Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blueprint: The Rise of the Network Monitoring Engineer

by Patrick Hubbard, Head Geek, SolarWinds

Today’s network engineers experience tremendous complexity, in part due to increasing demand, but also given the diversity of protocols and the high number of multi-tier applications that are often outside of their control. Combined with improved automated failover it’s become impossible (except in the largest of organizations) for network administrators to be highly specialized, meaning the days of being a router jockey are gone.

Network administrators today are stuck between everyday tasks of change management, hardware refreshes and strategic changes required to support new business initiatives, and the on-demand troubleshooting work they are asked to do. On top of this, automation encourages IT managers to streamline their teams, so as network complexity increases, paradoxically the number of people available to help address these tasks is actually decreasing.

But this doesn’t mean the future of network administration is bleak. There are a number of ways network engineers can improve their skills and remain relevant to their organizations, especially at a time when hybrid IT is taking center stage. According to the most recent SolarWinds IT Trends Report, just nine percent of North American organizations have not migrated at least some infrastructure to the cloud and nearly all IT professionals say adopting cloud technologies is important to their organizations’ long-term business success.

Networking in a Hybrid Environment

In such complex environments, network administrators need the ability to view performance, traffic and configuration details of devices both within and outside their traditional networks. However, hybrid IT means network administrators have much more opacity or outright lack of control over the resources in the cloud that they need to manage and monitor.

Because the end user expectation that IT be able to assure delivery of services is the same for on-premises and cloud, this can be frustrating. It’s exacerbated by cloud service providers who include proprietary monitoring and management tools, but are not vendor-agnostic.  They actually create extra work for administrators who must flip between multiple dashboards without the benefit of holistic views that would allow them to troubleshoot quickly.

Often, such tools also spew alerts without indicating what might be causing the issue. For example, for an application running in the data center, network administrators have visibility into every network layer required to host the hypervisor. However, when that application is moved into the cloud, network administrators lose the administrative authority to be able to easily monitor.  They require a new way to monitor in order to keep the same rich visibility if it were on-premises.

Administrators still need to monitor interface performance, as well as identify service delivery issues as part of the path connecting the service to the end user. New technologies have become available that reveal the physical connectivity of the service components and end uses who might be experiencing poor performance.

So while using disparate vendor-provided tools may be cost-effective in the short term, having a large number of disparate solutions is its own kind of trouble—it doesn’t lend itself to a coherent, integrated alerting and notification strategy that allows administrators to stay on top of performance, ultimately costing time and money in the long term.

The Rise of the Dedicated Monitoring Engineer

Hybrid IT is drawing attention to the need for a new approach to monitoring and management essentials. Enter monitoring as a discipline, which varies from simple monitoring in that it is the defined role of one or more individuals within an organization. A designated monitoring engineer is able to work across systems and environments, thereby removing network and data center silos and gaining the able to turn data points generated by monitoring tools into actionable insights for the business.

Hiring a monitoring engineer or better yet, a team of monitoring engineers, should be considered a critical investment in services and business success. It’s one thing to say that companies need a certain headcount in order to maintain a business and keep the lights on, but another thing entirely when it comes to IT, which is largely viewed as a cost center, and every year most departments are exceeding budgets. However, enlightened companies are beginning to view monitoring as a cost-effective way to achieve greater IT ROI. Instead of purchasing ad hoc tools to keep an eye on their technology, progressive companies have figured out a way to bring discipline and structure to their monitoring practices via staffing and resources. For the right organization, this would be a team of monitoring engineers each with their own specialization—network monitoring, systems monitoring, etc.—but who work in lockstep from a “single point of truth” when it comes to overall infrastructure performance.

How to Make the Business Case for a Monitoring Engineer

With accelerating IT complexity in mind, it’s important that IT management begin to instill monitoring as a discipline principles within the business. IT professionals are already strapped for time and resources, and management needs to step in to help evangelize internally, offer examples and best practices and put budget for new tools and technologies behind these efforts in order to achieve the full benefit of monitoring as a discipline. Management must make a strong business case that the monitoring engineer or engineers will achieve ROI for not only the IT department, but the organization as a whole.

