Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cisco's Intent-based Networking Leverages Machine Learning

Cisco introducted its vision for "Intent-based Networking", a paradigm that it says will form be the foundation for enterprise infrastrcuture for the next 30 years.  Intent-based networking will leverage machine learning in a new generation of ASIC-powered swithches to derive insight from network traffic, even if it is encrypted. These insights would be used to dynamically adjust network policies to simplify management and mitigate cyber threats.

“By building a more intuitive network, we are creating an intelligent platform with unmatched security for today and for the future that propels businesses forward and creates new opportunities for people and organizations everywhere,” said Chuck Robbins, chief executive officer for Cisco.

Intent-based networking includes:


  • DNA Center - a centralized management dashboard with an intent-based approach for full visibility and context across the entire network, DNA Center allows IT to centralize management of all network functions. 
  • Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) - uses automated policy enforcement and network segmentation over a single network fabric. Cisco said that its initial analysis with field trial customers and internal testing have shown a reduction in network provisioning time by 67%, improved issue resolution by 80%, reduced security breach impact by 48%, and opex savings of 61%.
  • Network Data Platform and Assurance - efficiently categorizes and correlates the vast amount of data running on the network and uses machine learning to turn it into predictive analytics, business intelligence and actionable insights delivered through the DNA Center Assurance service.
  • Encrypted Traffic Analytics - uses Cisco’s Talos cyber intelligence and machine learning to analyze metadata traffic patterns. The network can identify the fingerprints of known threats even in encrypted traffic, without decrypting it and impacting data privacy. Cisco claims its can detect threats in encrypted traffic with up to 99% accuracy, with less than 0.01% false positives. 
  • Catalyst 9000 Switching Portfolio - a new family of switches built from the ground up for the new realities of the digital era, centered on the demands of mobility, cloud, IoT and security. The Cisco Catalyst 9000 features innovations at the hardware (ASIC) and software (IOS XE) layers.
  • Software Subscription - DNA software capabilities are now offered by subscription either via pre-bundled Cisco ONE software suites or a-la-carte components. Available across the entire enterprise networking portfolio, Cisco ONE software provides businesses with access to ongoing innovation, budget predictability, and a more agile way to consume the technology.
  • DNA Services - a new portfolio of services, including advisory, implementation, optimization and technical services. Cisco channel partners can also resell these services and build networking practices that incorporate software, security, automation and analytics for their customers.
  • Developer Center - resources to help developers and IT professionals create network-powered applications and integrate them within their IT systems and workflows. This includes new learning tracks, sandboxes, and developer support resources for using APIs and building skills.

Cisco said these technologies are already being tested by 75 global enterprises and organizations, including DB Systel GmbH, Jade University of Applied Sciences, NASA, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Scentsy, UZ Leuven and Wipro.

http://www.cisco.com

The Evolution of VNFs within the SD-WAN Ecosystem

As the WAN quickly solidifies its role as the performance bottleneck for cloud services of all kinds, the SD-WAN market will continue to grow and evolve. This evolution will happen in lock step with the move to software-defined everything in data centers for both the enterprise and the service provider, with a focus on Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and how they could be used to create specialized services based on custom WANs on demand. Although SD-WANs provide multiple benefits in terms of cost, ease-of-management, improved security, and improved telemetry, application performance and reliability remain paramount as the primary goals for the vast majority of SD-WAN deployments. When this is taken into consideration, the role of VNFs in extending and improving application performance becomes clear. Just as importantly, growing use of VNFs within SD-WANs extends an organization’s software-defined architecture throughout the broader network and sets the stage for the insertion of even more intelligence down the road.

What exactly do we mean by the term VNF? 

Before we get started, let’s define what we mean by VNF, since similar to SD-WAN, this term can be used to describe multiple things. For some VNFs are primarily a means of replicating legacy capabilities on a local appliance (physical or virtual) by means of software defined architectures, such as firewall, DHCP, DNS etc. However, restricting one’s scope to legacy services alone limits the potential high-value benefits that can be realized from a software-defined approach for more advanced features. Our definition of a VNF therefore is a superset of localized VNF and is really about the creation of a software-defined functions of more advanced capabilities, such as application aware VPNs, flow-based load balancing, self-healing overlay tunnels etc. What’s more, many advanced SD-WAN vendors provide their customers with the ability to customize these VNF applications to apply exclusively to their own WAN and/or their specific network requirements to enable unique WAN services.

What do we need VNFs for? 

SD-WAN’s enormous growth this year, as well as its predicted continued growth in the years to come follows the footsteps of the paradigm shift data centers are currently undergoing. That is, from a manually configured set of servers and storage appliances, to a software-defined architecture, where the servers and storage appliances (virtual or physical) can be managed and operated via a software-defined architecture. This means less manual errors, lower cost and more efficient way to operate the data center.

As an industry, as we implement some of the data-center approaches to the WAN (Wide Area Networks), one must note that there is a big difference between datacenter networks and WAN networks. Namely, datacenter LANs (Local Area Networks) have ample capacity and bandwidth and unless they are misconfigured, are never the bottleneck for performance. However, with WANs, whether done in-house by the enterprise or delivered as a service by a telecom or other MSP, the branch offices are connected to the Internet through WAN connections (MPLS, DSL, Cable, Fiber, T1, 3G/4G/LTE, etc.). As a result, the choking point of the performance is almost always the WAN. This is why SD-WANs became so popular so quickly, in that this provides immediate relief for this issue.

However, as WANs continue to grow in complexity, with enterprises operating multiple clouds and/or cloud models simultaneously, there is a growing need to add automation and programmability into the software-defined WAN in order to ensure performance and reliability. Therefore VNFs that can address this WAN performance bottleneck have the opportunity to transform how enterprises connect to their private, public and hybrid clouds. VNFs that extend beyond a single location, but can cover WAN networks, will have the ability to add programmability to the WAN. In a way, the “software defined” nature of the data center will be stretched out all the way to the branch office, including the WAN connectivity between them.

