets today, and we built it with a mobile Internet architecture, so we could roll out new technologies faster.”

http://newsroom.t-mobile.com/issues-insights-blog/the-un-carrier-network-designed-data-strong.htm

T-Mobile Offers Week-long Test Drive with iPhone 5s

T-Mobile US will begin offering a free, no-obligation "Test Drive" whereby consumers can receive an iPhone 5s and unlimited nationwide service for seven days. When the week-long test drive is over, they simply drop the phone off at any T-Mobile retail store.

“The way this industry forces Americans to buy wireless is completely, utterly broken.  I’m here to tell you there’s a better way,” declared John Legere, T-Mobile CEO and President. “While the carriers ask you to buy blind, the Un-carrier gives you transparency.  Our network kicks ass, and now people can experience for themselves what a data-strong network can do with T-Mobile Test Drive.”

http://explore.t-mobile.com/test-drive-free-trial

Wind River Launches Titanium Ecosystem for NFV

Wind River launched its Titanium Cloud ecosystem for service providers and telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) deploying infrastructure based on network functions virtualization (NFV).

Initial members include Brocade, GENBAND, Metaswitch Networks, Nakina Systems, and Overture.

Wind River said its ecosystem program helps ensure interoperability of solutions based in  its Carrier Grade Communications Server, which is an integrated portfolio of software elements that enables NFV infrastructure to achieve the carrier grade reliability required for telecom networks. The company said its Carrier Grade Communications Server enables service providers to maintain six-nines reliability as they transition to virtualized infrastructure, allowing them to meet “always on” expectations.

“Realizing a successful NFV infrastructure requires collaboration across a broad ecosystem, ensuring the availability of end-to-end solutions that integrate seamlessly to deliver virtualized services at the necessary levels of carrier grade performance and reliability,” said Mike Langlois, general manager of the communications business for Wind River. “Carrier Grade Communications Server delivers a critical element of this infrastructure. Our Titanium Cloud ecosystem program provides a framework for Wind River to work with industry leaders like Brocade, GENBAND, Metaswitch, Nakina, and Overture to deliver standard product solutions that help service providers achieve their critical business imperatives, such as reducing operating costs while accelerating the introduction of new, high-value services.”

http://www.windriver.com

GigOptix to Acquire Tahoe RF Semiconductor

GigOptix agreed to acquire all of the assets of Tahoe RF Semiconductor in an all-cash deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. All of Tahoe RF’s team of engineers will become employees of GigOptix.

Tahoe RF Semiconductor developed RF/analog RFICs, IPs, and fully integrated systems and subsystems on a chip. It has an extensive IP library, including radio frequency front-ends, low-power transmitters, direct conversion receivers, low noise amplifiers, and fractional-N frequency synthesizers, as well as automatic gain control and RF receiver patents.

"I am happy about the acquisition of Tahoe RF which brings to GigOptix a solid team of very experienced RF engineers and a rich portfolio of proven silicon IP into our RF and Wireless product line,” said Dr. Avi Katz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GigOptix, Inc. "The acquisition of Tahoe RF is one more step in our continuous quest to strengthen our industry leading RF engineering team, and enable GigOptix to address increasing aggregate data bandwidth demand through our optimized Monolithic Microwave IC (MMIC) products targeted at point-to-point wireless backhaul applications. The acquisition also puts us in an excellent position to expand into adjacent RF and wireless market opportunities, including consumer and high volume enterprise applications, such GPS devices.”

E-Band radios shipments by GigOptix are expected to grow to 6,000 per month with total shipments in 2014 in excess of 50,000 radios, driven by the deployment of LTE cellular infrastructure in support of the ever growing demand for mobile data for smartphones. The deployment of small cells, addressed by V-Band devices, 60GHz band, is expected to be one order of magnitude greater than regular cells in urban areas and the demand for V-band radios is expected to accelerate in the next two years with volumes at much higher than E-Band.

http://www.gigoptix.com/
http://www.tahoerf.com/

NIMBOXX Introduces Software Defined Data Center Box

NIMBOXX, a start-up based in Austin, Texas, unveiled its ‘atomic unit’ for the software-defined data center -- an all-in-one appliance that converges servers, storage, networking and security.