Critical Monitoring Engineer Skills

Although monitoring engineers must possess basic network engineering skills, there are a few particular skillsets in addition that are necessary to be truly successful in the role. These include:
  • A programmer’s eye towards customization and a willingness to improve – Often, we buy technology that’s custom-made and use it right out of the box. But the most successful monitoring engineer will turn their eye towards improving it all the time.
  • An analyst’s eye for data – Instead of simply poring over endless numbers in a spreadsheet, a monitoring engineer should be able to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and ask themselves what their “customers” will be using their monitoring reports for and how they should be visualized. And they must remember, less is more. 
  • On top of cultivating their skills with experience, studying is key – The best way to hone skills is to learn on the fly, as well as spend more than a few lunch breaks and evenings testing new technologies and processes in a lab environment. 
Our networks are growing in complexity as they become further tied to all elements of the IT environment, extending all the way to cloud. IT management should seize this opportunity to return as much value as possible out of existing technology by hiring a monitoring engineer or a monitoring team with at least one individual focused on the network that works in tandem with existing teams to holistically monitor the performance of the entire IT infrastructure.  Whether on-premises or in the cloud, these resources maintain an eye towards improving existing systems, delivering promised ROI and driving repeatable progress for the business.

About the Author

Patrick Hubbard is a head geek and senior technical product marketing manager at SolarWinds. With 20 years of technical expertise and IT customer perspective, his networking management experience includes work with campus, data center, storage networks, VoIP and virtualization, with a focus on application and service delivery in both Fortune 500 companies and startups in high tech, transportation, financial services and telecom industries.

About SolarWinds

SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) provides powerful and affordable hybrid IT infrastructure management software to customers worldwide from Fortune 500® enterprises to small businesses, government agencies and educational institutions. We are committed to focusing exclusively on IT Pros, and strive to eliminate the complexity that they have been forced to accept from traditional enterprise software vendors. Regardless of where the IT asset or user sits, SolarWinds delivers products that are easy to find, buy, use, maintain and scale while providing the power to address all key areas of the infrastructure from on premises to the cloud. Our solutions are rooted in our deep connection to our user base, which interacts in our thwack online community to solve problems, share technology and best practices, and directly participate in our product development process. Learn more today at

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Telia Carrier Brings its 100G Backbone to CyrusOne Data Centers

Telia Carrier is bringing its global IP network to CyrusOne, one of the largest carrier-neutral data center providers in the United States.

Telia Carrier's global IP network, AS1299, offers CyrusOne customers immediate 100G availability scalable to multi-terabit capacity, and includes the benefits of the wholesale carrier's Wavelength, IP, and Ethernet services. Telia Carrier owns and operates its global network.

"As one of the leading providers of colocation services for large enterprise customers, CyrusOne provides a unique opportunity for Telia Carrier to expand into previously untouched verticals," said Ivo Pascucci, regional director, Americas at Telia Carrier. "This is a mutually beneficial partnership and we look forward to continuing to grow our regional and global offerings together."

ONUG Launches Open IT Framework Initiatives

The Open Networking User Group (ONUG) is kicking off a set of industry initiatives focused on open IT frameworks and software-defined infrastructure:

  • Open SD-WAN Exchange (OSE)
  • Open Interoperable Control Plane (OICP)
  • Open Traffic Management Format (OTMF)
  • Open Network State Format (ONSF)

“The new open industry initiatives will promote collaboration amongst vendors, academics, standards and open source organizations, and enterprise IT business leaders that is vital in bringing the ONUG Community closer to the open software-defined infrastructure they require,” said Nick Lippis, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of ONUG. “I would like to commend these trailblazing participants for the role they are playing in steering this movement, which will ultimately work to benefit both IT buyers and sellers.”

Supporting companies include Apstra, Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, FatPipe, Glue Networks, NetScout, NTT Innovation Institute, Inc., Nuage Networks, Silver Peak, VeloCloud, Veriflow, Verizon, Versa Networks, and Viptela.

Weaveworks Raises $15 Million for Container Monitoring

Weaveworks, a start-up offering networking and monitoring for containers and microservices, secured $15 million in Series B funding led by new investor GV (formerly Google Ventures).

Weaveworks’ Weave provides a simple and consistent way to connect and manage containers and microservices. It provides simple and reliable networking across development, test and production environments and any mix of data centers and public c111louds. Weave also provides a unique console to visualize and interact with container and microservice deployments in development and production.

The new funding round also included participation from existing investor Accel.

