Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GSMA: North America Leads in New Mobile Tech Adoption

The North American mobile industry continues to lead other regions in the adoption of new mobile technologies, according to a newly released GSMA report called "The Mobile Economy - North America 2015’, including 4G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital commerce.

North America is home to more than 250 million unique subscribers, equivalent to a unique subscriber penetration rate of 70 per cent and 360 million mobile connections (excluding M2M), with three-quarters of connections being smartphones.

Some stats:

  • 4G already accounts for just over half of the connection base in the US, while Canada is expected to breach the 50% level in early 2016. By the end of the decade, 84% of connections in North America are forecast to be on 4G networks.
  • The US is by far the largest market with 232 million unique mobile subscribers, a penetration rate of about 72%. In Canada the rate is still much lower at 56%, with a total of 20 million unique subscribers.
  • Cisco forecasts that mobile data usage will grow at a 42% CAGR in North America through to 2019, reaching nearly 11 GB per user per month. This compares to a global average growth rate of 24% and a 2019 usage level of 4 GB.
  • This total impact includes a direct economic contribution of mobile operators and the rest of the mobile ecosystem of $217 billion (1.1% of GDP), an indirect impact on the rest of the economy of $130 billion (0.7% of GDP), and a productivity impact of $324 billion (1.7% of GDP) brought about by the use of mobile technology by businesses and workers in the region.
  • Cellular M2M: 12.8% of connections in North America (Q3 2015), global average is 3.9%, the next highest region is Europe at 8.2%

“The North American mobile industry has been the strongest performing of any developed region globally for some time, characterised by substantial subscriber growth, the early adoption of new technologies, high levels of mobile usage and strong revenue trends,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The region continues to lead innovation in a number of areas in the mobile ecosystem, including hardware, access technologies, operating systems and new apps and services that are scaling rapidly and changing how individuals live and work.”


Equinix Picks Infinera Cloud Xpress for Metro Datacenter Interconnection

Equinix is deploying the Infinera Cloud Xpress to interconnect its four data centers in Tokyo. The Equinix IBX data centers in Tokyo currently serve over 260 companies.

Equinix is also using the Infinera Cloud Xpress in Hong Kong to interconnect local data centers.

“Equinix is rapidly expanding across the globe,” said Teri Francis, vice president of technology at Equinix. “Cloud Xpress is an ideal solution for us to scale bandwidth in our Hong Kong and Tokyo networks and enhance our ability to connect our customers. Cloud Xpress is extremely simple to deploy and manage and fits our high-density, low power requirements. We are now looking forward to deploying the Cloud Xpress family in other markets globally to take advantage of these same scaling benefits.”

“The continued deployment of the Cloud Xpress by a leading datacenter operator like Equinix underscores the value Cloud Xpress brings to high-bandwidth datacenter interconnect,” said Stu Elby, senior vice president of cloud network strategy and technology at Infinera. “The Cloud Xpress, a purpose-built rack-and-stack datacenter platform, is ideal for operators in Asia where space limitation is a factor. The Cloud Xpress addresses the critical needs of datacenter operators and continues to gain traction in networks across the globe.”


  • In June 2015, Infinera announced the addition of 100 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) client services in its Cloud Xpress family of metro Cloud platforms.  The Cloud Xpress family, which Infinera announced last September 2014 and began shipping that December, is designed specifically to address the needs of Cloud service providers, Internet content providers, Internet Exchange service providers, large enterprises and other large-scale datacenter operators.  It leverages the company's unique oPIC-500 metro-optimized photonic integrated circuit to deliver DWDM datacenter interconnect services up to 500 Gbps in a compact two rack unit chassis.  With the addition of the new platform, the Cloud Xpress family now supports 10 GbE, 40 GbE and 100 GbE client-side interfaces to match customer specific requirements.
    Along with the introduction of the new Cloud Xpress with 100 GbE, Infinera announced important enhancements to the Cloud Xpress family including MACsec encryption for improved security, NETCONF & YANG support for Software Defined Networking (SDN) and ease of use, and LLDP discovery protocols enabling datacenter automation. NETCONF & YANG support enables smooth integration into datacenter automation and management systems; LLDP protocol awareness for auto-discovery of adjacent switches and routers across the WAN supports efficient connectivity validation and troubleshooting, and MACsec provides end-to-end encryption to keep data secure.

