Monday, September 11, 2017

VMware looks to the clouds - part 1

VMware is reshaping its entire corporate strategy around the cloud and this year's VMworld conference is the embodiment of its full ambitions.  This statement could have been made at any of the past five years of VMworld shows. Each year there has been a new iteration as the company has evolved from a go-it-alone and own-the-cloud strategy to now being culturally attuned to a multicloud future.

The extent of VMware's cloud ambitions is nicely summarized in the following slide, which was shown by VMware's CEO, Pat Gelsinger, in the opening keynote of this week's VMworld show being hosted in Las Vegas.



The first big announcement from this year's event is that VMware Cloud on AWS is now commercially available in AWS U.S. West (Oregon) region. Other AWS data centers worldwide will follow in 2018. The strategic alliance between VMware and Amazon Web Services was first announced nearly one year ago. Under this partnership, AWS is designated as VMware’s primary public cloud infrastructure partner; and VMware will be AWS’s primary private cloud partner. The joint service will be sold by VMware. It runs on the latest, elastic, bare metal AWS infrastructure.
The big idea with hosting VMware Cloud on AWS is that enterprises will want to move virtual machine workloads and applications across VMware vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments, all with optimized access to AWS services, which could include S3 storage, cloud-based authentication, compliance and security monitoring, and real-time analytics. In short, VMware customers can use their existing VMware software and tools to leverage AWS’s global footprint and breadth of services, including storage, databases, analytics, etc.

As corporate IT moves applications and data to AWS, VMware has a strategic interest in ensuring that its virtual machine paradigm carrier through to the public cloud. It makes sense for VMware to do anything necessary to ensure that IT teams continue to manage their AWS-based resources with familiar (and profitable) VMware tools. If VMware had failed to make this deal, their very extensive base of Fortune 1000 customers who have begun to erode with every corporate application moved into AWS.

For AWS, VMware is great catch too. At this early stage of the public cloud market, the game is all about moving fast to build data centers, establish sticky services, and bring as many customers onboard before other competitors get to them. VMware is deeply entrenched in enterprise data centers. This could provide a very big on-ramp for moving corporate workloads into the AWS cloud.
Naturally, both companies are making a big deal out of this arrangement.

"VMware and AWS are empowering enterprise IT and operations teams to add value to their businesses through the combination of VMware enterprise capabilities and the breadth and depth of capabilities and scale of the AWS Cloud, providing them a platform for any application," said Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer, VMware. "VMware Cloud on AWS gives customers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud that delivers the same architecture, capabilities, and operational experience across both their vSphere-based on-premises environment and AWS."

"With the availability of VMware Cloud on AWS, for the first time customers can operate a consistent and seamless hybrid IT environment that combines the VMware software they love with the unmatched functionality, security, and operational expertise of the AWS Cloud," said Andy Jassy, chief executive officer, AWS. "The majority of the world's enterprises have virtualized their data centers with VMware, and now these customers can easily move applications between their on-premises environments and AWS without having to purchase any new hardware, rewrite their applications, or modify their operations."

The VMware / AWS alliance is hoping to build an ecosystem of third-party tools and services to fill in the gaps, many of which are significant barriers preventing applications from leaving the corporate data center. The companies said that more than 30 solutions are ready for VMware Cloud on AWS launch, including DevOps tools, application migration tools, data protection software, cloud analytics, security, etc.  Here are a few of the partners.

Chef

Chef, which specializes in automation tools, is introducing a solution for VMware Cloud on AWS.  Chef’s automation tools help data center teams to apply a consistent workflow across their infrastructure. The new capabilities bring together VMware’s enterprise-class Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) software and elastic, bare-metal infrastructure from AWS. Chef tools can be used to move workloads into production using consistent workflows, which helps in decreasing deployment risk and ensuring procedural compliance. The bottom line is this should be good for VMware and for AWS.

CloudCheckr

Another start-up called CloudCheckr, also introduced tools for helping enterprises migrate VMware workloads to the VMware Cloud on AWS.  The CloudCheckr solution, which is initially being launched in the AWS US West (Oregon) region, gives organizations consistent operating model foe application mobility. IT staff might use the tools to calculate the optimal configurations for running VMware vSphere in the public cloud. The tool converts data center specifications into comparable clusters running the same workload on specialized instances within AWS. This output can be used to understand expected utilization levels for CPU, storage and memory, which shows the anticipated monthly AWS spend of any given configuration.

Datapipe

Datapipe, which specializes in managed services for public cloud platforms, will launch a new service to help manage customers’ AWS and VMware Cloud on AWS footprints. Datapipe sees an opportunity to assist enterprises with planning, building, and running their approach for AWS with its full-service offering. Specifically, Datapipe will provide a unified management framework with a single monitoring platform, network connectivity options, and best practices based security and governance.

