Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Telstra to spin-off fixed infrastructure, focus on 5G

Almost exactly 8 years after signing a historic agreement with nbn Co Limited (NBN Co), the consortium established to design, build and operate Australia's wholesale-only national broadband network (nbn), Telstra has just announced plans to spin-off its remaining fixed network infrastructure, including long-haul fibre, data centres, and subsea cables, into a separate company.

The nbn Co agreement reached in 2010 ensured that Telstra provides access to its facilities, which has remained a steady source of income over the years. Nevertheless, Telstra is embarking on a major reorganization and radical transformation of its customer plans and pricing. The company says it is looking ahead to a "post-nbn rollout" world in which very fast access speeds are ubiquitous across the country and multiple competitors run over the same fixed infrastructure.

The strategy, named Telstra2022, has four key pillars:

  • Radically simplify product offerings, eliminate customer pain points and create all digital experiences
  • Establish a standalone infrastructure business to drive performance and set up optionality post the nbn rollout
  • Greatly simplify the corporate structure and ways of working to empower our people and serve our customers
  • Cost reduction programme and portfolio management

Andrew Penn, who has now been CEO of Telstra for three years, says "The rate and pace of change in our industry is increasingly driven by technological innovation and competition. In this environment, traditional companies that do not respond are most at risk. We have worked hard preparing Telstra for this market dynamic while ensuring we did not act precipitously. However, we are now at a tipping point where we must act more boldly if we are to continue to be the nation’s leading telecommunications company.”

The corporate restructuring will result in a net reduction of 8,000 employees and contractors, and the elimination of 2-4 layers of management.

The infrastructure spin-off, tentatively called Telstra InfraCo, will begin as a wholly-owned subsidiary on 1 July, although over time, Telstra may seek a strategic investor or separate listing. Its assets will include Telstra’s fixed network infrastructure including data centres, non-mobiles related domestic fibre, copper, HFC, international subsea cables, exchanges, poles, ducts and pipes. Its services will be sold to Telstra, wholesale customers and nbn co.

Telstra InfraCo will also comprise Telstra’s nbn co commercial works activities and Telstra Wholesale, with a total workforce of approximately 3,000. It is expected this new Business Unit will control assets with a book value of about $11 billion and have annual revenues and EBITDA of about $5.5 billion and $3 billion respectively.

The new business unit will not include the mobile network assets including spectrum, radio access equipment, towers and some elements of backhaul fibre, which will remain integrated with Telstra’s core customer segment.  Telstra itself will seek to be a premium brand with its future tied to mobile connectivity and the upcoming 5G launch.




AT&T targets NarrowBand IoT in early 2019, adding to its LTE-M service

AT&T will launch NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) across the U.S. in early 2019 and across Mexico later in the year. AT&T, which launched its LTE-M network in Q2 2017, said NB-IoT will complement its existing service. Both NB-IoT and LTE-M are supported in licensed spectrum and with carrier-grade security.

"We've seen global momentum for LPWA since launching our North American LTE-M network last year," said Chris Penrose, President, IoT Solutions, AT&T. "Adding NB-IoT to our portfolio will expand our LPWA capabilities, help drive investment in our evolution to 5G and support our customers as they deploy IoT solutions across the U.S. and Mexico."

NB-IoT and LTE-M offer longer battery life, coverage extension, and lower costs than traditional cellular LTE connectivity. NB-IoT is ideally suited to meet basic data requirements, while LTE-M provides more robust capabilities including bandwidth for firmware and software updates, mobility and VoLTE (Voice over LTE) services.

Like LTE-M, NB-IoT technology will be deployed through software upgrades at cell sites across the U.S. and Mexico. Both will operate alongside the carrier's 4G LTE network and within its mobile 5G network.

AT&T plans to launch its 5G network in parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, by the end of this year.


GÉANT scales pan-European backbone with Coriant Groove G30

GÉANT, which operates the backbone network that interconnects the national research and education networks in Europe, has selected the Coriant Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform and Coriant Transcend Chorus transport network management solution to scale its European backbone network.

