Friday, July 10, 2015

Telefónica Tests NFV with Alcatel-Lucent

Telefónica is conducting NFV tests in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent. A new memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the companies renews and expands on an alliance announced in February 2014, which focused on Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand platform to advance NFV implementation. Under the new agreement, Alcatel-Lucent and Telefónica will investigate how mobile networks can be transformed to meet demands being placed on them by the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and increased customer connectivity.

Telefónica has already tested Alcatel-Lucent’s Virtualized Service Router in its NFV Reference Lab using the OpenMANO NFV orchestration stack. The results delivered were outstanding, reaching 100% line-rate performance which allowed data to be transported with zero losses. The companies will continue testing other elements of Alcatel-Lucent’s NFV portfolio in the coming months.

Enrique Blanco Global CTO, Telefónica, said: “We are pleased to continue our work with Alcatel-Lucent on the use of NFV technologies to transform future networks.  We have already seen an outstanding performance in the testing of Alcatel-Lucent’s VSR, showing that it delivers comparable performance to hardware-based routers. Use of these technologies will open up new opportunities as we continue innovating to exceed our customer’s expectations.”

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Video: White box Adoption Moves to the Edge

White boxes are not just a data center story anymore, says Pica8's Calvin Chai.

New use cases are emerging for delivering network services at the customer prem. This will be a key opportunity for white boxes. Another consideration, the risk profile for using white boxes at the customer edge is lower than for whiteboxes in a data center.

See video:

Blueprint: The Future Is Looking up for Telco Cloud

by Sandro Tavares, Head of Telco Cloud Business Development, Nokia Networks

If there’s one thing the telco industry has experienced over the last decade and a half, it’s been a constant march of progress. While there have been a variety of technological challenges to overcome, we’ve seen the development of ever faster networks, better performance despite an exponential increase in traffic, and a constant stream of innovative new features and services for end users. But despite all these wins, there is still a significant step the industry has to take sooner or later to continue providing the best service: fully embracing cloud technologies.

IT Cloud vs. Telco Cloud

The IT industry has already been realizing the benefits of the cloud for more than a decade, experiencing reduced costs and more dynamic networks with data center consolidation and virtualized functions. The flexibility of the cloud also enables a tight innovation cycle, allowing IT and Internet providers to experiment with a wide variety of projects, and try new things until they find success. A cloud infrastructure enables them to easily shift resources to new projects for maximum efficiency.

Telcos, however, still have to deal with a set of discrete infrastructures for each project in development, prolonging the innovation cycle from weeks to months and limiting their options. Each project has to be carefully evaluated and almost guaranteed to be a success, which limits their capability to innovate.

Looking at the operational model, IT cloud in general is very centralized, and providers typically operate a few enormous data centers that may be far from most of the users. These IT data centers can be placed strategically for cost savings; they might be in the far north to save on cooling costs, for example, or they may even be located in a rural area so as to save on the cost of the property itself. The location is irrelevant, so long as they provide the services users need.

The flip side to the IT model of the cloud is that there is a higher latency involved as data travels hundreds or thousands of miles for everyday transactions. Most IT applications, like e-commerce for example, may accept a delay of a few seconds as there are no impacts on how they work and their customers are accustomed to it. But that kind of delay in telecommunications makes a network unusable and would likely spell the death of the operator. As a result, the telco cloud will require a greater number of smaller data centers located closer to the traffic. These centers may even be so small that they consist of only a single rack of servers, and they may be so close together that data remains within a single city or even a neighborhood. This minimizes latency, and it also addresses the issue of traffic volume. Telco network functions may utilize far larger amounts of data than most IT applications; data that would choke a network backbone and incur enormous costs when traveling across a country.

The Current State of Telco Cloud

We have already seen some important strides toward telco cloud adoption with network function virtualization (NFV). NFV is the technology that allows a variety of telco network elements to be hosted on a cloud environment. This enables operators to quickly scale services and apps to meet fluctuating demand. Openness also plays a big role in NFV, promoting interoperability across vendors and eliminating dependency between hardware and software. By taking the leap towards telco cloud/NFV, operators will implement more open solutions into their networks, becoming more flexible, reducing costs and increasing their choice of vendors to better meet their needs.

As more of the network functions are virtualized, operators will see improved network performance and will have the ability to provide a more advanced and attractive portfolio of services. The direct impact of this is a potential reduction of customer churn, which is a key benefit for the industry.

