Tuesday, September 12, 2017

VMware looks to the clouds – part 2

The first part of this article covered the launch of VMware Cloud on AWS, which as a reminder, is the new on-demand service being launched by VMware that runs of bare-metal AWS infrastructure, initially in the AWS US West (Oregon) region.  The service will be expanding worldwide next year, providing what perhaps could eventually become a default migration path for moving virtual machines (VMs) into public clouds. VMware certainly holds a strong position in enterprise data centers and Amazon Data Services continues to run ahead of its competitors in public clouds.

VMware Cloud on AWS is powered by VMware Cloud Foundation, which is the unified software-defined data center (SDDC) platform that integrates vSphere, VMware vSAN and VMware NSX virtualization technologies.

We've been tracking the rise of AWS for some time. As AWS gets bigger, it is almost as if the force of gravity is pulling in more data and applications into its data centers. Although VMware has designated AWS as its primary public cloud infrastructure partner, it is officially pursuing a multi-cloud strategy, where the presumption is that enterprises will continue to operate their own data centers for the foreseeable future while moving selected workloads, applications and data stores to multiple public clouds, one of which would be VMware Cloud on AWS.

Raghu Raghuram, chief operating officer, Products and Cloud Services, VMware, states: "Customers are accelerating digital transformation by deploying applications across clouds, with upwards of two-thirds of enterprises deploying applications on three or more clouds today," said Raghu Raghuram, chief operating officer, Products and Cloud Services, VMware. "VMware Cloud brings a consistent operating model, enterprise control, and investment protection for IT resources and skillsets to a multi-cloud world."

VMware's big picture slide shows vision


Many partners are stepping forward at this week's VMworld show in Las Vegas to join this vision. We profiled some of them in the first part of this article. But could it be that all this activity really benefits just one player in the end? Will this new workload mobility benefit AWS above all?
VMware’s auxiliary offerings

While the AWS provides the bare-metal infrastructure (and integration with its broad cloud services), the VMware Cloud Foundation has many other hooks to keep the customers on platform even once their workloads are in an AWS data center.  These include:

  • VMware AppDefense: a data center endpoint security solution that protects applications by embedding application control, and threat detection and response capabilities into the VMware vSphere-based environments on which applications and data live. By leveraging vSphere, AppDefense gains a deep understanding of the intended state and behavior of the applications running on virtual machines and can detect and respond to unauthorized changes
  • VMware Cost Insight: a cost monitoring and optimization service for public and private clouds that helps IT analyze cloud spend, find savings opportunities, and communicate the cost of services to the business.
  • VMware Discovery: an automated inventory service that improves cloud visibility and tames shadow IT by bringing together inventory information and cloud accounts from multiple clouds, making it easy for IT to search for and identify workloads deployed from their enterprise. Using native cloud tags and properties that have been identified, customers can group cloud resources even if they span across multiple clouds. 
  • VMware Network Insight: a network and security analysis service offering purpose-built for public clouds and software-defined data centers. Network Insight provides comprehensive network visibility and granular understanding of traffic flows to enable cloud security planning and network troubleshooting.
  • VMware NSX Cloud: a service that provides consistent networking and security for applications running in multiple private and public clouds, via a single management console and common API. Micro-segmentation security policy is defined once and applied to application workloads running anywhere -- in cloud virtual networks, regions, availability zones -- and across multiple clouds.  Overlay networking enables more precise control over topologies, traffic flows, IP addressing, and protocols used in public clouds. 
  • Wavefront by VMware: a metrics monitoring and analytics platform that handles the high-scale requirements of modern cloud-native applications. Wavefront by VMware's speed, scale, and flexibility empowers DevOps, and developer teams with instant insight into the performance of highly-distributed cloud-native services. Wavefront by VMware's analytics, query-driven alerts, interactive visualizations, open API, and integrations, all powered by a scalable time-series database, deliver "first pane of glass" visibility to help DevOps teams detect performance anomalies while enabling high availability of key cloud services. 


Rackspace seeks an edge 

Rackspace is jumping into the VMware Cloud on AWS game too, announcing plans to participate in VMware's Managed Service Provider (MSP) program early next year. This is a tricky game for Rackspace. At first blush, we wonder what strategic advantage Rackspace would have in helping customers move workloads into somebody else's data center, especially those of Amazon Web Services. Rackspace already runs one of the largest vSphere footprints in the world.

