Monday, May 28, 2018

Start-up profile: Rancher Labs, building container orchestration on Kubernetes

Rancher Labs is a start-up based in Cupertino, California that offers a container management platform that has racked up over four million downloads. The company recently released a major update for its container management system. Recently, I sat down with company co-founders Sheng Liang (CEO) and Shannon Williams (VP of Sales) to talk about Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration system that was originally developed by Google. Kubernetes was initially released in 2014, about the time that Rancher Labs was getting underway.

Jim Carroll, OND: So where does Kubernetes stand today?

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: Kubernetes has come a long way. When we started three years ago, Kubernetes was also just getting started. It had a lot of promise, but people were talking about orchestration wars and stuff. Kubernetes had not yet won but more importantly, it wasn't really useful.  In the early days, we couldn't even bring ourselves to say that we were going to focus exclusively on Kubernetes. It was not that we did not believe in Kubernetes, but it just didn't work for a lot of users. Kubernetes was almost seen as an end unto itself. Even standing up Kubernetes was such a challenge back then that just getting it to run became an end goal.  A lot of people in those days were experimenting with it, and the goal was simply to prove - hey- you've got a Kubernetes cluster.  Success was to get a few simple apps.  And its come a long way in 3 years.


A lot of things have changed. First, Kubernetes is now really established as the de facto container orchestration platform. We used to support Mesosphere, we used to support Swarm, and we used to build our own container orchestrations platform, which we called Cattle. We stopped doing all of that to focus entirely on Kubernetes. Luckily, the way we developed Cattle was closely modeled on Kubernetes, sort of an easy-to-use version of Kubernetes. So we were able to bring a lot our experience to run on top of Kubernetes. And now it turns out that we don't have to support all of those other frameworks. Kubernetes has settled that. It is now a common tool that everyone can use.

JC: The Big Three cloud companies are now fully behind Kubernetes, right?

Sheng Liang: Right. I think that for the longest time a lot of vendors were looking for opportunities to install and run Kubernetes. That kept us alive for a while. Some of the early Kubernetes deals that we closed were about installing Kubernetes.  These projects then turned to operation contracts because people thought they were going to need to help with upgrading or just maintaining the health of the cluster. This got blown out of the water last year when all of the big cloud providers started to offer Kubernetes as a service.

If you are on the cloud already, there is really no reason to stand up your own Kubernetes cluster.

Well, we're really not quite there yet, even though Amazon announced EKS in November, it is not even GA yet. It is still in closed beta status, but later this year Kubernetes as a service should become a commercial reality. And there are other benefits too.

I'm not sure about Amazon, but both Google and Microsoft  have decided to not charge for the management plane, so whatever resource you use to run the database, and the control plane nodes, you don't really pay for, I guess they must have a very efficient way of running it on some shared infrastructure. That's what I suspect. This allows them to amortize that cost on what they charge for the worker nodes.

The way people set up Kubernetes clusters in the early days was actually very wasteful. Like you would use three nodes for ECD and you would use two nodes for the control plane and then when setting it up people would throw in two more nodes for workers. So, they were using five nodes to manage two nodes, while paying for seven.

With cloud services, you don't have to do that. I think this makes Kubernetes table stakes. It is not just limited to the cloud.  I think it's really wherever you can get infrastructure. Enterprise customers, for instance, are still getting infrastructure from VMware. Or they get it from Nutanix.

All of the cloud companies have announced, or will shortly announce, support for Kubernetes out of the box. Kubernetes then will equate to infrastructure, just like virtual machines, or virtual SANS.

JC: So, how is Kubernetes actually being used now? Is it a one-way bridge or a two-way bridge for moving workloads? Are people actually moving workloads on a consistent basis, or it basically a one-time move to a new server or cloud?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Portability is actually less important than other features. It may be the sexy part of Kubernetes to say that you can move clusters of containers. The reality is that Kubernetes is just a really good way to run containers reliably.

The vast majority of people who are running containers are not using Kubernetes for the purpose of moving containers between clouds.  The vast majority of people running Kubernetes are doing so because it is more reliable than running containers directly on VMs. It is easier to use Kubernetes from an operational perspective. It is easier from a development perspective. It is easier from a testing perspective. So if you think of the value prop that Kubernetes represents, it comes down to faster development cycles, better operations. The portability is kind of the cherry on top of the Sundae.

It is interesting that people are excited about the portability enabled by Kubernetes, and I think it will become really important over the long term, but it is just as important that I can run it on my laptop as that I can run it on one Kubernetes cluster versus another.