Defining SD-WAN VNFs

So what does a VNF that is programmable and addresses the WAN bottlenecks look like? These VNFs are overlay tunnels that can perform certain flow logic and therefore can work around network problems on a packet-by-packet basis per flow. These VNFs are so smart, they have the problem diagnosis, problem alerting and most importantly, resolution of the problem all baked into the VNF. In other words, unlike the days without SD-WAN where an IT manager would have an urgent support ticket whenever a network problem occurs. With VNF-based SD-WANs, the networks are becoming smart enough to solve the problem proactively, in most cases, before even it effects the applications, services and the user experience.

This increase in specific VNFs for the SD-WAN will start with the most immediate need, which is often latency and jitter sensitive applications such as voice, video, UC and other chatty applications. Even now, VNFs are being used to solve these issues. For example, a CIO can have a VNF that dynamically and automatically steers VOIP/SIP traffic around network problems caused by high latency, jitter and packet loss, and in parallel have another VNF to support cross-traffic and latency optimization for “chatty” applications.

In another example, a VNF can be built in minutes designed to steer non-real-time traffic away from a costly WAN link and apply header compression for real-time traffic only in situations where packet loss or latency crosses a specific threshold during certain times of the day, all the while updating syslog with telemetry data. With this level of flexibility and advanced capabilities, VNFs are poised to become the go-to solutions for issues related to the WAN.

A VNF load balancer is another such overlay that has the ability to load balance the traffic over the WAN links. Since the VNF load balancer is in essence a software code that can be deployed onto an SD-WAN appliance, it has the power of taking advantage of various types of intelligence and adaptability to optimize the WAN performance. VNF load balancers should also work with standard routing so that you can inject it in your network, say between the WAN modems and your firewall/router seamlessly.

Clearly, VNFs are part and parcel of SD-WAN next wave of evolution, bringing intelligence and agility to the enterprise WAN. As 2017 ramps up, we’ll see more and more innovation on this front, fully extending software-defined architecture from the data center throughout the network.

About the author

Dr. Cahit Jay Akin is the CEO and co-founder of Mushroom Networks, a long-time supplier of SD-WAN infrastructure for enterprises and service providers. Prior to Mushroom Networks, Dr. Akin spent many years as a successful venture capitalist. Dr. Akin received his Ph.D. and M.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey. Dr. Akin has worked on technical and research aspects of communications for over 15 years including authoring several patents and many publications. Dr. Akin was a nominee for the Most Admired CEO award by San Diego Business Journal. 

Huawei unveils OXC+OTN all-optical switch

Huawei has released its mesh backbone network solution, featuring all-optical switching, full mesh and one-hop service transmission and designed to enable the delivery of ultra-high bandwidth at the Next Generation Optical Networking (NGON) 2017 event.

The new Huawei solution features what is claimed to be the first commercial optical cross-connect and optical transport network (OXC+OTN) cluster devices and is intended to enable data centre (DC)-centric backbone networks and to provide wavelength/sub-wavelength connections between DCs for one-hop transmission, thereby reducing latency and supporting ultra-high bandwidth between any two facilities.

At NGON, Huawei demonstrated the solution providing dynamic grooming of optical wavelengths and cross-connections through OXC, as well as OTN cluster, high-integration and multi-functional service boards.

Huawei believes that inter-DC traffic will become the main type of traffic carried over transport networks, and that to address this requirement operators will need to evolve their backbone networks originally designed for traditional telecom services. New DC-centric networks will enable mesh interconnectivity between nodes and one-hop service transmission to help shorten the network path for lower latency and allow real-time exchange of data between DCs to effectively support cloud services.

Huawei's new OXC+OTN cluster mesh backbone network solution is designed to allow transport backbone networks to be re-architected for the cloud era, in particular by providing a cluster mesh backbone network that enables one-hop transmission between any two cities.

Leveraging wavelength-level switching and liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) technology, the OXC provides from 320 up to 640 Tbit/s cross-connect capacity and supports wavelength grooming in up to 32 optical directions, while operating with power consumption at the level of hundreds of watts.

Additionally, a new optical backplane addresses the issue of complicated fibre connections within traditional ROADM. The optical backplane is designed to significantly simplify fibre connectivity, as well as reducing loss associated with connection and improving system reliability.


The OTN component of the solution serves to address access and grooming requirements of small-granularity services at the sub-wavelength level. The cluster technology supports non-blocking cross-connections between OTN subracks and provides resource pools for transmission channels, thereby enabling continuous expansion of channel resources between DCs.


Arista enhances R-Series universal spine and leaf platforms

Arista Networks has introduced new software and hardware for the Arista R-Series platforms, designed to accelerate cloud transformation initiatives for customers deploying routing technology.

Based on merchant silicon designed to deliver twice the density with half the power usage of custom routing silicon, Arista's latest R-Series platforms provide over 150 Tbit/s of capacity for switching and routing applications with cloud-driven Arista EOS software technologies including Arista FlexRoute and AlgoMatch.

The company noted that following the introduction of the Arista 7280R Universal Leaf and 7500R Universal Spine platforms last year, cloud transformation is underway for multiple routing use cases by cloud providers, content delivery networks (CDN) and ISPs. Arista is now focusing on the next phase of this transition via the introduction of 7500R2 line cards for the 7500R systems and 7280R2 fixed platforms, designed to enable increased scale, telemetry, security and routing.

Noting that cloud network designs require both scaling up and scaling out, Arista's FlexRoute enhancements on the 7500R2 line cards and 7280R2 fixed platforms provide support for over 2 million routes in hardware, equivalent to more than three copies of the Internet routing table. As the Internet routing table continues to grow and native IPv6 networks increase, customers can adopt a routing platform able to handle the Internet table scale into the future.

The latest member of the 7500R Series, the 7516, offers greater port scale, with up to 576 ports of line rate 100 Gigabit Ethernet, designed to provide the basis for scale-out network designs, including spine capacity of up to 15 Petabit/s.