Some might say that once a workload has been moved out of your house and into the arms of AWS it may never come back. Maybe that's a risk that Rackspace, and all others announcing support for VMware Cloud on AWS, will have to take. However, Rackspace is a Premier Consulting Partner for AWS, so maybe this strategic choice was made some time ago.

Rackspace said it can bring its own spirit of "fanatical support" to mutual customers seeking a multi-cloud choice. Their idea is to let customers run their VMware workloads out of the data center and in the best-fit location, whether in Rackspace datacenters or VMware Cloud on AWS. What can it offer? Rackspace's value-add be in providing architecture, provisioning and management guidance. In the long term, even with fanatical support, will it be enough to retain the customers?

Peter FitzGibbon, vice president and general manager of VMware at Rackspace states "Operating across multiple cloud deployments is relatively new to many organizations, however, and some mutual customers will want support to operate VMware Cloud on AWS effectively. As a leading VMware Cloud Provider Partner and a Premier Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network, Rackspace is uniquely positioned to provide multi-cloud expertise and identify customer needs."

CoreSite provides a performance on-ramp

CoreSite is working with Faction, an enterprise-class private cloud and backup infrastructure provider, to deliver expanded multi-cloud service offerings
in both the Northern Virginia and Silicon Valley markets. Specifically, Faction will leverage connectivity to the CoreSite Open Cloud Exchange to deliver high-performance VMware based clouds with Administrator-level access to VMware vCenter that offers unprecedented control, flexibility, and integration capabilities for hybrid & multi-cloud deployments. Faction is launching a multi-cloud NetApp storage solution and Managed VMware on AWS offering. CoseSite's data centers enable the low-latency cloud on-ramps.

In the northern Virginia market, CoreSite operates three highly scalable data centers - one in Washington, D.C. and two on its Reston, VA campus (VA1 and VA2). CoreSite recently announced the expansion of both its Reston and Washington, D.C. campuses, all of which will now total over 1,097,000 square feet of colocation data center space upon full build out.

In Silicon Valley, CoreSite operates seven operational data centers, providing colocation solutions to one of the largest concentrations of Internet and technology companies in the world. These data centers connect more than 185 international and national carriers, social media companies, cloud computing providers, media and entertainment firms, and enterprise customers.

CloudVelox helps speed the migration to VMware Cloud on AWS

CloudVelox, which develops cloud automation and orchestration software for clouds and data centers, introduced its new One Hybrid Cloud software for "workload portability" for customers of VMware Cloud on AWS.

The CloudVelox mission is to provide the flexibility to shift workloads in and out of data centers and clouds without fear of being locked into a single destination environment (cloud or data center). The CloudVelox software can automate the mapping of compute, storage, network and security characteristics of a workload from a source environment to matching infrastructure services in the destination cloud or datacenter. It can be used to migrate workloads from any source to data center environments including between data centers (DC to DC), rack to rack (intra-datacenter) as well as migrate or repatriate workloads from the cloud to the data center (Cloud to DC). This allows users to migrate physical, virtual, or cloud workloads into a VMware virtualized data center, AWS Cloud, AWS GovCloud, or VMware Cloud on AWS.

"VMware Cloud on AWS provides customers a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud offering that gives customers the SDDC experience from the leader in private cloud, running on the leading public cloud provider, AWS," said Mark Lohmeyer, vice president, products, Cloud Platforms Business Unit, VMware. "Solutions such as One Hybrid Cloud™ enable IT teams to reduce cost, increase efficiency, and create operational consistency across cloud environments. We're excited to work with partners such as CloudVelox to enhance native VMware Cloud on AWS capabilities and empower customers with flexibility and choice in solutions that can drive business value."

U.S. Army awards $135M cloud service contract to IBM

The U.S. Army’s Logistics Support Activity (LOGSA) awarded IBM a 33-month contract valued at $135 million to continue providing cloud services, software development and cognitive computing. This constitutesthe technical infrastructure for one of the U.S. federal government’s biggest logistics systems.

IBM has been working with LOGSA since 2012 under a managed services agreement whereby the Army pays only for cloud services that it actually consumes. The new contract will allow the Army to avoid about $15 million per year in operational costs.