Sheng Liang: I think that is a very important point. The vast major of the accounts we are familiar with run Kubernetes at just one place. That really tells you something about the power of Kubernetes. The fact that people are using this at just one place really tells you that portability is not the primary motivator.  The primary benefit is that Kubernetes is really a rock-solid way to run containers.

JC: What is the reason that Kubernetes is not being used so much for portability today? Is the use case weak for container transport? I would guess that a lot of companies would want to move jobs up to the cloud and back again.

Sheng Liang:  I just don't think that portability is the No.1 requirement for companies using containers today. Procurement teams are excited about this capability but operations people just don't need it right now.

Shannon Williams: From the procurement side, knowing that your containers could be moved to another cloud gives you the assurance that you won't be locked in.

But portability in itself is a complex problem. Even Kubernetes does not solve all the issues of porting an application from one system to another. For instance, I may be running Kubernetes on AWS but I may also be running an Amazon Relational Database (RDS) service as well.  Kubernetes is not going to magically support both of these in migrating to another cloud. There is going to be work required. I think we are still a ways away from ubiquitous computing but we are heading into a world where Kubernetes is how you run containers and containers are going to be the way that all microservices and next-gen applications are built. It may even be how I run my legacy applications. So, having Kubernetes everywhere means that the engineers can quickly understand all of these different infrastructure platforms without having to go through a heavy learning curve. With Kubernetes they will have already learned how to run containers reliably wherever it happens to be running.

JC: So how are people using Kubernetes? Where are the big use cases?

Shannon Williams: I think with Kubernetes we are seeing the same adoption pattern as with Amazon. The initial consumers of Kubernetes were people who were building early containerized applications, predominantly microservices, cloud-native Web apps, mobile apps, gaming, etc. One of the first good use cases was Pokemon Go. It needed massively-scalable systems and ran on Google Cloud. It needed to have systems that could handle rapid upgrades and changes. The adoption of Kubernetes moved from there to more traditional Web applications, to the more traditional applications.

Every business is trying to adopt an innovative stance with their IT department.  We have a bunch of insurance companies as customers. We have media companies as customers. We have many government agencies as customers, such as the USDA -- they run containers to be able to deliver websites. They have lots of constituencies that they need to build durable web services for.  These have to run consistently. Kubernetes and containers give them a lot of HA (high availability).

A year or so ago we were in Phase 0 with this movement. Now I would say we are entering Phase 1 with many new use cases. Any organization that is forward-looking in their IT strategy is probably adopting containers and Kubernetes. This is the best architecture for building applications.

JC: Is there physical limit to how far you can scale with Kubernetes?

Shannon Williams:  It is pretty darn big. You're talking about spanning maybe 5,000 servers.

Sheng Liang: I don't think there is a theoretical limit to how big you can go, but in practice, there is a database that eventually will bottleneck. The might be the limiting factor.

 I think some deployments have hit 5,000 nodes and each node these days could actually be a one terabyte machine. So that is actually a lot of resources. I think it could be made bigger, but so far that seems to be enough.

Shannon Williams: The pressure to hit that maximum size of 5,000 nodes or more in a cluster really is not applicable to the vast majority of the market.

Sheng Liang: And you could always manage multiple clusters with load balancing. It is probably not a good practice anyway to put everything in one superbig cluster.

Generally, we are not seeing people create huge clusters across multiple data centers or multiple regions.

Shannon Williams: In fact, I would say that we are seeing the trend move in the opposite direction.  Which is that the number of clusters in an organization is increasing faster than the size of any one cluster. What we see is any application that is running probably has at least two clusters available  -- one for testing and one for production.  There are often many divisions inside a company that push this requirement forward. For instance, a large media company has more than 150 Kubernetes clusters -- all deployed by different employees in different regions and often running different versions of their software. The even have multiple cloud providers. I think we are heading in that direction, rather than one massive Kubernetes cluster to rule them all.

Sheng Liang:  This is not what some of the web companies initially envisioned for Kubernetes.  When Google originally developed Kubernetes, they were used to the model where you have a very big pool of resources with bare metal servers. Their challenge was how to schedule all the workloads inside of that pool. When enterprises started adopting Kubernetes, one thing that immediately changed was that they really don't have the operational maturity to put all their eggs in one basket and make that really resilient. Second, because all of them were using some form of virtualization. They were either using VMware or they were using a cloud, so essentially the cost of making small clusters come down. There is not a lot of overhead. You can have a lot of clusters without having to dedicate the whole server into these clusters.

JC: Is there an opportunity then for the infrastructure provider, or the cloud provider, to add their own special sauce on top of Kubernetes?