Cisco to Acquire Lancope for Traffic Behavior Analytics

Cisco agreed to acquire Lancope, a privately held network security company for $452.5 million in cash and assumed equity awards, plus additional retention based incentives for Lancope employees who join Cisco. The companies have been commercial partners for some time.

Lancope, which is based in Alpharetta, Georgia, provides network behavior analytics, threat visibility and security intelligence to help protect companies against top cyber security threats. Its StealthWatch FlowCollector collects and analyzes massive amounts of network data to obtain visibility for early threat detection. The goal is to quickly detect a wide range of attacks from APTs and DDoS to zero-day malware and insider threats.

Cisco said the Lancope acquisition will advance itsSecurity Everywhere strategy of providing advanced threat protection across the full attack continuum -- before, during and after an attack. With Lancope, Cisco's portfolio of security solutions adds an additional capability of network behavior analytics that extends protection further into the network.

"As enterprises digitize, security challenges rapidly evolve. Real time visibility and understanding of the behavior of every machine or device on the network becomes critical in adapting the ability of enterprises to identify and respond to the next wave of cyber threats," said Rob Salvagno, vice president, Cisco Corporate Development. "Cisco is committed to helping organizations defend their networks and devices. Together with Lancope, our combined solutions can help turn a customer's entire network into a security sensor."

Lancope was founded in 2000 with backing from Canaan Partners, Council Capital and H.I.G. Ventures. The company is headed by Mike Potts, who previously served as President and CEO of AirDefense.


IHS: Growing Prospects for SDN in Macrocell Backhaul

A growing number of Service Providers will be deploying SDN technologies in their mobile backhaul networks in 2016, according to a newly published 2015 IHS Infonetics Macrocell Backhaul Strategies and Vendor Leadership: Global Service Provider Survey.

Some highlights of the survey:

  • Greater network flexibility and improved operational efficiencies are the chief drivers for implementing network functions virtualization (NFV) within the backhaul network
  • Over half of those surveyed currently share backhaul facilities with other operators or intend to do so
  • Capacity and cell site location are the top-rated criteria by respondents in planning for 5G networks; this is echoed in rising backhaul link capacity requirements
  • Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei tie for leading macrocell backhaul vendor, each cited as a top-3 vendor by 41 percent of respondents, ahead of Ericsson

“With the evolution of mobile networks in progress, mobile backhaul solutions need to be more flexible, scalable and simplified to deliver increased capacity with quality of service. Operators taking part in our latest macrocell backhaul survey have a clear set of priorities regarding backhaul service-level agreement metrics, for instance. It’ll be important for backhaul to be integrated for macrocell and small cell backhaul and be more intelligent, fully optimized and operationally efficient,” said Richard Webb, research director for mobile backhaul and small cells at IHS.


IHS: QSFP28 Shipments to Surge in 2016

Big changes are underway in the market for optical transceivers aimed at data center applications, according to a newly released IHS Infonetics 10G/40G/100G Data Center Optics report.

The report tracks in granular detail optical transceivers, or short reach optics, by speed, reach, wavelength and form factor.

Some highlights:

  • Global 10/40/100G datacom transceiver revenue was up 14 percent in the first half of 2015 (1H15) from the same period a year ago (1H14)
  • Big growth in 40G interfaces is impacting 10G, as high-density QSFP+-based 10G interfaces encroach; IHS believes 10G datacom revenue peaked in 2014
  • 40G SR and LR QSFP+ keep ramping as data centers deploy 40GbE, supercharging 40GBase-SR demand
  • QSFP28 shipments are expected to surge in 2016 as demand exceeds several hundred thousand units

“Suppliers are preparing for a fundamental shift in data center optics from 10G technologies and processes to 25G — this applies to both VCSELs (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers) and single-mode optics. This is the single largest change the industry has experienced in the last decade, and the advent of 100GbE in 2016 is the key catalyst,” said Andrew Schmitt, research director for carrier transport networking at IHS Technology.


