Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Blueprint: Cloud and Networking Predictions 2016

by Elad Rave, CEO of Teridion

The cloud is no longer a luxury for enterprises, it is a must have. With more complex applications entering the enterprise, like video streaming and larger file sharing, legacy connectivity solutions are no longer capable of handling such large workloads. With this in mind, 2016 will see major shifts in how the cloud is used in the networking space.

1. Hybrid cloud storage and disaster recovery go hand-in-hand 

As data is evolving at unprecedented speeds, so too are the datacenters that need to support the developing data communication space. Hybrid cloud storage has helped alleviate some of the burden of differentiating data communication and storage. As more sensitive data travels even longer distances, the chances of something failing along the way increase. Trying to keep data from falling through the cracks requires a great deal of consideration – whether to turn to an on or off-premise solution, whether to increase bandwidth due to an increasingly mobile workforce, if you should consider different cloud storage options, what should occur if a natural disaster were to occur or theft and much more. In 2016, creating effective disaster recovery strategy will become a top priority for companies, but in order to do this, employees of all levels need to see backup as quick and painless, and not an additional task. The network must be ready, wherever, whenever.

2. Containers go mainstream 

Containers have swept the cloud and application development market by storm in the past year as a way to segment different application operations, streamlining a lot of overhead. Containers are small and agile, which makes them ideal for scaling dynamic applications. However large enterprises have been hesitant to go all in as there have been a lack of expert personnel available, as well as security concerns. In 2016, we will see some of those security concerns alleviated as vendors integrate security into container technology, and with the uptick in popularity, we’ll see more experts in the space who can provide guidance on deployment methods. Companies will have the tools, and vendors will offer the feature sets and security required for increased use of containers in an ever-changing cloud environment.

3. Application developers are not limited by location or legacy architectures 

In 2016, developers will finally be able to create applications and services as they want to instead of around the limitations of bandwidth and speed that the current Internet architecture holds. As these applications become more complex, network providers will be tasked with providing a stable, fast and reliable Internet to keep up, and we'll see the cloud utilized much more for that purpose. Big data analytics, also in the cloud, will be used to help determine optimal paths based on application requirements.

4. Bolstering the network with multiple clouds

As cloud-service-dependent business models continue to gain popularity, over the next year enterprises will begin to deploy networks across different cloud operators, just as they've done with compute, storage and virtualization. The cloud continues to mature, and as the demand for services spanning multiple clouds escalates, so will the solutions that make them easier to manage. With backend intelligence, administrators are able to gather granular performance data, either for compute, storage, networking or cost, that permits the management system to select the appropriate cloud operator based on service needs, as well as implementing true resiliency at the cloud layer.

5. SDN gets a reality check

SDNs will continue to see deployment in hyper-scale datacenters, DevOps and institutions with large networking teams. We see SDN flourishing in environments where there is control over infrastructure, devices entering and leaving and internal bandwidths, for example, an enterprise with a single carrier. But as the network becomes a messier space in the coming year, can an SDN network handle 10x the traffic in a short period of time? Other questions center on if an SDN deployment is really multi-vendor. How well does the SDN deployment align with an enterprise’s public or hybrid cloud strategy, and in many cases could it be made more or less relevant if the enterprise is making the shift? Enterprises need to be looking at the larger “Software-Defined Everything” picture as opposed to only SDN, as more begin to realize that hybrid alternatives aren’t for everyone.

About the Author

Elad Rave, a proven industry veteran and successful serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in the technology sector, is CEO and co-founder of Teridion. Previously, he was the co-founder of several successful start up companies including Oxygen CG, TheServerExpress, Partenos and Elenexos Ltd. He is recognized as an architectural expert and for multiplatform integration design and implementation.

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Ericsson: LTE Can Support Millions of Low-Power IoT Devices per Cell Site

Ericsson introduced the first complete cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) offering, with backing from AT&T.

Ericsson Networks Software 17A for Massive IoT addresses a comprehensive range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications by supporting millions of IoT device connections per cell site.

Ericsson said its new network software introduces narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) to existing LTE network infrastructure, enabling fast rollout of reliable, secure mobile connectivity with low total cost of ownership. Additionally, the network software introduces power-saving functionality for NB-IoT and LTE-M, allowing for more than 10-year device battery lifetime.

NB-IoT, LTE Machine-type Communication (LTE-M) and the previously launched Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM) are complementary and address the diversity of LPWA IoT use case requirements and deployment scenarios while making best use of existing networks.