Sheng Liang:  The cloud guys are all starting to do that. Over time, I think they will do more. Today is still early. Amazon, for instance, has not yet commercially launched the service to the public. And Digital Ocean just announced it. But Google has been offering Kubernetes as a service for three years. Microsoft has been doing it for probably over a year. If you look at Google's Kubernetes service, which is probably the most advanced, now includes more management dashboards and UIs, but nothing really fancy yet.

What I would expect them to do -- and this would be really great from my perspective -- is to bring their entire service suite, including their databases, AI and ML capabilities, and make them available inside of Kubernetes.

Shannon Williams: Yeah, they will want to integrate their entire cloud ecosystems. That's one of the appealing things about cloud providers offering Kubernetes -- there will be some level of standardization but they will have the opportunity to differentiate for local requirements and flavors.

That kind of leads to the challenge we are addressing.

There are three big things that most organizations face (1) you want to be able to run Kubernetes on-prem.  Some teams may run it on VMware, some may wish to run in on bare metal. They would like to be able to run it on-prem in a way that is reliable, consistent and supported. For IT groups, there is a growing requirement of offer Kubernetes as a service in the same way they offer VMs. To do so, they must standardize Kubernetes. (2) There is another desire to manage all of these clusters in a way that complies with your organization's policies. There will be questions like "how do I manage multiple clusters in a centralized way even if some are on-prem and some are in the cloud?"  This is a distro-level problem for Kubernetes. (3) Then there is a compliance and security concern with how to configure Kubernetes to enforce all of my access control policies, security policies, monitoring policies, etc.  Those are the challenges that we are taking on with Rancher 2.0

Jim Carroll, OND: Where does Rancher Labs fit in?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: The challenge we are taking on is how to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters, including how to manage users and policies across multiple clusters in an organization.

Kubernetes is now available as a supported, enterprise-grade service for anybody in your company. At this scale, Kubernetes really becomes appealing to organizations as a standardization approach, not just so that workloads can easily move between places but so that workloads can be deployed to lots of places.  For instance, I might want some workloads to run on Alibaba Cloud for a project we are doing in China, or I might want to run some workloads on T-Systems's cloud for a project in Germany, where I have to comply with the new data privacy laws. I can now do those things with Kubernetes without having to understand the specific cloud parameters, benefits or limitations of any specific cloud. Kubernetes normalizes this experience. Rancher Labs makes it happen in a consistent way. That is a large part of what we are working on at Rancher Labs -- consistent distribution and consistent management of any cluster. We will manage the lifecycle of Amazon Kubernetes or Google Kubernetes, our Kubernetes, or new Kubernetes coming out of a dev lab.

JC: So the goal is to have the Rancher Labs experience running both on-prem and in the public cloud?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs:: Exactly. So think about it like this. We have a distro of Kubernetes and we can use it to implement Kubernetes for you on bare metal, or on VMware, or in the cloud, if you prefer, so you can build exactly the version of Kubernetes that suits you. That is the first piece of value -- we'll give you Kubernetes wherever you need it. The second piece is that we will manage all of the Kubernetes clusters for you, including where you requested Kubernetes from Amazon or Google. You have the options of consuming from the cloud as you wish or staying on-prem. There is one other piece that we are working on. It is one thing to provide this normalized service. The additional layer is about engaging users.

What you are seeing with Kubernetes is similar to the cloud. Early adopters move in quickly and have no hesitancy in consuming it -- but.they represent maybe 1% or 2% of the users.The challenge for the IT department is to make this preferred way to deliver resources. At this point, you want to encourage adoption and that means developing a positive experience.

JC: Is your goal to have all app developers aware of the Kubernetes layer? Or is Kubernetes management really the responsibility of the IT managers who thus far are also responsible for running the network, running the storage, running the firewalls..?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Great question, because Kubernetes is actually part of the infrastructure, but it is also part of the application resiliency layer. It deals with how an application handles a physical infrastructure failure, for example. Do I spin up another container? Do I wait to let a user decide what to do? How do I connect these parts of an application and how do I manage the secrets that are deployed around it? How do I perform system monitoring and alerting of application status? Kubernetes is blurring the line.

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: It is not really something the coders will be interested in. The interest in Kubernetes starts with DevOps and stops just before you get to storage and networking infrastructure management.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Kubernetes is becoming of interest to system architects -- the people who are designing how an application is going to be delivered. They are very aware that the app is going to be containerized and running in the cloud. The cloud-native architecture is pulling in developers. So I think it is a little more blurred than whether or not coders get to this level.