Intel Security Aligns Strategy to End-points and Cloud

Intel Security is revamping its corporate strategy to focus on the endpoint and the cloud as the most effective areas for advanced visibility and practical operational control. The company seeks to deliver a simplified user experience powered by centralized management and a connected architecture across Intel and third-party products.

“The rising volume and complexity of attacks present a vicious cycle of challenges for organizations and makes speed and efficiency critical,” said Chris Young, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel Security Group. “With a rapidly expanding attack surface, and a shortage of relevant talent and expertise, defenders need to win on visibility into events, simplified management, and capabilities that empower teams to close the loop on attacks in progress – faster, more effectively, and with fewer resources.”

The new strategy brings several new solutions:

  • McAfee Endpoint Security 10.X -- delivers a new streamlined and agile endpoint services platform, enabling protection for devices with faster scanning and deployment. 
  • McAfee Active Response -- a new endpoint threat detection and response solution, supplies on-demand and continuous visibility into an array of endpoint activities with powerful, automated tools to respond to and monitor threat events. The solutions can be used and managed together using Intel Security’s broadly adopted centralized management platform for a high-speed, high-accuracy, closed-loop approach to the threat defense lifecycle. 
  • Intel Security also now supports the Structured Threat Integration Expression (STIX) and Trusted Automated eXchange of Indicator Information (TAXII) standards designed to enhance detection of threats through sharing of threat intelligence.


Infinera Reports Q3 Revenue of $232.5 Million

Infinera reported GAAP revenue for its third fiscal quarter of $232.5 million compared to $207.3 million in the second quarter of 2015 and $173.6 million in the third quarter of 2014.

GAAP gross margin for the quarter was 44.2% compared to 46.7% in the second quarter of 2015 and 43.4% in the third quarter of 2014. GAAP operating margin for the quarter was 6.1% compared to 8.0% in the second quarter of 2015 and 4.3% in the third quarter of 2014. GAAP net income for the quarter was $8.5 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared to $17.9 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2015, and $4.8 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2014.

The results included the operating results of Transmode from the date the acquisition closed on August 20, 2015.

"Our excellent third quarter results reflect continued strength across our core business, including growing Cloud Xpress revenues as well as the initial contribution from the new metro business. Adding the recently announced metro core and long haul interconnect products along with Transmode's suite of metro solutions enables Infinera to further enhance the superior experience we deliver to our customers," said Tom Fallon, Infinera's Chief Executive Officer. "As the most vertically integrated transport provider in the world, now armed with a broad end-to-end portfolio, Infinera is in a terrific position to continue to deliver differentiated financial results on both the top and bottom lines."


Radisys Posts Growth in its Software-Systems Revenue

Radisys reported consolidated revenue was $44.8 million, compared to $47.0 million in the prior quarter and $50.8 million in the third quarter of 2014. Gross margin (GAAP) for the quarter was 29.0%, compared to 26.8% in the prior quarter and 28.9% in the third quarter of 2014. There was a net loss (GAAP) of $2.1 million, or $0.06 per share, compared to a GAAP net loss of $4.1 million, or $0.11 per share, in the prior quarter and GAAP net loss of $4.5 million, or $0.12 per share, in the third quarter of 2014.

Software-Systems revenue was $15.5 million, compared to $14.2 million in the prior quarter and $11.6 million in the third quarter of 2014, representing an increase of 33% year-on-year. Revenue growth was supported by continued strong MediaEngine demand in support of VoLTE deployments. Embedded Products revenue was $29.3 million, compared to $32.9 million in the prior quarter and $39.2 million in the third quarter of 2014. The decline in Embedded Products revenue is consistent with expectations for this segment as part of the company's strategy announced in the first quarter of 2015.

