Monday, April 27, 2015

Performance Scalability for NFV - Procera & Intel

The scalability that is required in carrier networks for NFV to succeed is huge.

 If you don't solve the performance requirements, you will not meet the expectations of customers. In this video, Procera Networks' Cam Cullen and Intel's Renu Navale talk about their partnership and the success achieved in benchmarking NFV performance.

 Working with Intel's Network Builders program, Procera has demonstrated its PacketLogic/V virtualized software solution running at over 150 Gbps on Intel Xeon Processor E5 v3 Family-based commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms.

See Video: https://youtu.be/OvQTnbTBDMw

 

Lightower to Acquire Fibertech, Extending Footprint

Lightower Fiber Networks agreed to acquire Fibertech Networks, a leading provider of fiber-optic based network services throughout mid-size cities in the eastern and central regions of the United States, for $1.9 billion in cash.


The combined company will own and operate over 30,000 route miles of fiber network providing access to nearly 5,000 wireless towers and almost 13,000 on-net service locations, including commercial buildings, data centers, financial exchanges, content hubs and other critical communications facilities.

Lightower’s existing financial backers, Berkshire Partners, Pamlico Capital and ABRY Partners, will each provide additional equity to support the transaction.

“The combination of Lightower and Fibertech is a win for customers by enabling us to serve more locations, across a wider area, and with more service options – all with the same superior level of reliability and customer support,” stated Rob Shanahan, CEO of Lightower. “Lightower and Fibertech have built distinct networks in their respective regions that will be very complementary when merged. In addition, we plan to continue to invest capital in these regions for additional network expansion.”

“This merger between our two high growth companies is a very positive development for both organizations, both customer bases and both sets of employees,” said John Purcell, CEO of Fibertech. “Bringing together these two talented teams under an integrated leadership group will be a great cultural fit, while also broadening opportunities and career growth for employees.”

http://www.lightower.com/company/news/press-releases/lightower-fiber-networks-to-merge-with-fibertech-networks/#.VT8N2CH484k

OpenCloud Connect - Faster Standards for Cloud Services

Sebastien Jobert, co-chair of the Open Cloud Committee for OpenCloud Connect, provides an update on the forum and its ambition for faster development of standards for cloud services.

OpenCloud Connect, which was previously called Cloud Ethernet Forum, is a global industry alliance founded to address the need for scaling and enhancing current network technologies to meet the stringent demands of delivering cloud services.

OpenCloud Connect is working on solutions that address technical challenges such as VLAN scaling, layer 2 performance and resilience across very large domains and consolidating storage network technologies onto Ethernet.

See video: https://youtu.be/vCXsl_p9jQg


Dell Intros New Open Data Center Switches

Dell Networking introduced three new open switches for data centers and featuring support for the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) to allow for a zero-touch install of all pre-qualified operating systems, including Dell Networking OS9 and third party options.


Dell said the rollout reinforces its strategy to pursue open architectures in the new era of software-defined data centers.

"These advancements are another example of Dell helping our customers to future proof and accelerate the financial and performance rewards the software-defined data center promises," said Arpit Joshipura, vice president, product management and strategy, Dell Networking. "The new products announced today offer customers complete flexibility to take advantage of open networking environments and new computing models as well as the revenue streams these network infrastructures will allow."

The rollout includes:

Dell Networking Z9100-ON - a 100GbE fabric switch in a 1RU fixed form factor for aggregation and access layers. It and offers multi-rate switching (10/25/40/50/100GbE). The Z9100 is designed for cloud, HPC and Web 2.0 applications that require a range of options in switching rates in high-density environments and excels in Big Data analysis and where high performance, low latency requirements exist. The fabric switch offers up to seven times the density per RU versus a competing switch.1

Dell Networking S4048-ON - a low-latency 10/40GbE Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch designed for the software-defined data center. It offers advanced features supporting large hardware tables, VXLAN and expanding buffering. It is designed for Web and Cloud service providers with Linux and open source-heavy environments. The S4048 provides a low latency 10GbE switching in HPC and business sensitive deployments that require the highest bandwidth and low latency, while cutting in half the latency versus a competing switch.

Dell Networking S3048-ON - designed for enterprise and mid-market customers with an existing 1GbE installed base. It is Dell’s first entry into 1GbE open networking switching. The S3048 is a ToR equipped with next-generation 1GbE silicon, a complete OS9 feature set including VLT, OpenFlow, Open Automation, Cloud Stack integration with OpenStack, Microsoft, VMware, Docker and others, while offering up to half the power consumption and costs up to 50 percent less than the current generation of Dell 1GbE switches.