Additionally, AlgoMatch on the 7500R2 line cards and 7280R fixed platforms introduces sFlow for enhanced traffic analysis in routing use cases. Designed to allow scaling of telemetry at 100 Gbit/s interface speeds, the solution is claimed to make the R-Series the highest visibility solution for dense 100 Gbit/s applications.
Backwards compatible with the 7500R modular platform, the new capabilities offered with the 7500R2 line cards and 7280R2 systems include:

1.         16-slot 7500R Series providing higher density spine switches with up to 15 Pbit/s and 576 ports of 100 Gbit/s in a single system, with the flexibility to support 1 to 100 Gbit/s with future support for 400 Gbit/s.

2          .Expanded high capacity 7280R2 with up to 60 ports of 100 Gbit/s, IEEE 802.3by 25 Gigabit Ethernet and over 2 million routes in hardware.

3.         sFlow export on both fixed and modular systems.

4.         New data centre interconnect solutions with secure 802.1AE MACsec encryption on 36-port 100 Gbit/s line cards and coherent 200 Gbit/s DWDM line cards with reach of over 5,000 km.

Arista's 7500R2/7280R2 Series are available immediately; the 7516 is currently in customer trials, with general availability due later in 2017.



Ciena to upgrade Bouygues Telecom backhaul, aggregation, SuperCore

Ciena announced that Bouygues Telecom of France, serving over 3 million fixed broadband and around 13 million mobile subscribers, has selected its 6500 Packet-Optical Platform to help improve the efficiency, scalability and reliability of its current network backhaul and aggregation infrastructure, as well as to support the creation of its new SuperCore network.
Deployment of the Ciena platform is designed to increase capacity to up to 400 Gbit/s to support increasing capacity demands and new high-bandwidth services, as well as allow Bouygues Telecom to continue to expand its mobile and ISP offerings and establish the foundations for a future 5G network.

This network upgrade will also support Bouygues Telecom's efforts to offer customers improved quality of service on its 4G network and also enable the company to attain its goals for the fixed network, including through the expansion of FTTH services.

Earlier this year, Bouygues Telecom and Ericsson announced a demonstration of 5G technology at the operator's Technopôle complex in Meudon-la-Forêt, France. The demonstration featured prototype mobile devices simultaneously connected to an Ericsson radio base station equipped with active 5G antennas.

During the tests, a team from Bouygues Telecom and Ericsson performed simultaneous data transfers and 4K video streaming to the two devices with aggregate throughput of over 25,2 Gbit/s via the 5G antenna system, with a latency of around 3 ms. The demonstration specifically involved adaptive beamforming technology, combined with massive MIMO at centimetre-wave frequencies.

Finisar reports Q4 revenue of $357.53m, up 12.1% yr/yr, net income of $130.24m

Finisar, a major supplier of subsystems and components for fibre optic communications, announced financial results for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2017, ended April 30, 2017, as follows:

1.  Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 of $357.53 million, down 6.1% compared with $380.5 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 12.1% from $318.79 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

2.   Gross profit for the fourth quarter of $125.16 million, down 8.3% compared with $136.64 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 38.4% from $90.44 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

3.  R&D expenditure for the fourth quarter of $58.97 million, up 8.0% compared with $54.59 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 17.5% from $50.17 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

4.  SG&A expenditure for the fourth quarter of $24.64 million, down 6.4% compared with $26.33 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and down 3.3% from $25.47 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

5.  Total operating expenditure for the fourth quarter of $84.32 million, up 3.2% compared with $81.73 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 10.5% from $76.31 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

6.  On a GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of $130.24 million, compared with net income of $46.39 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and net income of $13.07 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of $57.51 million, compared with net income of $67.20 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and net income of $31.82 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

7.  Cash and cash equivalents as of April 30, 2017 of $260.23 million, versus $240.59 million as at January 29, 2017 and $299.22 million as at May 1, 2016.

Additional results and notes

For the full year 2017, Finisar reported revenue of $1,449.3 million, versus $1,263.2 million a year earlier, with net income of $249.35 million, compared with net income of $35.19 million in fiscal year 2016.

Finisar noted that in the fourth quarter, sales of datacom products increased by $2.8 million (1.1%) compared to the third quarter, with sales of 100 Gbit/s QSFP28 transceivers for datacom applications up approximately 30% sequentially, but offset by lower demand for other datacom products, mainly 10 Gbit/s and below shortwave transceivers.

Sales of telecom products in the fourth quarter decreased by $20.2 million (18.2%) compared to the third quarter, primarily due to lower revenue from Chinese OEM customers and 3 months of annual telecom price erosion.

Outlook

For the first quarter of fiscal 2018, Finisar currently expects revenue in the range $330 to $350 million, representing a sequential decline of 4.9% at the midpoint.

Australia's nbn begins roll-out of FTTC technology, aims to reach 1m premises by '20

nbn of Australia announced it has commenced the initial stages of deploying its advanced fibre to the curb/kerb (FTTC) access technology, which is expected to serve more than one million homes and businesses nationwide by 2020 as part of its national broadband network (nbn).

Designed to enable faster broadband speeds through extending fibre closer to customers, the FTTC technology will provide access to services over the nbn network by delivering fibre to the driveway of the home.

nbn stated that is also working with retailer customers that will offer the new service to end users to develop a FTTC product, which is scheduled to be available to consumers and businesses by mid-2018.

The nbn network is currently available to almost half of Australia's population, with plans to reach three quarters of the country by the middle of next year and to complete the roll-out by 2020.

Key regions where nbn plans to commence construction of the FTTC network during the second half of 2017 include: New South Wales – 96,100 premises in Sydney/greater Sydney; Victoria – 89,000 premises in Melbourne/greater Melbourne; Queensland – 44,200 premises in Brisbane/greater Brisbane; ACT – 4,600 premises in greater Canberra; South Australia – 22,800 premises in Adelaide/greater Adelaide; Western Australia – 9,000 premises in Perth/greater Perth.



  • nbn recently announced that it had reached a total of 5 million home and business premises with its wholesale broadband network, and that there were a total of 2.2 million customers connected to the network.

Corning launches multiuse platform for deployment of fibre-deep access networks

Corning announced its new multiuse platform, which is claimed to be the first solution to provide a combination of multi-fibre and single-fibre connection points to help carriers, operators and municipalities deploy fibre-deep access networks.