Mellanox

Mellanox sees a play to make the movement of VMs running is software-defined data centres more efficient. Their ideas to it combine Mellanox iSER (iSCSI Extensions for Remote Direct Memory Access [RDMA]) networking solutions with VMware vSphere. iSER uses an Ethernet Storage Fabric as a unified connectivity solution for compute and storage. Mellanox says this eliminates the need for Fibre Channel while providing improved performance at a lower cost. Its preliminary benchmark results show that iSER accelerates storage throughput by more than 3x and IOPs by more than 2x when compared to ordinary iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface). Mellanox also claims 2x better efficiency versus Fibre Channel storage connectivity.

Trend Micro

Trend Micro is bringing its server security product to VMware Cloud on AWS, promising seamless visibility and security for virtualized workloads across the SDDC, whether on-premises or in the new VMware Cloud on AWS.

McAfee

McAfee is also jumping aboard VMware Cloud on AWS with its Management for Optimized Virtual Environments (MOVE) AntiVirus, which is a threat protection solution optimized for virtual environments. This eliminates the need to install an agent on every VM. McAfee MOVE AntiVirus offloads all on-access scanning to a dedicated VM that runs McAfee VirusScan Enterprise.

China Telecom is growing but ARPU continues to erode

For the first half of 2017, China Telecom posted total revenue of RMB 184.1 billion, up 4.1% from RMB 176.8 billion a year ago – a faster pace of growth than many other global carriers, but likely slower than China’s overall GDP. While revenue for mobile and wireline services grew a faster pace than the global average, China Telecom’s net profit expanded at an even better pace – up 7.4% yoy to RMB 12.5 billion.

This positive news from China Telecom came about one week after China Unicom finalized a US$11.7 billion investment round with Alibaba, Tencent and nine other leading Chinese companies.  With the Chinese market currently in contention by three rivals (China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom), the strategic investment, with the backing of the central government, has the potential to tip the scale in favour or China Unicom.  The cash infusion strengthens the balance sheet and provides the opportunity to leap ahead in network rollout and 5G prepositioning. For comparison, China Telecom’s company-wide CAPEX for the first half of 2017 amounted to RMB 41 billion (US$6.20 billion approximately) and is expected to reach RMB 89 billion for 2017. down 8% compared to 2016. While China Telecom is cutting network expenditures, China Unicom may get a much-needed boost to advance its infrastructure.

China Telecom’s recent past

China Telecom is the original incumbent fixed line operator for China. Until 1995, it was purely a government agency under China’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. In 2002, a historic split took place with some of the provincial and city assets being assigned to the newly-created China Unicom, and some being retained by the newly listed China Telecom Corporation Limited. China Telecom made its entrance into mobile communications by pursuing a personal handy phone network technology, before eventually adopting CDMA 2000 and then in 2015, finally launching 4G LTE for its mobile backbone.

Today’s mission

For its part, China Telecom says its mission is to build “three superior networks, namely 4G network, IoT network and all-fibre network with further reinforcement of network edges.” As the legacy operator for much of the country, China Telecom suffers from the same, steady loss of fixed access line.  In its case, fixed lines have fallen from 137 million two years ago to about 124 million now. However, over the same two-year period, the number of FTTH subscribers has nearly doubled, from 61.92 million in mid-2015 to about 117 million today.  Sometime before the end of this year, China Telecom will have tipped the scales from the past to the future, as the number of FTTH subscribers zooms past legacy copper fixed access.

The big trends for 1H2017

  • Service revenues amounted to RMB165.8 billion, representing an increase of 6.8% over the same period last year
  • EBITDA was RMB52.4 billion, representing an increase of 3.7% over the same period last year while EBITDA margin5 was 31.6%.
  • Net profit was RMB12.5 billion, representing an increase of 7.4% over the same period last year.
  • Capital expenditure was RMB41.1 billion while free cash flow was RMB7.2 billion with remarkable improvement over last year.
  • The net increase of mobile subscribers was 14.85 million, reaching a total of 230 million
  • China Telecom now estimates its national mobile market share at 16.8%.
  • The net increase of 4G users was 30.15 million, reaching a total of 152 million.  This means China Telecom’s penetration rate of 4G users increased has reached 66%.
  • The aggregate handset Internet data traffic increased by 126% compared to the same period last year while the DOU of 4G users reached 1.4GB, representing an increase of 56% over the same period last year.
  • An additional issue is the vast ARPU disparity between China Telecom (along with its home market rivals) with developed markets in the West. The average 4G user in China pays roughly US$11 per month, while users in the United States or Western Europe might pay 4X, 5X or 6X this amount.  The disparity roughly follows per capita GDP differences between the country. However, much of the capital expenditure, at least for network infrastructure, will be closer. 