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: For instance, the Netflix guys used to talk a lot about how they developed applications. Most developers don't spend a lot of time worrying about how their applications are running. They have to spend most of their time worrying about the outcome. But they are highly aware of the architecture. Kubernetes is well regarded as the best way to develop such applications. Scalable, Resilient, Secure -- those are what's driving the acceptance of Kubernetes.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs:  I would add one more to the list -- quick to improve. There is a continuous pace of improvement with Kubernetes. I saw a great quote about containerization from a CIO, who said "I don't care about Docker or any other containers or Kubernetes. All I care about is continuous delivery. I care that we can improve our application continuously and it so happens that containers give us the best way to do that." The point is -- get more applications to your users in a safe, secure, and scalable process.

The Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aims to build next-generation systems that are more reliable, more secure, more scalable and Kubernetes is a big part of this effort.  That's why I've said the value of workload portability is often exaggerated.

Jim Carroll, OND:  Tell me about the Rancher Labs value proposition.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Our value proposition is centered on the idea that Kubernetes will become the common platform for cloud-native architecture. It is going to be really important for organizations to deliver that as a service reliably. It going to be really important for them to understand how to secure that and how to enforce company policies. Mostly, it will enable people to run their applications in a standardized way. That's our focus.

As an open source software company that means we build the tooling that thousands of companies are going to use to adopt Kubernetes. Rancher has 10,000 organizations using our platform today with our version 1.0 product. I expect our version 2.0 product to be even more popular because it is built around this exploding market for Kubernetes.

JC:  What is the customer profile? When does it make sense to go from Kubernetes to Kubernetes plus Rancher?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Anywhere where Kubernetes and containers are being adopted, really.  Our customers talk about the D-K-R stack:  Docker- Kubernetes-Rancher.

JC: Is there a particular threshold or requirement that drives the need for Rancher?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs:: Rancher is often something that users discover early in their exploration of Docker or Kubernetes.  Once they have a cluster deployed, they start to wonder how they are going to manage it on an on-going basis. This often occurs right at the beginning of a container deployment program - day 1, day 2 or day 3.

Like any other open source software companies, users can download our software for free. The point when a Rancher user becomes a Rancher customer usually happens when the deployment has moved to a mission-critical level.  When their business actually runs on the Kubernetes cluster, that's when we are asked to step in to provide support. We end up establishing a business relationship to support them with everything we build.

JC: And how does the business model work in a world of open source, container management? 

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Customers purchase support subscriptions on an annual basis.

JC: Are you charging based on the number of clusters or nodes? 

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Yes, based on the number or clusters and hosts. A team that is running their critical business systems on Kubernetes will get a lot of benefits in knowing that everything from the lowest level up, including the container runtime, the Kubernetes engine, the management platform, logging, monitoring  -- we provide that unified support.

JC: Does support mean that you actually run the clusters on behalf of the clients? 

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Well, no, they're running it on their systems or in the cloud. Like other open source software developers, we can provide incident response for issues like "why is this running differently in Amazon than on-prem?" We also provide training for their teams and collaboration on the technology evolution.

JC: What about the company itself. What are the big milestones for Rancher Labs?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: We're growing really fast and now have about 85 employees around the world. We have offices around the world, including in Australia, Japan, the UK and are expanding. We have about 170 customer accounts worldwide. We have over 10,000 organizations using the product and over 4 million downloads to date.  The big goals are rolling out Version 2.0, which is now in commercial release, and driving adoption of Kubernetes across the board. We're hoping to get lots of feedback as version 2.0 gets rolled out. So much of the opportunity now concerns the workload management layer.  How do we make it easier for customers to deploy containerized applications? How can we smoothe the rollout of containerized databases in a Kubernetes world? How do we solve the storage portability challenge? There are enormous opportunities to innovate in these areas. It is really exciting.

JC: What is needed to scale your company to the next level?

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: Right now we are in a good spot. We benefit from the magic of open source. We were able to grow this fast just on our Series B funding round because thousands of people downloaded our software and loved it. This has given us inroads with companies that often are the biggest in their industries. Lot's of the Fortune 500 are now using Rancher to run critical business functions for their teams. We get to work with the most innovative parts of most organizations.

Sheng Liang, Rancher Labs: There is a lot of excitement. We just have to make sure that we keep our quality high and that we make our customers successful. I feel the market is still in its early days. There is a lot more work to make Kubernetes really the next big thing.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs: We're still a tiny minority inside of IT. It will be a ten-year journey but the pieces are coming together.


Telefónica to bundle Netflix in Europe and Latin America

Telefónica has agreed to offer Netflix service in Europe and Latin America.

Market launch in Latin American countries is expected in the next few weeks. The launch is Spain planned for the end of this year.

