Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dell'Oro: Cisco Gains Share in L2-3 Ethernet Switch Market

The Layer 2-3 Ethernet Switch market declined nearly $1 billion in the first quarter 2015 to slightly more than $5.5 billion, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.

"Seasonality, especially since China has become a larger part of the market caused Ethernet Switch revenues to be down significantly in 1Q15. Despite the strong sequential market decline, Cisco gained revenue share year-over-year," said Alan Weckel, Vice President of Ethernet Switch market research at Dell'Oro Group. "Campus switching has begun an upgrade cycle to support next generation wireless LAN access points using new Multi-Gigabit technology as a catalyst. Campus switching will also get a boost from E-Rate during the summer. As we transition to the end of 2015, the data center will begin an upgrade cycle to 25 GE for server access with 100 GE starting to ramp to significant volumes. The market will also be absorbing both HP's announcement to divest H3C and Avago's announcement to acquire Broadcom. It has been almost a decade since we have seen so much vendor repositioning in the market," stated Weckel.

The report also indicates that Cisco Systems, Huawei Technologies, and Hewlett-Packard (H3C) were the top three vendors in revenue rank in China during the first quarter 2015.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blueprint: Enabling Smart Software Defined Networks

by Seong Kim, System Architect in AMD’s Embedded Networking Division

The networking and communications industry is at a critical inflection point as it looks to embrace new technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). While there are significant advantages to deploying a software-defined network, there are challenges as well. The implementation of SDN and NFV requires revamping network components and structures, and adopting new approaches to writing software for network management function.

The hosting of SDN and NFV middleware and network management software on industry-standard processors is now being handled by modern multi-processor heterogeneous system architectures that incorporate both CPU and GPU resources within a single SOC.

What’s been missing until recently is a holistic view of networks and the technology providing a standardized separation of the control and data planes. SDN provides this capability, and can efficiently enable data center and service providers to manage network configuration, management, routing and policy enforcement for their evolving multi-tenant heterogeneous networks.

As defined by the Open Networking Foundation, SDN decouples the network control and forwarding functions, enabling the network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted for applications and network services.
Unlike server virtualization, which enables sharing of a single physical resource by many users or entities, virtualizing network resources enables a consolidation of different physical resources by overlaying virtual layers of networks on heterogeneous networks, resulting in a unified, logically homogenous network. Figure 1 describes three requirements that commonly define SDN architecture.

SDN Trends and Challenges

There are several different SDN deployment scenarios in the industry, although the original SDN concept proposes to have a centralized control plane with only the data plane remaining in the network.

On the controller implementation, three basic topologies are being considered in the industry. The first is a centralized topology where one SDN controller controls all the switches in the network. This approach, however, incurs a higher risk of failure since it makes the central controller a single point of failure for the network. The second topology being investigated is the so-called distributed-centralized architecture. In this approach multiple “regional” SDN controllers, each controlling a subset of the network, communicate with the (global) central controller. This architecture eliminates single points of failure since one controller can take over the function of a failed controller. Finally, Orion  proposes a hierarchical topology that may provide better network scalability.

Apart from the controller, the data plane can also become a challenge with the transition to SDN, because traditional switching and/or forwarding devices/ASICs will not be able to easily support SDN traffic due to evolving standards. Hence the need to have a hybrid approach. Specifically, a portion of the network (e.g., the access network) can be SDN enabled while the other portion (e.g., the core network) can remain as a ‘traditional’ network . Thus traditional platforms are located in the intermediate nodes, acting as a big pipe, and SDN-enabled platforms serve as the switch and routing platforms. With this approach, an SDN network may be enabled immediately without requiring the overhaul of the entire network.

Challenges in SDN are still emerging, as the definition of SDN continues to evolve. The scale-out network paradigm is evolving as well. Due to these uncertainties, abstraction mechanisms from different vendors will compete or co-exist. In addition, creation of SDN controllers and switches requires resolution of design challenges in many hardware platforms.

The data center environment is the most common use case for SDN. In the traditional data center network, there are ToR (Top of Rack), EoR (End of Row), aggregation and core switches. Multi-tier networking is a common configuration. To increase data center network manageability, SDN can abstract physical elements and represent them as logical elements using software. It treats all network elements as one large resource across multiple network segments. Therefore it can provide complete visibility of the network and manage policies across network nodes connected to virtual and physical switches.