Usage continues to grow

China Telecom is also reporting one mobile usage trend that may not be common with most other mobile operators – mobile voice usage continues to rise even as handset data traffic screams ahead.  In Q2 2017, China Telecom’s handset data traffic (kTB) reached 633.6 kTB up from 491.6 kTB in Q1.  Meanwhile, mobile voice usage reached 196,735 million minutes in Q2 2017, up from 179,556 million minutes in Q1.  People are talking more even as they become increasing depended on their smartphones.
The net increase of wireline broadband subscribers was 4.98 million, reaching a total of 128 million.
The net increase of FTTH subscribers was 11.24 million, reaching a total of 117 million while the penetration rate reached 92%.

The ARPU quandary

While other carriers have seen a big pop in average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) in the transition from 2G/3G to 4G, the gain at China Telecom is from RMB 56.8 (US$8.55) to RMB 67.2 (US$10.12) As noted above, the migration of the subscriber base to 4G is now 66% complete, so revenue will continue to grow as the remain 34% upgrade their smartphones and move onto a 4G data plan. However, China Telecom’s 4G ARPU is also falling, down 7.7% from RMB 72.8 (US$10.96) in 2016 to RMB 67.2 (US$10.12) today. The rate of decrease in ARPU is greater than the growth in overall revenue. If the recent past is any guide, it’s unlikely that China Telecom will be able to increase 4G prices anytime soon.  With growing competition, ARPU probably will continue to slide.

An additional issue is the vast ARPU disparity between China Telecom (along with its home market rivals) with developed markets in the West. The average 4G user in China pays roughly US$11 per month, while users in the United States or Western Europe might pay 4X, 5X or 6X this amount.  The disparity roughly follows per capita GDP differences between the country. However, much of the capital expenditure, at least for network infrastructure, will be closer.

Usage continues to grow

China Telecom is also reporting one mobile usage trend that may not be common with most other mobile operators – mobile voice usage continues to rise even as handset data traffic screams ahead.  In Q2 2017, China Telecom’s handset data traffic (kTB) reached 633.6 kTB up from 491.6 kTB in Q1.  Meanwhile, mobile voice usage reached 196,735 million minutes in Q2 2017, up from 179,556 million minutes in Q1.  People are talking more even as they become increasing depended on their smartphones.

Altice USA intros cloud-based Business Hosted Voice

Altice USA is activating a proprietary Altice Advanced Business Communications (ABC) Hosted Voice Platform to power a new cloud based Altice Business Hosted Voice (BHV) product for small and medium-sized business in the U.S.

Altice Business serves more than 375,000 businesses across 21 states, with a network that includes over 14,000 fiber-lit locations, more than 8,000 of which are located in the New York metro area.

The ABC Hosted Voice platform was developed by Altice Labs, Altice’s innovation and R&D center, and today it supports more than two million end users globally, providing premium reliability, and geographical and platform redundancy via multiple U.S.-based hosting locations. Traffic is carried over Altice’s secure private network. This service is now being extended for small and medium sized businesses.

“Our rollout of Altice Business Hosted Voice marks the U.S. introduction of Altice’s proprietary hosted voice platform, which underscores our commitment to introducing robust offerings for our U.S. customers,” said Hakim Boubazine, Co-President and Chief Operating Officer, Altice USA. “By providing this critical communications service on our dedicated platform, we are best positioned to stay on the forefront of the fast-evolving needs of our customers, debuting new features as business demands change, and giving businesses freedom in how they communicate with clients and customers.”

http://alticeusa.com/we-are-altice-business

Sunday, September 10, 2017

FCC: 60% of Cell Sites down in U.S Virgin Islands

As of September 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, 29.3% of cell sites are out of service in Puerto Rico, and 60.7% of cell sites are out of service in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the FCC.

In Puerto Rico, 50% or more of cell sites are out of service in the following counties: Aguas Buenas, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Ceiba, Ciales, Comerio, Culebra, Fajardo,
Hatillo, Jayuya, Juncos, Naguabo, San Lorenzo, and Vieques.

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-346632A1.pdf


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Google Cloud Platform adds Dedicated Interconnect

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is lauching Dedicated Interconnect at up to 80 Gb/s through a number of locations.

This allows customers to extend their corporate datacenter network and RFC 1918 IP space into Google Cloud as part of a hybrid cloud deployment.

Google said its Dedicated Interconnect offers increased throughput and even a potential reduction in network costs. It is also expected to bring advantages to applications with very large data sets.