Coriant's DCI solution enables GÉANT to boost network capacity across core PoP sites, including London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Paris, Geneva, and Marseilles.

“The research and education communities that GÉANT and its National Research and Education Network (NREN) partners serve have always been at the forefront of requirements on network capabilities,” said Bram Peeters, Chief Network Operations Officer, GÉANT. “Bandwidth demands continue to grow dramatically across many scientific disciplines, and with Coriant’s cost-optimized Groove G30 solution we expect to be able to bring the right levels of capacity and resiliency to keep in step with this evolution.”

Coriant said GÉANT selected its Groove G30 platform for its ultra-compact 1RU form factor, low power consumption, and the ability to support pay-as-you-grow scalability with its highly modular SLED-based system design.

Initial deployment of the Groove G30, which supports resilient high-capacity router interconnect between core data center facilities, leverages programmable 100G, 150G, and 200G coherent line-side transmission enabled by Coriant CloudWave Optics technology. The Coriant solution for GÉANT includes the Coriant Transcend Chorus transport network management system.

“GÉANT and its NREN partners play a critical role in Europe by providing the robust infrastructure that allows the best and brightest minds to collaborate virtually and drive innovation by accelerating research,” said Ronald Van der Kraan, Managing Director, Europe, Coriant. "We are excited to advance our technology collaboration with GÉANT and help them continue to deliver the service performance and scale that more than 50 million research and education users rely on.”

Vodafone to launch 5G trial in UK cities this year

Vodafone UK confirmed plans to launch a 5G trial network in seven cities across the UK starting between October and December this year.

Specifically, Vodafone engineers are already laying the groundwork for 5G at more than 40 sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

The 5G rollout will be part of Vodafone's "Gigabit UK" vision, which also includes fixed broadband using gigabit-capable ‘full fibre’ connections all the way to people’s homes and offices. Vodafone plans to bring its Gigabit UK service to seven cities by then of this year, including Aberdeen, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stirling.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “We want to make 5G and new fibre broadband services available to consumers and business throughout the UK, delivering a Gigabit society for all. We will also be bringing ultra-fast 4G to several hundred sites in hard to reach rural areas this year, building on our position as the network that offers the best voice coverage in the UK.”

HPE launches cloud-based memory-driven computing sandbox

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is launching a cloud-based sandbox that allows clients to explore memory-driven computing applications and deliver proof-of-concepts at scale.

HPE Labs has been a pioneer of Memory-Driven Computing -- a new computing architecture that puts memory, not processing, at the center of the computing platform -- through its research project known as The Machine.

“We believe that all data is valuable. Our vision for Memory-Driven Computing is to enable customers to capture, keep and refine every last bit of their data, up to 10,000 times faster than yesterday’s solutions,” said Beena Ammanath, global vice president, Artificial Intelligence, Data and Innovation, HPE. “The introduction of HPE Pointnext capabilities for Memory-Driven Computing will accelerate our ability to bring Memory-Driven Computing technologies to our customers and help them solve some of their most complex problems and more quickly than ever before.”

The Memory-Driven Computing Sandbox will feature HPE Superdome Flex with Software-Defined Scalable Memory, a new system enhancement under development and key technology output of The Machine research project. Software-Defined Scalable Memory includes new software and firmware advances that enable Superdome Flex’s industry-leading memory fabric to address significantly larger pools of shared memory than previously possible. The technology provides the ability to compose memory on the fabric and offers the ability to scale to 96 terabytes, all while offering faster and more resilient performance.

Samsung intros 8TB SSD in NF1 form factor - highest capacity NVMe

-Samsung Electronics launched the industry’s highest capacity NVMe solid state drive (SSD) based on Next-generation Small Form Factor – an eight-terabyte (TB) NF1 SSD.

The new 8TB NVMe NF1 SSD has been optimized for data-intensive analytics and virtualization applications in next-generation data centers and enterprise server systems.

"By introducing the first NF1 NVMe SSD, Samsung is taking the investment efficiency in data centers to new heights," said Sewon Chun, senior vice president of Memory Marketing at Samsung Electronics. “We will continue to lead the trend toward enabling ultra-high density data centers and enterprise systems by delivering storage solutions with unparalleled performance and density levels.”