Figure 2 shows a traditional multi-tier data center network and how an SDN controller can manage the entire network from a centralized location.

SDN’s basic tenet is to remove vendor-specific dependencies, reduce complexity and improve control, allowing the network to quickly adapt to changes in business needs. Other key SDN requirements are the disaggregation of control and data planes, and the integration of strong compute and packet processing capabilities. Companies are now collaborating to demonstrate the feasibility of a complete SDN solution utilizing the unique compute capabilities and power efficiency of heterogeneous, general purpose processors.

Software Enablement for SDN

One such demonstration of the integration needed to enable SDN is an ETSI NFV proof-of-concept. In this proof of concept, several companies demonstrated the integration of a Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) on an x86 platform and Open Data Plane (ODP) on an ARM-based platform running OpenStack. The DPDK and ODP middleware enables fast packet I/O for general purpose CPU platforms eliminating the typical bottleneck in the data path when there is no user space pass-through enablement. This middleware software is a must-have to enable an SDN solution, providing a unified interface to various platforms including x86 and ARM64 platforms.

High Compute Power at a Low Power Envelope

An SDN controller needs to have strong compute capability to handle large amounts of control traffic coming from many SDN switches – each individual flow needs handling by the central SDN controller. This brings concerns regarding the SDN controller in terms of performance and single point of failure.

There are different architectures proposed in the industry to mitigate the load on the central controller. One example is a distributed-centralized controller which has several SDN controllers, each managing a subsection of the network, with an additional control layer managing these regional controllers. This architecture requires smart, distributed and powerful compute capabilities throughout the entire network of SDN controllers. Different nodes, including SDN switch nodes, require different levels of performance and power. SDN implementations benefit from vendor platforms that offer a range of performance capabilities, matching the appropriate level of resources at the necessary point in the network design.

Security Enhancements

There is a growing need for security, and as the amount of control traffic increases, the needs of crypto acceleration or offload increase together. By offloading crypto operation to acceleration engines such as CCP (Crypto Co-processor) on a CPU or GPU, the system level performance can be maintained without compromising compute performance.

Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) - Understanting Network Traffic Flow

In order for an SDN controller to manage the network and associated policies, it requires a good ‘understanding’ of networking traffic. Centralized or distributed SDN architectures can support a deep understanding of traffic by collecting sets of packets from a traffic flow and analyzing them. There are two different ways to support this requirement.

Option 1—Based on the assumption of having a big pipe/channel between SDN switches and SDN controller, all of the deep packet inspection or application recognition can be done in the central controller with a powerful DPI engine.

Option 2—A small DPI engine can be implemented in the distributed SDN switches. These switches perform a basic deep packet inspection, then report the results or send only streams of important traffic. As we have seen, the latter case requires cheaper and simpler implementation to meet the basic SDN tenet.

Low cost and low power processors can be used for DPI applications. The combination of CPUs and GPUs as found in heterogeneous architectures, the latter being highly optimized for highly parallel programmable applications, provides a significant performance advantage.

I/O Integration

The main processor for SDN requires high speed I/O interfaces, for example, embedded network interfaces such as 1G, 10GE, and PCIe. This can lower system cost and ease system design complexity.


Complicating the development of new SDN solutions is the continuing evolution of standards. Throughout the industry, there are different approaches to enabling network virtualization (for example, VXLAN and NVGRE), and these standards continue to evolve as they move to the next phases. In order to meet the requirements of these evolving standards – and any emerging network overlaying protocols – platforms must be able to provide flexibility and ease of programmability. As an example, the transition from the OpenFlow1.0 spec to the OpenFlow revision 1.3 significantly increased complexity as it aimed to support many types of networking functions and protocols.

Platform Needs

Modern heterogeneous compute platforms contain the following three major function blocks:
General purpose, programmable scalar (CPU) and vector processing cores (GPU)
High-performance bus
Common, low-latency memory model

Leading heterogeneous designs are critical to maximizing throughput. For example, on AMD platforms incorporating Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA), the CPU hands over only the pointers of the data blocks to the GPU. The GPU takes the pointers and processes the data block in the specific memory location and hands them back to the CPU. HSA ensures cache coherency between the CPU and the GPU. Figure 3 depicts an overview of this architecture.