Dedicated Interconnect is available in 10 Gb/s increments:

  • 10 Gb/s
  • 20 Gb/s (2 x10 Gb/s) 
  • 30 Gb/s (3 x10 Gb/s)
  • 40 Gb/s (4 x10 Gb/s)
  • 50 Gb/s (5 x10 Gb/s)
  • 60 Gb/s (6 x10 Gb/s)
  • 70 Gb/s (7 x10 Gb/s)
  • 80 Gb/s (8 x10 Gb/s)

Dedicated Interconnect can be configured to offer a 99.9% or a 99.99% uptime SLA.

https://cloud.google.com/interconnect/

Network service tiers become part of the public cloud discussion

An interesting development has just come out of the Google Cloud Platform.

Until now, we’ve seen Google internal global network growing by leaps and bounds. There is a public facing network as well with peering points all over the globe that seemingly must always keep ahead of the growth of the Internet overall. The internal network, however, which handles all the traffic between Google services and its data centers, was said to grow much faster. It is this unmatched, private backbone that is one of the distinguishing features of Google Compute Engine (GCE), the company’s public cloud service.

GCE provides on-demand virtual machines (VMs) running on the same class of servers and in the same data centers as Google’s own applications, including Search, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Docs, etc.  The service delivers global scaling using Google’s load balancing over the private, worldwide fiber backbone.  This service continues and becomes knows as the “Premier Tier”.

The new option, called the “Standard Tier,” directs the user’s outbound application traffic to exit the Google network at the nearest IP peering point. From there, the traffic traverses ISP network(s) all the way to its destination. Google says this option will be lower performance but lower cost. For Google, the cost savings come from not having to use as much long-haul bandwidth to carry the traffic and to consume fewer resources in load-balancing traffic across regions, or failing over to other regions in the event of an anomaly.  In a similar way, inbound traffic travels over ISP networks until it reaches the region of the Google data center where the application is hosted. At that point, ingress occurs on the Google network.




Google has already conducted performance tests of how its Premier Tier measures up to Standard tier. The tests, which were conducted by Cedexis, found that Google’s own network delivers higher throughput and lower latency than a Standard tier with more routing hops and operating over third party network(s). Test data from the US Central region from mid-August indicate that the Standard Tier was delivering around 3,051kbps throughput while Premier Tier was delivering around 5,303kbps – or roughly a 73% performance boost in throughput. For latency in the US Central region, the Standard Tier was measured at 90ms for the 50th percentile, while the Premium Tier was measured at 77ms, roughly a 17% performance advantage.

Looking at the pricing differential

The portal for the Google Cloud platform shows a 17% savings for Standard Tier for North America to North America traffic.



Some implications of network service tiering

The first observation is that with these new Network Service Tiers, Google is recognizing that its own backbone is not a resource with infinite capacity and zero cost that can be used to carry all traffic indiscriminately. If the Google infrastructure is transporting packets with greater throughput and lower latency from one side of the planet to another, why shouldn’t they charge more for this service?
The second observation is that network transport becomes a more important consideration and comparison point for public cloud services in general.

Third, it could be advantageous for other public clouds to assemble their own Network Service Tiers in partnership with carriers. The other hyperscale public cloud companies also operate global-scale, private transport networks that outperform the hop-by-hop routing of the Internet.  Some of these companies are building private transatlantic and transpacific subsea cables, but building a private, global transport network at Google scale is costly.  Network service tiering should bring many opportunities for partnerships with carriers.

IBM and MIT to open Artificial Intelligence lab

IBM announced a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT.

The MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab aims to advance AI hardware, software and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas, increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity, and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society.

The lab will be co-chaired by IBM Research VP of AI and IBM Q, Dario Gil, and Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering.

"The field of artificial intelligence has experienced incredible growth and progress over the past decade. Yet today’s AI systems, as remarkable as they are, will require new innovations to tackle increasingly difficult real-world problems to improve our work and lives,” said Dr. John Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and Research. “The extremely broad and deep technical capabilities and talent at MIT and IBM are unmatched, and will lead the field of AI for at least the next decade."

“I am delighted by this new collaboration,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “True breakthroughs are often the result of fresh thinking inspired by new kinds of research teams. The combined MIT and IBM talent dedicated to this new effort will bring formidable power to a field with staggering potential to advance knowledge and help solve important challenges.”

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/53091.wss

Friday, September 8, 2017

EXFO to acquire Yenista for optical test equipment

EXFO agreed to acquire Yenista Optics, a privately held company based in Lannion, France, that supplies advanced optical test equipment for the R&D and manufacturing markets.  Financial terms were not disclosed and EXFO said the deal is subject to a number of conditions to be completed before closing.