“This agreement is a big step forward in Telefónica’s bet on open innovation and collaboration with leading companies around the world”, said José María Álvarez-Pallete, Executive Chairman of Telefónica. “We want to offer our customers the most compelling video offering possible, whether it’s our own content or third party providers. The partnership with Netflix will significantly enhance our existing multichannel video platforms.”

“Over the next several years, our partnership with Telefónica will benefit millions of consumers who will be able to easily access their favorite Netflix shows, documentaries, stand-ups, kids content and movies across a range of Telefonica platforms", said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. "Making Netflix available on Telefónica’s familiar, easy-to-use TV and video platforms enables consumers to watch all the content they love in one place.”

Netflix is based in Los Gatos, California.

Telefónica to resell AWS cloud services

Telefónica Business Solutions has agreed to sell Amazon Web Services in its cloud offering portfolio.

Telefónica will train and certify specialists in AWS services and best practices. AWS has agreed to have dedicated resources to support Telefónica and their customers.

Hugo de los Santos, Director Global B2B Products and Services at Telefónica commented, “Our customers are asking for advice and support in their Cloud adoption processes. AWS, with its depth and breadth of services as well as global presence, is a piece that fits perfectly in our Cloud portfolio. Telefónica’s cloud offering thus empowers our customers to run their infrastructure, applications and workloads on the most suitable Cloud service possible.”

Trump announces deal to lift export ban on ZTE

President Trump announced a deal to save ZTE by lifting the current export ban on U.S. products to the company. In exchange, ZTE is to pay a $1.3 billion fine, make changes to its management, and hire U.S. compliance officers.

As of Monday, there has not an official statement or posted order by the U.S. Department of Commerce lifting the ban.

The deal continues to face opposition in Congress, including from Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, who is threatening legislative action to block the deal.

Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are expected to resume in early June.



Sunday, May 27, 2018

Rostelecom test 5G at State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg

Rostelecom has deployed a 5G trial zone on the premises of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia – one of the largest art museums in the world. Ericsson supplied a full range of 5G technical solutions and expertise during the implementation and integration phases.

Several use cases have been demonstrated, including the use of robotic equipment for art restoration projects, and a remote learning application that transmits 4K video streams to VR glasses. The demonstrations were carried out on Rostelecom’s 5G test network deployed in 3500 MHz frequency band.

Mikhail Piotrovski, Director of the Hermitage Museum: “The Hermitage is a leader in our field. New technologies match our style and spirit and we enjoy using modern achievements and experimenting with them. This is why we are the first museum in the world to launch a 5G demo zone. It’s also critical to test technology in the cultural sector, understand the human impact, and make sure it fits the unique needs of museums like ours.”

Friday, May 25, 2018

Gemalto and Qualcomm to integrate eSIM into Snapdragon Mobile PCs

Gemalto is working with Qualcomm to integrate eSIM technology and remote subscription management solutions with Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile PC platform.

The companies said this paves the way for iSIM commercialization on a growing range of Always Connected PCs, laptops and tablets.

Mobile operators will benefit by having a larger addressable base of connected devices and a trusted platform for secure services.

The first wave of Always Connected PCs to incorporate Snapdragon mobile PC platforms featuring Gemalto’s technology are expected as early as 2019.

“This new agreement with Qualcomm Technologies aims at accelerating adoption of seamless cellular connectivity in PCs, tablets and other mobile products,” said Frédéric Vasnier, executive vice president for Mobile and IoT at Gemalto. “We are committed to continued innovation with Qualcomm Technologies in order to provide superior built-in security and connectivity experiences.”

GSMA: NB-IoT and LTE-M in the 5G context

According to the GSMA, 24 mobile operators to date have commercially launched 48 Mobile IoT networks worldwide across both NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies and by 2025 there will be 3.1 billion cellular IoT connections, including 1.8 billion licensed LPWA connections.

In June, 3GPP is expected to complete Release 15, which will include NB-IoT and LTE-M as 5G Mobile standards.

3GPP will also not include any additional LPWA requirements in its next release, meaning that NB-IoT and LTE-M will coexist with other 3GPP technologies and fulfill long-term 5G LPWA requirements.

“While people often associate 5G with super-fast mobile broadband speeds, it will also serve a variety of use cases often with diametrically opposed requirements such as low data rates and long battery life as with the case of Mobile IoT,” commented Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “Licensed NB-IoT and LTE-M networks are already delivering trusted connectivity today to millions of devices around the world, and these networks will continue to be a fundamental component of our 5G future ushering in an era of massive IoT.”