 GPUs are extremely efficient for parallel processing applications, and they can also be used for crypto operations, DPI, classification, compression and other applications. In the case of crypto operations, the CPU doesn’t have to get involved in the data plane crypto operation directly. With this architecture, the system level performance can be maintained even when the amount of traffic needing encryption or decryption increases. In a heterogeneous capable processor, software can selectively accelerate or offload CPU compute-intensive operations to the GPU. Here are a few additional functions that can be accelerated or offloaded to the GPU:

DPI: Implement RegEx engine
Security (such as IPSec) operations: RSA, crypto operation
Compression operation for distributed storage applications

 Figure  4 shows a number of different networking use cases and examples of where different levels of embedded processors integrate into the solution.


SDN introduces a new approach to network resource utilization and management, and each networking vendor in the market is looking for its own way to build SDN solutions. One key action that needs to be taken to enable SDN is to open up the intelligence of switches and routers to enable the abstraction of proprietary vendor technologies.

Mega data center players (Amazon, Google, Facebook and the like) are implementing technologies that will allow them to enable greater flexibility and lower costs. Amazon and Google are building their own networking (white box) switches so that they don’t have to rely on the platforms produced by OEM vendors. Facebook is driving the Open Compute Platform (OCP) to develop specifications for open architecture switches that will be manufactured by low-cost original design manufacturers (ODMs) . The open architecture approach from Facebook is creating an ecosystem where standard, high volume commodity platforms could be used to minimize CAPEX and OPEX costs.

SDN will drive the industry toward a more software-centric architecture and implementation. Thus, in this environment, OEMs find it more difficult to provide platform differentiators. With SDN, the need for less expensive and easy-to-access hardware becomes paramount, and platform-specific, value-added services is deprioritized.

About the Author

Seong Kim is currently a system architect in AMD’s Embedded Networking Division. He has more than 15 years of experience in networking systems architecture and technical marketing. His recent initiatives include NFV, SDN, Server virtualization, wireless communication networking, and security and threat management solutions. Dr. Kim’s work has been published in numerous publications including IEEE communications and Elsevier magazines, and has presented at several industry conferences and webinars. He has several US patents and US patents pending in the field of networking. Kim holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from State University of New York (SBU) and an M.B.A degree from Lehigh University.

Got an idea for a Blueprint column?  We welcome your ideas on next gen network architecture.
See our guidelines.

Cisco to Acquire Piston Cloud for OpenStack

Cisco agreed to acquire Piston Cloud Computing, a start-up based in San Francisco, for its enterprise OpenStack solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Piston Enterprise OpenStack is designed for building, scaling and managing a private Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud on bare-metal, converged commodity hardware.  Piston Cloud enables Cloud Foundry's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering to run on OpenStack. It also supports leading automation solutions, including Opscode, Puppet Labs and RightScale.

Cisco said the acquisition will help advance its Intercloud, which is a globally connected network of clouds being built with its partners.

"The acquisition of Piston will complement our Intercloud strategy by bringing additional operational experience on the underlying infrastructure that powers Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud. Additionally, Piston’s deep knowledge of distributed systems and automated deployment will help further enhance our delivery capabilities for customers and partners," stated Cisco's Hilton Romanski in a blog posting.

IBM Acquires Blue Box for OpenStack Cloud Migration

IBM has acquired Blue Box Group, a managed private cloud provider built on OpenStack. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Blue Box, which is based in Seattle, provides a private cloud as a service platform designed to enable easier deployment of workloads across hybrid cloud environments.

IBM said the acquisition reinforces its commitment to deliver flexible cloud computing models that make it easier for customers to move to data and applications across clouds and meets their needs across public, private and hybrid cloud environments. Blue Box also strengthens IBM Cloud’s existing OpenStack portfolio, with the introduction of a remotely managed OpenStack offering to provide clients with a local cloud and increased visibility, control and security.