Advancing into Telco Cloud Management

Automation and cloud management play a significant role in the industry’s journey to telco cloud. Already important now, they will become even more critical as more network functions go to the cloud, including baseband radio. As the different apps, nodes and other network functions are offloaded to cloud-based resources, maintaining real-time visibility and simultaneously managing cloud and traditional environments can become a challenge for operators. This is where the next generation of operations support systems (OSS) will be vital. Cloud-enabled OSS systems will provide visibility and management functions for both cloud and traditional network elements, allowing a consolidated view and delivering troubleshooting capabilities across both domains.

To continue advancing and achieve the level of automation necessary for success, the industry has to move towards implementing standards for multi-vendor and cloud-stack agnostic network orchestration. This enables integration with the multiple virtualized network function managers that will be active in the cloud and centralize the decision related to resource assignment, disaster recovery, etc. Without an open orchestration layer, the industry could in practice be back to the old monolithic approach, which is counterproductive to goals.

The end goal of the telco cloud is simply that the customer pushes a button and the phone on the other end starts ringing, or the video starts streaming immediately. While that goal has been constant for more than a century, telco providers are offering so much more than users could have dreamed of just a few decades ago. By making the cloud a reality, operators have a unique opportunity to optimize their operations, reduce operational costs and position themselves for the next leap forward in technology as we begin laying the groundwork for 5G.

About the Author

Sandro Tavares has more than 14 years of international experience in the telecoms industry, holding positions in sales and marketing, and participating in industry breakthroughs such as the launch of the One Voice Initiative for VoLTE.

 He has worked with the Nokia family of companies for more than 10 years, and currently is Head of Telco Cloud Business Development for Nokia Networks. Previously, he served as Head of Mobile Core Marketing, overseeing strategic and product marketing activities for the company’s Mobile Core portfolio. His topics of coverage included Telco Cloud, Content Delivery Networks and Customer Experience Management.

Sandro holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Universidade de Brasilia, a corporate MBA from Fundacao Dom Cabral and a post-MBA from Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management.

About Nokia Networks

okia Networks, which provides broadband infrastructure, software and services, operates at the forefront of our industry. From the first ever call on GSM to the first call on LTE, we have set the pace of innovation, a record that continues with future technologies such as 5G. Together with our operator customers, who serve close to 5 billion subscribers, we are embracing the opportunity of the connected world and helping to solve its challenges.

AWS Launches API Gateway Managed Service

Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced a new fully managed, Amazon API Gateway service to help customers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) at any scale.

The idea is enable customers to create an API that acts as a “front door” for applications to access data, business logic, or functionality from their “back-end” services, such as workloads running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), or code running on AWS Lambda.

Amazon API Gateway handles all of the tasks associated with accepting and processing billions of daily API calls, including traffic management, authorization and access control, monitoring, and API version management. Amazon API Gateway has no minimum fees or startup costs, and developers pay only for the API calls they receive and the amount of data transferred out. To learn more about Amazon API Gateway, visit

“Building and running rock-solid APIs at massive scale is a significant challenge for customers. And yet, this is one of the most important ingredients for building and operating modern applications that are consumed through multiple devices,” said Marco Argenti, Vice President, AWS. “At AWS, we have over nine years of experience running some of the most heavily used APIs in the world. The Amazon API Gateway takes this learning and makes it available to customers as a pay-as-you-go service that eliminates the cost and complexity of managing APIs so that developers can focus on building great apps.”

To help customers protect access to their back-end services, Amazon API Gateway allows customers to use familiar AWS security tools such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to verify and authenticate API requests. Amazon API Gateway lets companies run multiple versions of an API simultaneously so that they can develop, deploy, and test new versions of their APIs without impacting existing applications. Once an API is deployed, Amazon API Gateway allows customers to control the number of API requests that hit their back-end systems within a certain time period to protect them from traffic spikes, and helps reduce API latency by caching responses. Amazon API Gateway also monitors the usage and performance of back-end services, providing metrics such as number of API calls, latency, and error rates.

Nokia Networks Tests Drones for Network Inspections

Nokia Network is testing unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) carrying smartphones with cameras and testing applications to inspect and survey mobile infrastructure.

Nokia recently conducted a test of these telco drones in partnership with Du at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai Sports City, which has a seating capacity of 25,000 people. The Proof of Concept (PoC) gathered network data and provided Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a speedy performance test and efficient network optimization actions. Telco drones were also used for tower inspections, radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing between radio towers.