These trends are discussed in a newly published report from GSAM called "NB-IoT and LTE-M in the 5G context."

Source Photonics wins Juniper's Supplier of the Year award

Source Photonics was awarded the top honor of being a Juniper Networks Supplier of the Year along with being awarded Component Supplier of the Year. Source Photonics is the first optical component vendor to receive Juniper’s Supplier of the Year award.

“Source Photonics is proud to partner with Juniper to serve our markets with leading-edge technology,” commented Doug Wright, CEO of Source Photonics. “On behalf of the entire Source Photonics team, we would like to thank Juniper for recognizing the value of our partnership and the technology and investments we have made in support of our most recent generation of network upgrades. We will continue to invest in leading products and our support of partners like Juniper to deliver the next generation of disruptive network upgrades enabling a wide range of new applications in 5G, AI, IoT and many others.”

Source Photonics also noted that it was the most nominated supplier with nominations in four (4) out of the (7) categories being awarded by Juniper.
Source Photonics was nominated for the following categories and won two (2) awards:

  • Component Supplier of the Year (Winner) 
  • Quality Supplier of the Year
  • Technology and Innovation Award
  • Supplier of the Year (Winner)

Toshiba's microcontrollers certified for Mbed OS

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation has achieved Mbed OS for its microcontrollers. Two evaluation boards that integrate these microcontrollers have been released on the Arm Mbed site.

Mbed is a free, easy-to-use development environment. The online compiler provided by Arm can be used with evaluation boards supporting Mbed OS.

Key features:

  • Support for numerous applications with Cortex-M0 and Cortex-M4 based microcontrollers
  • TX00 general-purpose microcontrollers with USB support function and TX04 microcontrollers with security function extend product choices.
  • Support for a wide range of applications via Arduino-compatible connector
  • Applications can be developed quickly by connecting to a commercially available ArduinoShield board.
  • Support for IoT applications via Mbed
  • Using Mbed Cloud allows secure connection with web services.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

ETSI Open Source MANO announces Release 4.0

ETSI announced the availability of OSM Release FOUR, its most ambitious and innovative to date, and a huge leap forward in terms of functionality, user experience and maturity.

New functionalities of OSM Release FOUR:

  • New northbound interface, aligned with ETSI NFV specification SOL005, providing a single pane of glass to control the OSM system. To facilitate the interoperability with existing and new client applications, the details of the interface are entirely available in OpenAPI format.
  • Cloud-native install that brings a large set on improvements in terms of user experience and optimization. With a reduced footprint, this Release is much faster, responsive and stable than ever, and provides more convenient means for event logging and diagnosis. In addition, a new graphical user interface (GUI) and a set of optional components can be installed on top of the core components to enrich the experience in terms of visualization, VIM sandbox, etc.
  • Monitoring and closed-loop capabilities have also been extended. On-demand and descriptor-driven setting of alarms and metrics are now much simpler and convenient to configure and consume. Likewise, the support of push notifications and configuration of reactive policies, via the new Policy Manager, opens the door to closed-loop operations.
  • Modelling and networking logic have also been enhanced. The full support of IP profiles, the consistency checking of addressing, the ability to configure specific MAC addresses for non-cloud-native VNFs, the support of service function chaining assisted by the VIM, or the possibility of using alternative images for public clouds, are only some examples. It also sets a solid path for the support of native charms - so that conventional Juju applications can run natively in OSM - and for the seamless management of Physical Network Functions (PNFs) or hybrid components (physical and virtual), enabling a true end to end service orchestration across virtual and physical network domains.
“ETSI OSM is a growing community which includes many Global Service Providers, leading IT/Cloud players and VNF vendors who drive OSM’s roadmap on a use-case basis. A growing ecosystem of commercial OSM distributions and a large number of OSM-ready VNFs are key indicators of the success of ETSI OSM in terms of market relevance and adoption,” says Francisco-Javier Ramón, chairman of ETSI OSM group.


New Zealand's Chorus to test Nokia's wavelength services

New Zealand's Chorus will test Nokia's wavelength services solution for on-demand assurance and fulfilment of Layer 1 services compliant with the emerging MEF standard for L1 subscriber services.

The solution under trial will enable Chorus to offer new standards-based optical services to service providers.

Nokia's wavelength services solution includes the compact and carrier-class Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Demarcation (PSD) for customer premises functions.

Chorus is pursuing a "One Open Access Network Infrastructure" vision - an open platform from which it can accelerate the monetization of its infrastructure by offering fiber access, transport services, premium co-location and network hubs.

