Tuesday, February 3, 2015

EMC'S Hyper-Converged Appliance for Compute/Storage/Networking

EMC Corp. introduced is "VSPEX BLUE" hyper-converged infrastructure appliance combining compute, storage, networking and management powered by VMware EVO:RAIL and EMC software.

The appliance is aimed at mid-market customers needing linear scalability from one to four 2U/4-nodes for infrastructure consolidations or virtual desktop deployments.

The VSPEX BLUE Manager extends the capabilities of the native EVO:RAIL Deployment, Configuration and Management (DCM) Engine, delivering a built-in support experience and an online Market of value-added software from EMC and EMC ecosystem partners.


EMC to Take Controlling Stake in VCE as Cisco Sells

VCE will become an EMC business as Cisco agrees to sell all but 10% of its equity stake in the joint venture to EMC.

VCE is the joint venture formed in 2009 by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel.  VMware is a subsidiary of EMC.

Going forward, VCE will be a subsidiary of EMC and will serve as  "an integration point for technologies from across the company."

VCE's flagship product is its Vblock Systems, a converged infrastructure offering that combines VMware vSphere software running on Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS) connected with Cisco Nexus switches, attached to EMC Symmetrix storage. More than 1,000 enterprises and service providers have deployed over 2,000 Vblock Systems worldwide.

Cloudera Acquires Xplain.io for Hadoop Analytics

Cloudera, which specializes in enterprise analytic data management powered by Apache Hadoop, has acquired Xplain.io, a start-up specializing in self-service analytics. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Xplain.io's product, "Big Data Integration Service" (BDIS), automates the design, integration, and optimization of data models that use SQL, NoSQL, and NewSQL technologies, enabling data architects to transform data models that dramatically accelerate Business Intelligence and applications.

Cloudera said the Xplain.io toolset will help its customers accelerate their enterprise data hub (EDH) deployments and make it easier for them to add more data and more complex workloads (automation, optimization, self-service) to their Cloudera environments.

"The business intelligence industry has demonstrated that analytics is moving to a self-service model," said Charles Zedlewski, vice president, Products, Cloudera. "The ability for end-users to find and analyze their own data makes teams more productive, companies more agile and frees BI experts for more value-added tasks. With the addition of Xplain.io technology and expertise, we have the opportunity to extend the self-service analytics revolution into the Hadoop platform itself."


China Unicom Employs Huawei's Atom Router for QoE

Guangdong Unicom has deployed Huawei's miniature Atom router in its commercial mobile network to support of quality of experience assessments of its customers.

Huawei's Atom Router plugs directly into a service port of a device on an existing network, such as a base station, router, or switch, and does not require external power. It provides real-time service level agreement (SLA) measurements and accurate SLA reporting, as well as quick fault location capabilities. The router supports seamless access to 3G/4G mobile bearer networks and smooth OAM capability expansion.

Huawei said its solution delivers super-high precision IP Flow Performance Measurement (FPM). It monitors network KPIs to illustrate service quality including measuring packet loss rate and delay of end-to-end service packets transmitted on an IP network to determine network performance.


ZTE Tests Massive MIMO Pre-5G Base Station

ZTE announced pre-commercial field testing of a next gen base station leveraging Massive MIMO (multiple input multiple output) that sets new records in single-carrier transmission capacity and spectral efficiency.

ZTE said its proprietary, pre-5G, multi-user/multi-stream spatial multiplexing technology has demonstrated peak data throughput that is more than three times that of traditional base stations, and average data throughput that exceeds conventional systems by at least five times. Testing is done with conventional 4G handsets.

Based on ZTE’s self-developed baseband processor chipset, the Massive MIMO base station uses a frontal area similar to existing 8-antennas. Integrating antennas, base station units and RFs in one module, ZTE’s Massive MIMO base station uses only one-third of the installation space of traditional systems, lowering operating costs and total cost ownership of operators.