Automated testing and analysis is more efficient than traditional manual walk tests, as drones can cover the desired area quicker. Additionally, the test data is collected automatically and sent to a server so that it can be instantly processed at Nokia Networks’ Global Delivery Center (GDC) for immediate reporting and any necessary actions to improve network performance.

Telco drones were also used for tower inspections to reduce the number of times technicians need to climb up and down a telecom tower, as well as for radio planning and Line of Sight (LoS) testing. The engineers knew if a frequency used was impacted by trees, if there was sufficient power to cover the distance, what the simulated latency would look like and what performance over such a connection could be expected. This helped achieve optimal site design, establish a clear LoS, as well as suitable antenna height and site location.

IBM Achieves 7nm Test Chips in Siilcon Germanium

IBM Research has produced the first 7nm (nanometer) node test chips with functioning transistors.  The milestone was achieved using Silicon Germanium (SiGe) channel transistors and Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography integration at multiple levels.

Current generation microprocessors are generally implemented in silicon using 22nm or 14nm technology.

IBM partnered with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE) to achieve the result.

“For business and society to get the most out of tomorrow’s computers and devices, scaling to 7nm and beyond is essential,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research. “That’s why IBM has remained committed to an aggressive basic research agenda that continually pushes the limits of semiconductor technology. Working with our partners, this milestone builds on decades of research that has set the pace for the microelectronics industry, and positions us to advance our leadership for years to come.”

IBM Lands $180 million IT Services & Cloud Contract

IBM announced a five-year IT services agreement including cloud, mobile, analytics and security technologies with Columbia Pipeline Group. The deal is valued at $180 million, Inc. (NYSE: CPGX) supporting the company’s continued growth as an independent energy company.

On July 1, CPG completed the separation of its natural gas pipeline, midstream and storage business from energy infrastructure company NiSource Inc. As a stand-alone, publicly traded company, CPG is rapidly expanding its operations to serve new and existing customers and markets, with net asset investments expected to grow from about $4.6 billion in 2015 to about $13.5 billion by 2020.

The agreement calls for IBM to move CPG’s IT infrastructure and business applications -- including human resources, billing and finance, pipeline operations and IT management -- from NiSource’s data centers into a private cloud in an IBM data center in Columbus, Ohio. IBM also will separate CPG’s networks from NiSource and manage CPG’s integrated IT environment going forward. The solution includes the core data center and IBM Cloud infrastructure, network services, help desk, end user services, intelligent security platforms, mobile device management, and operational analytics.

Corning Intros 8-fiber Optical Cabling

Corning introduced a modular, tip-to-tip optical cabling system featuring an eight-fiber (Base-8) design for use in data centers and storage-area-networks.

The Corning EDGE8 solutions optical cabling system uses eight-fiber MTP connectors.  The company says this make it easy to match the fiber count in the backbone of data center networks and SANs with Base-8 Quad Small Form Factor Plugable transceivers, resulting in full fiber utilization, streamlined 1:1 port mapping, and up to 50 percent reduction in link attenuation by eliminating the need for conversion modules. EDGE8 furthers the benefits of Base-8 design with pinned MTP trunks that enable simple patch cable deployment and optimized harness mapping, resulting in no unused fiber/connectors. EDGE8 modules also offer a 30 percent improvement in insertion loss, resulting in longer duplex link distances.

Barracuda Networks Hits Revenue of $78 Million, up 18% YoY

Barracuda Networks reported revenue of $78.0 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2016, up 18% from $66.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  Appliance revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew to $23.7 million, up from $20.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, and recurring subscription revenue grew to $54.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2016, up from $45.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, representing 70% of total revenue.

However, there was a GAAP net loss for the quarter of $3.8 million, or $0.07 loss per share, based on a basic share count of 53.0 million.

"We delivered revenue and non-GAAP EPS at the top end of our targeted range," said BJ Jenkins, president and CEO. "During the quarter, we grew total active subscribers, increased gross margin and maintained a 92.5% dollar-based renewal rate, speaking to the underlying strength of our business model."

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Video: SDN Shifts Margins from Legacy Vendors to Channel

A market disruption caused by SDN is shifting margins from the legacy networking vendors to the channel, says Steve Garrison, VP of Marketing at Pica8.  By tearing apart the stack and letting customers pick the applications, OS, and bare metal hardware, you end up with a customized solution where the channel has a key role to play.

Many customers might not have that expertise to pull that together, but this is where the margin shifts from the legacy vendors to the channel.