Capable of supporting a range of network architectures in the same fibre backbone, Corning's multiuse platform is designed to allow service providers to expand and enhance LTE connectivity and prepare for the transition to 5G in the future, and encompasses key elements.

New local convergence cabinet

The local convergence cabinet is significantly smaller and lighter than standard industry offerings and features a range of splitter types and pass-through fibres to facilitate deployments across any network connection point, and enable a fully pre-terminated experience in the distribution network, removing the need for field work. Technicians can plug in feeder and distribution cables with factory-installed, hardened connectors, with no field splicing required from the cabinet out.

Expanded range of network access points

An expanded array of factory-installed, sealed network access points with single-fibre and multi-fibre options are designed to enable fast, plug-and-play connectivity, allowing network operators to deliver a mix of fibre counts suitable for residential, business, wireless backhaul and wholesale purposes from the same network location.

By eliminating splice points and offering an advanced plug-and-play cabinet, the Corning multiuse platform is claimed to deliver up to a 50% saving in labour costs compared with field-termination methods, along with the assurance of factory-terminated performance.


Additionally, by enhancing the capabilities of traditional pre-connectorised solutions, the new multiuse platform is claimed to reduce total installed cost by up to 20%.


LightCounting: 100G QSFP28 up 40% to >$250m in Q1

LightCounting, in its latest Quarterly Market Update Report, finds that demand for 100 Gigabit Ethernet optical connectivity from operators of mega-data centres is continuing to exceed supply, and estimates that sales of QSFP28 SR4, PSM4, CWDM4 and LR4 transceivers rose 40% in the first quarter to over $250 million.

The research firm reports that overall sales of Ethernet, SONET/SDH, CWDM/DWDM, Fibre Channel, FTTx, wireless fronthaul transceivers and active optical cables (AOCs) and embedded optical modules (EOMs) declined 5% sequentially in the first quarter, but increased 15% year on year. It forecasts that weak demand for optics in China will result in a further 3-5% decline in the sales of these products in the second quarter, with sales of tunable lasers, modulators and coherent receivers set to decline by 20% or more.

More specifically, LightCounting reports that suppliers of optical components and modules experienced a sharp fall in orders from Huawei and ZTE in March 2017, after ZTE reached a settlement with the U.S. government relating to an investigation into violations of export sanctions to Iran. It notes that the investigation, launched in 2016, could have restricted ZTE's access to optics from U.S.-based suppliers, so that the vendor may have accumulated excess inventory of such products.

While Huawei was not formally charged with such violations, the research firm believes that it may also have started to build up reserves of key components from U.S. suppliers to avoid potential disruptions. When the settlement was reached, both companies may have started to use components from their reserves and reduced purchases of new products.

LightCounting states that if this view is correct, demand for optics in China would be expected to return shortly as excess inventory is depleted. It adds that there were signs of rising demand for optical components in June, which is expected to continue in July and August.

LightCounting notes that ZTE and Huawei both reported higher sales of optical networking equipment in the first quarter and issued strong guidance for the current quarter. It also cites Chinese service providers as making ongoing investments in optical networking even as overall capex is reduced in 2017. Additionally, there are multiple new projects scheduled for the second half of the year in China.


Finally, LightCounting reports that shipments of 200 Gbit/s DWDM ports reached a new record in the first quarter, while DWDM solutions enabling 400 Gbit/s transmission on a single wavelength are an area of focus. In addition, the development of 200/400 Gigabit Ethernet transceivers is also underway.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Digital Realty pays a premium for DuPont Fabros

Late last week came news of the latest consolidation in the rapidly-evolving market of colocation data centres. Digital Realty agreed to acquire DuPont Fabros Technology (DFT) in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $7.6 billion. DFT owns and operates a fleet of 12 purpose-built data centres concentrated in Northern Virginia, Chicago and Silicon Valley - three markets red hot for data centre activity. The DFT properties offer a combined total 3.5 million gross sq feet and 302 megawatts of available critical load. Digital Realty is the premier name in data centres, as it operates 156 key colocation facilities in 11 countries on four continents. The merger especially boosts Digital Realty's presence in hyperscale data centres in top U.S. markets.

DuPont Fabros hits a home run with hyperscale data centres

The quick summary for DFT is that all of the space in its 12 massive data centres is fully leased. The company is enjoying double digit growth in both revenue and earnings. A significant expansion programme is underway, including its first venture into Canada. The stock price has been soaring and now there is a takeover offer valued at $7.6 billion from the industry's leading player.

DFT was founded in 1997 and is based in Washington DC. Its co-founder and ongoing chairman of the board is Lammot J. du Pont and its second co-founder was Hossein Fateh. Together they pursued the concept of managing data centres as real estate, helping their enterprise customers to consolidate the rent, taxes and maintenance costs all under one lease. In 2007, the company went public as a real estate investment trust (REIT).

For the quarter ended March 31, 2017, earnings were 45c per share compared to 36c per share in the first quarter of 2016. Earnings increased 9c per share, or 25%, year over year, which was primarily due to new leases that commenced in 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 and lower preferred stock dividends, partially offset by the impact of the issuance of common stock that occurred late in the first quarter of 2016. For the year ended December 31, 2016, earnings were $1.67 per share compared to loss of 40c per share in 2015. The company proudly notes the credit worthiness of its leases, saying that investment grade or equivalent customers will represent more than 50% of total revenue.

DFT flagship location is its Ashburn, Virginia campus, which comprises of 2.138 million gross sq feet, built on 159.7 acres with a total critical load of 207.9 megawatts. Ashburn, commonly referred to as Data Center Alley, benefits from dense fibre connections to all major U.S. carriers, the presence of many federal agency customers and low-energy costs from Dominion Virginia Power. On this point, it should also be noted the Commonwealth of Virginia, along with Dominion Virginia Power (the leading electric utility in the state), have been laggards in regard to renewable energy. Dominion's website still lists coal generation as constituting 26.5% of its energy mix, while renewables (including hydro) account for only 5.6%. Another data centre in nearby Reston, Virginia adds another 256,000 sq feet of colocation capacity. For the central U.S., DFT owns and operates a campus in Elk Grove Village, Illinois (just outside Chicago) with a total 820,000 sq feet of space in two building. For the West Coast, DFT owns and operates a data centre in Santa Clara, California offering 360,000-sq feet of space and 36.6 megawatts of critical load capacity.