“Being a pre-5G technology, ZTE’s Massive MIMO solution is delivering exponential advances to 4G networks without modifying existing air interfaces, making it possible for carriers to provide a 5G-like user experience on existing 4G handsets in an accelerated timeframe,” said Dr. Xiang Jiying, Chief Scientist of ZTE. “ZTE successfully overcame the challenge of doing multi-user and multi-stream spatial multiplexing in a scattered-signal environment, clearing the main hurdle in the development of Massive MIMO technology.”


Radisys Posts Q4 Revenue of $48.2 Million

Radisys reported fourth quarter 2014 revenues of $48.2 million and a GAAP net loss of $4.5 million or $0.12 per diluted share. Fourth quarter non-GAAP profit was $0.4 million or $0.01 per diluted share.

Going forward, Radisys will report revenue and profitability in two segments: Software-Systems and Embedded Products and Hardware Services. The company's 2015 expectations for these two segments are:

  • Software-Systems: Revenue growth of 10% to 20%, Gross Margins of 55% to 65% and an operating loss of $2 to $8 million. Growth will be enabled by a focus on VoLTE market opportunities with the company's MediaEngine products, providing wire-speed packet classification and load balancing for NFV telecom architectures with FlowEngine products and royalty growth resulting from its CellEngine software suite of products moving into small cell commercial deployments.
  • Embedded Products and Hardware Services: Revenue decline of approximately 20%, gross margins of 25% to 30% and operating profit of $13 million to $17 million. 

“Over the last two years we have made incredible strategic progress in our core focus areas while simultaneously improving the operational execution of the company. This has positioned Radisys to enjoy meaningful growth opportunities in all of our Software-Systems product lines while at the same time benefiting from the stability and increasing levels of profitability within our Embedded Products business," stated Brian Bronson, Radisys President and Chief Executive Officer.


RSA's Art Coviello to Retire

Art Coviello's is retiring from his post as Executive Chairman of RSA and Executive Vice President of EMC for health reasons.

Mr. Coviello was the Chief Executive Officer of RSA Security Inc. prior to its acquisition by EMC Corporation in 2006. He joined RSA in 1995 and has been a driving force in its strategic evolution and rapid growth over the past 20 years. In that time, RSA grew from being a leader in authentication to a multi-dimensional company with leadership positions in GRC, Security Analytics, and Identity Management and saw its annual revenue increase from $25 million in 1995 to $1 billion in 2014.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Vitesse's 10/40G PHYs Enable Secure WAN with 256-bit MACsec and 1588

Vitesse Semiconductor introduced a new quad channel, 10/40G physical layer transceiver family featuring government-grade, FIPS-197-certified 256-bit MACsec encryption for securing WAN links for enterprise, cloud and mobile backhaul traffic.

Specifically, the new PHYs enable 40G connectivity with “secure 1588” by leveraging Vitesse’s FIPS-certified Intellisec IEEE 802.1AE MACsec security encryption technology and Vitesse’s VeriTime IEEE 1588 timing and synchronization.

Vitesse said the new quad channel 10G PHY family addresses several markets which are prime for MACsec encryption: enterprise and data center networking, where access lines with government-grade protection is required; and Service Provider access networking, where higher capacity, more intelligence and secured Ethernet transport is needed in aggregation service router, mobile backhaul, etc.

Vitesse notes that traditional MACsec implementations are not able to deliver IEEE 1588 timing accuracy, as required in TD-LTE and LTE-Advanced mobile networks.  Its Intellisec and VeriTime technologies deliver line-rate 256-bit encryption with the industry’s de facto highest accuracy IEEE 1588 timing. Intellisec’s “tag-in-the-clear” capability also provides the network transparency needed to enable use of third party networks for delivery of critical services to mobile, Enterprise and Industrial-IoT networks.

Key capabilities of Vitesse’s VSC8256, VSC8257 and VSC8258 include:
  • High capacity 40G connectivity;
  • Highly accurate VeriTime IEEE 1588 network timing; and
  • Flexible Layer 2 security (Intellisec IEEE 802.1AE MACsec) offload for companion network processors, I/O processors, MAC controllers and/or FPGA-based designs.
  • Accelerating Cloud Services to Users and Industry
“Addressing the ‘Snowden effect’ and growing security concerns in our increasingly connected world is critical in next-generation networking equipment,” said Uday Mudoi, vice president of product marketing at Vitesse. “Vitesse’s game-changing technologies readily enable the rigorous security needed to safeguard Enterprise, Cloud and mobile network infrastructures.”