See Video:

Mirantis Launches Unlocked Appliances for OpenStack

Mirantis introduced its Unlocked Appliances for OpenStack.  The single or multi-rack converged infrastructure appliances are pre-validated by Mirantis and pre-integrated by Certified Rack Partners

Redapt, a cloud-focused systems integrator based in Redmond, Washington, is the first Certified Rack Partner to deliver Mirantis’ inaugural appliance, Mirantis Unlocked Appliance for Cloud Native Applications. In addition to building and certifying the appliance, Redapt pre-validated the reference architecture in an engineering collaboration with Mirantis.

Mirantis also highlighted its Unlocked Appliance for Cloud Native Applications, which is a turnkey rack-based appliance designed for developing and deploying cloud native applications and container-based environments at scale. The first iteration is powered by Dell and Juniper Networks.  Configuration can range from six compute nodes and 12 TBs of useable storage, to a full rack comprised of 24 compute nodes and 24 TBs of useable storage, and a maximum of two racks sustaining over 1500 virtual machines and 48 TBs of useable storage. Compute and foundation nodes are based on Dell R630 servers. Storage nodes are based on powerful Dell PowerEdge R730xd with dual Intel Xeon E5-2600 CPUs and Intel SSD-based cache optimized for high-performance storage. Mirantis OpenStack 6.1 provides the infrastructure foundation, and each rack includes two Juniper QFX5100s as the data path and one Juniper EX3300 for management.

“About 20 percent of infrastructure is consumed through the appliance form factor because it is extremely easy to set up and operate,” said Alex Freedland, Mirantis president and co-founder. “Mirantis Unlocked Appliances combines this ease-of-use with the openness and flexibility of OpenStack, delivered as a cloud-in-a-box. Our first Appliance focuses on the most common OpenStack use case - developing cloud-native applications - and will be built and shipped by Certified Rack Partners across the ecosystem.”

“Redapt is excited to be the first Certified Rack Partner, which enables us to deliver what our customers have been requesting for years: the flexibility and zero lock-in of OpenStack in a turnkey solution.” said Josh Lindenbaum, Vice President of Business & Corporate Development, Redapt.

“The architecture Redapt designed with Mirantis, with Mirantis OpenStack at the core, solves for the complexity commonly associated with OpenStack. Redapt will work closely with customers to assemble, deliver and install Mirantis Unlocked Appliances that will arrive in the data center ready to plug and play.”

  • In May, Mirantis launched its partnership program for delivering "OpenStack out-of-the-box". From the outset, the Mirantis Unlocked ecosystem has 47 partners, including  market-leading companies such as Citrix, Juniper Networks, VMware, Brocade, and EMC; and innovative technologies from Nuage Networks, SolidFire, Maxta, Avi Networks, Metaswitch Networks, Cumulus Networks, BigSwitch, ActiveState, Midokura, and ScalR.

  • The debut of Mirantis Unlocked follows recent integrations with Oracle Database, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Stackato Cloud Foundry, EMC, Google Kubernetes, Juniper Networks Contrail Networking, and others.

Confluent Secures $24 Million for Apache Kafka Solutions

Confluent, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, raised $24 million in Series B funding for its live data streaming solutions based on Apache Kafka technology. The founders of Confluent created Apache Kafka while at LinkedIn to help cope with the very large-scale data ingestion and processing requirements of the business networking service.

Apache Kafka, an open source technology created and maintained by the founders of Confluent, acts as a real-time, fault tolerant, highly scalable messaging system. It is widely adopted for use cases ranging from collecting user activity data, logs, application metrics, stock ticker data and device instrumentation. Its key strength is its ability to make high volume data available as a real-time stream for consumption in systems with very different requirements—from batch systems like Hadoop, to real-time systems that require low-latency access, to stream processing engines that transform the data streams as they arrive. This infrastructure lets you build around a single central nervous system transmitting messages to all the different systems and applications within an company.

Confluent will use the Series B funding to continue investing aggressively in product development, adding new stream data management features to Kafka and the other elements of the Confluent Platform. The company is also building new stream processing capabilities that will enable analytical operations on real-time data streams, much like those available on standard databases today, for more static, slow-moving data.

"Because Kafka was born in the modern big data environment, it is designed to simplify the management of massive real-time data streams," says Mike Volpi, partner at Index Ventures. "Confluent’s platform can also support hundreds of applications built by disparate teams and is scalable, reliable enough to handle critical updates, and features a stream-processing framework that integrates easily and makes data available for real-time processing. Co-founders Jay, Neha and Jun Rao have created a highly intelligent product and we are excited to support their continued growth."