In 2016, DFT acquired the former Toronto Star printing plant in Vaughan, Ontario for $55 million CAD. Construction is underway to convert the former printing plant into a state-of-the-art data centre with 23 computer rooms spread across 21,016 M2 with a critical data power capacity of up to 46 MW.

As mentioned above, DFT also has a very busy expansion program under way.  It has six data centre development projects currently under construction in Ashburn, Chicago, Santa Clara and Toronto for a total expected investment of approximately $750 million. These new facilities represent roughly a 26% expansion of its standalone critical load capacity. All are expected to be online within the next 12 months, and remarkably the company has already pre-leased 48% of the new capacity. DuPont Fabros also boasts strategic land holdings in Ashburn and Oregon, which will support the future delivery of up to 163 megawatts of incremental capacity, along with 56 acres of land recently acquired in Phoenix.

In May, DFT confirmed its largest wholesale lease to date. A customer pre-leased 28.8 megawatts of electrical loads across two markets: its new CH2 data centre in Elk Grove Village and the first two phases of a new building being constructed on its Ashburn campus. In short, DFT is firing on all cylinders. The company has been the enviable position of signing customers even faster than it can build its hyperscale data centres. No wonder Digital Realty was willing to pay $7.6 billion to acquire them.

DLR gets interconnected metro data centre campuses

With 156 data centres to its name, Digital Realty (DLR) was already a competitive provider in all the DFT markets mentioned above. The merger with DFT gives its added capacity in Northern Virginia, Chicago and Silicon Valley. More importantly, it expands Digital Realty’s presence in the hyperscale segment, where top-tier cloud and content companies are eager to sign long term leases in major markets rather than going through the trouble of acquiring land, gaining permits and then building data centres on their own. DLR estimates that capex investments for hyperscale cloud infrastructure amounted to $26.3 billion in 2016, up from $21.1 billion in 2015.

In Northern Virginia's Data Center Alley, DLR already operated 17 data centres with a combined 2.2 million sq feet of space. DFT adds nine prime buildings. So now, the combined DLR will have a total of 26 data centres and 4.4 million sq feet of space within a 20-mile radius. With today's data centre interconnect (DCI) DWDM technology, the company will have the opportunity to tie these metro facilities together like never before. In Chicago, the merger will give DLR a combined 7 data centres and 2.5 million sq feet of space in a 25-mile radius. And in Silicon Valley, DLR will have 16 data centres and 2.1 million sq feet of space in a 7-mile radius.

Digital Realty's CEO A. William Stein commented, "This strategic and complementary transaction significantly enhances Digital Realty's ability to support the growth of hyper-scale users in the top U.S. data centre metro areas, while providing meaningful customer and geographic diversification for DuPont Fabros".

As for combined customers, an investor presentation following the merger announcement listed IBM, Facebook, CenturyLink, Rackspace, Equinix, LinkedIn, AT&T, JP Morgan Chase, Verizon, Dropbox and other marquee names.

Continuing the consolidation

The DFT-DLR deal is certainly notable for its rich valuation. It adds momentum to a sector that we already knew was red hot. In May, Equinix completed its acquisition of 29 data centres and their operations from Verizon Communications. This deal was valued at $3.6 billion in cash. Combined, the acquired properties cover approximately three million gross sq feet of data centre space. Also in May, private equity funds including Medina Capital Advisors and Longview Asset Management acquired CenturyLink's data centres and colocation for $1.86 billion. This deal consisted of CenturyLink's portfolio of 57 data centres which includes approximately 195 megawatts of power across 2.6 million sq feet of raised floor capacity. From the numbers we can see that there is no clear correlation between acquisition price and sq footage. As with all real estate, location is the prime factor, which brings the top tier customers in search of hyperscale space.

NTT Com deploys Coriant Groove to interconnect HKG data centres

Coriant announced that NTT Com has deployed the Coriant Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform to interconnect multiple data centre sites in Hong Kong to improve fibre utilisation and enable 100 Gbit/s and higher data centre interconnect (DCI) services.

Designed to provide hyper-scale density with low power consumption, deployment of Coriant's Groove G30 solution allows NTT Com to increase utilisation of its fibre infrastructure and cost-efficiently deliver high speed DCI services optimised to meet the mission-critical traffic demands of regional and global customers.

Coriant noted that, as a pioneer in the implementation of SDN-enabled connectivity between enterprise clouds, colocation data centres and customer-owned data centres, NTT Com is a leading provider of next-generation networks. The operator has deployed the Groove G30 in an alien wavelength application over its existing DWDM infrastructure. The solution offers an open, plug-and-play modular architecture designed to speed service deployment and enable efficient transport.

The Coriant Groove G30 platform is designed to enable the provision of programmable, high speed secure bandwidth for mobile, video and cloud applications. The stackable solution supports 3.2 Tbit/s of throughput in a compact and pluggable 1 RU form factor and enables service providers and cloud and data centre operators to build scalable and secure transmission and optical solutions with functionality enabled via open APIs.

The Coriant solution also supports programmable DWDM line interfaces designed to optimise the bandwidth and performance of transmission at rates from 100 up to 400 Gbit/s for metro, regional or long-haul transport and DCI applications.


Earlier this year, NTT Com announced plans to deploy a 400 Gbit/s optical transmission system in its data centres, increasing the transmission capacity of its core network above 19 Tbit/s per fibre - more than double the existing capacity. NTT Com stated that the 400 Gbit/s rate leveraged digital-signal processing technology developed in house.

DOCOMO Pacific ATISA Guam subsea cable ready for service

DOCOMO Pacific, a service provider in the Marianas and a subsidiary of Japan's NTT DOCOMO, announced that construction and testing of the 183-mile ATISA submarine optical cable system connecting Guam to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has been completed and the system is now ready for service.