The new 10GE PHY family includes:

  • VSC8256: Serial-quad channel 1G/10G Ethernet retimer and repeater
  • VSC8257: Serial quad channel 1G/10G Ethernet PHY with VeriTime IEEE 1588 timing and synchronization
  • VSC8258: Serial quad channel 1G/10G Ethernet PHY with VeriTime IEEE 1588 timing and synchronization and Intellisec IEEE 802.1AE MACsec

Brocade Adds Inline MACsec Encryption to Routers

Brocade introduced native port-based encryption functionality for its family of MLXe modular routers.

The new security functionality added to the Brocade MLXe routers includes both 256-bit IPsec encryption and 128-bit MACsec encryption for ensuring end-to-end data protection. Both of these security protocols can be enabled at wire speed for up to 44 Gbps (IPsec) or 200 Gbps (MACsec) throughput per module, meeting the highest levels of network performance requirements. The encryption is interoperable with third-party IPsec Suite B-capable platforms, and it complements MACsec functionality available in the Brocade ICX family of switches.

Brocade said this update eliminates the need for expensive specialized switch/router encryption services blades or third-party security appliances, while also eradicating performance-inhibiting latency and complex operations that are inherent with these types of add-on devices. Adding encryption and decryption natively to the I/O modules of the router enables the network to ensure the privacy of all data that moves across it, without compromise, for the first time. By bringing wire-speed encryption into the router, customers can enable pervasive data privacy across their New IP initiatives while offloading their appliances, improving performance, and increasing their overall IT security profile.

IPsec interoperability with the Brocade Vyatta vRouter is targeted for a future release.

"With data breaches making headlines around the world, securing confidential information is top of mind for every organization. As customers tackle the data privacy challenge, they need security everywhere in their infrastructure, but especially for data-in-flight over the WAN. Historically, performance and cost have been key barriers to broad adoption of network encryption technology," said Jason Nolet, senior vice president Switching, Routing, and Analytics Products, at Brocade. "By utilizing innovative, I/O-based encryption in Brocade MLXe routers, organizations can now deploy up to 44 Gbps of wire-speed IPsec encryption per trunk and over 1 Tbps per router, achieving five times the performance at a third of the cost -- and without the operational complexity -- of comparable solutions."

"In a recent survey of IT professionals across North America, respondents stated they experienced a 75 percent decline in network performance when security appliance capabilities are enabled such as firewall, anti-virus, deep packet inspection, and encryption," said Zeus Kerravala, founder, ZK Research. "Additionally, 44 percent cited trade-offs being required between network performance and security, with nearly 40 percent of respondents stating they either decline to enable, or completely turn off, functions in their security devices to avoid impacting networking performance."

Hardware modules that support up to 200 Gbps of wire-speed MACsec encryption are priced starting at $90,000. A module that supports both IPsec and MACsec at up to 44 Gbps wire-speed performance is priced at $120,000.


Apple to Build $2 Billion Data Center in Arizona

Apple plans invest $2 billion to convert a former factory in Mesa, Arizona, into a major data center.

The 1.3 million square foot facility was previously occupied by GT Advanced Technologies, a company that had sought to supply sapphire screens to Apple. The new data center will be 100 percent solar energy.


Verizon Customers at Super Bowl Generated 4 TB of Data

Verizon customers at the Super Bowl racked up more than 25 million wireless connections – nearly 25,000 per minute.

All of the tweets, texts, status updates, etc. sent by Verizon customers immediately before, during and after the game in Glendale added up to 4.1 terabytes of data, compared to 1.9 terabytes during the 2014 Super Bowl.

Verizon said its network engineers spent nearly two years preparing for the event, including quadrupling the 4G LTE data capacity at the stadium and at major venues throughout metro Phoenix, adding cell sites, small cell systems, indoor and outdoor Distributed Antenna Systems and rolling in mobile cell sites.