“A few months ago Ericsson announced innovations to accelerate uptake of the IoT, including our EC-GSM offering; now we are expanding on our promise to remove barriers to the IoT with the industry’s first complete cellular LPWA offering, enabling operators to address the full diversity of IoT use cases across their networks. With support for massive numbers of connections, 2016 will be the year of the IoT,” stated
Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Radio, Ericsson.

Fujitsu Releases Multi-Layer Virtuora NC 3.0 SDN for Carrier Networks

Fujitsu Network Communications announced the availability of Virtuora NC 3.0, an open-source-based suite of multi-layer, multi-vendor network automation and virtualization products for carrier SDN.

The company said its Virtuora NC 3.0 enables rapid service innovation via an open control environment with distinct separation of the controller, southbound and application layers.

“Service providers need networks that are architected for continuous improvement,” said Igor Bergman, Vice President and head of the Software Business Unit at Fujitsu Network Communications. “Virtuora NC is highly scalable and makes networks programmable, in turn helping providers reduce costs while increasing service velocity.”

Some key points:

  • The interfaces to the controlled network elements make up the ‘southbound’ layer. Those interfaces are abstracted via YANG models and XML, and support TL1, NETCONF, and other management protocols, as well as being architected for multivendor support.
  • Control, management, fulfillment, service assurance functions and northbound interfaces make up the ‘application’ layer of Virtuora NC. In keeping with the modular design of Virtuora, the applications are also self-contained and provide a set of external interfaces to support data collection, analytics, and available inventory.
  • Virtuora NC delivers on the openness of the ODL platform to support seamless integration of multiple layers with multi-vendor devices and third-party application development. All the data stores in the ODL database as well as other services of ODL can be accessed by any application via standardized REST-based APIs and standard data-modeling approaches. As a result, anyone capable of developing an application for ODL can develop and implement applications on Virtuora NC.
  • Virtuora NC supporting applications provide a rich ecosystem that offers multiple choices in service creation and operations efficiency: Dynamic Service Activation and Service Restoration; Path Computation based on routing constraints, such as available bandwidth, network faults, per-link and full path latency, and diversity; and Resource Discovery of all the topology elements, including nodes, links, and equipment.

Fujitsu's Open Source SDN Controller Demos Dynamic, Multilayer Service Activation

Fujitsu Network Communications has successfully demonstrated interoperability between its Open Source SDN Controller and the ONOS controller developed by ON.Lab.

Fujitsu, a founding ONOS partner, developed TL1 southbound interfaces from the ONOS-based SDN controller to the FLASHWAVE 9500 Packet Optical Networking Platform (P-ONP) to provide Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) services: On-demand bandwidth, bandwidth calendaring and multi-layer optimization.

In this video, Anuj Dutia, Head of Market Development at FNC, presents an overview of the Fujitsu Open Source SDN controller, including a demonstration of dynamic service activation across multiple network layers.

See 5 Minute video:

NTT DOCOMO to Deploy ALU's 7950 IP Core/Edge Routers

NTT DOCOMO will deploy Alcatel-Lucent's 7950 Extensible Routing System for supporting its 68 million mobile subscribers in Japan. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent said the deployment of its 7950 XRS core/edge router strengthens a long-standing relationship with NTT DOCOMO, particularly in the supply of IP technology. Alcatel-Lucent previously supplied its 7750 Service Router series and 7450 Ethernet Service Switch for DOCOMO's Border GateWay Router and Radio Access Network Switch projects.

"NTT DOCOMO is a company that is well-known for its emphasis on quality and reliability to offer the most innovative services to customers. As such, we are very pleased to be able to deliver our powerful IP core/edge router to help NTT DOCOMO support the increasing mobile traffic and the introduction of 5G," stated Nicolas Bouverot, President of Alcatel-Lucent Japan.

DOCOMO Expands 5G Collaboration Program

NTT DOCOMO is expanding its industry collaboration program for 5G.  The company announced individual collaborations with five additional vendors: Intel, Keysight Technologies, Panasonic Corporation, Qualcomm Technologies, and Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co.

DOCOMO and its vendor-partners expect to begin technical discussions and various indoor trials at the DOCOMO R&D Center in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture within the current fiscal year ending in March 2016. The trials will expand to outdoor settings thereafter. Key findings and achievements will be shared with global research bodies and at international conferences. Through the collaborations, DOCOMO expects to evaluate and verify its proprietary 5G technologies and thereby accelerate 5G standardization.