As part of this new contract, the Army will also benefit from the IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing and Industrial Products product suite, which includes IBM Predictive Maintenance and Quality System, an integrated solution that monitors, analyzes, and reports on information gathered from devices and equipment and recommends maintenance procedures. IBM said this will help the Army predict vehicle maintenance failures from more than 5 billion data points of on-board sensors that will be stored within this environment. In addition, the Army is adopting Watson IoT services and a new Watson IoT Equipment Advisor solution that analyzes unstructured, structured and sensor data directly from military assets.

“LOGSA and the Army can now take advantage of the technological innovation that cloud offers – especially cognitive computing and analytics – so that the Army can continue to reap cost savings, further streamline its operations and deliver services to its clients,” said Lisa Mascolo, managing director, U.S. Public Service, IBM’s Global Business Services.  “We're pleased to continue our work with the Army to demonstrate the viability of cloud for mission applications and the promised benefits of efficiency and taxpayer savings."

"Over the past four and a half years, LOGSA has benefitted from the business and technical advantages of the cloud,” said LOGSA Commander Col. John D. Kuenzli. “Now, we’re moving beyond infrastructure as-a-service and embracing both platform and software as-a service, adopting commercial cloud capabilities to further enhance Army readiness.”
“When Gen. Perna took command of the Army Materiel Command, he said we cannot conduct tomorrow's operations using yesterday's processes and procedures,” Kuenzli added. “He has since emphasized understanding the leading indicators to readiness, and getting in front of the Army's logistics challenges. The services we have received from IBM and the potential of IBM Watson IoT truly enable LOGSA to deliver cutting-edge business intelligence and tools to give the Army unprecedented logistics support at efficient and affordable means.”

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/53088.wss

Sequans gains AT&T certification for LTE Cat 1 module

Sequans Communications' LTE Cat 1 module has been certified to operate on AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

The all-in-one LTE for IoT module is based on Sequans’ Calliope LTE Cat 1 Platform and includes memory, power management and a complete RF front-end for AT&T’s LTE bands, all in a single, affordable, compact, surface-mount package.

http://www.sequans.com

Huawei picks Xilinx FPGAs for Accelerated Cloud Server

Huawei has selected Xilinx Virtex UltraScale+ FPGAs to power their first FP1 instance as part of a new accelerated cloud service. The Huawei FPGA Accelerated Cloud Server (FACS) is a platform that enables users to develop, deploy and publish new FPGA-based services and applications on Huawei Public Cloud.

Xilinx said its FPGAs can provide a 10-50x speed-up for compute intensive cloud applications such as machine learning, data analytics, and video processing.  Xilinx FPGAs can be reconfigured in less than a second to a different design that is hardware optimized for its next workload.

"The Huawei FACS is a fully integrated hardware and software platform offering developer-to-deployment support with best-in-class industry tool chains and access to Huawei's significant FPGA engineering expertise," said Steve Langridge, Director, Central Hardware Institute, Huawei Canada Research Center.

The FPGA Accelerated Cloud Server now available on the Huawei Public Cloud.

http://www.hwclouds.com/product/fcs.html
http://www.huaweicloud.com

Ericsson appoints Heuveldop as Head of Market Area North America

Ericsson has appointed Niklas Heuveldop to be Head of Market Area North America.

In addition to his current role as Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Technology & Emerging Business, he has also been Acting Head of Market Area North America since May 2017. He will now, on a permanent basis, lead the organization of approximately 11,500 employees in serving Ericsson’s customers in the United States and Canada.

Ericsson in North America is currently headquartered in Plano, Texas and has 31 office sites in the US and Canada, including major research hubs in Montreal. In Q2 2017, sales in North America were SEK 12.5 b.

http://www.ericsson.com

Sprint Names Ivo Rook Senior VP of IoT

Sprint appointed Ivo Rook to the newly created position of senior vice president of IoT, where he will lead and build Sprint’s IoT business. He will also serve as a strategic advisor to Sprint and Softbank.

Rook has spent his last seven years at Vodafone, most recently chief executive officer for Vodafone’s IoT Business, which has $1B in revenue, 50m connections and 1,400 employees spanning 30 countries. In that role, he led Vodafone’s IoT strategy, driving its growth, products, operations and profit and loss globally. He also held positions at Vodafone Global Enterprise as director of Northern Europe and director of Germany and Central Europe.

http://www.sprint.com

Monday, September 11, 2017

AT&T Tests Single Wavelength 400G Ethernet

AT&T completed testing a single-wavelength 400 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) circuit across its production network.