“IBM is dedicated to helping our clients migrate to the cloud in an open, secure, data rich environment that meet their current and future business needs,” said IBM General Manager of Cloud Services Jim Comfort. “The acquisition of Blue Box accelerates IBM’s open cloud strategy making it easier for our clients to move to data and applications across clouds and adopt hybrid cloud environments."

HP Advances its Helion CloudSystem for Multiple Clouds

HP rolled out the latest version of its flagship integrated enterprise cloud solution, Helion CloudSystem 9.0, expanding support for multiple hypervisors and multiple clouds.

HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 integrates HP Helion OpenStack and the HP Helion Development Platform to provide customers an enterprise grade open source platform for cloud native application development and infrastructure. Some highlights of HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0:

  • Simultaneous support for multiple cloud environments, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, HP Helion Public Cloud, OpenStack technology and VMware, with the ability to fully control where workloads reside
  • The latest release of HP Helion OpenStack, exposing OpenStack software APIs to simplify and speed development and integration with other clouds and offering developer-friendly add-ons with the HP Helion Development Platform based on Cloud Foundry
  • Support for multiple hypervisors, now including Microsoft Hyper-V, Red Hat KVM, VMware vSphere, as well as bare metal deployments, offering customers additional choice and avoiding vendor lock-in
  • Support for AWS-compatible private clouds through integration with HP Helion Eucalyptus, giving customers the flexibility to deploy existing AWS workloads onto clouds they control
  • Support for unstructured data through the Swift OpenStack Object Storage project

"Enterprise customers have a range of needs in moving to the cloud -- some need to cloud-enable traditional workloads, while others seek to build next generation 'cloud native' apps using modern technologies like OpenStack, Cloud Foundry and Docker," said Bill Hilf, senior vice president, HP Helion Product and Service Management. "The expanded support for multiple hypervisors and cloud environments in HP Helion CloudSystem 9.0 gives enterprises and service providers added flexibility to gain cloud benefits for their existing and new applications."

  • HP is currently operating 85 data centers worldwide.

DE-CIX Notes Upturn in 100G Internet Exchange Connections

DE-CIX, which recently recorded an all-time record peak throughput volume of 4 Terabit/s on its Internet Exchange in Frankfurt, is seeing customers upgrade their port size and capacity.  The company reports that during the first quarter of 2015, customers ordered the same number of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100 GE) ports as they did in all of 2014.

As an example, Akamai, the global leader in Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, has upgraded its capacity at DE-CIX in Frankfurt to 12x100 GE connections. Delivering 1.2 Terabits per second, this is the largest service provider bandwidth at any Internet exchange worldwide.

“Our goal is for our customers’ content to arrive as quickly as possible at its final destination, no matter where in the world the end user is,” says Noam Freedman, Senior Vice President, Networks and Chief Network Architect at Akamai Technologies. “With more than 700 Internet service providers worldwide, DE-CIX is one of our most important Internet exchange providers. With the 2013  implementation of its DE-CIX Apollon technology platform to easily handle 100 GE demands, DE-CIX has made it very easy for us to expand our capacity there. In this way, we’re well-positioned for the growing IP traffic volumes around the world.”

Movimento Launches Automotive OTA Platform with Diagnostics

Movimento Group, which specializes in automotive software, introduced an Over-the-Air (OTA) Platform for automated updates of car electronics, remote vehicle diagnostics and in-vehicle cybersecurity.

Movimento said its OTA delivers multiple benefits to automotive OEMs and Tier-1 module manufacturers as well as to vehicle owners, including legacy vehicles. The Movimento OTA platform is able to intelligently assess vehicle status before installing software updates, ensuring that data is transferred only when it is safe to reliably do so. This special bi-directional data-gathering capability reports vehicle diagnostics, prognostics and enables preventative analytics, which lets car makers react in real time to their customers and can provide data to third-party companies for insurance and other purposes.  The company also noted that it is participating in European trials for self-parking cars.

"The driverless cars of tomorrow are unbelievably complex but they are definitely coming," explained Movimento Group CEO Ben Hoffman.  "A Boeing Dreamliner 787 now has 15 million lines of code but there will be ten times more in autonomous cars when they arrive."