Since May 2014, DOCOMO has been working with a number of other vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Nokia and Samsung.

DOCOMO said it aims to introduce 5G on a commercial basis in 2020. 5G is being developed for ultra-high-speed data transmissions of over 10Gbps and 1,000 times the capacity of LTE, which will help address the proliferation of connected items in the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), as well as to support the increasingly diverse range of mobile services.

"Global expectations for 5G are growing as we approach the start of the standardization phase," said Seizo Onoe, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at DOCOMO. "We are delighted to form these new collaborations on 5G experimental trials for wider technical areas to establish the 5G ecosystem with additional world-leading global vendors to promote R&D targeted at 5G deployment in 2020."

EMC Consolidates VCE as its Converged Platforms Division

EMC announced the appointment of Chad Sakac as President of VCE.  He will report to David Goulden, CEO, EMC Information Infrastructure.

Sakac, a veteran EMC leader, has been a leading advocate for converged platforms and solutions in the market. He succeeds Praveen Akkiraju who, since taking over VCE in 2012, has played a critical role in growing VCE into a business that exits FY15 on an even higher run rate than the $2 billion+ we previously disclosed. Akkiraju will continue to work for David Goulden in an advisory role.

VCE, which became an EMC business in December 2014, will now become the EMC Converged Platforms Division. As part of this new model, VCE is poised to fully leverage EMC in helping customers implement their IT transformation plans. Tighter alignment within EMC will further simplify technology options and deployment, and provide an even richer customer experience at enterprise scale to drive business competitiveness. With a broad portfolio of converged and hyper-converged offerings, EMC customers can confidently simplify operations and shift resources to increase focus on innovation and business agility.

Qualcomm Intros Wi-Fi SON Capability

Qualcomm Atheros is introducing the first Wi-Fi SON capabilities for networking products that power smart gateways, wireless routers, range extenders and access points in conjunction with several OEMs, including Airtight, Asus, D-Link, Linksys and TP-Link.

Qualcomm Wi-Fi SON is aimed at simplifying Wi-Fi networking in the home and office while optimizing end-to-end performance and offering the best user experience. Key features include:

  • Self-configuring that enables plug-and-play deployment
  • Self-managing that offers autonomous performance optimization
  • Self-healing actively detects and resolves connectivity bottlenecks
  • Self-defending that secures the network from unauthorized access
  • Qualcomm Wi-Fi SON is currently available for product integration, allowing OEMs to differentiate their services and further show industry leadership.

“Qualcomm Atheros is at the forefront of bringing innovations that offer seamless connectivity to users,” said Gopi Sirineni, senior director of product management, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. “Qualcomm Wi-Fi SON is one such initiative, which provides a comprehensive set of solutions to simplify the deployment of Wi-Fi networks in homes and offices, while also providing the best performance and experience to users.”

Ericsson and AT&T Provide Water Monitoring

Ericsson is working with AT&T to develop a monitoring solution for the municipal water utility in Atlanta.

The trials will enable the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, an organization dedicated to protecting water in the Chattahoochee River Basin, to remotely monitor the quality of the city’s water at key watershed locations. The connected water field trials will utilize a design prototype based on the winning idea from a recent Ericsson-sponsored Technology for Good innovation challenge with university students.

AT&T will provide all wireless connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Apple's App Store Racks Up Big Numbers

Apple posted record numbers for its App Store over the Holidays:

  • In the two weeks ending January 3, customers spent over $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchase.
  • January 1, 2016 marked the biggest day in App Store history with customers spending over $144 million, topping the previous record set a week earlier on Christmas Day.
  • Worldwide, the App Store has brought in nearly $40 billion for developers since 2008, with over one-third generated in the last year alone.
  • Apple claims that it is responsible for creating and supporting 1.9 million jobs in the U.S. alone. The company has previously reported that the iOS app economy has created 1.2 million jobs in Europe and 1.4 million jobs in China.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Blueprint: Three Predictions for Network Monitoring in 2016

by Tom Kelly, CEO, AccelOps

Why do armies set up look-outs all around their camps? Why do people read their horoscopes and shake magic eight-balls? Simple: they want to see what’s coming. In business, it’s incredibly helpful to be able to accurately forecast needs and set strategy. In the network security and performance arena of the business, it’s table stakes.

While there’s no crystal ball that can tell us everything, one thing is certain: organizations will need to fundamentally change the way they identify and manage threats. Below are my three predictions on this topic for the new year.