“We’re delighted to welcome GV as a new investor, and Accel as a repeat investor in Weaveworks,” said Alexis Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Weaveworks and chair of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee. “Both share our vision of simplifying microservice-based application development by minimizing the connectivity and deployment complexities, and providing unique visual ways to understand and manage cloud-native applications.”

Weave Enhances its Networking + Monitoring for Docker

Weaveworks, a start-up with offices in San Francisco and London, announced the 1.4 release of its networking and monitoring software for Docker deployments.

Weave Net 1.4 is a Docker networking plug-in that eliminates the requirement to run and manage an external cluster store (database). The plug-in simplifies and accelerates the deployment of Docker containers by removing the requirement to deploy, manage and maintain a centralized database in development and production. It builds on Docker’s core networking capabilities. It runs a “micro router” on each Docker host that works just like an Internet router, providing IP addresses to local containers and sharing peer-to-peer updates with other micro-routers, and learning from their updates. It also responds to DNS requests by containers looking to find other containers by name, also known as Service Discovery. Features include:

  • A simple overlay networking approach for connecting containers across Docker hosts
  • Fast, standards-based VXLAN encapsulation for the network traffic
  • An application-centric micro-network
  • Built-in service discovery
Weaveworks developed “micro router” technology to make Docker container networking fast, easy and “invisible”.

“Removing the dependency on a cluster store makes it faster, easier and simpler to build, ship and run Docker containers,” said Mathew Lodge, COO of Weaveworks. “Weave Net 1.4 embodies Weaveworks’ commitment to making simple, easy to use products that accelerate the deployment of microservices and cloud native applications on containerized infrastructure.”

Videotron to Deploy Ciena's Packet/Optical in Quebec

Videotron is deploying Ciena’s converged packet optical solution to upgrade its regional and backbone network in Quebec.

Ciena said the deployment will allow Videotron to accommodate several terabits of traffic, meeting the surge of bandwidth for Internet and 4K video.

Videotron was the first Canadian telecommunications provider to offer its customers Ultra HD set-top boxes in 2015, and in February 2016, began carrying live sports programs in 4K definition, complementing its library of UHD offerings in movies, television, and more. As of December 31, 2015, Videotron was serving 1,736,900 cable television customers, including 1,570,600 Digital TV subscribers, along with 1,568,200 Interner subscribers over its cable network.

In addition, Videotron recently announced the construction of a new Montreal data center, complementing an existing facility in Quebec City.

Royal Bank of Scotland Picks Red Hat's Mobile, Container and Cloud

Royal Bank of Scotland is powering its new Open Experience center with Red Hat technologies, including the Red Hat Mobile Application Platform and OpenShift Enterprise, Red Hat's web-scale container application platform.

Open Experience is a technology solutions center launched by Royal Bank of Scotland in February 2016 at its headquarters in Edinburgh, U.K., to pursue innovative new technologies for the bank and its customers. Not only a physical space, Open Experience represents a new way of thinking to help Royal Bank of Scotland develop innovative products and services within a framework that promotes closer, more collaborative work between colleagues, businesses, and customers.

IPG Photonics Acquires Menara Networks for Pluggable Optical Modules

IPG Photonics agreed to acquire Menara Networks, a supplier of enhanced optical transmission modules and systems for cable multi-system operators (MSOs), carriers and data centers, for $46.8 million in cash.

The companies recently announced a partnership to provide an integrated solution for simplified repeater-less 100G DWDM transmission for metro and data center interconnection. Menara’s cost and foot-print-saving product suite of 10G and 100G WDM modules eliminate the need for high-priced transponder systems.

IPG said the acquisition provides it with an entry into the growing optical pluggable systems market and leverages IPG’s international market access outside North America.

“The acquisition of Menara Networks is in line with our strategy to make bolt-on acquisitions that provide us with the talent, technology and products to enter large complementary markets,” said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics’ Chairman and CEO. “Since IPG was founded in the 1990’s, telecom products have been a staple offering for IPG, part of our DNA. This acquisition broadens and complements our telecommunications offerings and provides significant sales synergies. Together, we can offer our customers an expanded telecom technology platform with more integrated products with superior performance and economics. The acquisition also affords IPG a better position to capitalize on the robust growth of optical networking driven by video and broadband access.”