Yenista Optics' product portfolio includes benchtop optical spectrum analyzers, tunable lasers, tunable filters and passive optical component test systems for network equipment manufacturers and optical component vendors. The company generated revenue of €5.2 million in 2016 and was profitable. The company owns more than 20 patents protecting its proprietary technologies on measurement techniques, optical filters and external cavity lasers.

EXFO said Yenista Optics is highly complementary to its own optical test portfolio, which largely consists of portable test equipment for the network service provider market.

"Yenista Optics has built an impressive product portfolio over the years for the high-end laboratory and manufacturing markets," said Germain Lamonde, Executive Chairman of EXFO's Board of Directors. "This  transaction, if completed, would allow EXFO to leverage Yenista's best-in-class technology across its global sales channels to expand market share."

http://www.exfo.com



T-Mobile hits 1.175 Gbps in 4.9G LTE test

T-Mobile hit a peak downlink speed of 1.175 Gbps in lab tests conducted this month with Nokia and Qualcomm. Technology used in the tests included:

  • Nokia 4.9G powered by AirScale Base Station
  • A Snapdragon X20 LTE modem mobile test device, supporting Downlink Category 18 for theoretical peak download speeds up to 1.2 Gbps
  • 12 independent streams of LTE data
  • 4X4 MIMO, 256 QAM and three carrier aggregation across 60 MHz of downlink spectrum on T-Mobile’s network

The companies said that using 12 simultaneous independent LTE data streams between the device and network enables a theoretical peak download speed of 1.2 Gbps.

“Every meaningful network innovation in recent years has come first from T-Mobile. We already have America’s fastest and most advanced LTE network, and we’ve built it to advance faster for customers than anybody else out there,” said Neville Ray, CTO of T-Mobile. “These tests with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies prove that T-Mobile customers have a lot more speed to look forward to from our LTE network as we evolve to 5G.”

South Africa's FibreCo Selects ADVA's FSP 3000

FibreCo Telecommunications, one of South Africa's leading communication service providers, has selected ADVA Optical Networking's FSP 3000 metro and long-haul technology to offer tailor-made connectivity services to its business, government and carrier customers. The initial deployment involves a 100Gbit/s ROADM network carrying data over 780km between Johannesburg and the undersea cable landing station at Mtunzini. ADVA Optical Networking’s Elite partner Jasco Carrier Solutions will play a key role in the deployment and continuous support of the new network.

ADVA said its FSP 3000 enables FibreCo’s new infrastructure to carry both 10 and 100Gbit/s traffic and include long-haul links that require no regeneration. FibreCo’s future network expansion plans will see 100Gbit/s metro and long-haul links connecting other cities and regions across South Africa.

“This strategic partnership provides a firm foundation for the future as we help even more South African businesses unleash their full potential. With ADVA Optical Networking’s flexible platform, we can respond in the shortest possible time to each and every customer demand,” said Marius Mostert, CTO, FibreCo. “The ADVA FSP 3000, including its advanced ROADM technology, enables us to deliver the high-speed, scalable connectivity that today’s enterprises and service providers demand. Our new infrastructure delivers several key efficiencies from low latency to optimized bandwidth utilization. What’s more, the support and local expertise provided by ADVA Optical Networking and Jasco Carrier Solutions gives us a lot of confidence that we’ll achieve quick time to market and the highest network availability.”

“To be selected as FibreCo’s strategic partner is an honor for every member of our team. It highlights the benefits of our flexible, scalable solution and underlines the value of the local support we offer. With this new network, we’re expanding our leading market position in South Africa,” commented Günter Landers, sales director, Africa, ADVA Optical Networking.

http://www.advaoptical.com

Swisscom launches Enterprise Cloud in Swiss jurisdiction

Swisscom announced the launch of two new cloud solutions:Enterprise Service Cloud from Switzerland and the Enterprise Cloud for SAP Solutions, which has been specially designed for efficient SAP operations.

Swisscom is also extending its portfolio with global offerings from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

The Enterprise Service Cloud is an integrated cloud that covers everything from infrastructure via platform services to Managed Services and outsourcing. All data storage and functionality resides within Swiss jurisdiction. The cloud runs in tier IV-certified Swisscom data centres. From 2018 there will also be industry-specific services, for the banking or health sector for instance, with tighter compliance guidelines.

Enterprise Cloud for SAP Solutions is a SAP-certified, flexible and reliable service. As the largest SAP provider in Switzerland, Swisscom said it can offer the expertise of its 300 SAP consultants and its 80 full outsourcing customers to provide flexible infrastructure and dedicated SAP operations for Switzerland.

https://www.swisscom.ch/en/about/medien/press-releases/2017/09/20170907-die-swisscom-familie-waechst.html

EXFO's optical spectrum analyzer tests up to 400G

EXFO released its new FTBx-5255 Optical Spectrum Analyzer (OSA) designed for the field testing needs of telecom service providers, internet content providers and network equipment manufacturers.