Ewen Powell, CTO at Chorus, said: "Chorus is looking forward to trialling the Nokia wavelength services solution. With its support for compact demarcation devices and end-customer portal access to fully instrumented service assurance dashboards and reports, we believe that solutions like this will further advance our service offer, and put more network control in the hands of our service providers."

Sam Bucci, head of optical networks for Nokia, said: "Our strategy for optical wavelength services, combined with open assurance and fulfilment tools, perfectly aligns with Chorus' wholesale strategy. Our partnership is founded on this shared vision, and we look forward to trialling this first-of-its-kind solution, which has the potential to open up an entirely different approach to wholesaling optical wavelength services, especially with the imminent release of the new MEF standard."

Zayo adds wavelength route from Marseille to Strasbourg via Milan

Zayo activated a new coherent wavelength route from Marseille to Strasbourg via Milan. The route, which also provides connectivity to Paris, Frankfurt, London, and Amsterdam, leverages Zayo’s European fiber network acquired from Viatel.

Zayo said it already has customers for this new route,  include an India-based carrier which is looking to extend and harden its network into Europe. Additional customers committed to this route include a U.S.-based global Internet services provider and an international wholesale telecommunications provider.

Zayo is expanding its dark fiber and long-haul wavelength network in Europe, and now has several 100G and dark fiber routes out of Marseille, a city that serves as a strategic gateway and key aggregation point between Europe, Africa, and Asia via subsea cables.

“With our expanded capability, we are well-positioned to meet the needs of a growing base of global customers,” said Randy Dunbar, senior vice president, Transport. “Our connectivity options in and out of Marseille are opening up new international markets for us, and we continue to see strong demand from multiple verticals.”

Lumina raises $10 million for its OpenDaylight-powered SDN controller

Lumina Networks, a start-up based offering an SDN controller powered by OpenDaylight, announced $10 million Series A financing, including $8 million in new funding led by Verizon Ventures. Other new investors included AT&T and Rahi Systems.

Lumina was formed in August 2017 as a spin-off from Brocade.

"This investment by both Verizon and AT&T demonstrates the strategic importance of open source networking to the automation and digitization of their networks,” said Andrew Coward, Founder and CEO of Lumina Networks. “We understand the value of our mission to take open source networking out of the labs of our customers and into production deployment. This funding will enable us to reach a wider customer base and realize the industry vision of easily deployable open source software-defined networking (SDN)."


“SDN has emerged as a key architectural model in delivering the promised goals of next generation wireless networks such as 5G by enabling high speeds and low latency at lower cost points,” said Alexander Khalin, Director at Verizon Ventures. “Open source is instrumental to Verizon’s digital transformation, and the team at Lumina Networks has built world-class, carrier grade products and solutions in this space and truly understands how to effectively work with network operators on their transformational journey.  We look forward to their continued success in this field."


“SDN is at the heart of our network transformation, and we’ve committed to virtualizing and software-controlling 75% of our core network functions by 2020,” said Chris Rice, Senior Vice President, AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design.  “Lumina’s leadership and work in OpenDaylight is important to creating a scalable software-defined network. Their open source business model is what our industry is moving to. Much of our future network will be powered by open source software, such as our white box initiative, and we’re excited to help drive innovation and collaboration in this space.”

Windstream to offer 300 Mbps home broadband over its cable TV network

Windstream plans to upgrade its cable TV network in north Georgia to deliver 300 Mbps residential broadband downlink speeds.

The upgrade will make 300 Mbps available to 67,000 households in 13 communities. Just last year, Windstream first began offering broadband over its cable TV network with speeds of 100 Mbps.

"This project underscores Windstream's commitment to best-in-class internet and entertainment services.  We evaluate the unique characteristics of each community in our service area and then deploy the technology that meets our customers' needs in the fastest, most cost-effective way," said J Berkshire, president of Windstream Operations in Georgia. "I'm delighted that this approach is bringing faster speeds to more of our customers in Georgia."

Windstream's cable TV network serves Dahlonega, Blairsville, Clarkesville, Cleveland, Commerce, Cornelia, Dawsonville, Helen, Hiawassee, Homer, Jefferson, Nicholson and Young Harris, as well as Hayesville, N.C.

Windstream also has expanded its fiber-to-the-premises, 1 gigabit internet service to eligible customers across 43 Georgia communities.

Nutanix posts revenue of $289.4 million, up 41%


Nutanix reported revenue of $289.4 million for its third quarter of fiscal 2018, ended April 30, 2018, up 41% year-over-year, and reflecting the elimination of approximately $52 million in pass-through hardware revenue in the quarter as the company executes its shift toward increasing software revenue.