"The on-going shift to cloud based services and infrastructure has placed unprecedented strain on data centers and telecom/cable operators’ optical networks and presents a significant opportunity for Menara’s differentiated products,” comments Siraj Nour El-Ahmadi, Menara CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder. “We view the combination with IPG as a force multiplier to not only expand our market share vertically and geographically but just as importantly to bring about innovative and differentiated turn-key solutions that will effectively address the large and growing global DWDM market.”

Menara Ships 120 km 10 Gbps Transceivers with OTN & FEC

Menara Networks introduced an optical transceiver based on its OTN “System-in-module” DWDM XFP platform and featuring up to 120 km reach with integrated Forward Error Correction and advanced monitoring capabilities.

Menara said it achieves 120 km reach on standard single mode fiber without the need for optical amplification and/or dispersion compensation. The unamplified 120 km reach is achieved as a result of Menara’s superior performance of its optical transmitter and receiver designs, and the integrated Forward Error Correction coding gain afforded by Menara’s proprietary integrated circuit. Menara 10 Gbps XFP 120 km reach transceivers are MSA compliant and Telcordia qualified, compatible with both 10G Ethernet and 9.96 Gbps SONET/SDH line rates, consume under 3.5 Watts, and are compatible with all major routers and MPLS switches in the industry.

GTT Teans with GBI for Middle East Coverage

GTT Communications and GBI, a global service provider that owns and operates a multilayer, carrier-neutral network connecting the world to the Middle East, announced a strategic relationship to provide enhanced services and connectivity in the Middle East.

As part of the agreement, GTT will be adding new points of presence (PoPs) in the Middle East, starting with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. The agreement will also provide GBI with connectivity to the United States and Europe.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Video: AMS-IX and Megaport - Future InterExchange Fabrics

What does the future of Internet Exchange points look like? Software will bring new capabilities.

Eric Troyer interviews Mark Cooper, COO of AMS-IX, and Denver Maddux, CEO of Megaport, at ITW2016 in Chicago.

See video:

Verizon Digital Media Expands into More AMS-IX Exchanges

Verizon Digital Media Services will expand its presence from the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) platform to all AMS-IX Internet Exchanges in markets where Verizon Digital Media Services already has a presence, beginning with AMS-IX Hong Kong.
"Our partnership with AMS-IX is a demonstration of our commitment to providing a better experience for Internet users around the world,says Rob Peters, Chief Technology Officer at Verizon Digital Media Services.

Nokia Reports a Challenging Q1

Nokia reported Q1 2016 net sales (non-IFRS) of EUR 5.6 billion, down from EUR 6.1 billion on a comparable combined company basis from a year earlier.

Rajeev Suri, President and CEO of Nokia, stated:  "I am pleased that we were able to deliver solid profitability in what is typically a seasonally weak quarter and at a time when the risk of integration-related disruption was high. While our revenue decline was disappointing, the shortfall was largely driven by Mobile Networks, where the challenging environment is not a surprise. We noted in our Q4 2015 earnings release that we expected some market headwinds in 2016 in the wireless sector and we continue to hold that view today."

"While integrations of the scale of Alcatel-Lucent are complex and take time, we are now sufficiently confident in our progress that we are targeting synergies that are both more than and faster than our original plan. We already have agreed transition plans that cover the most pressing areas of portfolio overlap with most of our top customers; have begun the process of reducing over-lapping personnel including initial reductions in the United States and several other countries; started to consolidate our real estate footprint with several sites already closed and thirty more scheduled for the current quarter; and completed 40 projects with suppliers to drive procurement savings, with 200 more projects currently underway and plans for hundreds of additional projects to be launched largely over the course of Q2 2016."

Some highlights:

  • Nokia's Networks business experienced an 8% year-on-year net sales decrease in Q1 2016. Sales for Ultra Broadband Networks declined 12% year-on-year and 27% sequentially. IP Networks and Applications grew on a year-on-year basis.
  • Strong non-IFRS gross margin of 38.3% in Q1 2016 primarily due to improved product mix in Ultra Broadband Networks (led by Mobile Networks) and IP Networks and Applications (led by IP/Optical Networks), as well as efficiency gains.
  • Non-IFRS operating margin of 6.5% in Q1 2016. The year-on-year increase of 2.8 percentage points was primarily due to the higher non-IFRS gross margin, as well as continued focus on execution excellence.