A key capability of the new OSA is that it supports in-service network testing of the optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) of 100G/200G/400G (Pol-Mux) signals, which means that service providers and ICPs do not have to interrupt their operations to perform these measurements.

EXFO's new OSA also enables in-service network testing of O-band pluggables and L-band transceivers, as well as CWDM spectral analysis.

"Customers have repeatedly expressed a need for a non-intrusive way of measuring OSNR on high-speed networks, to ensure they're meeting customer expectations for quality of service," said Stéphane Chabot, EXFO's Vice President, Test and Measurement. "Our new portable optical spectrum analyzer equips service providers, internet content providers, and NEMs for testing live networks, saving them time and significantly reducing operating expenses while making troubleshooting faster and better. No one else can offer them the ability to address all OSA testing applications with a single module."

The FTBx-5255 is available in EXFO's FTB-2, FTB-2 Pro and FTB-4 Pro portable test platforms as well as in the LTB-8 platform for rackmount and lab applications.

http://investors.exfo.com/releasedetail.cfm?&CompanyID=ABEA-5493A9&ReleaseID=1039332


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Blockchain Consortium for Telecom Carriers gets underway

A new blockchain consortium, called the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG), is getting underway with the goal of connecting carriers’ telecommunication backend systems. The aim is to define the requirements of the cross-carrier blockchain platform, and eliminate late transactions or transaction failures between telecom carriers.

The consortium was formed by SoftBank, Sprint, Taiwan-based Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., Ltd. and U.S.-based TBCASoft. The organizers say more telecom carriers will be invited to participate in the CBSG on a global scale. SoftBank, Sprint and TBCASoft also succeeded in demonstrating a cross-carrier payment platform system that uses TBCASoft’s innovative blockchain technology.

In February 2017, SoftBank, Sprint and TBCASoft agreed to aim to cooperate in jointly developing blockchain technology for telecom carriers, and commenced a technical trial that connects TBCASoft’s blockchain platform to telecom carriers’ systems. With Far EasTone newly joining this association, it since developed into a consortium that aims to build a next-generation global cross-carrier blockchain platform and ecosystem. CBSG will promote research and development for the platform with the aim of providing users various services such as secured clearing and settlement, personal authentication, IoT applications, and other services in the future.

“TBCASoft is developing a cross-carrier distributed ledger network consisting of telecom carrier hosted servers running the TBCASoft blockchain platform. We aim to work with global telecom carriers to build a very secure and high-performance blockchain system where disruptive services can be ubiquitously provided to billions of telecom carrier subscribers worldwide.” said Ling Wu, Founder & CEO of TBCASoft, Inc.

“TBCASoft has a sophisticated layered system architecture, SoftBank can successfully integrate our Business Support System and Mobile App servers with TBCASoft blockchain platform in a short period of time at a reasonable cost. SoftBank is satisfied with confirming the implementation and system performance of the TBCASoft’s blockchain platform on which value transfer service led by telecom carriers will be operated.” said Mr. Takeshi Fukuizumi, Vice President of SoftBank Corp.

http://www.tbcasoft.com

Radisys outlines its Open vision for network transformation

Radisys outlined its strategic vision for open telecom solutions. The company said its goal is to leverage open source communities to enable highly interoperable, more easily integrated and practical to consume technologies, solutions and services that can make a significant difference in how communications service providers (CSPs) meet customer demand and drive greater profits." This includes continuing to invest in new open architectures to drive innovation and service provider disruption, while helping service providers break vendor lock-in.

“Open Radisys is our commitment to enable CSPs to disrupt their traditional networks with open architecture business models. With no material legacy incumbency in telecom networks, we’re able to help CSPs embrace open standards as they get ready for 5G. If a service provider wants to replace a traditional hardware vendor, decompose a particular network element, deploy an open reference implementation such as CORD or an open source radio access network, we get it done. Open Radisys is the best choice for open telecom solutions and I’m excited about the outlook for Radisys in this new DevOps era,” stated Brian Bronson, president and CEO, Radisys.