  1. It’s time to outsource security. With the unprecedented benefits and growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the vast number of touch points connecting to the network, new challenges and unknown risks associated with these tools will continue to multiply. Unknown risks include network and resource utilization, performance expectations and resource needs, interoperability with current systems and tools and, above all else, security risks and challenges to an organization’s livelyhood. As IT budgets shrink, and a shrinking pool of technical personnel, organizations will increasingly look outside their silos to managed security service providers (MSSP’s) for expert help.
  2. Organizations will map the customer journey. Consumers today have access to nearly infinite sources of information through the click of a mouse, resulting in a higher level of expectation for rapid answers from a variety of engagement channels. From websites to social media to mobile and multi-media, organizations are tasked with keeping up with customer demands from an ever-increasing set of “touch-points.” To that end, organizations will turn to tools that map and analyze a “360 view” of their customers’ journey and the respective “touch-points” throughout their organizations. As this integrated security and performance management requirement transitions from a tactical IT expenditure-driven initiative to a mission-critical, strategic business initiative, the era of CIOs and CISOs reporting to CFOs will shift to stronger oversight by boards of directors and CEOs.
  3. Businesses intelligence sources will converge. Proprietary customer and financial data and intellectual property are high-value targets for hackers. The challenge in protecting these targets will continue to grow as organizations become more reliant on business intelligence and analytics (Big Data) to dissect their various channels of customer engagement, workers, network and application productivity. As organizations store this valuable data in onsite and offsite locations (or a variety of both), Big Data is seen as a big target. These rich and proprietary sources of corporate analytics will spawn new and additional targets for hackers. Current silo-based approaches will need to converge with other business intelligence initiatives to provide more rapid identification and mitigation of risks.
Today’s dynamic, data-driven businesses have never been more reliant on the performance of their networks in managing risk and in the pursuit of their strategic initiatives. These same networks have never been more at risk for security breaches and the network performance impacts. With digital transformation in full swing, the pace of change is rapidly accelerating, and an organization’s ability to see into the network through solutions that provide a holistic, real-time view and correlation of the various elements in their network is becoming more critical than ever.

About the Author

Tom Kelly is CEO of Accelops and a technology industry veteran having led companies through founding, growth, IPO and strategic acquisition. He has served as a CEO, COO or CFO at Cadence Design Systems, Frame Technology, Cirrus Logic, Epicor Software and Blaze Software. Tom led successful turnarounds at Bluestar Solutions, MonteVista Software and Moxie Software, having served as CEO in repositioning and rebranding the companies in advance of their new growth. He serves on the Boards of Directors of FEI, Fabrinet, and ReadyPulse. Tom is a graduate of Santa Clara University where he is member of the University’s Board of Regents.

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AT&T Makes a Push for Open Software, Big Data, Connected Health

AT&T aims to have 50% of the software running its systems based on open source code - up from 5% today, said John Donovan, Senior Executive Vice President—AT&T Technology and Operations, speaking at the annual AT&T Developer Summit ahead of CES in Las Vegas. AT&T is working with OpenDaylight, OPNFV, ON.Lab, the Linux Foundation, OpenStack and other industry groups to
further these ambitions.

Donovan said the AT&T Integrated Cloud (AIC) project, which is based on OpenStack, is ahead of schedule. The plan was to deploy 69 AIC nodes in 2015 for running virtual network functions. In fact, the company deployed 74 AIC nodes in 2015.

Some other projects that AT&T is working on:

Nanocubes: a Big Data visualization tool develop by the AT&T Labs team. A Nanocube provides a real-time map of millions or even billions of data points from across the network.

M2X Data Service: a cloud-based data storage service for enterprise IoT developers that was launched last year. This year, AT&T is launching Flow Designer, a cloud-based tool developed at the AT&T Foundry that lets IoT developers quickly build new applications.

OpenDaylight's Internet of Things Data Management project: addressing interoperability across devices and networks.

AT&T Foundry for Connected Health: a new facility located at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute in Houston, Texas. The new AT&T Foundry will focus on digital health innovations that benefit those in and out of the clinical care environment.

SmartCities Framework: AT&T has formed alliances with Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel, and Qualcomm Technologies to create impactful solutions for cities. Areas of focus include Infrastructure monitoring (the conditions of roads, bridges, buildings, parks and other venues); Citizen Engagement; Digital Signage for smarter public transportation; and Public Safety (including gun fire detection technology). AT&T is also developing a new digital dashboard that gives cities a high-level look at their communities’ conditions.