“Kafka has been a labor of love and it’s been thrilling to see the technology mature and advance. We began working together on Kafka and stream processing in 2010, and now Kafka processes 867 billion messages a day at LinkedIn,” said Jay Kreps, co-founder and CEO of Confluent. “Today thousands of organizations are using Kafka and we expect in the years to come this will become a core platform within virtually every major company. Companies from all sectors are looking to evolve their data architecture to enable real-time stream data processing, and with the funding, we’ll be able to accelerate the development of the Confluent Platform to help companies best leverage the power of Apache Kafka.”

CloudByte Targets Containerized Storage for Enterprises and Cloud SPs

CloudByte, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, cited rising demand for its secure, multi-tenant storage solution for virtual environments. The company is working with partners to deliver containerized storage for Enterprises and Cloud Service Providers.

Recently, CloudByte announced that its business has accelerated, fueled by 12.5 PB plus ElastiStor Community Edition downloads worldwide. Also, the company is speeding up the next phase of growth and is responding to the strong interest in strategic partnerships.

“During our evolution to become a global brand, we have chosen to work with the best in delivering Enterprise Storage,” said Felix Xavier, CEO and Founder of CloudByte. “Our partners, in turn, have validated our patented technology and have chosen it as the best fit for their local markets.”

  • CloudByte is venture-backed by Fidelity Worldwide Investment, Nexus Venture Partners, and Kae Capital.

Orange Business Services and Tata Communications Announce NNI Agreement

Orange Business Services Tata Communications announced a Network-to-Network Interconnect (NNI) agreement that enable Orange Business Services to expand its network footprint in India.

Specifically, the NNI will enable Orange to utilize Tata Communications’ 120 points of presence (PoPs), extending Orange Business Services’ reach to tier-two and tier-three cities such as Bhopal, Kanpur and Visakhapatnam. The increased domestic footprint of the Orange network in India is particularly suited to support the expansion plans of global multinational customers looking to connect to the farthest corners of India with robust and reliable network services, featuring global service level agreements (SLA) and straightforward billing.

It also includes access to Orange Business VPN – a fully secured and managed network solution that allows data, voice and video to run on the same IP-based MPLS network – from all locations covered by this network agreement.

Zayo Announces Infrastructure-as-a-Service for Clouds

Following its recent acquisition of Latisys Holdings, a colocation and infrastructure as a service (“Iaas”) provider, Zayo Group unveiled its updated cloud portfolio to now include private, public and hybrid IaaS cloud services in the U.S. and Europe. This encompasses high-performance, scalable, virtualized and non-virtualized compute and storage on a compliance audit-ready platform.

Zayo said this strategic expansion builds on the Latisys assets with additional capabilities from cloud platforms obtained through the AtlantaNAP and Neo acquisitions. Zayo’s portfolio of cloud services includes a host of value-added managed services that can be layered on to custom tailored solutions for added performance, security, scalability and continuity. These services include security services such as managed firewall, threat management and log management, performance services, such as load balancing, monitoring and database management and a variety of storage and backup solutions, including fully featured disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).

“The rapid adoption of cloud services makes Zayo's expansion into this market a natural extension of our bandwidth infrastructure business,” said Chris Morley, COO and president of Cloud and Connectivity at Zayo. “Through acquisition and investment, we have built a set of private and hybrid cloud solutions that are compelling in their own right and even more so when combined with our extensive fiber and data center facilities.”

In January 2015, Zayo agreed to acquire the operating units of Latisys Holdings, a colocation and infrastructure as a service (“Iaas”) provider for US$675 million.

Latisys provides colocation and IaaS services through eight datac enters across five markets – Northern Virginia, Chicago, Denver, Orange County and London. Its data centers currently total over 185,000 square feet of billable space and 33 megawatts of critical power with the ability to expand. Latisys focuses on marketing to and serving approximately 1,100 predominantly medium to large enterprise customers with large storage, compute and data connectivity needs. The combination of high quality assets, innovation and accelerating market demand has driven a strong track record of robust revenue growth and margin expansion since its founding in 2007. The company generated Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $11.0 million for the three months ended September 2014 and approximately $4.2 million for the month of November 2014.