The multi-step trial used open-sourced white boxes to act as network equipment. AT&T said this aligns with its move toward an open, software-centric network.

“Introducing 400 GbE is a natural next step. Customer demands have shifted to faster speeds, more video-centric content and cloud integration,” said Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer, AT&T Business.

“This industry-first also aligns with our shift toward an open and software-centric network. Utilizing open-source controller technology, the end-to-end service transported across the AT&T OpenROADM metro network – using optical gear from Ciena, a developer of next-generation coherent optical solutions – provides further flexibility and cost-effective services for customers. Prior to this successful trial, all other field demonstrations have required multiple wavelengths to create a 400 GbE connection."

http://www.att.com

In October 2016, AT&T announced plans to conduct 400 Gigabit Ethernet testing in 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: Will use optical gear from Coriant to carry a true 400GbE service across a long-distance span of AT&T global backbone from New York to Washington, demonstrating that AT&T’s nationwide software-centric network is 400G-ready.
  • Phase 2: Will trial a 400GbE on a single 400G wavelength across AT&T’s OpenROADM metro network. We’ll use optical gear from Ciena, a developer of next-generation coherent optical solutions, to show the network is ready to transport 400GbE to serve our customers in a metro area.
  • Phase 3: Will test the first instance of a 400GbE open router platform. The “disaggregated router” platform uses merchant silicon and open source software – another industry first.

FCC: Cell Site Outages Continue in Florida and Puerto Rico

As of September 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT, 27.4% of the cell sites in the disaster area in Florida are out of service. According to the FCC's latest status report, 50% or more of cell sites are out of service in the following Florida counties: Collier, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Monroe.

In Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands, 21.5% of cell sites are offline (an improvement from from 26.9% on Sunday).

In addition, there are at least 7,597,945 cable system or wireline subscribers in Florida out of serviceThere are a total of 390 non-mobile switching centers out in Florida.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0911/DOC-346655A1.pdf

Nokia expands private wireless portfolio for licensed/unlicensed

Nokia announced the expansion of its private wireless portfolio to support multiple access technologies using licensed and unlicensed spectrum. The expansion includes new small cells, Wi-Fi connectivity, multi-access edge computing and cloud packet core capabilities.

Small cells: new features on the industry-first Nokia Flexi Zone Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS) small cells will allow companies in the United States to leverage 3.5 GHz CBRS shared spectrum as it becomes available. These features offer compatibility with Spectrum Access Servers, which monitor and assign usage of available CBRS shared spectrum to ensure enterprises are using available spectrum in compliance with FCC regulations.

Vrtualized Multi-access Edge Computing: a new solution makes it possible for enterprises to run MEC over commercial off-the-shelf IT servers, easing integration with existing IT infrastructure in the process. MEC processes data closer to where it is generated, ensuring the network delivers the guaranteed low latency required by business-critical enterprise applications and for an interactive user experience in busy venues. By processing data locally, MEC applications can also significantly reduce data transfer costs. Virtualized MEC will allow operators to deliver private LTE networks to enterprises over their 4G network. Alternatively, the virtualized MEC is complemented by a range of Nokia virtual core solutions, providing greater flexibility for enterprises in the way they manage their own networks.

Wi-Fi:  will continue to support non-critical office applications and Nokia is also offering companies greater flexibility in Wi-Fi performance and coverage with a new, compact, cost-efficient outdoor AirScale Wi-Fi Access Point .

Enhanced multi-access Cloud Packet Core with a Hybrid Access Gateway capability: this enables private enterprises, such as mining, oil and gas and other industries that operate private wireless networks, to seamlessly integrate multiple access technologies including licensed and unlicensed wireless, fixed and satellite, to deliver increased capacity and resilience and to extend mission-critical and collaborative services and applications to the required locations.

"We want to support the evolution toward the fourth industrial revolution by giving companies the ability to leverage private wireless networks for their critical communications needs and rapidly ramp-up business applications that improve efficiency. We continue to evolve our end-to-end solutions and services to allow enterprises to transition towards digitalization in a smooth and cost-efficient way in preparation for 5G automation in the future," Thorsten Robrecht, Head of Advanced Mobile Networks Solutions at Nokia.

http://www.nokia.com

Nokia launches cloud-based portal of its AirGile core products

Nokia is launching a new cloud-based portal to enable the development of compelling digital applications using Nokia AirGile cloud-native core products.