A list of the Top 20 Innovative apps presented at the 2016 AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon is here:

BMW Renews Connected Car Agreement with AT&T

BMW  has extended a multi-year, exclusive agreement with AT&T for Connected Car services. Since 2008, AT&T has powered BMW’s ConnectedDrive services and apps. Through a new agreement, we also will connect BMW “infotainment” features such as a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Beginning with the all-new BMW 7 Series, BMW customers now have the option of a Wi-Fi hot spot powered by AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with BMW and to be a part of a brand that evokes a joy and passion for driving,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, Internet of Things, AT&T Mobility. “The new Wi-Fi hot spot lets you connect up to 8 devices at a time and allows passengers to access their favorite apps, play games and surf the net at fast 4G LTE speeds.”

BT Deploys Cisco FirePower for Threat-centric Security

BT recently announced a partnership with Cisco to deliver threat-centric security solutions for both its internal network and for customer services.

Specifically, BT is using Cisco's threat-centric technologies, such as ASA with FirePOWER Services, Advanced Malware Protection (AMP), and Next-Generation IPS (NGIPS) to provide a differentiated capability in the market. In a Cisco blog posting, BT said it has experienced a 1,000% increase in threats over the past 13 months.  The trend includes an increasing number of transport-layer threats where network elements are targeted. BT's response involves a consolidation in the network architecture and deployment of Cisco's FirePower next-generation IPS tools along with Advanced Malware Protection.

The Cisco solution leverages its recent acquisitions of SourceFire, ThreatGrid and Cognitive Security (COSE).

BT said the partnership enables it to sell advanced security solution into complex IT infrastructures across the globe. BT has sold the capability to a nation-state.

Cisco Targets "Security Everywhere," Intros Firepower 9300

Cisco is rolling out a "Security Everywhere" initiative aimed at embedding security throughout the extended network – from the data center out to endpoints, branch offices, and the cloud. The goal is pervasive threat visibility and control for enterprises and service provider networks. To get there, Cisco is adding more sensors to increase visibility; more control points to strengthen enforcement; and pervasive, advanced threat protection to reduce time-to-detection and time-to-response, limiting the impact of attacks.

Cisco is launching the following set of solutions across the entire networking portfolio:

• Endpoints: With Cisco AnyConnect Featuring Cisco AMP for Endpoints, customers using the Cisco AnyConnect 4.1 VPN client now can easily deploy and significantly expand their threat
protection to VPN-enabled endpoints to continuously and retrospectively guard against advanced malware.

• Campus and Branch: FirePOWER Services solutions for Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISR) provides centrally managed Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System (NGIPS) and Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) at the branch office integrated in the network fabric, where dedicated security appliances may not be feasible.

• Network as a Sensor and Enforcer: Cisco has embedded multiple security technologies into the network infrastructure to provide broad threat visibility to rapidly identify users and devices associated with anomalies, threats and misuse of networks and applications. New capabilities include:

Broader Integration between Identity Services Engine (ISE) and Lancope StealthWatch: Enterprises can go beyond just mapping IP addresses to identifying threat vectors based on ISE’s context of who, what, where, when and how users and devices are connected and access network resources. This provides greater contextual threat visibility with StealthWatch for accelerated identification of threats.

NetFlow on Cisco UCS: Extending Cisco’s network-as-a-sensor capabilities to the physical and virtual servers, customers now have greater visibility into network traffic flow patterns and threat intelligence information in the data center.

Using the new embedded security capabilities, Cisco networks now have the ability to automate and dynamically enforce security policies. Customers can segment applications and users throughout the network – across the extended enterprise to use policy to define which users can get which applications and what traffic can traverse the network then automate security operations.

TrustSec + ISE and StealthWatch Integration: StealthWatch can now block suspicious network devices by initiating segmentation changes, providing rapid response to identified malicious activity. ISE can then modify access policies for Cisco routers, switches, and wireless LAN controllers embedded with TrustSec technology.

Hosted Identity Services provide a secure, 24/7, cloud-delivered service for the Cisco Identity Services Engine, a security policy management platform that unifies and automates secure network access control. The new hosted service speeds time to deployment, supporting business growth and providing role-based, context-aware identity enforcement of users and devices permitted on the network, streamlining enterprise mobility experiences.

• pxGrid Ecosystem: Eleven new partners have joined the pxGrid Ecosystem with the addition of several new ecosystem technology categories, including cloud security and network/application performance management. pxGrid is Cisco’s security context information exchange fabric that enables security platforms to share information to drive better threat detection, mitigation and overall security operations.