Ericsson Refines its Adaptive Inventory OSS/BSS

Ericsson released the latest version of its Adaptive Inventory 9.3, adding new capabilities to help operators speed cloud deployments, virtualize network functions and grapple with surging data traffic.

Ericsson Adaptive Inventory, formerly Ericsson Granite Inventory, uses data from a broad range of available sources to offer a view of a network at any given moment, including past, present and future configurations. It features an enhanced Unified Inventory Engine, intuitive web interface, component-driven design automation, and system extension kit. Ericsson has created a migration path to Ericsson Adaptive Inventory for existing Ericsson Granite Inventory customers.

“Access to accurate network data positions operators for better decision-making, including the ability to predict the future-state network from a combination of current and proposed network plans.  The latest tools that Ericsson Adaptive Inventory brings to market are easy use, deploy and maintain, helping operators thrive in an ever-changing environment,” stated Elisabetta Romano, VP Head of OSS & Service Enablement.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

AccelOps Builds Threat Intelligence into its Actionable Security Platform

AccelOps, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, introduced threat intelligence capabilities for its integrated IT and operational visibility platform.

The existing AccelOps virtual appliance software monitors security, performance and compliance in cloud and virtualized infrastructures on a single screen. It automatically discovers, analyzes and automates IT issues in machine and big data across organizations’ data centers and cloud resources, spanning servers, storage, networks, security, applications and users.

A new Threat Intelligence Center for the platform offers a "Content as a Service” (CaaS) capability to aggregate, validate and share anonymous threat data gathered from the AccelOps customer base, providing benchmark and threat detection intelligence to customers in real time. Also included are additional device support, rules updates, reports and other knowledge bases. AccelOps features an open API that allows users to integrate any public or private threat feed into the AccelOps database and cross-correlate it with their own network and security data. It also supports a Workflow Integration API that creates bi-directional workflow integration into leading IT service management and ticketing solutions, including ServiceNow and Connectwise.

“As a leading provider of threat and operational intelligence, our main objective is to deliver the tools our clients need to stay ahead of the encroaching end point data infiltrating today’s modern data center. These enhancements extend the capabilities of our threat intelligence, providing our customers with even greater insight into the health, security and management of their networks,” stated Dan Maloney, vice president of marketing and business development, AccelOps.

Arkin Launches Converged Visibility Platform

Arkin, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, unveiled its solution for bringing operational visibility to software-defined data centers.

The Arkin Platform aims to bring Google Search-like simplicity for monitoring and querying data center operations, which are usually distributed across various server, storage, security and network management systems. Arkin analyzes across for converged infrastructures and software-defined data centers built using technologies such as VMware NSX, Cisco UCS, VCE Vblocks, Palo Alto Networks firewalls and others. The goal is to enable instant and comprehensive search across entire data center (virtual and physical) for operational visibility, rapid troubleshooting and consistent security.

Arkin is also announcing a $15 million Series B investment from Nexus Venture Partners, key strategic investors and industry veterans including B.V. Jagadeesh (formerly CEO at NetScaler).

Converged infrastructure and software-defined approaches are all the rage. However, these transformational technologies have exposed severe limitations in the traditional operations approach and tools. Key challenges include missing visibility across the virtual to physical boundary, an expensive and inefficient silo based approach to IT operations and an archaic user experience that inhibits necessary modern day collaboration. “Organizations now are forced to rethink their operations strategy,” said Shiv Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder of Arkin. “Based on a modern collaborative approach, the Arkin platform ties together the data center silos across virtual and physical. Some of the largest enterprises have deployed Arkin to simplify their operations and unlock significant cost savings and agility."

“We believe network virtualization will bring about radical improvements in network operations. Arkin is a great example of how you can build a new generation visibility platform and we’re delighted to have them as an NSX partner,” said Martin Casado, SVP and General Manager for the Networking and Security Business Unit at VMware.

Dell'Oro: Service Provider Edge Router Market Grows 3% in 1Q15

The worldwide Service Provider Edge Router market grew slowly in the first quarter 2015 after a record year in 2014, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.  During this quarter the Service Provider Core Router market outflanked growth in the Edge for only the second time in five years.