The ATISA submarine cable, for which a supply contract was signed in February 2016, was recently landed and connected to the terrestrial fibre networks on Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Rota. The system will be launched with an initial operating capacity of 200 Gbit/s, while offering a total design capacity of 7.2 Tbit/s.

DOCOMO Pacific will now begin providing connectivity services to enterprise customers, and stated that it is already serving its first enterprise partner, the Commonwealth Port Authority, which operates the Francisco C. Ada Saipan international airport, with high-speed Internet connectivity. ATISA also connects the CNMI with Guam, where local businesses and government agencies can connect to other cable systems.

Additionally, from August this year, DOCOMO Pacific plans to start offering mobile, cable TV, online and home telephone services for residential customers in the CNMI.

For the ATISA cable system, DOCOMO Pacific selected NEC to design and build the cable and Ciena's submarine GeoMesh solution to provide 100 Gbit/s wavelengths and to facilitate the delivery of new on-demand services for end users. The Ciena solution is designed to offer scalability to support communications requirements over the lifetime of the cable.

Additionally, Ocean Specialists (OSI), a submarine optical cable consulting firm, advised DOCOMO Pacific on the project and provided project management support.


DOCOMO Pacific noted that ATISA is the second undersea cable in the CNMI and the first new system to be built in nearly twenty years. The company stated that the cable system involved investment of over $16 million for the cable, plus an additional $9 million to modernise and expand its fixed and mobile networks in the CNMI.


Mellanox forms strategic agreement with HPE

Mellanox Technologies announced a strategic collaboration with HPE covering high-performance computing and machine learning data centres, and also introduced SHIELD, an interconnect technology that is claimed to improve data centre fault recovery by 5,000 times through providing interconnect autonomous self-healing capabilities.

HPE collaboration

Mellanox collaboration with HPE is designed to enable efficient high-performance computing and machine learning data centres based on technologies from both parties. The joint solutions are intended to enable customers to leverage the InfiniBand and Gen-Z open standards to enhance return on investment for current and future data centres and applications.

Leveraging Mellanox's intelligent and In-Network Computing capabilities of ConnectX-5 InfiniBand adapters and Switch-IB2 InfiniBand switches in the recently launched HPE SGI 8600 and Apollo 6000 Gen10 systems the companies can offer scalable and efficient high-performance computing and machine learning fabric solutions.

The collaboration will enable both companies to develop technology integration and use the forthcoming HDR InfiniBand Quantum switches, ConnectX-6 adapters and future Gen-Z devices. In addition, joint development work with HPE's Advanced Development team will support the advance to Exascale computing.

SHIELD

The new SHIELD technology is enabled within Mellanox's 100 Gbit/s EDR and 200 Gbit/s HDR InfiniBand solutions, providing the ability for interconnect components to exchange real-time information and to make instant smart decisions to help overcome issues and optimise data flows. SHIELD is designed to enable greater reliability, more productive computation and optimised data centre operations.


Switzerland's Sunrise deploys RAD performance monitoring

RAD announced that Sunrise Communications, the second mobile operator in Switzerland with around 3 million subscribers, has selected its Service Assured Access (SAA) solution to guarantee high performance services for customers.

Sunrise offers fixed-line, IPTV and Internet access, as well as business and IT services, in addition to its mobile offerings, which include LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTA-A, or 4G+). RAD noted that currently much of this IP traffic is carried over microwave links, which adds latency and jitter and can result in packet loss. To address this issue, Sunrise required a cost-effective performance monitoring solution to ensure QoS across all network segments and guarantee end-to-end QoE for customers.

Sunrise has selected the RAD performance monitoring overlay solution as an add-on to its existing network. RAD's performance monitoring (PM) solution features PM controllers, which monitor and collect data on network traffic and service quality using a range of protocols, including both versions of TWAMP, as well as its patented MiNID, a field-programmable miniature Carrier Ethernet and IP network interface device (NID) that serves as a remote testing probe.

For the project, PM controllers have been deployed at Sunrise's central sites, where they collect performance monitoring data. In addition, the MiNID products are placed at intermediate measurement points and multiple eNodeBs, where TWAMP support is not otherwise available. This model is designed to allow all elements in the network to quickly match their testing capabilities.

RAD stated that the ability to rapid integrate its technology with Sunrise's central management system ensures that performance data is instantly available to enable corrective measures to be taken. It added that a key advantage of this architecture is the ability to conduct a variety of diagnostic tests utilising the MiNIDs between individual eNodeBs.


Regarding the deployment, Dragan Ciric, senior manager, transport network at Sunrise, commented, "For detected issues, Sunrise is able to segment the problematic service path, measure the performance on each segment and in this way quickly identify the root cause… moreover, the solution supports full TWAMP and the newer TWAMP Light in a single device, which enables flexible monitoring… (with) reduced capex".


Broadband Forum establishes Gfast Council

The Broadband Forum announced the launch of the Gfast Council, established with the goal of centralising and disseminating expertise and experience relating to the G.fast market to support the deployment of G.fast technology.

To facilitate the roll-out of solutions based on G.fast technology, which enable the provision of gigabit broadband access over existing wiring infrastructure, the new Gfast Council will hold industry events, issue white papers, detail use cases and provide other resources to promote adoption of the technology.
The council will also promote the Gfast Certification program, which has announced the first certified, interoperable products, to help accelerate the availability of interoperable solutions and aid integration into service provider networks.

Open to all Broadband Forum members, the Gfast council will represent the Broadband Forum and the Gfast community at industry events such as the TNO Ultrafast broadband event held this week in The Hague.

Separately, the Broadband Forum announced the first six products to have successfully completed the new Gfast certification program, hosted in the forum's Gfast test lab at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), in accordance with the forum's IR-337 certification test specification.

The initial products certified under the program are from ARRIS, Calix, Huawei, Metanoia, Nokia and Technicolor, and have been awarded the Gfast device certification. The first products to be certified are based on chipsets from Broadcom, Metanoia and Sckipio.