Cisco is also expanding advanced threat-centric protection for its Evolved Programmable Network (EPN), which is its open network architecture designed to advance the adoption of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Cisco’s new service provider security solutions include the following:

• Cisco Firepower 9300 Integrated Security Platform is a carrier-grade, high-performance, scalable and modular multi-services security platform purpose-built for service providers, that can scale security for increased data flows due to accelerated service demands and carrier class requirements.

• Expanded Advanced Orchestration and Cloud Capabilities enable Cisco’s new security solutions to integrate with the Cisco architecture and third-party SDN/NFV solutions, as well as Cisco’s Adaptive Security Appliance Virtual (ASAv) with Cisco’s Network Service Orchestrator (NSO) and Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI). These orchestration and cloud capabilities also include open APIs for integration with orchestration, Operation Support Systems/Business Support Systems, and Cloud Security-as-a-Service solutions.

• Advanced features such as secure containers to accommodate future security services and applications. Additionally, Cisco ASA firewall and third-party DDoS mitigation from Radware are currently supported, with additional capabilities planned for the second half of 2015.

Cisco Integrates ACI with FirePOWER Intrusion Prevention

Cisco is integrating its FirePOWER Next Generation Intrusion Prevention System (NGIPS) into its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture.

The integrated ACI + firePOWER security solution, which will be available in June 2015, offers automated threat protection to combat emerging data center security threats. The idea is fine-grained control (including application level security), visibility and centralized automation all the way from infrastructure to the application level.

Cisco ACI also third-party ecosystem solutions from Check Point Software Technologies, Fortinet, Infoblox, Intel Security, Radware, and Symantec.

Cisco said ACI integration with FirePOWER NGIPS (including Advanced Malware Protection) provides security before, during and after an attack, enabling organizations to dynamically detect and block advanced threats with continuous visibility and control across the full attack continuum. These new security capabilities deliver unprecedented control, visibility and centralized security automation in the data center.

Cisco also announced that independent qualified security assessors have validated ACI for deployment in payment card industry (PCI) compliant networks. Managing and simplifying the scope of compliance can help reduce costs for these organizations.

Panasonic Develops 300GB "freeze-ray" Optical Discs for Facebook Data Centers

Panasonic unveiled its freeze-ray, an Optical Disc-Based Data Archive System, developed in collaboration with Facebook, which is deploying the first-generation 100 GB Blu-ray Disc-based archive system into its data centers now.  Facebook expects deployment of the second-generation 300GB Archival Disc-based archive system later in 2016.

The technology is aimed at infrequently or never accessed data stored for the long term -- in the world’s data centers.

Panasonic said its freeze-ray data archiving solution provides optimal cold storage for protecting data integrity and reducing costs.  Optical discs provide longevity, immutability, backward compatibility, low power consumption and tolerance to environmental changes.

Panasonic’s main contribution to the effort was its high-density optical technology, key devices (optical discs, drives and related robotics) and library software to control the system easily in the data center. Facebook collaborated by providing its unmatched expertise in designing, deploying, managing and servicing storage systems in data centers. In addition, Facebook provided extensive technical and real-world data center feedback at every stage of the development. Both companies have been working on two generations of the freeze-ray solution.

“As Facebook continues to grow, we needed to address some of our fundamental engineering challenges with an efficient, low-cost and sustainable solution that matches our speed and exabyte-scale of data,” said Jason Taylor, PhD, VP of Infrastructure, Facebook. "We're seeing exponential growth in the number of photos and videos being uploaded to Facebook, and the work we’ve done with Panasonic is exciting because optical storage introduces a medium that is immutable, which helps ensure that people have long-term access to their digital memories.”

Broadcom Intros Low-power Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Chip

Broadcom introduced its lowest power Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chip for mobile platforms and accessories, boasting up to 3X longer battery life compared to Broadcom's previous combo chips.

The company said its new BCM43012 chip allows OEMs to integrate Wi-Fi into platforms that have traditionally been powered by Bluetooth alone due to battery size or constrained power budgets.  In some applications, the BCM43012 Wi-Fi consumes 80 percent less power than the most common Bluetooth solutions today.