NIMBOXX features mesh-based scale out, dynamic storage orchestration, self-balancing workload heuristics, and a shared-nothing management model. It also provides dynamic adaptation to cache and storage changes based on multi-dimensional workload analyses. Deployments can start with a single node and scale to hundreds. NIMBOXX uses its own Mesh Operating System (MeshOS) on bare metal and offers a RESTful API for integration with third-party applications. The company claims 180,000 IOPS generated from a 1U system with factory settings

NIMBOX also announced $12 million in Series A funding from SMC Holdings, a Hong Kong-based institutional investor.

http://www.nimboxx.com

Puppet Labs Raises $40 Million for Automation Software

Puppet Labs announced $40 million in new funding from existing investors Cisco, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Triangle Peak Partners, True Ventures and VMware.


Puppet Labs, which develops IT automation software, said it now has over 18,000 enterprises using its software to accelerate operations. The software can automate repetitive tasks, deploy applications across multiple machines, proactively manage infrastructure where on-premise or in the cloud.

Puppet Labs is based in Portland, Oregon, and has about 300 employees. The company will use the new funding to expand internationally.

Puppet's has now raised a total of $86 million since June 2009.

“Puppet Labs is growing fast for a reason: IT automation is critical for any company that uses software to compete,” said Luke Kanies, founder and CEO of Puppet Labs. “Today, we help more than 18,000 organizations automate IT, both on premise and in the cloud. But we're just getting started. This funding round enables us to further our leadership position by entering new markets and helping our customers deliver great software faster than ever.”

http://puppetlabs.com

Infonetics: A Shift in Data Center Security Investments

Virtual security appliances will capture a growing share of investments in data center security, according to new report from Infonetics Research.

“Historically, data centers have been protected by big-iron security solutions and complex webs of security appliances and load-balancing infrastructure,” says Jeff Wilson, principal analyst for security at Infonetics Research. “But as more providers virtualize their data centers and roll out SDNs and NFV, we anticipate a fairly significant revenue transition from hardware appliances to virtual appliances and purpose-built security solutions that interface directly with hypervisors, with SDN controllers via APIs, or orchestration platforms.”

Some highlights of the report:

  • The ported virtual security appliances segment of the data center security market grew 10% in 2013 over 2012, to $437 million
  • Meanwhile, sales of purpose-built virtual security appliances totaled $150 million in 2013, up 44% from the prior year
  • Cisco, Juniper, and Fortinet are the top 3 revenue share leaders in the data center security appliance market
  • Massive interest in SDN- and NFV-compatible security solutions is expected to drive consolidation among established security players, virtualization platform vendors, and specialist vendors
  • Infonetics is projecting a cumulative $1.35 billion will be spent on purpose-built virtual security appliances from 2014 to 2018.


http://www.infonetics.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Intel to Integrate Xeon + FPGA On Chip to Accelerate Data Center Processing

Intel announced plans to integrate its Xeon processor with a coherent FPGA in a single package, socket compatible to a standard Xeon E5 processor. The goal to accelerate software defined infrastructure and support scale-out, distributed applications. Intel's Diane Bryant and Tom Krazit discussed the plans at the Gigaom Structure’14 conference in San Francisco.

In the past year, Intel has already delivered 15 custom silicon devices to meet specific needs of the end customers, including Ebay and Facebook.  The company expects to deliver more than twice the number of specialized products in 2014.

In a blog post, Bryant writes that the new Xeon+FPGA solution "provides yet another customized option, one more tool for customers to use to improve their critical data center metric of Performance/TCO”. She also highlights work underway with Facebook on the Open Compute Project and ETSI's NFV ISG to develop many proof-of-concept demonstrations.

https://communities.intel.com/community/itpeernetwork/datastack/blog/2014/06/18/disrupting-the-data-center-to-create-the-digital-services-economy

In February, Intel introduced its new Xeon processor E7 v2 family featuring triple the memory capacity and double the compute performance of the previous generation processor family, allowing much faster and thorough data analysis.

The Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family is built for up to 32-socket servers, with configurations supporting up to 15 processing cores and up to 1.5 terabytes (TB) of memory per socket. 

To reduce data bottlenecks, the Intel Xeon Processor E7 v2 family features Intel Integrated I/O, Intel Data Direct I/O and support for PCIe 3.0, achieving up to four times the I/O bandwidth over the previous generation and providing extra capacity for storage and networking connections.

Intel said Big Data analysis and Internet-of-Everything require vastly increased in-memory processing, which places and analyzes an entire data set – such as an organization's entire customer database – in the system memory rather than on traditional disk drives.

CenturyLink Cloud Adds Pay-by-the-Hour Billing

CenturyLink introduced pay-by-the hour billing for managed services on its CenturyLink Cloud platform, including web servers, middleware, operating systems, directory services and database applications.

CenturyLink's new cloud-based managed services are provisioned via a single, self-service interface using an on-demand model. The initial launch debuts eight services: Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux managed operating systems, as well as managed applications Active Directory, Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat, Microsoft Internet Information Services, Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL. Thee cloud-based managed services will be available starting June 30 through CenturyLink Cloud nodes in Santa Clara, California, and Sterling, Virginia, with additional managed services and global locations in Europe and Asia enabled later this year.

"CenturyLink continues to change the game in cloud. One-click access to managed services delivers our expert management resources in a new way, providing customers with extraordinary flexibility," said Jared Wray, chief technology officer, CenturyLink Cloud. "As cloud adoption evolves and enterprises pursue new and easier ways to manage their IT infrastructure, the time is right in the industry for an optimized experience that brings cloud together with expert managed services."

http://www.centurylink.com/technology

FCC: Broadband Speed Promises Mostly Accurate

Most broadband providers in the U.S. continue to improve service performance by delivering actual speeds that meet or exceed advertised speeds during the past year, according to the latest "Measuring Broadband America" report released by the FCC. Some providers showed significant room for improvement, particularly with respect to consistency of speeds.

The FCC noted 5 key trends in its data:

1. ISPs continue to deliver the combined upload/download speeds they advertise, but a new metric this year – consistency of speeds – shows there’s still work to be done: This year’s report shows that average speeds are close to advertised, but not always available. Cablevision, for example, delivered 100 percent or better of advertised speed to 80 percent of our panelists 80 percent of the time during peak periods, but about half the ISPs delivered about 90 percent or better of advertised speed, and several ISPs delivered less than 60 percent or better of advertised speeds 80 percent of the time to 80 percent of the panelists.

2. Download speeds performance varies by service tier, with some ISPs delivering less than 80 percent of advertised speeds: All ISPs except for one (Qwest, which had a 16 percent performance improvement in download speed) were within 10 percent of last year’s results, i.e. largely unchanged. Overall trends were encouraging. For download speeds, ten of 14 reporting ISPs showed slightly improved download performance, four were virtually unchanged and only one ISP (Verizon offering DSL service) showed results slightly worse than last year. However, Windstream’s 1.5 Mbps speed tier only delivers 78 percent of advertised speeds, a low among all ISPs at all speed tiers.

3. Fiber and Cable technologies continue to evolve to higher speed offerings, but DSL is beginning to lag behind: Additionally, while providers using cable and fiber access technologies generally met or exceeded their advertised tiers, providers using DSL technology generally failed to meet their advertised speeds. This may indicate differences in the economics of upgrading DSL relative to other technologies, and investment choices by broadband providers or the price points at which higher speeds are made available for DSL.

4. Consumers continue to migrate to higher speed tiers: We continue to see a migration of consumers from lower speed tiers to higher offerings both by consumers electing to purchase higher speeds and through upgrades of standard offerings by Internet service providers. A simple average of service tiers surveyed in 2013 shows an average advertised speed of 21.2 Mbps, representing an increase of approximately 36 percent from 15.6 Mbps in 2012.