"The wild swings that we used to see in Service Provider Edge Router demand have smoothed out somewhat in recent years.  This is the fourth consecutive quarter in which we have seen single-digit year-over-year changes in market demand," said Alam Tamboli, Senior Analyst at Dell'Oro Group.  "We continue to see Service Providers invest heavily in their mobile backhaul networks and associated routers—some mobile operators are already beginning to upgrade their installed base of routers to higher capacity devices due to increased traffic demand.  However, many operators have slowed their spending on routers used for fixed networks, partially offsetting this growth," Tamboli continued.

Cisco Systems, Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, and Huawei Technologies were the market share leaders in the Service Provider Router market segment, accounting for over 92 percent of revenue in 1Q15.  Cisco maintained its leadership position, while Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper, and Huawei held, in rank order, the second, third, and fourth spots.

Qualcomm Expands 802.11ac MU-MIMO Line Up

Qualcomm Atheros introduced its new 802.11ac Wave 2 silicon featuring multi-user multi-input/multi-output (MU-MIMO), support for 160 MHz channels and 4x4 antenna configurations to offer higher performance and more efficient Wi-Fi connectivity.

Qualcomm said its MU | EFX  technology enables APs that can achieve up to three times faster 802.11ac connections in today’s increasingly crowded Wi-Fi environments.

The new products include the QCA9984 for home routers and QCA9994 for enterprise access points. Key features:

  • Enhanced MU-MIMO, with support for four simultaneous streams.
  • Support for new, wider 160MHz contiguous and 80+80MHz non-contiguous 802.11ac
  • channels – offering double the capacity of the existing 80MHz channels. The QCA9994 further supports 5/10 MHz narrow channels for public safety applications.
  • Bandwidth agility allows the radio to move seamlessly between channel widths on a packet-by-packet basis and achieve greater spectrum efficiency and throughput.

Sampling is underway.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Intel to Acquire Altera for its Programmable Logic Devices

Intel agreed to acquire Altera a for $54 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $16.7 billion.

Altera, which is based in San Jose, California, offers programmable logic, process technologies, IP cores and development tools . Its portfolio includes its Stratix series FPGAs with embedded memory, digital signal processing (DSP) blocks, high-speed transceivers, and high-speed I/O pins. Altera's Arria system-on-chip solutions integrate an ARM-based hard processor and memory interfaces with the FPGA fabric using a high-bandwidth interconnect. These devices include additional hard logic such as PCI Express Gen2, multiport memory controllers, error correction code (ECC), memory protection and high-speed serial transceivers.

Altera had 2014 revenue of $1.9 billion, of which 44% of sales were for telecom/wireless, 22% for industrial/military/automotive, and 16% for networking/computer/storage. Altera holds about 39% market share of the PLD segment compared to 49% for Xilinx. The company was founded in 1983 and has approximately 3,000 employees.

"Intel's growth strategy is to expand our core assets into profitable, complementary market segments," said Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel. "With this acquisition, we will harness the power of Moore's Law to make the next generation of solutions not just better, but able to do more. Whether to enable new growth in the network, large cloud data centers or IoT segments, our customers expect better performance at lower costs. This is the promise of Moore's Law and it's the innovation enabled by Intel and Altera joining forces."

"Given our close partnership, we've seen firsthand the many benefits of our relationship with Intel—the world's largest semiconductor company and a proven technology leader, and look forward to the many opportunities we will have together," said John Daane, President, CEO and Chairman of Altera. "We believe that as part of Intel we will be able to develop innovative FPGAs and system-on-chips for our customers in all market segments."

  • In February 2013, Altera announced that its next generation FPGAs will be based on Intel’s 14 nm tri-gate transistor technology. These next-generation products target ultra high-performance systems for military, wireline communications, cloud networking, and compute and storage applications. Under a partnership deal announced by the firms, Altera’s next-generation products will now include 14 nm, in addition to previously announced 20 nm technologies.

Nokia Launches its AirFrame Data Center Servers and Switches

Nokia unveiled its AirFrame Data Center Solution for combining the benefits of cloud computing technologies with the stringent requirements of the core and radio in the telco world.

The Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution is the company's foundation for meeting the latency and data processing requirements of the future, including 5G and distributed cloud applications. The portfolio is build around highly integrated, Intel-based servers and switches that are optimized for low-latency, scalability, flexibility and business agility.