  • Highly-integrated 28nm dual-band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.2 SoC
  • Integrated efficient power amplifiers (PAs), low noise amplifiers (LNAs), and power management unit (PMU) for low rest of bill of materials (RBOM) cost and small system footprint
  • Architectural improvements provide unrivaled low power in sleep and active states for both Wi-Fi and BT
  • Coexistence hardware and algorithms to ensure optimal Wi-Fi and BT performance
  • WLAN features include enhanced proximity and location features enabled by 802.11mc and TurboQAM data rates up to 96 Mbps
  • Bluetooth features include angle of arrival (AoA) and angle of departure (AoD) technology, wireless charging support for A4WP and AirFuel, and early adopter 2 Mbps Low Energy protocol capability

"For more than a decade, Broadcom has achieved a market leadership position in connectivity combos by setting the standard for performance, features, and power consumption," said Dino Bekis, Broadcom Vice President of Marketing, Wireless Connectivity Combos. "We have applied this expertise to launch a family of products for the promising mobile accessories markets with solutions that allow our customers to deliver a new generation of connected platforms with breakthrough capabilities."

Broadcom Samples 64Bit Quad-core Router Processor

Broadcom has begun sampling the industry's first 64bit quad-core processor for high-end residential routers supporting smart home and Internet of Things applications.

The BCM4908 includes a 1.8GHz 64Bit quad-core ARM CPU and uses Broadcom's Runner network packet processor to deliver more than 5 Gbps of system data throughput without taxing the CPU. It also supports the increased speeds coming into the home including Google Fiber and Comcast 2 Gbps via an interface for a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet PHY.

Key Features:

  • Zero CPU Wi-Fi offload frees up CPU resources for other tasks
  • BroadStream iQoS acceleration
  • Dedicated security processor to enable hardware VPN acceleration
  • 2.5Gb Base-X Ethernet WAN/LAN port for supporting fast connectivity to multi-gigabit modem or a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device
  • Feature-rich connectivity with integrated SATA III, two USB 3.0 ports and three PCIe Gen 2 ports reduces external RBOM cost
  • Utilizes low power 28nm technology and advanced power management, offering power reductions of more than 50 percent as compared to previous solutions
  • Supports Broadcom's tri-band (AC5300) 5G WiFi XStream 802.11ac MU-MIMO:
  • Three BCM4366 4x4 radios, each with an integrated CPU for host offload processing
  • Providing a total of seven CPU cores ("Septacore") with more than 9.6 GHz of CPU horse power
  • Powerful hardware acceleration for routing and USB storage

"With this new SoC, Broadcom is driving home network connectivity to the next level," said Manny Patel, Broadcom Director of Marketing, Wireless Connectivity. "By increasing the CPU performance and adding advanced features, we're enabling OEMs to build more powerful home routers that address the increased bandwidth requirements needed to support the continued consumption of high-bandwidth content, growing demand for UltraHD as well as the growing emergence of more IoT and smart home applications."

UHD Alliance Specs for Devices/Services

The UHD Alliance (UHDA) has begun promoting a new consumer-facing logo to identify devices, content and services capable of delivering a premium experience based on agreed specifications, including performance metrics for resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut among others. The specifications also make recommendations for immersive audio and other features.

“The diverse group of UHDA companies agreed that to realize the full potential of Ultra HD the specs need to go beyond resolution and address enhancements like HDR, expanded color and ultimately even immersive audio. Consumer testing confirmed this,” said UHD Alliance President Hanno Basse. “The criteria established by this broad cross section of the Ultra HD ecosystem enables the delivery of a revolutionary in-home experience, and the ULTRA HD PREMIUM logo gives consumers a single, identifying mark to seek out so they can purchase with confidence.”

For devices, key specs include:

  • Image Resolution: 3840x2160
  • Color Bit Depth: 10-bit signal
  • Color Palette (Wide Color Gamut)
  • Signal Input: BT.2020 color representation
  • Display Reproduction: More than 90% of P3 colors

High Dynamic Range

  • A combination of peak brightness and black level either:
  • More than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level or more than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level

The UHDA, which was established a year ago, has grown to more than 35 companies, including DIRECTV, Dolby Laboratories, LG Electronics, Netflix, Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation, Technicolor, The Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, among others.

AudioCodes to Acquire Active Communications Europe

AudioCodes has agreed to acquire Active Communications Europe, a leading provider of communications solutions, for $3 million in cash plus an earn-out arrangement of up to an additional $2 million based on attaining certain sales targets over the next three years.

Active Communications Europe is a Microsoft Silver Partner specializing in Unified Communications. AudioCodes sells advanced solutions for the Unified Communications and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market.