"As expected, we delivered another strong quarter in our Software-Systems business with revenue increasing 33% year-over-year, and when combined with prudent expense management, led to meaningful improvement in our bottom-line results,” said Brian Bronson, Radisys President and CEO. “During the third quarter, we fulfilled the remainder of the $11 million follow-on MediaEngine order from our large Asian carrier customer and also received purchase orders as part of our ongoing engagement with a large North American carrier for the commercial deployment of our FlowEngine product. We currently expect to ship these initial commercial orders during the fourth quarter, which represents important validation for FlowEngine and the disruptive proposition it affords to communication service providers as we position to double revenue for this product line in 2016.”

Cato Raises $20 Million for Network Security as a Service

Cato Networks, a start-up based in Tel Aviv, Israel, announced $20 million in Series A funding for its rethinking of network security.

Cato Networks is developing a new Network Security as a Service (NSaaS) platform for the distributed, mobile and Cloud-based enterprise. The solution will be available to the general public in the first half 2016, and the company is currently accepting beta customers.

The company was founded by Shlomo Kramer and Gur Shatz, who had bootstrapped the company until now. Kramer is one of the founding fathers of network security, best known for introducing the first firewall to the market as a co-founder of Check Point Software, and later the first web application firewall as a founder and CEO of Imperva. Shatz brings an extensive background in Cloud-based web applications security and acceleration. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO of Incapsula. With Cato Networks, Kramer and Shatz are creating the next big chapter in the evolution of network security.

“Cato Networks has identified a cloud-based approach for businesses to address the challenge of network security complexity, which opens up organizations to attacks as hackers can slip through the cracks of misconfigurations and software vulnerabilities,” said Steve Krausz, general partner at USVP. “Shlomo Kramer has already had a major impact on the shape of network security, and we see the potential for Cato Networks to represent the next major paradigm shift.”

The financing was led by Steve Krausz, general partner at U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), and Theresia Gouw, founder of Aspect Ventures.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Oracle Intros Visual Analytics Cloud Service

Oracle unveiled a Data Visualization Cloud Service that lets users combine data from a variety of sources -- Oracle and other SaaS applications, on-premises systems, external sources and personal files -- and immediately gain new insights using visual analysis.

Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service provides compatibility and integration with the full breadth of Oracle's analytics offerings.

"Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service makes data visualization 100 percent self-service, empowering business users to go from raw data to actionable business insights in just a few minutes. This new service delivers rich visual analysis, rapid discovery of insights and secure collaboration, enabling fact-based decisions at every level of the organization," stated Hari Sankar, group vice president, Business Analytics, Oracle.


IBM Launches Apache Spark-as-a-Service

IBM is launching a Spark-as-a-Service offering on Bluemix following a successful 13-week Beta program with more than 4,600 developers using it to build intelligent business and consumer apps fueled by data.

IBM also confirmed that it has redesigned more than 15 of its core analytics and commerce solutions with Apache Spark.

Apache Spark was developed by the AMPLab at UC Berkeley as an open-source cluster computing framework. It offers in-memory processing and is known for its ease of use in creating algorithms that harness insight from complex data.

“For data scientists and engineers who want to do more with their data, the power and appeal of open source innovation for technologies like Spark is undeniable,” said Rob Thomas, Vice President of Product Development, IBM Analytics. “IBM is committed to using Spark as the foundation for its industry-leading analytics platform, and by offering a fully managed Spark service on IBM Bluemix, data professionals can access and analyze their data faster than ever before, with significantly reduced complexity.”


Databricks: Apache Spark Outgrowing Hadoop

The number of standalone deployments of Spark eclipses those on YARN as more users run Spark independent of Hadoop, according to a newly published survey of Spark users conducted by Databricks, the company founded by the creators of Apache Spark. Databricks said that users that are running Spark in standalone (48 percent of respondents) exceeds those running Spark on YARN (40 percent of respondents), alongside a majority of users running Spark in...

Google Cloud Dataproc Brings Fast Hadoop & Spark Cluster Provisioning

Google introduced new capabilities for managing clusters of Hadoop and Spark. Google Cloud Dataproc, which is now in beta,  is a managed Spark and Hadoop service that leverages open source data tools for batch processing, querying, streaming, and machine learning. The service can be used to create and manage clusters ranging in size from 3 to hundreds of nodes. Google said its Cloud Dataproc can create Spark and Hadoop clusters in 90 seconds...