Key advantages of AirFrame:

  • Offers significant efficiency gains when running data-demanding telco applications like mobile network Virtual Network Functions (VNFs)
  • Fully compliant with IT standards and able to run the most common IT cloud applications in parallel to telco cloud
  • Enables operators to implement not only their NFV strategy, but also expand into new business models, such as renting data center capacity for customers' IT applications
  • Implements the most advanced telco cloud security practices, which have been tested and approved at the Nokia Security Center in Berlin
  • Adheres to Nokia Networks' open standards approach as well as complies with ETSI NFV, ensuring the success of telco cloud deployments
  • Ready for 5G, with an advanced cloud management solution to handle the telco cloud architecture (centralized / distributed), including security orchestration which automates and manages the lifecycle of security policies and security functions
  • Ready to support several Nokia VNFs, including OSS/CEM and the company's recently announced Radio Cloud architecture

AirFrame components include:

  • Nokia AirFrame Cloud Servers and Switches - Pre-integrated racks with ultra-dense servers, high performance switches and software defined storage, including Nokia Networks specific enhancements that make it more efficient than other solutions to run demanding VNFs
  • Data center services - AirFrame is complemented by a suite of professional services provided by the company's services experts and geared to implement, monitor and operate telco cloud data centers

"Nokia Networks is changing the game in telco cloud. We are taking on the IT-telco convergence with a new solution to challenge the traditional IT approach of the data center. From the beginning, Nokia Networks has been a forerunner in telco cloud innovation*. This newest solution brings telcos carrier-grade high availability, security-focused reliability as well as low latency, while leveraging the company's deep networks expertise and strong business with operators to address an increasingly cloud-focused market valued in the tens of billions of euros," stated Marc Rouanne, Executive Vice President, Mobile Broadband, Nokia Networks.

Chuck Robbins Shakes Up Cisco's Top Leadership Structure

Cisco's newly-appointed CEO, Chuck Robbins, announced plans for a flatter leadership structure at the firm. As a result, Rob Lloyd, president of Sales and Development, and Gary Moore, president and COO, will be leaving the company, effective July 25th.

In a blog posting, Robbins said his focus areas are acceleration, simplification, operational rigor and culture.  He plans to announce a new organizational structure and team within two weeks.

ADVA Intros "CloudConnect" Data Center Interconnect Solution

ADVA Optical Networking introduced a new Data Center Interconnect (DCI) solution designed for Internet Content Providers (ICPs) and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs).

The ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect, which is available in multiple chassis configurations including four rack units (4RUs), features a 400 Gbps single line card. It can transport up to 25.6 Tbps  duplex capacity per fiber pair from a single rack, delivering 51.2 Tbps of total throughput at 1.4 Tbps per rack unit. It includes amplifiers, multiplexers and all other necessary components.a

ADVA said its FSP 3000 CloudConnect has been specifically engineered to scale and there’s no client port lock-in. As new Ethernet data rates emerge, they can be supported by plugging new line cards into the entire range of chassis. Instead of an active backplane, the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect features a modular design that eliminates unnecessary electrical processing. The system offers auto discovery and provisioning of the optical layer. It also supports a range of customizable APIs for programmability, including CLI, REST, NETCONF, and RESTCONF. For advanced virtualized and multi-tenant networks, a network hypervisor with fully open Northbound interfaces is available to abstract the DCI transport network so that end-to-end optimization of multi-layer packet flows is possible.

“The DCI market is experiencing one of the most fundamental shifts in its history. The phenomenal success of ICPs and CSPs, along with the continued adoption of cloud-based services, means that DCI networks are struggling to transport enormous amounts of data,” said Christoph Glingener, CTO, ADVA Optical Networking. “Such a fundamental shift in demand requires a fundamental shift in technology. This is the genesis of our new FSP 3000 CloudConnect. It’s something truly unique within the industry. We worked closely with the key players here to build exactly what was required. Our 4RU chassis is a clear example of this. Everyone we spoke to said they needed a chassis that isn’t too large and isn’t too small – the 4RU is the sweet spot for the DCI market. ”

Hedvig Raises $18 Million for Distributed, Software-Defined Storage

Hedvig, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, announced $18 million in Series B funding for its software-defined storage solution designed to bring "the power of Amazon and Facebook-like infrastructure to any enterprise data center.".