"This agreement with Active Communications Europe places AudioCodes in a stronger position to serve the growing adoption of Microsoft Skype for Business Online, Office 365 and Cloud PBX," said Shabtai Adlersberg, President and CEO of AudioCodes. "The technology and expertise of Active Communications Europe effectively complement the AudioCodes One Voice portfolio."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Blueprint: Four SDN Predictions for 2016

by Carolyn Raab, VP of Product Management at Corsa

In 2015, service providers, telcos and national research and engineering consortiums went through a major transition as they began implementing software-defined networks (SDN) to deliver programmable high performance and massive scale in the WAN and data center edge. And for network architects, operators and others involved in these next generation networks, the hard work is just beginning because the pressure will be on in 2016 to ensure that these SDN deployments live up to and exceed the hype. As these deployments move forward many architects will find themselves staring at a network that is completely different in size and shape than what they’re accustomed to. Fortunately, several new trends will help ensure greater control and scale across these networks, and compel us to make the following four predictions about the key developments that will benefit internet scale programmable networks in 2016.

1) FPGAs grow up and play a much larger role 

Network engineers need flexible, open hardware to create policy-driven, self-tuning networks. Hardware vendors need design cycles that can keep pace with network innovations and changes the network engineers demand.  FPGAs have advanced to the point where their underlying silicon process technology is in lock-step with ASICs, and can also provide users with the benefit of leveraging the combined volume of all other users of the same platform. They match the performance level and affordability of ASICs while offering full flexibility and rapid design cycles.  This shift to FPGAs will enable network architectures to evolve and scale more rapidly.

2) SDN will emerge from the hype cycle, based on real deployments

There are now confirmed, real deployments of SDN in service providers, Internet exchanges, ISPs, and data centers.  One challenge they all share is that the top-to-bottom solution requires an involved integration of SDN orchestration, control and data plane elements.  This clumsy stitching together of various parts of the equation has delayed real deployments as much as the lack of controllers and real SDN hardware that are performant and open.  However, with the availability of internet scale programmable and open hardware and open source controllers getting broad support the missing pieces are now present.  This top-to-bottom offering of interworking parts means real deployments will expand beyond the early, most sophisticated users to a broader base of networks of different shapes and sizes.

3) Re-programmable networks and real-time analytics will be hot topics for 2016

Because you program the network, you can make it better by creating an agile, self-tuning, automated network that create value for providers and users alike. This requires a virtuous circle of real-time statistics feeding into real-time analytics tools that trigger changes that are immediately programmed into the network.

To date, these tools existed, but in isolation of each other.  Now we see the beginnings of offerings that have created linkages to move towards closing the circle.  Through industry partnerships or as vertically integrated solutions from a single vendor, the ability to re-program the network on the fly is generating significant interest on the part of numerous stakeholders including service providers, broadcasters, municipalities, and enterprises.  All of them share a common requirement of needing to know what is going on in their networks so they can take the next appropriate action: Isolate? Allocate bandwidth? Add a new service?  Look for much discussion and some innovative deployments of re-programmable networks.

4) 2016: “The year of 100G SDN”

100G will begin to ramp up aggressively because both the data drivers and the underlying network have reached a critical junction.  Traffic growth on the network continues to put pressure on network infrastructure, and will be even more significant with 100G storage deploying to add to the massive growth in video and IoT generated traffic.  Operators will be able to answer with 100G SDN because of two key enablers:
  • Affordability – 100G SDN deployments are approaching a price point that is barely 3x what a 10G link would cost.  
  • Flexible feeds & speeds: QSFP28 for 100G, SFP+ for 10G and anything in between is possible with the same optics cage.  
Programmable SDN hardware designed with these cages can deploy as 10G initially and then rapidly move from 10G to 100G with a soft upgrade not a new hardware purchase to immediately address the data demands.

These and other trends highlight how large SDN deployments will require a more open and flexible approach at the software/firmware and hardware levels. It will be critical to ensure that networks can adapt and evolve as needed. We will be watching as networks take new innovative approaches to managing and orchestrating data in 2016

About the Author

Carolyn Raab is VP of Product Management at Corsa.

About Corsa Technology 

Corsa Technology is a networking hardware company focused on performance Software Defined Networking (SDN). Corsa develops programmable, flexible, internet-scale switches that respond in real-time to network orchestration, directing and managing traffic for SDN and NFV deployments from the 100G SDN WAN edge to networks needing full subscriber awareness. For more information, please visit

See also