Investor presentation is here:

Docker Begins Security Scanning Service for Containers

Docker is launching an opt-in, security scanning service of the software included in container images.

Specifically, Docker Security Scanning enables detailed image security profiles, continuous vulnerability monitoring and notifications for integrated content security.  The company said it will provide binary level scanning, generating a detailed security profile for each Docker image, including details that allow IT operations to assess if the software meets its security compliance standards. The service works seamlessly with existing dev and IT workflows and scans every time a change is shipped, adding a checkpoint before deployment. Docker Security Scanning works across any application and across all major Linux distributions which allow for integration into a Containers as a Service (CaaS) workflow that improves an organization’s security posture through central IT managed secure content.

“We’ve made it our goal to secure the global software supply chain from development, test to production,” said Nathan McCauley, Director of Security at Docker. “As with all of Docker’s tooling, Docker Security Scanning works as an integrated component without any disruption to developer productivity. In fact, Docker Security Scanning enables developers to accelerate their workflows while providing greater visibility into the Docker images they choose to run in their environment. In turn, with usable security capabilities and granular control, IT operations is able to flexibly configure the security policies needed to safeguard their infrastructure.”

Rancher Labs Lands $20 Million for Container Mgt

Rancher Labs, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, secured $20 million in Series B funding for its open source container management software.

Rancher provides the ability to rapidly spin up and manage Kubernetes and Docker Swarm environments, while maintaining a single management experience. It implements a cloud-agnostic infrastructure services layer that works across any public or private cloud, or traditional data center.

The funding round was led by new investor GRC SinoGreen, with participation from existing investors, Mayfield and Nexus Venture Partners.

Rancher Ships its Container Management Platform

Rancher Labs, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, released its open-source container management software.

The Rancher software is designed to simplify the deployment and management of containers in production enterprise applications. The software lets users select from multiple container orchestration frameworks such as Kubernetes and Docker Swarm, while maintaining a single management experience.  Rancher implements a cloud-agnostic infrastructure services layer that works across any public or private cloud, or traditional data center. The platform works across cloud and data center boundaries, and its load balancing and persistent storage services function uniformly on any computing resources.

Rancher said its solution allows organizations to gain visibility, manage policies and exert control of containers and infrastructure spread across different teams within an organization.  It also enables IT to improve deployment reliability, orchestrate software upgrades, and improve the utilization of infrastructure resources.

“Since announcing our beta product less than a year ago, Rancher Labs has experienced incredible demand, as well as received encouraging and helpful feedback and community support for this open platform which has enabled us to make meaningful enhancements to Rancher,” said Sheng Liang, CEO, Rancher Labs. “Now, with well over a million downloads, Rancher has quickly become the platform of choice for teams serious about running containers in production.”

Monday, May 9, 2016

Telsta Extends its Asia Pac Networks

Telstra announced a number of upgrades and extensions to its Asia Pac networks, including:

  • Bay of Bengal Gateway cable system -- a new submarine cable consisting of three fibre pairs stretching 8,000 km and connecting Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The BBG cable will offer Telstra customers direct connectivity between Asia and the Middle East and then onward to Europe when combined with the Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable.
  • FASTER cable system -- Telstra has secured capacity on the new trans-pacific FASTER cable system connecting Japan and neighbouring cable systems with major hubs on the west coast of the United States covering the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle areas. The system, which is approximately 10,000 km in length, features six fibre pairs and utilises 100Gbps wave technology.
  • EAC-C2C system -- Telstra is investing in enhancing the EAC-C2C system to increase capacity and extend the life of this important cable until at least 2035. This investment will provide more certainty and improved reliability for customers on this cable, which at currently more than 36,000 km connecting Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore is the largest privately owned and operated cable in Asia. 
  • New Taiwan overland fibre -- Telstra’s new Taiwan overland fibre route offers a unique path that can be bundled with Telstra’s existing submarine cable networks in and out of Taiwan. This route offers an alternative to cables running through the Luzon Strait, which is one of the most widely used areas connecting North Asia and the West Coast of the United States that often experiences natural disasters causing cable cuts and service disruptions. 
  • New ring topology network in Korea -- a new, more resilient fibre ring network interconnects the PoPs and cable stations in South Korea and creates a market-leading eight diverse ways to connect into and out of South Korea, all of which are 100G-enabled. 