Hedvig has developed a Distributed Storage Platform combines cloud and commodity infrastructure.  The system creates a virtualized pool that provisions storage with a few clicks, scales to petabytes and runs seamlessly in both private and public clouds. The company cited customers such as Intuit, Dovilo, Van Dijk and Paul Hastings LLP.

“We’ve identified the potential in a broken and fragmented storage market, and are not only looking to bring software-defined storage mainstream, but fundamentally change how companies store and manage data,” said Avinash Lakshman, founder and CEO of Hedvig. “Riding the wave of momentum from our recent company launch, this new investment round further validates our technology and approach, and will fuel our unwavering commitment to be the leading force of innovation in software-defined storage.”

The funding was led by Vertex Ventures with participation from existing investors True Ventures and Atlantic Bridge. Vertex Ventures General Partner In Sik Rhee also joined Hedvig’s Board of Directors. Hedvig has raised approximately $30.5 million to date.

Hedvig was founded by Avinash Lakshman, who previously built distributed systems including Amazon Dynamo, the foundation of the NoSQL movement, and Apache Cassandra for Facebook.

Crehan: High-Speed Server Networking Adoption Accelerates

Combined 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and 40GbE shipments have increased more than 30% year-over-year to account for almost 30% of total 1Q15 Ethernet server-class adapter and LOM shipments, according to new reports from Crehan Research Inc. s. Over the same time period, 16 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter (HBA) shipments have seen a two-and-a-half fold increase to comprise 20% of total Fibre Channel shipments. These higher server networking speeds are now at inflection points in terms of adoption.

"Customers are more-rapidly upgrading their server networking capabilities to faster speeds to take advantage of the higher bandwidth capabilities of the most recent server platforms," said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. "Currently, this is more evident in the hyper-scale, telco and high-performance computing segments, and we expect it to become evident in the general enterprise environment by the second half of this year," he added. "Furthermore, we expect this migration to higher-bandwidth servers to in turn drive more widespread deployments of higher-bandwidth data center switches.”

HP Brings Out Denser, Faster, Cheaper Flash Storage

HP announced a new class of massively scalable, ultra-dense flash arrays along with price cuts that could reduce the cost of all flash storage by 25%.

The new HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage 20000 enterprise flash family boosts performance with over 3.2 million IOPS at sub-millisecond latency and consumes 85% less space than traditional high-end arrays. Combined with HP flash optimization and hardware-accelerated data compaction that increases usable capacity by 75 percent, these new 3.84 terabyte drives bring down the cost of all-flash storage to $1.50 per usable gigabyte, approaching that of 10K RPM SAS hard disk drives.

HP is also unveiling flash-optimized software for end-to-end availability and non-disruptive workload balancing across the data center.

"Early flash adopters are seeing added benefits such as extreme savings and productivity enhancements that are leading to an all-flash strategy for more applications," said Manish Goel, senior vice president and general manager, HP Storage. "HP 3PAR StoreServ is in a class of its own, with the affordability, scale and resiliency required for datacenter-wide flash adoption."

Wireless Power Standards Bodies to Merge

The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) are merging to create a more unified industry association for wireless charging. The merger will lead to a core charging standard supporting a wide range of consumer, medical, military and industrial applications. A preliminary agreement had been announced earlier this year at CES.

"The combination of equal partners in support of a vision for wireless power with an initial focus on consumer applications is on schedule and provides a clear path for industry to shift to volume economics," said Dr. Kamil Grajski, Board Chair and president, Alliance for Wireless Power. "Combined, we have rededicated our commitment to delivering timely high quality technical specifications and a world-class certification program to support members' innovative solutions."

"This new organization is uniquely positioned to accelerate and grow the wireless charging market.  From the start we are putting our efforts behind increasing consumer awareness of wireless charging, backed by our marquee member roster," said Ron Resnick, president, Power Matters Alliance. "The ability to choose the right technology with added intelligence, the depth and breadth of our membership, and commitment to excellence will enable consumers to more rapidly experience the true potential that wireless power has to offer today, tomorrow, and into the future."