Dell today also announced IP Infusion, Inc. as a new ecosystem partner in support of its Open Networking initiative.

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/press-releases/2015-04-23-dell-networking-data-center-innovation

Open Switches for SDN Data Centers

Arpit Joshipura discusses Dell's pursuit of open architectures and its newly launched switches for software-defined data centers, saying the disaggregation of hardware and software allows for faster innovation from all sides. Dell is introducing new switches with port speeds from 1G to 100G.  The openness allows for Dell's own OS or third-party implementations such as Big Switch, Cumulus and IP Infusion.

Filmed at NetEvent's Cloud Innovation Summit in Tiburon, California.

See video:  https://youtu.be/UioGzGx3Xg8

Facebook Adds Video Calling to Messenger

Facebook is adding video calling in Messenger, enabling face-to-face calling on iOS or Android devices.

The service is initially available in Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, the UK, the US and Uruguay.

http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/04/introducing-video-calling-in-messenger/


  • Last week, Facebook disclosed that it served 936 million daily active users (DAUs) on average for March 2015, an increase of 17% year-over-year. Mobile DAUs were 798 million on average for March 2015, an increase of 31% year-over-year. Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.44 billion as of March 31, 2015, an increase of 13% year-over-year. Mobile MAUs were 1.25 billion as of March 31, 2015, an increase of 24% year-over-year.

Apple Confirms $2 Billion Investment in European Data Centers

On its quarterly conference call, Apple confirmed plans to invest $2 billion on data centers in Ireland and Denmark. These will be Apple's largest data centers in the world and will be 100% powered by renewable energy.

The company notes that 100% of it U.S. operations and 87% of global operations are running on renewable energy.

http://www.apple.com

Sunday, April 26, 2015

CloudBridge Debuts Virtual WAN Link Aggregation

Citrix announced its "CloudBridge Virtual WAN Edition", which allows enterprises to create a virtualized WAN by bonding multiple network services such as MPLS, broadband, mobile and satellite Internet links together to maximize WAN capacity and reliability. The Citrix CloudBridge Virtual WAN constantly assesses the performance of paths within the virtualized WAN to instantaneously and automatically adapt to changing network conditions.

The solution extends the company's existing CloudBridge appliances and integrates with the company’s HDX and application acceleration technologies.

The CloudBridge Virtual WAN will be generally available as a new software edition on select CloudBridge appliances in Q2 2015. Additionally, virtual appliances and versions for third party cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, will be available in Q3 2015.

http://www.citrix.com/products/cloudbridge/overview.html

Thoma Bravo Completes Acquisition of Riverbed

Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity investment firm, and Teachers’ Private Capital, the private investor department of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, completed their previously announced acquisition of Riverbed Technology. The acquisition is valued at approximately $3.5 billion, with Riverbed stockholders receiving $21.00 per share in cash.

“With this acquisition now complete, our team can begin to move forward with the strategic initiatives that will take us to the next stage of growth,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, chairman and CEO of Riverbed. “As a private company, Riverbed is better positioned to pursue our long term goals, and has greater flexibility to develop best-of breed technologies that deliver superior application performance for our customers. This flexibility, alongside Thoma Bravo’s deep experience growing companies in the application performance space, makes us very excited about the future.”

http://www.riverbed.com

  • On Friday, April 24, various sources reported a significant layoff of employees at Riverbed's HQ in San Francisco. 
  • Previous networking investments by Thoma Bravo have included: Blue Coat Systems, Empirix, InfoVista, Keynote Systems, Sailpoint Technologies, and others.

Freescale Intros White Box SDN with Advantech

Freescale Semiconductor introduced its new SDN switching platform powered by its QorIQ multicore processors and designed to bring intelligence, agility and security to the network’s edge for the secure Internet of Tomorrow.

The white box solution, which was developed in conjunction with Advantech, leverages Freescale’s 24-core, server-class QorIQ T4240 processor and VortiQa Open Network software. The platform couples the QorIQ processors with standard switch ASIC devices. The platform utilizes standards-based protocols such as OpenFlow, and supports manageability through open technologies such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight. It includes VNF support, commercial grade VortiQa SDN software supporting OpenFlow version 1.3 with extensions for Layer 4 and above protocols, and Layer 2/3 forwarding.

Freescale said its new platform enables exceptional network security for virtualized environments by supporting the integration of high performance packet processing functions such as firewalling, intrusion detection and IPSEC over VxLAN.

“In recent years, the world’s networks have undergone a dramatic transformation. Enterprises, network carriers and their equipment suppliers need a new generation of switching technology for this new era,” said Sam Fuller, head of Strategy and Solutions for Freescale’s Digital Networking group. “Freescale’s intelligent switching platform helps OEMs and their customers unleash the full value of SDN, while saving power and cost by eliminating the need for additional appliances commonly required in traditional switching implementations.”