In addition, the UNH-IOL has made the Gfast test automation software commercially available. The software controls the Telebyte test and measurement equipment, enabling device manufacturers to pre-test devices in their own labs and service providers to regression test software updates from vendors.


ZTE completes 26 GHz field testing in Beijing

ZTE claims that it has become the first vendor to conduct 26 GHz high-frequency field tests during the second phase of China's 5G test in Huairou, Beijing.

ZTE stated that it led the 26 GHz high-frequency field testing of its 5G new radio (NR) pre-commercial base station, which was demonstrated to deliver strong performance in interconnecting with the instruments and chips from a number of manufacturers. In addition, ZTE has applied to conduct official tests using frequency bands greater than 40 GHz in its Shanghai R&D centre as part of its efforts to develop solutions for the high frequency bands.

ZTE noted that the 5G testing is led by China, and organised and implemented by the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group, which includes the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and DOCOMO of Japan.

The latest 5G test program in China is covers technical solution verification as part of the second phase of testing and focuses on verifying technical solutions in the areas of continuous wide coverage, high capacity (low and high frequency), low latency and high reliability, low power consumption and hybrid scenarios.

ZTE added that China started to build the 5G test program earlier this year, which is believed to be the largest such test initiative, as well as the most advanced, and is based on an open test platform. Through the program, China is aiming to integrate core strengths in the industry and to promote global 5G standardisation and technology development.

Following the completion of the first phase of China's 5G technology R&D test, ZTE noted that it is engaged in the second-phase testing. Using its latest IT baseband unit (BBU), 5G multi-band active antenna unit (AAU) and NR air interface technologies, ZTE has launched field tests designed to address key performance requirements in typical application scenarios such as enhanced spectral efficiency, greater connection density, higher reliability and lower delay air interfaces.

http://www.zte.com.cn/global/about/press-center/news

oyment of 3D-MIMO, also termed Pre5G Massive MIMO in the city of Quanzhou in Fujian province.ZTE stated that with 16 commercial terminals connected, the single-carrier downlink peak cell rate has been increased to 730 Mbit/s, with a single-carrier 16-stream downlink peak rate using 3D-MIMO of up to 700 Mbit/s achieved. In addition, a three-carrier rate of up...

Metanoia Gfast chip deployed by Swisscom

Metanoia Communications, a subsidiary of Elan Microelectonics based in Taiwan and developer of high-speed xDSL and Gfast PHY chipsets for wireline broadband applications, announced that it has achieved two key milestones in its Gfast product strategy.

Firstly, Metanoia was part of a product deployment based on its Gfast chip embedded into an SFP solution provided by Swisscom, the incumbent operator in Switzerland; secondly, the company's MT-G5321-based Gfast CPE and DPU products have been certified by the Broadband Forum (BBF) and the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) under the forum's recently launched Gfast Council initiative.

Metanoia noted that mass deployment of the SFP-based Gfast solution by Swisscom commenced recently, designed to enable the operator's customers to benefit from improvements in broadband service throughput and reliability without the need to change the router.

The company also stated that the recent announcement of Gfast Certified products by the BBF, in accordance with its IR-337 certification test specification, is designed to support industry interoperability and expand acceptance of the technology for mass market deployments.

Metanoia's Gfast technology is based on a single configurable device, the MT-G5321, which is designed to be embedded into both CPE solutions, such as SFP units that can be plugged into existing or future home gateways with an SFP cage, and CO solutions, for example low power, single port DPU solutions.



* In October 2016, Metanoia announce it had achieved interoperability between its Gfast solution and the Gfast solution used in Swisscom's DPUs.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Cisco VNI: big shifts in traffic patterns

In the first part of this article, the remarkable 26% CAGR that the latest Cisco VNI report is predicting for 2017-2021 was noted. A 26% CAGR is steep in any field let alone the already massive Internet that exists today. Perhaps the most important observation was that the growth rate is accelerating. This part will look at some of the shifting patterns for Internet traffic as seen in the study. Here are the key observations for this part of the article: (1) Traffic is moving closer to the edge; (2) regional traffic trends are uneven; (3) business continues to invest in ways to segment traffic from the public Internet and that the fastest such area of growth is SD-WAN.

Moving toward the edge

With the widespread availability of content delivery networks (CDNs) and related caching technologies, the volume of IP traffic traversing long-haul networks should be declining. Much of this traffic growth is video. In fact, the Cisco VNI study predicts that video will represent 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021, up from 67% in 2016. Globally, there will be nearly 1.9 billion Internet video users (excluding mobile-only) by 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016. Much of this content works well in a CDN. However, currently there are a handful of super-sized Internet content providers (ICPs) that are operating a fairly small number of hyper-scale data centres. Facebook, for instance, serves over a billion daily users, with major European data centres located near the Arctic Circle in Luleå, Sweden. Because Facebook feeds are customised for user, each session for European users pretty much ensures that traffic is traversing the core network and long-haul backbone. The story is pretty much the same for AWS, Google and Microsoft. However, each of these ICPs is undergoing a rapid build-out of data centres, meaning more facilities closer to users. By late 2018, Facebook should have three European data centres in operation (construction of two new Facebook data centres is underway in Clonee, Ireland and Odense, Denmark). By 2021, it is likely that Facebook could have five or six European data centres. This alone would redirect significant traffic off the long-haul network to northern Sweden and onto more regional networks.

Below are some key Cisco VNI findings:

·         End-user Internet traffic is moving closer to the edge; over one-third of traffic will bypass core by 2021.

·         Globally, 35% of Internet traffic will be carried metro-to-metro by 2021, up from 22% in 2016.

·         Globally, 23% of Internet traffic will be carried on regional backbones (without touching cross-country backbones) by 2021, compared to 20% in 2016.

·         Globally, 41% of Internet traffic will traverse cross-country backbones by 2021, compared to 58% in 2016.