“We already own and operate the largest intra-Asia subsea network, representing around 30 per cent of total active capacity. These enhancements further extend our capacity and will support the provision of our leading technologies, such as Telstra’s PEN software-defined networking and cloud, security and unified communications services,” stated Telstra’s Executive Director International Operations and Services, Darrin Webb.

Eutelsat and Facebook Choose Hughes JUPITER for Africa

Eutelsat Communications and Facebook have selected Hughes Network Systems' JUPITER System as the technology platform for satellite broadband services that both companies are preparing to launch in Sub-Saharan Africa. Eutelsat and Facebook are assembling a dedicated infrastructure that will extend cost-effective broadband to areas of Sub-Saharan Africa beyond reach of fixed and mobile terrestrial networks.

Specifically, Eutelsat will use the JUPITER System configuration including three gateway stations, two centralized data centers, a network management system and an initial number of user terminals. This will be combined with the high-gain Ka-band spot beam capacity provided by Spacecom's AMOS-6 satellite. The AMOS-6 satellite is due to enter service in early 2017.

The foundational technology in the JUPITER System is a custom–designed VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) processor employing a multi-core architecture and enabling more than 100 Mbps of throughput on every terminal in the JUPITER family.

"We evaluated all major broadband system vendors before selecting Hughes. Their decades of experience in satellite technology and the JUPITER System's proven capabilities made it our preferred choice for this exciting venture with Facebook," said Laurent Grimaldi, CEO of the new broadband company created by Eutelsat to steer its African broadband vision and business.

"Internet access is synonymous with economic and social development in today's digital economy," said Ramesh Ramaswamy, senior vice president, International at Hughes. "We are proud to be part of this important initiative to close the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa — connecting people to information and resources that can transform their lives for the better."

Eutelsat Signs Facebook for AMOS-6 Satellite over Africa

Eutelsat Communications and Facebook announced a plan to leverage satellite technologies to get more Africans online.

Under a multi-year agreement with Spacecom, the two companies will utilize the entire broadband payload on the upcoming AMOS-6 satellite and will build a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals. In providing reach to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat and Facebook will each be equipped to pursue their ambition to accelerate data connectivity for the many users deprived of the economic and social benefits of the Internet.

AMOS-6, which is scheduled for launch in the second half of 2016. is a Ka-band geostationary satellite configured with high gain spot beams for covering large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. The capacity is optimised for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment. According to the terms of the agreement, the capacity will be shared between Eutelsat and Facebook.

“Facebook’s mission is to connect the world and we believe that satellites will play an important role in addressing the significant barriers that exist in connecting the people of Africa,” said Chris Daniels, VP of  “We are looking forward to partnering with Eutelsat on this project and investigating new ways to use satellites to connect people in the most remote areas of the world more efficiently.”

Hibernia Adds Protected Transatlantic Wavelengths

Hibernia Network introduced a new Protected Wavelength Service across its three transatlantic routes including its flagship, high capacity, low latency Hibernia Express cable connecting North America and Europe.

The new, highly resilient Protected Wavelength Service is initially available at 10 Gbps with the capability to add 100 Gbps service in the future.

“Network reliability continues to ever-increasingly be a top priority for all customers across all vertical segments,” states Al DiGabriele, Senior Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Hibernia Networks. “Our team is constantly working towards engineering new solutions that address the pain points of our global customer base. The new Protected Wavelength Service provides customers with a secure, resilient and redundant connectivity solution to enable their business critical applications, giving them peace of mind that their network is running uninterrupted.”

Digital Realty to Expand in Ashburn

Digital Realty Trust announced plans to expand its existing Ashburn campus in the third quarter of this year.

The expansion follows Digital Realty’s recent acquisition of 126 acres within one mile of its existing Ashburn campus, which will support the development of upwards of two million additional square feet and 150 megawatts of critical IT load.  A variety of colocation and connectivity options will be made available by leveraging Telx’s proven operational model and Digital Realty’s existing fiber connectivity.

Digital Realty plans to offer traditional connectivity options found within its Meet-Me-Rooms and between buildings on campus, as well as dedicated Internet access solutions.  Customers will also be able to take advantage of a large ecosystem of network and cloud providers through MarketplacePORTAL, a state-of-the-art customer portal, where they can manage connectivity, service issues and access rights.