“The Freescale network services switching platform further expands Advantech’s switching product portfolio for equipment manufacturers, integrators and service providers.” said John Muller, vice president of Sales and Marketing, Advantech Networks and Communications group. “When combined with VortiQa Open Network switch software, Enterprise IT and cloud service providers will be able to drive greater flexibility and efficiency into their software defined infrastructure to support the increasing demand for new and innovative services.”

The Freescale platform will be available from Advantech as a commercial grade product that can be customized to meet specific customer requirements in various deployment scenarios. Advantech will be offering first line hardware and software support and services on the platform to facilitate customer designs, reduce development cycles and accelerate time-to-market. The platform will be shipping to lead customers in 2H15 with initial support for IPSec VPN, Policy Based Routing and L2/L3 Ethernet Switching.

http://www.freescale.com

Apigee Completes IPO - NASDAQ: APIC

On Friday, Apigee, a start-up based in San Jose, California, completed its initial public offering (IPO) of 5,115,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $17.00 per share. Apigee is now traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "APIC."

The company's Apigee Edge API platform helps enterprises to build mobile and digital initiatives using APIs, apps and data. Apigee Insights delivers big data predictive analytics. Apigee says that when used together, its APIs and predictive analytics can create an adaptive cycle of continuous improvement – and the faster an enterprise goes through this cycle, the faster it can innovate, adapt and accelerate its digital business.

http://apigee.com/
  • In April 2014, Apigee announced $60 million in new venture financing for its API platform for enabling predictive analytics in digital interactions. Pine River Capital Management and Wellington Management Company participated as new investors in this round, along with current Apigee investors Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Bay Partners, Third Point LLC, SAP Ventures, funds managed by BlackRock, Focus Ventures, and Accenture. This brought Apigee's total funding to $171 as of April 2014. 

ZTE Reports Rise in Q1 Profits

ZTE reported first-quarter 2015 net profit RMB 883 million (US$142 million), up 41.9% year over year. Basic earnings per share climbed to RMB 0.24, while revenue rose 10.2% to RMB 21 billion.

Operating revenue from telecommunications software systems, services and other products increased by 23.4% in the first quarter, as ZTE recorded strong growth from video and network terminal products, in addition to services.

Revenue from Carriers’ Networks increased by 8.9%, as compared to the same period last year, driven by growth in sales of products such as wireless communication systems, wireline switch and access systems, routers and router switches. Operating revenue from handset terminals increased by 7%, as compared to the same period last year, reflecting mainly higher sales of 4G

ZTE said its strategy is capture the growth in demand for solutions in cloud computing, big Data, Smart City and high-performance routers.

Looking ahead, ZTE will continue to focus on its three main operations of Carrier Networks, Enterprise Business and Mobile Devices. In Carriers’ Networks, ZTE will be committed to developing solutions for smarter networks to support carriers in their transformation into information-based operations. In Enterprise Business, ZTE will actively drive the transformation of various industries towards “Industry 4.0” or “Industrial Internet” with enhancement of corporate customers’ operational efficiency.

http://www.zte.com.cn

Friday, April 24, 2015

Windstream Completes Spinout of Network Assets Division into REIT

Windstream completed its previously-announced, tax-free spinoff of select telecommunications network assets into a new company, Communications Sales and Leasing (Nasdaq:CSAL), an independent publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT).

In addition, Windstream also announced the near completion of a one-for-six reverse stock split of Windstream's shares.

"Today's successful spinoff will significantly advance our commitment to deliver value for shareholders," said Tony Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Windstream. "This innovative transaction has made Windstream a stronger company with less debt and increased capacity to invest in our network to provide advanced communication
services to customers. I'm also excited about the growth prospects of CS&L."

In connection with the spinoff, Windstream repaid debt in an aggregate amount equal to $2.4 billion under its outstanding credit agreement. Windstream also received cash proceeds of $1.035 billion, which is anticipated to be used to retire additional debt over the next 30 days.

http://www.windstream.com


In July 2014, Windstream announced a bold plans to spin off its fiber and copper network, along with certain other assets, into an independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT).  The network operations business would then lease back the physical assets to Windstream through a long-term triple-net exclusive lease with an initial estimated rent payment of $650 million per year.

The company said the separation of its physical network from its services business will enable it to become a more nimble competitor, while accelerating network investments, and maximizing shareholder value. The new REIT would be open to diversify its assets through acquisitions.