5. Upload speeds vary sharply: Many studies have shown that consumer Internet traffic today is asymmetric – consumers typically download far more data than they upload. Consistent with that behavior, most service offerings typically have far higher download than upload rates. Verizon offers upload rates as high as 35 Mbps. Frontier offers upload rates of 25 Mbps.  Both are fiber-based.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, “Consumers deserve to get what they pay for. While it’s encouraging to see that in the past these reports have encouraged providers to improve their services, I’m concerned that some providers are failing to deliver consistent speeds to consumers that are commensurate to their advertised speeds. As a result, I’ve directed FCC staff to write to the underperforming companies to ask why this happened and what they will do to solve this.”

The report is posted online.

http://www.fcc.gov/reports/measuring-broadband-america-2014


Spirent Puts 400G Ethernet to the Test with Xilinx and Huawei

Spirent Communications unveiled its 400G Ethernet Test System -- an industry first -- and announced the completion of testing of Huawei’s NE5000E core router.  The tests verified the layer 1-3 quality and highlighted error free performance with different combinations of streams, frame lengths and rates including a single stream running at full line rate.

Spirent's pre-standard 400G Ethernet Test System uses Xilinx’s 28nm Virtex-7 H870T programmable device.  Spirent, Huawei and Xilinx have been collaborating for more than six months on 400GbE testing.
 
Spirent said its solution marks an important for the industry in the development of 400GbE systems. The 400G Ethernet Test System is a one-slot blade compatible with Spirent’s existing chassis and its other Ethernet products.  Key features of the solution include:

  • Sending and receiving Ethernet frames from 64 to 16K bytes in length
  • Generating and analyzing 400G traffic as a single stream running at line rate or as an aggregation of multiple streams
  • Compensating for small clock differences between link partners with parts per million (PPM) adjustment
  • Delivering per-port and per-stream statistics such as latency, frames out of sequence, frame counts and rates, and layer 1 statistics to help debug physical link problems
  • Allowing modification of generated frame contents
  • Capturing received traffic at wire rate

“The collaboration with Huawei and Xilinx to develop and validate our 400G test solution builds on Spirent’s position as the leader in high-speed Ethernet testing. As a result of this effort, we are ready for a live showcase of a solution that enables network equipment manufacturers and service providers to move forward with early 400G design projects and effectively test their next-gen offerings,” stated Eric Hutchinson, CEO, Spirent Communications.

http://www.spirent.com/go/400g

Infonetics: 16G Fibre Channel Takes Over

Sales of 16G Fibre Channel are quickly taking over the market from earlier 4G and 8G implementations, according to a new study published by Infonetics.

“With 16G Fibre Channel ramping fast, 8G is making a quick exit,” says Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., directing analyst for data center and cloud at Infonetics Research. “16G Fibre Channel solutions now make up 42% of storage area network (SAN) revenue, and we expect to see the continued acceleration of 16G at the expense of 8G and 4G, especially with 32G still two years out.”

“Most of the 16G market is inter-switch, or switch-to-storage array, and not server connections,” adds Grossner.

Some highlights:

  • Globally, the SAN market (Fibre Channel switches and host bus adapters) totaled $592 million in 1Q14, down 9% from 4Q13, and down 3% from a year ago
  • Brocade continues to dominate the SAN switch and adapter market, gaining 3 market share points in 1Q14
  • Worldwide converged data center network adapter revenue (Ethernet switch ports-in-use for storage and converged network adapters, or CNAs), declined 4% sequentially in 1Q14, to $549 million
  • CNAs continue to account for the majority of revenue, followed by iSCSI adapters and universal adapters
  • Thanks to its recent acquisitions, QLogic is expected to move into the #2 spot in the converged data center network adapter market in 2Q14
  • In an effort to grab market share, converged data center network adapter vendors are reaching for the cloud, software-defined networking (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NVF)
  • The shift to cloud-architected data centers with automated deployment of virtual workloads is driving a long-term trend toward a converged network with storage and application traffic on Ethernet in the data center.

http://www.infonetics.com/pr/2014/1Q14-SAN-and-Converged-DC-Network-Equipment-Market-Highlights.asp

See also