SanDisk Show All-Flash VMware Virtual SAN

SanDisk is showcasing an all-flash VMware Virtual SAN 6 architecture that can perform more than two million transactions per minute (TPM) for database transaction processing and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) applications.

The new Virtual SAN 6, which can be deployed at entry-level as a 4-node cluster that can scale up to a total of 64 nodes, leverages SanDisk Lightning Gen. II 12Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSDs and CloudSpeed SATA SSDs to provide the cache and persistent storage tiers.

“This new all-flash VMware Virtual SAN design from SanDisk provides our mutual customers with increased levels of virtual machine (VM) performance density with scalability and the necessary price/performance SSD attributes,” said Charles Fan, senior vice president and general manager, Storage and Availability Business Unit, VMware.


IBM Softlayer to Host eBay Enterprise Commerce Ecosystem

eBay Enterprise has selected IBM's Softlayer hybrid cloud platform to enhance its Magento Hosting Partner ecosystem to further expand its global scope and reach.

Magento is an ecommerce platform used by more than 240,000 retailers worldwide.

The agreement is designed to introduce Magento's ecommerce clients to IBM's cloud platform while also expanding global infrastructure options for Magento's retailers and brands. Through this partnership, Magento will have additional means to support clients in every major global market.

"Magento's unique worldwide developer network enables retailers and brands to create customized, innovative, omnichannel commerce experiences to accelerate their growth. Our partnership with IBM, a proven leader in cloud, will provide Magento clients of all sizes another cost-effective, scalable and secure hosting infrastructure on a global scale," noted Craig Hayman, president, eBay Enterprise.


Intel to Acquire Lantiq for Home Gateway Silicon

Intel has agreed to acquire Lantiq, a supplier of broadband access and home networking technologies, for an undisclosed sum.

Lantiq, which is based in Munich, Germany, offers a portfolio of silicon devices including xDSL solutions with vectoring and G.Fast; fiber-based technologies such as Fiber to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) and GPON; gateway home networking and DSLTE systems; ultra-efficient network processors; and comprehensive Ethernet and voice solutions. The company holds over 2,000 patents.

Intel said the acquisition will expand its presence in the cable residential gateway market and broaden its offering to other gateway markets, including DSL, Fiber, LTE, retail and IoT smart routers.

"By 2018, we expect more than 800 million broadband connected households worldwide," said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group. "Intel has been a global leader in driving broadband into the home and to connected compute devices. The combination of our cable gateway business with Lantiq's technology and talent can allow global service providers to introduce new home computing experiences and enable consumers to take advantage of a more smart and connected home."

"Intel and Lantiq share a common vision about the evolution of the connected home and the intelligent network," said Dan Artusi, Lantiq CEO. "Together we can drive the transformation of the broadband customer premises equipment (CPE) as it becomes a smart gateway that connects an increasingly diverse roster of devices and services in the home."


  • Lantiq was spun out of Infineon Technologies in 2009. It subsequently acquired the home networking and DSL-related assets of Aware.

Singapore Assigns 2.3GHz and 2.5 GHz TDD for HetNet Trials

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) will assign some Time Division Duplex (“TDD”) spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz band in the short term to facilitate trials for Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) deployments.

IDA expects the HetNet trials in Singapore to last six to nine months.  IDA is currently studying the allocation of these TDD bands for the longer term, as part of its overall review of spectrum bands to be allocated for mobile broadband services.


SanDisk Intros Automotive Grade Flash Storage

SanDisk introduced a suite of robust, automotive grade NAND flash solutions optimized for connected cars and automotive infotainment systems.

SanDisk anticipates a the need for high-performance storage in a range of in-vehicle applications, including 3D mapping and advanced augmented reality in navigation systems, entertainment systems, intuitive driver assist technology, data event recorders, etc.

The SanDisk Automotive portfolio of storage solutions includes an automotive grade SanDisk SD card and iNAND embedded flash drive (EFD), which are available to automotive manufacturers in capacities up to 64GB. The devices are designed to perform in temperatures from -40 degrees C to 85oC.