Nokia AirGile cloud-native core is the new name for the company's expanding portfolio of products that allow operators to implement the agility, scalabilty, programmability and reliability of the cloud into their networks. The AirGile cloud-native core portfolio comprises:

  • Nokia Shared Data Layer
  • Nokia Cloud Packet Core
  • Nokia VoLTE core, including the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS ) and Telecom Application Server (TAS)
  • Nokia Session Border Controller (SBC) and Dynamic Diameter Engine (DDE)
  • Nokia Revenue Management , including Policy and Charging capabilities
  • Nokia CloudBand

The Developer Portal will be made available at the end of September.

Nokia is also making the Shared Data Layer available on the Developer Portal. Using APIs, developers will be able to securely use information such as policy, charging and subscription data, in line with country regulations and customer permission, to develop and test location-based, big data analytics and network diagnostic applications.

Michael Clever, Head of the Cloud Core business at Nokia, said: "By applying the capabilities of our AirGile cloud-native core portfolio to the Developer Portal and Open Ecosystem Network, we can bring a host of market players together to dynamically develop compelling applications that the market has a real need for. Ultimately the communities will develop and grow a suite of tools and services that will enable the next generation of communications."

http://www.nokia.com

Radisys Shows Multi-Access CORD and Extensible RAN

Radisys will be showcasing the first Multi-Access Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (Multi-Access CORD) proof-of-concept and an Extensible RAN (xRAN) PoC at this week's MWC Americas in San Francisco.

CORD is an open architecture platform that leverages data center efficiencies for the delivery of mobile, residential and enterprise services. The initiative was initially developed by ON.Lab as a use case for the ONOS open source SDN operating system, and is now managed as an independent open source project under The Linux Foundation.

Radisys said its two new use cases, both running on its DCEngine open hardware, enable Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to optimize resources in a CORD environment, allowing for rapid roll-out of new services with a better return on investment. Radisys’ Multi-Access CORD use case demonstration proves that since the flexible CORD architecture is agnostic to the access technologies, CSPs can leverage the same CORD data center for both wireline and wireless access. CSPs can thereby deliver a higher quality experience to their subscribers with one open architecture, while reducing network complexity and costs. Radisys’ xRAN use case demonstration allows CSPs to optimize scarce over-the-air resources leveraging real-time data analytics of network conditions. This software-based approach to RAN reduces complexity, OpEx and CapEx, while allowing CSPs to respond real-time to user needs and rapidly roll-out new services.

“The CORD reference architecture meets CSP requirements for next-gen service delivery, while at the same time freeing them from vendor-locked solutions,” said Bryan Sadowski, vice president, FlowEngine and DCEngine, Radisys. “Radisys, in collaboration with the ONF, is making the CORD architecture accessible to CSPs for deployment with these innovative proof-of-concepts as the first step toward Central Office transformation.”

http://www.radisys.com

Video: MEF – Reinventing Network Transformation

Michael Strople, Chairman, MEF and Zayo, President Enterprise Networks highlights MEF’s role in driving industry transformation as a key motivation for being part of the MEF community.

See video: https://youtu.be/jXAF_WPoCmw






Liberty Global deploys Juniper's NFV

Liberty Global, the world's largest international TV and broadband company, has deployed Juniper Networks vMX as a virtual route reflector in its network footprint.

Juniper's vMX is a carrier-grade virtualized MX Series Universal Edge Router that runs as licensed software on x86-based servers, providing an NFV-based approach to building cloud-grade networks.

Juniper said implementing the vMX as a virtual route reflector provides efficient cost-effective control plane scale and performance and easily addresses future growth by simply spinning up new virtual reflectors on-demand. Virtual route reflection provides efficient scale in large border gateway protocol (BGP) networks, helping Liberty Global streamline operations and reduce total cost of ownership.

Liberty Global is an existing Juniper Networks customer and deploys Juniper's high-performance routing, switching and security solutions at various locations in their network.

"Virtualization solutions streamline our infrastructure, our operations environment and our global business outcomes. While our first NFV deployment is for virtual route reflection, we are also evaluating the vMX to rapidly add network capacity and new customers. The ability to leverage a broad set of virtual routing capabilities is very important to Liberty Global as it will enable agile service innovation and increased operational efficiency," stated Andy Grotzke, vice president, core network strategy & engineering at Liberty Global.

http://www.juniper.net

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