“We are excited to expand our service offerings in the largest data center market in the United States as we further our strategy of supporting applications of all sizes within our secure campus environments,” said Tony Rossabi, Managing Director of the company’s Telx line of business.  “Once the expansion is complete, customers will be able to take advantage of an even wider range of powerful solutions to support their mission-critical applications in close proximity to the compute engines that power their businesses.  We look forward to translating the success of our Ashburn colocation service offering to other campuses by the end of the year.”

Digital Realty to Acquire Telx for Data Centers and Internet Exchanges

Digital Realty Trust agreed to acquire Telx, a national provider of data center colocation, interconnection and cloud enablement solutions, for $1.886 billion from private equity firms ABRY Partners and Berkshire Partners.

The combination is expected to double Digital Realty's footprint in the rapidly-growing colocation business, as well as provide Digital Realty customers access to a leading interconnection platform.

As of March 31, 2015, Telx managed 1.3 million square feet of data center space operating out of 20 facilities across the country, of which two are Telx-owned, 11 are leased from Digital Realty, one is partially sub-leased from Digital Realty and an unrelated third party, and six are leased from third parties. Telx's flagship facilities include its NYC1 data center at 60 Hudson Street in Manhattan, which serves as a nerve center for international communications and offers access to physical connection points to the world’s telecommunications networks and Internet backbones. Telx occupies multiple floors at 60 Hudson with interconnectivity to more than 400 carriers, financial exchanges and application, media, content, and software-as-a-service providers with just a single connection. Telx operates other NYC data centers at 111 8th Ave. and 32 Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave).

As of March 31, 2015, Digital Realty's portfolio consisted of 130 properties, including 14 properties held as investments in unconsolidated joint ventures, comprised of approximately 22.1 million square feet, excluding approximately 1.2 million square feet of space under active development and 1.3 million square feet of space held for future development, located throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

NEC & Netcracker Look to Accelerate SDN/NFV Rollouts

NEC and Netcracker Technology unveiled their Agile Virtualization Platform and Practice (AVP) toolset for accelerating the adoption of SDN and NFV.

AVP is designed to help service providers:

  1. Identify, build and launch new revenue-generating services more quickly.
  2. Manage and integrate existing and virtualized network operations and create agile development environments to support both IT and network requirements.
  3. Better align corporate stakeholders by implementing new processes and training talent in emerging software and Agile methodologies.

Key components of NEC and Netcracker’s Agile Virtualization Platform and Practice:

  • Virtualization Development and Operations Center (VDOC) -- an agile collaboration environment designed for systems architecture, network planning as well as service design and deployment teams to automate end-to-end service lifecycle management. It enables collaboration across departments and with third-party partners, including solution vendors and systems integrators. 
  • Business Enablement Applications (BEA) -- designed for executives in charge of customer-facing business units to reduce the time it takes to monetize virtualization offerings for both B2B and mass markets. 
  • Hybrid Operations Management (HOM) -- focused on making virtual and traditional networks operate simultaneously at scale. HOM leverages the companies' expertise in end-to-end service management and Management and Network Orchestration (MANO) and fills the gaps missing in today’s solutions for automating hybrid network management, including assurance, continuous optimization, security and stability. HOM integrates with VDOC to create a dynamic and continuous feedback loop between product and development environments.
  • Primary Systems Integration Practice (PSIP) -- covers all stages of virtualization initiatives—from the initial definition of the program and its business case to the full transfer of operations. 

“AVP is more than just a standalone product or a point solution,” said Shunichiro Tejima, Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation. “It allows service providers to access NEC and Netcracker’s deep-rooted industry expertise across all stages of virtualization deployment. Service providers are challenged to commercialize their SDN/NFV initiatives and launch them, at scale, into the market. With AVP, we can reduce the time-to-market for SDN/NFV deployments and help remove much of the risk associated with digital transformations.”

“In order for service providers to evolve in the digital ecosystem, they will need to overcome the inherent challenges associated with SDN/NFV,” said Andrew Feinberg, President and CEO at Netcracker Technology. “AVP directly addresses the operational, organizational and commercial requirements needed to successfully launch digital initiatives, allowing for faster service delivery, greater revenue opportunities, and a better customer experience.”