"This transaction will make Windstream a more nimble competitor in today’s increasingly dynamic communications marketplace and accelerate our deployment of advanced communications services," said Jeff Gardner, president and CEO of Windstream. "Additionally, the REIT will have geographically diverse, high-quality assets and sustainable cash flows with the ability to grow and diversify over time."

Marvell Trims Guidance

Marvell Technology announced preliminary financial results for the first quarter of its fiscal 2016, saying it now expects revenue to be below the company's previous outlook. Marvell now expects first quarter of fiscal 2016 revenue to be in the range of $710 million to $740 million, compared to the previous expectation of $810 million to $830 million.

The cited weaker than previously expected PC and storage markets and lower than expected emerging market demand.

http://www.marvell.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pica8 Enables Label BGP on White Box Switches

Pica8 announced support for Labeled BGP on bare-metal, white box switches -- a new network overlay solution with applications for service providers and cloud data center operators.

Pica8 said the approach will appeal to many large enterprises who are pursuing a VXLAN / VMware model for multi-tenant services, workload mobility and overlay networking within their data centers.

The new capability, which is part of Pica8’s latest SDN release (PicOS 2.6), is similar to MPLS in that it uses labels to establish service tunnels across the network. Label BGP adds the
dynamic programmability of SDN. BGP is a signaling mechanism carriers can use to create MPLS paths; but today this function is only available in expensive edge routers from the likes of Cisco and Juniper. This capability in Pica8’s OS, coupled with white box economics, gives carriers a far more cost-effective alternative to deploying this technology.

“We are seeing a real debate in the “how” of offering end-to-end services inside and between data centers,” said Olivier Vautrin, head of product management at Pica8. “The need is real if you want to deploy hybrid cloud services and to accomplish that, you need a flexible and proven encapsulation technology. We believe MPLS and Labeled BGP offers that opportunity and the experience in the market is there. Once MPLS is used in the data center, complex stitching technologies between data center and WAN encapsulations are not needed anymore. This is disrupting traditional data center edge devices by adding this functionality into our hardware-agnostic white box switching OS.”

http://www.pica8.com/company/press-releases/pica8-disrupts-data-center-economics-by-offering-service-providers-overlay-choice.php

Google Project Fi Aims for Seamless Connections Between Networks

Google announced Project Fi -- its effort to define "the future of communications" by building a virtual mobile network service leveraging Wi-Fi the cellular infrastructure of carrier partners. For its U.S. launch, Google has confirmed T-Mobile and Sprint as partners.

Key points:
  • No contracts.
  • User phone numbers live in the cloud, enabling talk and text with your number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop. 
  • Talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering and international coverage in 120+ countries for $20 a month 
  • 1GB of mobile data is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. 
  • Credits are applied for unused data each month
  • The Nexus 6 will the first smartphone to support the Project Fi SIM card
  • Interested customers can request an invite to test the service.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2015/04/project-fi.html

Equinix Commits to 100% Clean and Renewal Data Center Energy

Equinix committed to a long-term goal to use 100% clean and renewable energy to power its global platform, which now includes data centers in over 33 markets on five continents. Equinix aims to deliver carbon-neutral data center and interconnection services.

In 2014, Equinix consumed over 2,200 gigawatt hours of energy across its global data center platform.

In a blog posting, David Rinard is Senior Director of Global Sustainability & Procurement at Equinix, describes the company's newly adopted set of Renewable Energy Principles.

https://blog.equinix.com/2015/04/living-by-our-principles-and-a-commitment-to-100-renewable-energy-use/

Procera to be Acquired by Private Equity Firm for $240 Million

Procera Networks has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by private funds managed by Francisco Partners Management, a technology-focused private equity firm, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $240 million. Under the deal, Francisco Partners will acquire all outstanding shares of Procera’s common stock for $11.50 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 21% over the closing price of Procera’s common stock on April 21, 2015, and a premium of approximately 32% over the unaffected closing price on January 22, 2015, the last day prior to an article reporting the potential sale of the company.

“As part of Francisco Partners’ portfolio of companies, Procera will have the resources and financial expertise needed to attain the next level of growth and to strengthen our competitive market position,” said James Brear, President and CEO of Procera. “I believe this transaction delivers compelling value to our stockholders, and we remain firmly committed to establishing Procera as the leader in improving the customer broadband experience for carriers and operators.”

Procera also announced preliminary results for Q1 2015, saying revenue is expected to be in the range of $19.5 million to $20.5 million. The ratio of bookings to revenue for the first quarter was below one. The company expects the gross margin percentage to be approximately 60% and to incur a net operating loss on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis for the first quarter of 2015. The company is not revising its previously announced guidance for the full year.

See also