Some highlights:
  • Platforms that support open disaggregated architectures to deliver higher scale and performance with cloud economies,
  • Open interfaces that drive easy interoperability,
  • Strong investment and leadership in open ecosystems that fosters innovation,
  • DevOps core philosophy for faster integration and turn-up,
  • Systems integration expertise necessary to solve complex deployment challenges, while giving service providers the added benefit of de-risking their investments
  • TCO Advantage: Radisys DCEngine has now been certified as OCP-INSPIRED – a unanimous decision by the OCP incubation committee consisting of leaders from AMD, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Hyve, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Verizon. This important certification reinforces the values of openness and OpEx savings that DCEngine brings to Radisys’ CSP customers. The open service delivery platform optimized for telco combined with OCP/Facebook’s legendary operations/support model results in nearly 40 percent reduction in TCO compared with legacy data center offerings.


http://www.radisys.com/press-releases/radisys-continues-strategic-execution-commitment-delivering-disruptive-open-telecom

Radisys MobilityEngine targets disaggregated RANs and 5G

Radisys introduced its "MobilityEngine" portfolio of disaggregated Radio Access Network (RAN) software solutions and services that enable mobile service providers to evolve their access networks from LTE-Advanced to 5G.

The Radisys MobilityEngine, which is an evolution of its CellEngine product line, is an open 5G RAN platform and services offering that supports LTE-Advanced network deployments and offers a path to 5G. More specifically, MobilityEngine is based on the 5G Technical Forum (TF) specification with a roadmap in place to support 5G New Radio (NR) Non Standalone (NSA) mode as well as 5G NR Standalone (SA) Mode for the delivery of new advanced services. The company said that by supporting early 5G network investments, it provides early adopters with a time-to-market advantage as they move to commercializing 5G services with the completion of the 3GPP 5G specification in 2018.

Some additional highlights

  • MobilityEngine’s LTE-Advanced and 5G mobile access solutions support multiple deployment scenarios, from supporting small cell deployments with thousands of users in a concentrated area to enabling virtualized RAN deployments running on general compute baseband units.
  • MobilityEngine supports emerging 5G services at the edge of the network and enables network slicing as part of a MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) architecture to enable new use cases, increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs. For example in an enterprise scenario, MobilityEngine could enable the local breakout of user data from the network edge to enable localized control and enhanced security, without having to support backhaul of the connections.
  • MobilityEngine can also be deployed in a CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) architecture as it disaggregates the access technology from the core network, supporting open standard APIs and the separation of software from the underlying hardware.

“Radisys has long been the recognized leader in delivering RAN solutions to meet mobile service providers’ evolving network requirements,” said Neeraj Patel, vice president and general manager, MobilityEngine, Radisys. “MobilityEngine is the evolution of our award-winning CellEngine portfolio. While CellEngine enabled mobile service providers’ small cell deployments for added network capacity and coverage, MobilityEngine delivers broader support for their access technology requirements in open architectures, while delivering much needed reductions in TCO. I am proud to introduce MobilityEngine to continue our rich heritage of delivering disruptive enabling technology solutions to power the 5G era.”

http://www.radisys.com/press-releases/radisys-advances-5g-service-delivery-innovation-mobilityengine

Silver Peak signs SD-WAN distribution deal with NEC Networks

Silver Peak announced a formal global distribution agreement with NEC Networks and System Integration Corporation (NESIC) covering its SD-WAN solutions in Japan and the broader global market. NESIC's global partner, NCR Group, will provide maintenance and support services throughout 180 countries.

The companies said NESIC will focus on enterprises embracing cloud-based services with 100 or more global offices, initially targeting the manufacturing, financial and services sector markets.

“To address the escalating demand for SD-WAN technologies from our local and global clients, we selected the most complete SD-WAN solution available, Silver Peak EdgeConnect,” said Yukinobu Noguchi, general manager, NEC Networks and System Integration Corporation. “With EdgeConnect, we can deliver turnkey integration services with comprehensive support, allowing our clients to confidently embrace cloud services, deliver predictable application performance and embark on a shift toward low-cost broadband connectivity.”

“We look forward to partnering with NESIC to bring the full power of EdgeConnect to our mutual enterprise clients in Japan and around the globe,” said Derek Dal Ponte, vice president, channels at Silver Peak. “With turnkey sales, service and support, NESIC is well positioned to address the immediate demand for SD-WAN and extend its leading systems integration services to a rapidly expanding client base.”

http://www.silver-peak.com

Equifax reports major cyber intrusion

Equifax, which is one of the three big consumer credit reporting agencies, suffered a major cybers intrusion between mid-May through July 2017 that potentially impacts some 143 million U.S. consumers.

The company said the attackers exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files, but not its core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases. Equifax said information stolen could include names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, the intruders accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.