Zayo said the deal will expand its data center portfolio to 45 facilities within the US, France and the United Kingdom. Latisys provides zColo a data center presence in four new markets. Zayo owns and operates extensive metropolitan fiber networks across all of the Latisys markets, physically connecting each of its data center facilities. This will allow Zayo to sell fiber and bandwidth services to Latisys’ core set of enterprise customers, and to market new colocation and IaaS services to Zayo’s base of carrier and content customers.

Microsoft Restructures Phone Business

Microsoft will record an impairment charge of approximately $7.6 billion related to assets associated with the acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) business in addition to a restructuring charge of approximately $750 million to $850 million.

The restructuring will result in the elimination of up to 7,800 jobs.

“We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first-party device family,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.“In the near-term, we’ll run a more effective and focused phone portfolio while retaining capability for long-term reinvention in mobility.”

In September 2013, Microsoft agreed to acquire Nokia’s Devices & Services business in a deal valued at EUR 5.44 billion (US$7.1 billion) in cash. The deal included all of the Mobile Phones and Smart Devices business units as well as Nokia's design team, operations including all Nokia Devices & Services production facilities, Devices & Services-related sales and marketing activities, and related support functions.

At closing, approximately 32,000 employees were transfered to Microsoft, including approximately 4,700 people in Finland.

Network Connectivity Issue Grounds United Airlines

United Airlines suffered a network connectivity issue on Wednesday morning (July 8), forcing it to ground all of its flights across the United States.

The airline attributed the outage to a routing issue and not a cyber attack.

DigitalOcean Raises $83 Million for Cloud Hosting

DigitalOcean, a start-up based in New York City, announced $83 million in Series B funding for its cloud infrastructure for developers of websites and applications.

DigitalOcean offers simple cloud hosting with all servers built on powerful Hex Core machines with dedicated ECC Ram and RAID SSD storage. The company notes that more than 6 million Droplets (cloud servers) have been deployed on DigitalOcean by more than 500,000 developers to date.

The funding round was led by Access Industries, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Facebook's Latest Open Compute Project Data Center

Facebook has kicked off construction of its fifth mega data center in Fort Worth, Texas. The new site will join the other major Facebook data centers located in Prineville (Oregon), Forest City (North Carolina), Lulea (Sweden), and Altoona (Iowa).

The new Fort Worth data center will feature the latest Open Compute Project hardware designs — including Yosemite, Wedge, and 6-pack — making it one of the most advanced data centers in the world.

Notably, the data center will powered by 100% renewable energy, thanks a 200 MW contract for new wind energy that Facebook has arranged with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group.

The new data center will be cooled using outdoor air instead of energy-intensive air conditioners, even during the hot summers in Texas.

Capital investment is projected to exceed $500 million within 5 years, including building construction costs and data center equipment.

In February, Facebook unveiled its "6-Pack" open modular switch platform designed for the flexibility, efficiency, and scale required in its massive data centers. The architecture allows Facebook to build different size switches using common line card and fabric card building blocks.

Last year, Facebook disclosed the specification of its top-of-rack network switch (code-named “Wedge”) and a Linux-based operating system for that switch (code-named “FBOSS”). It then described the modular network architecture it will use for scaling operations. The new 6-pack switch will serve as the core of this fabric.

In an engineering blog posting, Facebook said the 6-pack switch uses Wedge as its basic building block: it is a full mesh non-blocking two-stage switch that includes 12 independent switching elements. Each independent element can switch 1.28Tbps.

Facebook is currently building two configurations: One configuration exposes 16x40GE ports to the front and 640G (16x40GE) to the back, and the other is used for aggregation and exposes all 1.28T to the back. Each element runs its own operating system on the local server and is completely independent, from the switching aspects to the low-level board control and cooling system. Facebook said the advantage of this unique dual backplane design is the ability to modify any part of the system with no system-level impact, software or hardware.

Cisco to Acquire MaintenanceNet for $139 Million

Cisco will pay $139 million in cash and retention incentives to acquire MaintenanceNet, a privately held company providing a cloud-based software platform that uses data analytics and automation to manage and scale attach and renewals of recurring customer contracts.

MaintenanceNet, which is based in Carlsbad, California, operates a ServiceExchange cloud platform that helps manufacturers improve service renewals and identify uncovered product opportunities.  Cisco and MaintenanceNet have worked together since 2009.

MaintenanceNet will be joining Cisco’s Global Customer Success (GCS) organization, a group dedicated to improving customer engagement and delivering a coordinated, end to end experience to our partners and customers. This acquisition is a critical component of our strategy for GCS to simplify and digitize our business processes.