The second observation is that regional differences in IP traffic growth will remain with us in 2021 and likely for more years in the future. Even though the latest mobile phone models somehow spread to cities all around the world remarkably fast, global economic development is uneven and network infrastructure reflects it. By 2021, 5G rollouts will be underway in many countries with robust economies but will come later to others. The figures gathered by the Cisco VNI, show the APAC region leading with the greatest IP traffic load by 2021, North America follows, but with a much smaller population compared to APAC, per capita bandwidth intensity remains highest in North America. The Cisco VNI figures, specifically regional IP traffic growth 2016 – 21, show:

•   APAC: 107.7 exabytes/month by 2021, 26% CAGR, 3.2-fold growth.

•   North America: 85 exabytes/month by 2021, 20% CAGR, 2.5-fold growth.

•   Western Europe: 37.4 exabytes/month 2021, 22% CAGR, 2.7-fold growth.

•   Central Europe: 17.1 exabytes/month by 2021, 22% CAGR, 2.75-fold growth.

•   Latin America: 12.9 exabytes/month by 2021, 21% CAGR, 2.6-fold growth.

•   Middle East and Africa: 15.5 exabytes/month by 2021, 42% CAGR, 5.8-fold growth.

Business IP traffic volume

The latest Cisco VNI report also predicts that global business IP traffic will grow at a CAGR of 21% from 2016 to 2021. Since this figure is based on current metrics from Cisco's service providers (as well as other sources as discussed in the study’s methodology), it is clear that networks are filling up and that they are doing so at an accelerated rate. More businesses are sending/receiving traffic to the Internet, mostly likely due to increased use of video and accessing cloud services over the public Internet. Cisco expects advanced video communications in the enterprise segment to cause business IP traffic to grow by a factor of 3 between 2016 and 2021.

The Cisco VNI report has a separate category for IP WAN, which is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 10%, compared with a CAGR of 20% for fixed business Internet and 41% for mobile business Internet. This category could include Layer 2 and VPN services. Increasing numbers of service providers are offering direct connection options for AWS and Microsoft Azure, and as the general movement of corporate data into the public clouds increases, one would expect that the traffic load on these private connections to grow substantially. However, Cisco is predicting business IP traffic in North America to grow at a CAGR of 23%, a faster pace than the global average of 21%. In volume terms, in Asia Pacific will have the largest amount of business IP traffic in 2021, at 17 EB per month, with North America second at 14 EB per month.

One area of intense activity now being tracked by Cisco VNI is global enterprise SD-WAN traffic, which is now predicted to grow at a CAGR of 44% compared to 5% for traditional WAN. Cisco predicts that SD-WAN will increase six-fold over the forecast period and represent 25% of WAN traffic by 2021. This is good news for Cisco, given that it recently agreed to acquire Viptela, a start-up specialising in SD-WAN, for $610 million in cash and assumed equity awards. Cisco's SD-WAN portfolio also includes its home-grown intelligent WAN (Iwan) solution and Meraki cloud platform.


New Zealand's Spark partners with Nokia

Nokia and telco Spark announced a partnership to prepare networks in New Zealand for future demands arising from the move to 5G, ultra-broadband and IoT services through upgrading the capacity, flexibility and agility of Spark's national core and backhaul IP/MPLS network.

Spark, which serves around 2 million residential customers as well as businesses, stated that it is committed to making New Zealand a leading country in the adoption of 5G, and noted it has experienced a ten-fold increase in network traffic following the introduction of its broadband over wireless service, which is based on a Nokia IP/MPLS network. As part of this effort, the operator plans to expand the capacity and flexibility of its transport network over the next two years in preparation for 5G.

The company noted that the adoption of 5G will also help to meet the national government goal of extending broadband services in rural areas, as well as helping it to reduce the costs of delivering broadband services.

The upgrade project with Nokia specifically covers a 3-year strategic partnership through which the vendor will supply advanced IP and optical networking equipment and software, including the new Nokia 7250 Interconnect Router R6 (IXR-R6)platform.
The 7250 IXR-R6 solution is designed to address key requirements relating to traffic growth and major architectural changes to support the transition towards 5G. The platform features terabit capacity and high-port density in a compact, ruggedised form factor. Nokia's 7250 IXR-R6 also offers security features and a range of interconnectivity options, including legacy SDH/SONET and latency-sensitive Ethernet for next-generation fronthaul interface (NGFI).

The 7250 IXR-R6 is designed to enable the cost-effective transport of latency-sensitive and 'bursty' traffic, making it suitable for the delivery of both ultra-broadband and future IoT-based services.

Nokia noted that this latest agreement with Spark follows the operator's launch of 200 Gbit/s per-wavelength connectivity utilising its PSS1830 Optical Transport Network platform last year. For that project, Spark deployed what was claimed as the country's first 200 Gbit/s per-wavelength production fibre link to connect its core network with its global gateway using Nokia's PSS1830 OTN.


Canadian data centre company eStruxture raises C$80m

Montreal-based eStruxture Data Centers, a new network and cloud-neutral data centre operator, has announced the development of its Canada-wide platform, designed to meet the growing demand for large, energy efficient data centres that is being driven by the adoption of cloud services and demand for data storage within Canada.

The company stated that it has raised an initial C$80 million in capital through a funding round led by Canderel and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The funding will be used to expand its footprint across Canada, both through the acquisition of existing data centre operators and new data centre development.

As part of this growth strategy, eStruxture also announced the completion of its first acquisition with the purchase of the assets of Netelligent Hosting Services, a major data centre operator in Montréal.

Netelligent provided colocation, cloud, managed services and bandwidth to more than 850 customers and had developed a cloud-neutral ecosystem that allowed customers to access diverse private and public cloud providers. The acquired downtown data centre facility enables eStruxture to offer customers high-density power of up to 30 kW per cabinet.

eStruxture was established to provide network and cloud-neutral data centre solutions designed to offer the capacity, performance and flexibility required for demanding enterprise applications. The company offers colocation, private cloud, managed services, bandwidth and security and support services to customers of all sizes.


eStruxture is led by president and CEO Todd Coleman, who co-founded Cologix, where he also served as COO. Mr. Todd has held a number of senior positions at companies including Level 3 Communications, where he held the roles of SVP of Data Centers, SVP of Media Operations and president of Level 3 Communications Europe.