IBM Backs Apache Spark for Cloud Data Processing

IBM is putting its weight behind Apache Spark, which is an open source engine for large-scale data processing and compatible with Hadoop data. Apache Spark can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like 

IBM Teams with Twitter and The Weather Company for Cloud Insights

IBM introduced Insight Cloud Services, a service that leverages data from Twitter and The Weather Company, as well as open data sets and business-owned data, to help turn streaming data into insights and change critical business outcomes.

IBM said its new cloud-based insight services use analytic models to take the complexity of combining internal and external data.

IBM Insight Cloud Services are accessed in a variety of offerings, including:

  • IBM Insight APIs for Developers: Four new APIs that developers can access from IBM Bluemix, IBM's cloud platform, to incorporate historical and forecasted weather data from The Weather Company into web and mobile apps; and two APIs that allow developers to incorporate Twitter content –that is enriched with sentiment insights from IBM –from Decahose or PowerTrack streams into apps.
  • IBM Insight Data Packages for Weather: New bundled data sets from IBM and The Weather Company customized for key industries and available on the IBM Cloud. Built on a variety of weather data feeds that provide everything from real-time alerts for severe weather disasters to seasonal forecasts, the data packages can help insurers use weather data to alert policyholders ahead of hail storms that may cause property damage, help utilities forecast demand and identify likely service outages, help local governments to develop detailed emergency planning in advance of severe weather, and enable many industries such as retail to use data to help optimize their operations, reduce costs and uncover revenue opportunities ahead of changes in weather.
  • IBM Industry Analytics Solutions: A set of pre-built solutions that leverage IBM Insight Cloud Services cognitive techniques to help enable business users to tackle very specific industry challenges. This expands on a set of industry solutions IBM introduced in May 2015 that provide businesses with the ability to generate new types of insights based on customer behavior. 


Akanda Releases Astara Liberty Orchestration Code

Akanda, a start-up offering an NFV orchestration platform, announced its Astara's Liberty release for Layer 3-7 networking services.

The new version, which is now available to OpenStack operators, is the open source network orchestration platform's most substantial since its initial launch, and is Astara's first since becoming an official OpenStack project.

Some highlights of Astara's Liberty release:

  • More configurability: A new load balancer driver allows OpenStack operators to configure the platform to load and manage only the resources they choose. Current implementations include NGINX and NGINX Plus.
  • Quicker provisioning: Neutron resources are now much more quickly provisioned onto appliance VMs via a new service that manages pools of hot-standby appliance VMs.
  • Cumulus Networks integration: Tight integration and support for Dynamic Lightweight Network Virtualization gives OpenStack operators a complete, OpenStack-ready stack.
  • Higher availability: Active-active high availability and scaling improvements.

"Astara's first release as an official OpenStack project is an exciting one for OpenStack operators," said Henrik Rosendahl, CEO, Akanda. "The goal of Astara is to make Networking and DevOps' lives easier. With tremendous community support and momentum for the platform throughout its first year, Astara is the answer for massively simplified OpenStack networking stack that can replace traditional -- and expensive -- single vendor lock-in."


Akanda was incubated since 2012 by DreamHost.

Radisys and InterDigital Demo M2M + LTE Core Interoperability

Radisys and InterDigital have demonstrated interoperability between a Radisys end-to-end LTE network, including the CellEngine eNodeB and Evolved Packet Core, with InterDigital’s oneMPOWER Platform.

The demo, which is showcased at this week's IoT Korea International Conference in Seoul, Korea, includes 3GPP Release 12 compliant Radisys’ Trillium LTE CNE and CellEngine TOTALeNodeB LTE small cell software with certain feature modifications by InterDigital along with Google Nexus 5 handsets.