GAAP gross margin was 67.0%, up from 59.5% in the third quarter of fiscal 2017.  GAAP net loss was $85.7 million, compared to a GAAP net loss of $96.8 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. Non-GAAP net loss amounted to $34.6 million, compared to a non-GAAP net loss of $45.7 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

“Demand for our solutions remains strong as we saw 67 percent growth in software and support billings and 55 percent growth in software and support revenue. We had strong success in our hiring in the quarter that positions us to deliver on our future growth plans, as we outlined at our March Investor Day,” said Duston Williams, CFO of Nutanix. “The continued growth in our software and support billings and gross margin expansion in the quarter demonstrates we are successfully executing on our transition to a software-defined business model.”

Some highlights:


  • During the quarter, Nutanix grew software and support billings by 67 percent year-over-year, including three software and support deals worth more than $5 million each. Pass-through hardware billings decreased to 17 percent of total billings in the quarter, down from 25 percent in the year-ago quarter.
  • Improved AHV Penetration: Grew adoption of AHV, the company’s built-in hypervisor, to 33%, based on a four-quarter rolling average of nodes using AHV as a percentage of NX nodes sold.
  • Nutanix ended the third quarter of fiscal 2018 with 9,690 end-customers, adding 820 new end-customers during the quarter and growing deals greater than $1 million by 28 percent year-over-year.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Facebook open sources Katran, its network load balancer

Facebook is releasing its Katran forwarding plane software library, which powers the network load balancer used in Facebook's infrastructure.

Facebook said that by sharing Katran with the open source community, it hopes others can improve the performance of their load balancers and use it as a foundation for future work.

Katran is deployed today on backend servers in Facebook’s points of presence (PoPs). Katran offers a software-based solution to load balancing with a completely reengineered forwarding plane that takes advantage of two recent innovations in kernel engineering: eXpress Data Path (XDP) and the eBPF virtual machine.


https://code.facebook.com/posts/1906146702752923/open-sourcing-katran-a-scalable-network-load-balancer/

On GitHub:  https://github.com/facebookincubator/katran

EllaLink submarine cable system to connect Brazil to Europe

EllaLink, a proposed submarine cable system promises to bring the most direct fiber connectivity between Brazil and Europe.

EMACOM - Telecomunicações da Madeira - announced the signing of a contract to develop the system with direct links to the islands of Madeira. The expected ready-for-service is 2020.

EllaLink will be a 3 fiber pair systems linking Southern Europe (Sines – Lisbon – Madrid) to LATAM (Fortaleza – Sao Paulo). Three intermediate branches are also being planned to land in Cabo Verde, the Canary Islands and Madeira. The main section of the cable traveling from Sines to Fortaleza is approximately 5900 km.

http://www.eulalink.com
http://www.eem.pt



Nordic countries seek the lead in 5G

The five Nordic countries are seeking to take a global lead in the rollout of 5G.

A vision of how to capture this leadership role was set out in a meeting of prime ministers this week in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

A key pillar is cooperation on spectrum, policy, and test beds across all five countries -- Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

The prime ministers are calling on the digitalisation ministers of each country to take the lead in following up their joint declaration.

“The Nordic region is one of the most innovative regions in the world. The development of 5G is progressing quickly and the Nordic region will be at the fore of this development. It creates jobs and prosperity in our countries,” says Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

Platform.sh raises $34M for enterprise cloud

Platform.sh, a start-up based in Paris with offices in San Francisco, raised $34 million in a Series C funding for its "idea-to-cloud" application platform.

Platform.sh simplifies deployments for enterprises by combining an automated cloud with its unique rapid cloning technology that can instantly spin up and deploy exact clones of entire live web applications in less than 60 seconds, allowing development teams to ensure that new features do not break when in production. Its product can be used to develop, test, deploy and run their cloud-based web applications with speed and confidence. The company claims more than 650 enterprise customers across the globe are currently using its platform and says sales have grown 110 percent this year.

The funding round was U.S.-based Partech and included Idinvest Partners, Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), SNCF Digital Ventures and returning investor, Hi Inov.

“The customer traction and organic growth we’ve seen over the past 12 months – especially in North America – made it clear that we are ready to scale on a global level,” said Frederic Plais, CEO of Platform.sh. “The productivity gains that our platform delivers are beyond anything offered by managed hosting solutions, or DIY approaches with cloud infrastructures. The recent years have seen an explosion of incredibly strong tools that help implement novel cloud architectures, but the mainline approach is patchwork and piecemeal. Platform.sh proposes a unified model that transcends categories, not only solving difficult cluster orchestration and continuous delivery problems, but also improving testing and quality assurance of applications.”

https://platform.sh

See also