FCC Commissioner Questions DISH's AWS-3 Subsidy

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai called for an investigation into how DISH Network Corp. qualified for a multi-billion discount in the recently completed AWS-3 spectrum auction.

By acting through two companies in which it holds an 85% stake, DISH was qualified as a small company in the auction, entitling it to a 25% discount on acquired spectrum.  Pai notes that DISH has annual revenues of almost $14 billion, a market capitalization of over $32 billion, and over 14 million customers.


Ericsson Announces 5G Partnership with SingTel

SingTel and Ericsson signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore future 5G networks and to address a wide range of use cases from consumers to industries.  The companies plan to evaluate and test technologies that are candidates for future 5G standardization. SingTel is seeking to explore how 5G technology can support Singapore’s vision of being a "Smart Nation."

Tay Soo Meng, Group Chief Technology Officer, SingTel, says: "We see 5G as a potential technology that will support very advanced communication needs in the future. We will endeavor to explore, study and possibly trial the 5G technologies to ensure SingTel continues its technology leadership in the mobile communications domain."


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blueprint: The Structural and Economic Benefits of Passive Optical LANs

by Stephen Porach, PE, RCDD, OCC, Manager of Business Development – Enterprise Solutions

With the rise of fiber to the home (FTTH) technology, the commercial sector is quickly jumping on the bandwagon. Optical LANs are rapidly replacing the traditional commercial network infrastructure with fewer components, decreased installation costs, operational efficiencies and a system that’s ready for future upgrades.

Derived from fiber to the home technology, Optical LANs, also called passive optical networks (PON) or passive optical LANs (POL), have been around for 20 to 25 years, but it wasn’t until recently that the technology had been scaled to bring cost effective, green connectivity to the commercial sector by replacing or integrating with existing network architecture.

Traditional network architecture in an Ethernet LAN typically consists of multiple levels of switch aggregation. Services, such as voice, data and video, are routed through a multi-link network that uses an enormous amount of copper cabling to connect users to local switches in IDF closets and/or telecommunication rooms throughout a building.  In multi-level buildings and large campuses, this can create a congested hierarchy of switches and cabling that all require space, energy and cooling.

POL eliminates the complexity of this architecture and offers significant energy and labor savings.

Introducing Passive Optical LAN

Contrary to traditional structured cabling, POL uses a slightly different architecture than networks requiring telecom rooms filled with switches. POL flattens the Local Area Network, by replacing switches for passive optical splitters, thereby eliminating the many challenges associated with conventional networks.

Upgrading to a POL solution is a seamless transition because it does not require changing, upgrading or supplementing user equipment such as computers, network printers or any other IP device.  Nor does it require replacement of the traditional core (WAN) switch, which is the company’s access point to the internet or cloud.  POLs simply take the place of all the intermediate switches and horizontal copper cabling.

An Optical Line Terminal (OLT) is connected to the core switch and serves as the center of the POL.  From the OLT, single-mode fiber is run to an optical splitter.  The optical splitter is used in lieu of the access switch traditionally located in the telecommunications room.  The optical splitter is a passive device that splits the downstream signals to all connected devices and it combines them for data flowing upstream.  By eliminating the aggregation and access switches, you eliminate the power, cooling and space required for that telecommunications room.

The signal is then distributed to Optical Network Terminals (ONTs), which may look similar to cable modems in a home, that offer standard Ethernet connectivity to end-users. At this point the copper Ethernet connection to the end user device can support Power over Ethernet (PoE), and can do so up to the standard 100-meter channel.  These ONTs can be located at the desktop, under it, or in a variety of different locations depending on the device or devices it is serving.

Passive Optical LANs require only a single strand of fiber to convey the signal in both directions by utilizing wave division multiplexing (WDM).  WDM utilizes multiple wavelengths of light on the same strand of fiber, allowing the downstream and upstream signals to co-exist on that single fiber strand.  This is somewhat different from how signals are transported on a more cumbersome conventional network where two strands are required, one for the downstream signal and one for the upstream signal.