“The HetNet revolution can only become a reality with the successful convergence of networks to manage the data traffic explosion,” said Dr. Byung K. Yi, executive vice president, InterDigital Labs, and chief technology officer of InterDigital. “Our oneMPOWER Platform is well positioned to support the growing Internet of Things. With Radisys’ CellEngine TOTALeNodeB software, along with Radisys’ Professional Services expertise to add an Evolved Packet Core emulator and integrated with InterDigital’s oneMPOWER Platform, we’ve demonstrated the ability of HetNets to address the mobile broadband and interoperability requirements for Internet of Things deployments.”

“Radisys is supporting numerous LTE deployments around the world, including more than 80 LTE small cell wins with our CellEngine TOTALeNodeB small cell software,” said Tom McQuade, general manager, CellEngine and Trillium Software, Radisys. “Critical to our success has been the support of our Professional Services team to help configure and integrate our software products at customers alongside our partners’ complementary networking technologies. This successful interoperability demonstration with InterDigital is not only a win for our CellEngine software products, but for our Professional Services team as well.”


Cisco Builds its Silicon Valley Start-up Incubator

Five new Silicon Valley start-ups have joined the roster at the Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence incubation program. These are:

  • C3DNA (http://c3dna.com) delivers self-reliance and portability of any application on any cloud infrastructure at the app layer.
  • LISNR (http://lisnr.com) provides a new communication protocol that uses SmartTones, an inaudible technology that has the ability to connect mobile applications and devices.
  • Simularity (http://www.simularity.com) applies real-time artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things, enabling incident prediction, preventative maintenance and anomaly detection.
  • Tagnos (http://tagnos.com) enhances the patient experience and hospital efficiency with real-time smart location solutions powered by the Internet of Things.
  • Zoomdata (www.zoomdata.com) develops a visual analytics solution for Big Data that empowers business users to easily consume and interact with disparate data sources in real time.
Since the program’s launch in 2014, Cisco EIR has incubated and collaborated with 17 startups in Silicon Valley and Vienna, Austria.


Cisco to Acquire ParStream for Database Analytics

Cisco has agreed to acquire ParStream, a privately-held company based in Cologne, Germany that provides an analytics database that allows companies to analyze large amounts of data and store it in near real time anywhere in the network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cisco said ParStream's highly specialized database is especially useful for IoT applications that generate large amounts of data at the edge that needs to be processed in real time, with minimal infrastructure.  ParStream uses compression and indexing to help customers access data faster and at scale, rapidly analyzing and filtering billions of records and getting information to the business in near real-time. ParStream will be integrated into Cisco’s Analytics and Automation portfolio.

ParStream was part of the Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence start up program.


Qualcomm Intros LTE Modems for IoT

Qualcomm introduced its latest LTE modems (the MDM9207-1 and MDM9206) designed for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The MDM9207-1 is purpose-built for IoT applications like smart metering, security, asset tracking, wearables, point-of-sale and industrial automation – many of which require extremely reliable and power-efficient connections to cloud services. It offers Category 1 LTE connectivity with power and throughput optimizations, and other customizable features.

The MDM9206 will allow device manufacturers to enable cost-optimized solutions for low data rate IoT applications more efficiently addressed by a narrowband modem in addition to providing enhancements for ultra-low power and extended range as part of Cat-M (eMTC) and narrowband IoT (NB-IOT).

Key customizable features for the MDM9207-1 include support for:

  • LTE Category 1 up to 10 Mbps downlink and 5 Mbps uplink speeds with LTE multimode or LTE Single mode capability and dual Rx or single Rx
  • Power Save Mode (PSM) enabling 10+ years battery life
  • Major cellular standards, including LTE FDD, LTE TDD, DC-HSPA, GSM and TD-SCDMA
  • Scalable software across chipset platforms
  • Advanced, built-in hardware and software security features
  • Integrated voice support for Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB) and VoLTE
  • Integrated Applications Processor with ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz
  • Linux OS for application development
  • Integrated global positioning support for GPS, Beidou, Glonass, and Galileo
  • Small package at 28nm LP to allow for optimized IoT form factors
  • Pre-integrated support for Qualcomm VIVE™ Wi-Fi 1x1, 802.11ac featuring Qualcomm MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology and BT 4.1 BLE
  • Qualcomm RF360 Front End Solution

"Qualcomm Technologies continues to expand the capabilities of LTE to accelerate progress in IoT today with the MDM9207-1 and MDM9206," said Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, IoE, Qualcomm Technologies International Ltd.  "These modems demonstrate our continued commitment to the expansion of existing LTE commercial device capability in addition to new standards-based Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies that will lead to global cellular solutions with longer range, lower power and lower complexity, such as LTE Cat-M (eMTC) and NB-IOT."