“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident.”

https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

Altice USA awards multiyear deal to Amdocs

Altice USA awarded a multi-year agreement to Amdocs for key business and operational support systems. The arrangement will help accelerate the migration to a single Altice USA platform, simplify and modernize technology operations and provide a better experience to Altice USA customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Altice USA is one of the largest broadband communications and video service operators in the U.S. and the provider of Optimum and Suddenlink-branded internet, TV and phone services. The service provider is working to integrate its Cablevision and Suddenlink legacy business and operating systems and platforms. Amdocs will offer a hybrid solution combining architecture developed by Altice Labs as well as systems from Amdocs, enabling a simpler, more agile and efficient customer-centric system. The companies said the solution enables Altice USA to quickly and flexibly design and launch new innovative offerings and bundles, accelerate order orchestration and fulfillment over its existing fiber infrastructure and next generation fiber network, enable superior omni-channel customer service experience, and future-proof its systems to prepare for next-generation products and services.

"As we focus on the future needs of our customers, having a simple, flexible and efficient support system is a vital part of our strategy. By combining the technological strengths of Altice with the capabilities of Amdocs, we are creating a unique infrastructure that will enhance and unify the customer experience we offer in the U.S. as we launch new, innovative products and services for our customers. Amdocs is a valued, long-standing partner for Altice USA and we look forward to working together to create the backbone that will enable best-in-class connectivity solutions for years to come," said Hakim Boubazine, Co-President and Chief Operating Officer, Altice USA.

"Altice USA is a major powerhouse, delivering broadband, pay television, telephony services, Wi-Fi hotspot access, proprietary content and advertising services to residential and business customers. They are innovative and agile and focused on delivering on the promise of full convergence in this hyper-competitive market. We are delighted to partner with Altice in the U.S. on this industry-leading solution," said Eric Updyke, group president, Amdocs Services.

http://www.amdocs.com

Mavenir intros 5G Core Network and Cloud RAN solutions

Mavenir announced its 5G Core Network and Cloud RAN solutions designed to support high bandwidth, massive IoT connectivity and ultra-low latency applications.

The company said its 5G ready Cloud Native architecture is a fully virtualized, integrated service centric framework that is critical for highly granular scalability, elasticity, dynamic control, and orchestration for the entire network.

Mavenir’s 5G Core Network is designed for mobile communications systems with the functional capabilities to support high bandwidth, massive IoT connectivity and ultra-low latency applications. Highlights:

  • Cloud Native, fully virtualized, stateless architecture with a flexible End-to-End orchestration framework to suit varied CSP needs.
  • SDN-controlled 5GC with complete separation of both Control and User Plane framework that allows independent dynamic scaling of control and user plane elements with intelligent packet handling.

Mavenir’s Cloud RAN extends the virtualization to the edge of the network and provides strategic differentiation by enabling the Remote Radio Units (RRUs) to interwork with the virtualized Cloud Base Band Unit (vBBU) over ethernet Fronthaul (FH), overcoming the traditional constraints of Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI™) over fiber. Highlights:

  • With End-to-End network slicing support, flexibility for the vBBU and even the vEPC co-located for Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) – the solution can be tailored for unique service centric architectures, enriching user experience while addressing proximity specific deployments constraints.
  • Investment protection is achieved (e.g. 4G LTE to 5G NR) through remote-upgradable Software Defined Radio (SDR) capabilities.

“Mavenir is uniquely positioned to enable customers to evolve their networks and further the adoption of virtualization to maximize operational efficiency, network elasticity and Capex/Opex savings,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO of Mavenir. “Operators can literally get a 5G network, using their 4G expansion budgets, with Mavenir’s 5G Ready vBBU which can be used together with any RRU.”

http://www.mavenir.com

John Deere acquires Blue River Technology for AI

Deere & Company has acquired Blue River Technology, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California that is applying machine learning to agriculture. The deal was valued at $305 million.

Blue River is developing computer vision and machine learning technology that will enable growers to reduce the use of herbicides by spraying only where weeds are present, optimizing the use of inputs in farming – a key objective of precision agriculture.

"We welcome the opportunity to work with a Blue River Technology team that is highly skilled and intensely dedicated to rapidly advancing the implementation of machine learning in agriculture," said John May, President, Agricultural Solutions, and Chief Information Officer at Deere. "As a leader in precision agriculture, John Deere recognizes the importance of technology to our customers. Machine learning is an important capability for Deere's future."

"Blue River is advancing precision agriculture by moving farm management decisions from the field level to the plant level," said Jorge Heraud, co-founder and CEO of Blue River Technology. "We are using computer vision, robotics, and machine learning to help smart machines detect, identify, and make management decisions about every single plant in the field."

http://www.JohnDeere.com
http://www.BlueRiverTechnology.com

  • Investors in Blue River included Khosla Ventures, Pontifax ATech. Innovation Endeavors, and Data Collective Venture Capital.