What should you be looking for in a Passive Optical LAN provider

Cost Savings

Passive Optical LANs can provide significant savings to any organization. The savings are two-fold. There is the upfront savings to install the network and support structure, and there is a year-over-year operational savings.

Because of the ease of installation and maintenance, organizations using POLs will experience lower capital and operating expenditures over time compared to traditional cabling.

Additionally, optical splitters in the POL remove the need for switches and the backbone copper cable that runs from switches to end-user ports.

POL capital/operational savings originate from:

  • Optical splitters removing the need for expensive switches, compounded by the reduction in the power and cooling infrastructure required to support those switches.
  • Replacement of expensive copper cable with a less expensive, single-mode fiber cable. Furthermore single-mode fiber will not require replacement during future network upgrades.
  • Eliminating of large bundles of copper cabling reduces the infrastructure required such as cable tray, ladder rack, conduit and firestop systems to support the cable.

Easy Installation  

With the significant reduction in cabling in a POL solution, installers no longer have to pull miles of heavy cable and run that cable to thousands of Ethernet ports. As previously stated, the support infrastructure for those cables is also gone, eliminating multiple steps in installations and saving time for installers.

Additionally, modern optical fiber is lightweight, yet tough enough to allow you to pull and bend the fiber without damage to the operating performance. The bend insensitive optical performance of single-mode fiber allows these cables to be installed even in the tightest of spaces.  Moreover, the cables can be custom manufactured to be used in a variety of industrial and generally harsh environment applications.

Looking for a significantly reduced installation time? Utilize pre-terminated fiber assemblies. Large POLs have significant quantities of fiber terminations.  Pre-terminated assemblies decrease labor costs and significantly reduce installation time.


POL simplifies network moves, adds and changes without having to replace the cabling infrastructure. Single-mode fiber has more bandwidth and greater distance capabilities than any other medium on the market today. Once single-mode fiber is installed, upgrades are accomplished simply by upgrading the electronics (OLTs & ONTs).  This removes the need to replace outdated category cables when providing additional bandwidth to the end user. This fiber infrastructure should support the user longer than any other medium available, giving organizations a real motive to ensure they have a 25-year product assurance warranty issued with their installation.

In addition, many large campus networks have a single-mode fiber infrastructure already installed between buildings. Optical networks can span up to 30 kilometers and take advantage of this previously installed infrastructure.


Not only can organizations save on maintenance and installation, studies have shown POL can cut energy costs by up to 67 percent. Replacing a switch with an optical splitter, reduces power consumption and energy demands.

Flexible and Customized  

Passive Optical LANs can be configured specifically to user requirements, which is why deploying components from a full line manufacturer of POL products provides flexibility not found in conventional networks. POLs are scalable and can be modified, upgraded or enlarged with the user.  If telecommunications rooms are on-site, the infrastructure can mirror cable routing of a traditional LAN.  However, if organizations take full advantage of a POL solution, energy and space wasting telecom rooms are replaced with a zone enclosure located in the ceiling. The zone enclosures house the optical splitters and can be located throughout the user space depending on their unique requirements.

Passive Optical LAN Solutions Encourage Savings and Support Growth

POL’s are intended to support multiple applications, from mobile to desktop computing, as well as voice, IP and RF Video. Additionally, the single-mode infrastructure can be leveraged to support a Distributed Antenna System (DAS).

In general, organizations searching for a networking solution that is less costly, more energy efficient, easier to install, simpler to maintain and more secure than traditional cabling structures, should lose the telecom room and begin enjoying energy and cost savings today with a POL solution.

About the Author

Stephen Porach graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  He worked for 6 years in the construction industry, and has now been employed in the telecommunications industry for 20 years in positions ranging from sales to engineering to marketing. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and a BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD). Porach is currently Manager of Business Development – Enterprise Solutions at Optical Cable Corporation (“OCC®”).

About OCC
Founded in 1983, OCC is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia with offices, manufacturing and warehouse facilities located in each of Roanoke, Virginia, near Asheville, North Carolina and near Dallas, Texas. OCC’s facilities are ISO 9001:2008 registered, and OCC’s Roanoke and Dallas facilities are MIL-STD-790F certified.

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