PMC Posts Q3 Revenue or $134 Million

PMC-Sierra reported Q3 2015 revenue of $133.6 million, an increase of 7.1 percent compared to $124.8 million in the second quarter of 2015, and a decrease of 1.4 percent from $135.5 million in the third quarter of 2014.

GAAP net income in the third quarter of 2015 totaled $6.7 million or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to GAAP net loss in the second quarter of 2015 of $8.6 million or $0.04 per share, and to GAAP net income in the third quarter of 2014 of $5.5 million or $0.03 per diluted share. GAAP operating margin in the third quarter of 2015 was 8.3 percent, compared to GAAP operating margin in the third quarter of 2014 of 5.5 percent.

For Q3:

  • Storage product revenues reached a quarterly record of $97.6 million, or 73 percent of revenues, an increase of 12 percent compared to storage product revenues of $87.0 million in the second quarter of 2015. 
  • Optical product revenues in the third quarter of 2015 totaled $23.5 million, or 18 percent of revenues, a decrease of 7 percent compared to optical product revenues of $25.2 million in the second quarter of 2015. 
  • Mobile product revenues in the third quarter of 2015 totaled $12.5 million, or 9 percent of revenues, which was flat compared to mobile product revenues of $12.6 million in the second quarter of 2015.


Marvell Confirms that PricewaterhouseCoopers Quits

In an SEC filing, Marvell Technology Group announced that PricewaterhouseCoopers has quit as its outside auditor. PricewaterhouseCoopers, had served in that position for the two past fiscal years, resigned on October 20.

Marvell noted that PwC advised the company that it would need to expand the scope of the 2016 audit in several areas, including whether senior management’s operating style resulted in an open flow of information and communication to set an appropriate tone for an effective control environment.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blueprint: NFV - the New and Improved Network…with Some of the Same Old Baggage

by Douglas Tait, Director, Product Marketing, Oracle Communications

Network function virtualization (NFV) is in motiion Software functions are separating from hardware infrastructure and virtualizing, then becoming capable of running on a wide array of suitable hardware. In fact, NFV adoption is so strong that according to a statement made by Heavy Reading analyst Jim Hodges at the recent NFV Everywhere event in Dallas, the global NFV market will grow from $485.3 million in 2014 to $2.2 billion by the end of this year. The promise here, of course, is that communications service providers (CSPs) can reduce operational and expenditure costs related to updating, maintaining, or enhancing network functions by decoupling the software from the hardware.  This provides CSPs with more options to buy and deploy best-of-breed software components that run on best-of-breed hardware components.

If only it were that simple.

This article will cover why the path to NFV isn’t so clear cut, and some ideas for overcoming the complexity.  

The New and Improved Network

The NFV “divide and conquer” approach makes sense—the software lifecycle is completely different from the hardware lifecycle, and IT has made huge strides in developing and testing software virtualization technology. NFV provides the blueprint to virtualize software and deploy agile services when needed, or when upgrades are required, all without major expensive network re-deployments.  

This separation of software from hardware is a significant first step forward for the communications industry that creates new ways to manage the network elements. Now, an open market for best-of-breed hardware is possible, which could drive down costs. Also possible is the encapsulation of software elements as “virtualized network functions” (VNFs), which allows CSPs to manage software lifecycle management separately so that upgrades and enhancements do not affect the hardware environment (except in the event of rare scaling and performance dependencies).

NFV is moving network technology in the right direction, and in many ways, it’s similar to the revolution of cloud computing in IT. And also like cloud computing, now that the deployment model has been revolutionized, the next step in NFV is to free up the hold on software functions. Specifically, NFV has matured to the point where CSPs can deploy on any suitable best of breed hardware. Now it’s time for CSPs to have more choices to deploy best of breed software on that hardware to build the best possible network.
But here is the fly in the ointment, or, the “same old baggage.” While hardware components are interoperable, the network software components were never designed to be interoperable.

Same Old Baggage

For NFV software, interoperability is required on two levels: 1) between VNFs and 2) between Management and Network Orchestrators (MANOs) and the VNFs. Regardless of NFV, the same old baggage comes from taking existing network functions that do not interoperate and virtualizing them into VNFs—you still have network functions that do not interoperate. In many ways, NFV is compounding the problem, because currently there aren’t agreed-upon standards between the MANO and VNF. As a result, the various suppliers are creating the best interface for just the NFV products they own.

If this situation sounds familiar, it probably is: the problem of NFV interoperability is not new. And there have already been several attempts to create hard standards for network functions to fix it—TINA-C, JAIN, PARLAY, OneAPI. Each made a valiant effort at standardization, yet did not fully achieve software interoperability in the communications network. Now, the NFV community is pursuing interoperability with an open sourced approach—that is, creating an open source reference implementation model for NFV and hoping that the network equipment providers will follow. This open source model has had some success in the IT industry—think Apache Foundation, Linux, and GNU. And for the communications industry, projects like OPNFV, Open Daylight, ONF, Open Stack, and Open vSwitch offer an approach that would move the industry to a common software model, but without requiring NFV vendors to comply with a standard.

The original NFV whitepaper makes it clear that many of the largest and most influential CSPs want to allow VNFs to proliferate in an open market where network providers may mix, match, buy, and deploy best of breed VNFs that would automatically connect and run their networks. But to make this objective a reality, full interoperability between VNFs and MANOs is required. So what is the best way for the industry to move forward from this stalemate?

NFV: Path to Software Interoperability 

To overcome these obstacles and achieve the full potential of NFV, the industry should consider not just one solution, but rather an integrated and multi-step path to jumpstart the VNF market from a premise to a promise with a real plan. Here are a few things that the industry should consider:

  • Assemble a policing agency or an interoperability group that tests or runs the software and generates compliance reports.  As discussed, one of the major roadblocks to reaching NFV’s potential is that there is very little standardization enforcement across the communications industry. A standards body or policing agency could help by validating that vendors’ products and solutions meet defined specifications required to call themselves “certified NFV suppliers”—and therefore deemed trustworthy by customers.
  • Continue with the open source community offerings.  Although the open source communities do not have a charter to enforce interoperability, CSPs may use the reference implementation the communities produce as a model or means to test the VNFs. 
  • Define a standard API for VNFs.  While this approach does not completely solve the interoperability issues and does not enforce the standard between the VNFs into the MANO, it would provide a universal programming interface for all VNFs. VNF providers could produce their products despite not having their own MANO product.
  • Define a standard protocol that the industry could adopt as a universal standard, or that at least would be enforceable via something like the Java Community Process. This would enable   CSPs to compare vendors, supporting a fair and free market—CSPs could buy the best product for their company without fear that the vendor is violating standards.
  • Provide an interface framework in the VNF manager.  In the absence of hard protocol standards, another way to accelerate the adoption of NFV is a VNF plugin framework. This would allow VNF suppliers to build and test executable plugins that interface with their products, yet run within the VNF manager—promoting technical interoperability between the VNF manager and the VNF, while opening the market for suppliers to work together. While a plugin framework does not solve the problem of interoperability between VNFs, VNF managers and various VNF suppliers would be able to rapidly integrate their products. And, when the industry finally advances and produces a standard, the only update required is the plugin; the VNF manager and the VNFs would require little change.  

If the industry can develop standards against which vendors can build NFV solutions, and employ a policing body to enforce these standards, VNF interoperability will move forward—driving unprecedented innovation to bring new services and new revenue streams to market quickly, with much lower risk. But the industry must continue to move forward in the meantime. So it must take action now to enable industry players to work together, promoting a culture of openness and innovation.

About the Author

Doug Tait is director of product marketing, Oracle Communications.

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