Samsung said its new SSD is built with 16 of Samsung’s 512-gigabyte (GB) NAND packages, each stacked in 16 layers of 256 gigabit (Gb) 3-bit V-NAND chips, achieving an 8TB density in an ultra-small footprint of 11cm x 3.05cm.  This is twice the capacity offered by the M.2 NVMe SSD (11cm x 2.2cm) commonly used in hyper-scale server designs and ultra-slim laptops.

The NF1 SSD features a brand new, high-performance controller that supports the NVMe 1.3 protocol and PCIe 4.0 interface, delivering sequential read speeds of 3,100 megabytes per second (MB/s) and write speeds of 2,000MB/s. These speeds are more than five times and three times that of a typical SATA SSD, respectively. Random speeds come in at 500,000 IOPS for read operations and 50,000 IOPS for writes. Utilizing the new NF1 storage solution, an enterprise server system can perform over one million IOPS in a 2U rack space, significantly enhancing the return on investment for next-generation large-scale data centers. The SSD also includes a 12GB LPDDR4 DRAM to enable faster and more energy-efficient data processing.

To ensure long-term data reliability, the NF1 NVMe SSD has been designed with an endurance level of 1.3 drive write per day (DWPD), which guarantees writing an entire 8TB of data 1.3 times a day over its three-year warranty period.

Instagram crosses 1 billion user milestone, launches video platform

Instagram now has over 1 billion users, a major milestone for the service, which was launched in 2010.

Instagram also introduced IGTV, a new app for long-form, vertical video from Instagram creators. Videos can be up to one hour in length and will be sorted by channels. The service will be rolled out gradually over the next few weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/InstagramEnglish/videos/2021766097857435/


Microsoft Azure hit by multiple disruptions

Microsoft Azure was impacted by multiple disruptions and failures on 20-June-2018.

Azure Data Factory, Data Factory V2, Data Movement, SSIS Integration Runtime, and Data Movement & Dispatch experienced errors, including but not limited to pipeline execution errors, in regions across North America, North Europe, West Europe, the UK, Brazil, Australia, Southeast Asia, and eastern Japan.

Media reports indicate the problem was acute for some users in the North Europe region.

The @AzureSupport Twitter feed indicated the services were recovered 11 hours after the disruption was first acknowledged.

Azure Government services were not impacted.

6WIND supplies vRouters to Minorisa, an ISP in Spain

Minorisa de Sistemas Informáticos y de Gestión, an Internet Service Provider based in Spain, has migrated its infrastructure and adopted 6WIND's vRouters as core routers for its network.

After running out of throughput capacity for its legacy hardware routers, Minorisa evaluated

6WIND's 40G Turbo Router software appliances replaced legacy Cisco hardware routers that ran out of capacity. 6WIND said its vRouters also helped Minorisa's broader architecture transition to white box networking by replacing its legacy Cisco and MikroTik hardware with software.

6WIND's vRouter delivers performance up to 12 Mpps per core of IP Forwarding, 18 Gbps per core of IPsec, up to 1 million routes and 100,000 IPsec tunnels. Performance scales with the numbers of cores and hardware advancements, allowing Minorisa to move from 40G to 100G without redesigning its network.

"6WIND's vRouters exist to give growing ISPs such as Minorisa the highest performance in a full featured software router to replace hardware," said Eric Carmès, Founder and CEO of 6WIND. "We are proud to announce Minorisa's successful migration to 6WIND vRouters as part of its broader initiative for a full transition to white box networking."

SES delivers connectivity for French Polynesian islands

SES Networks announced a deal with the Office des Postes et Telecommunications of French Polynesia (OPT) to deliver enhanced mobile broadband and Internet services to residents across the vast French Polynesian territory.

Under the new agreement, OPT will access the NSS-9 satellite’s wide C-band coverage to reach the sprawling Polynesian archipelago of 118 islands in the South Pacific.

OPT has been using SES satellite capacity to provide connectivity services since 2007.

“OPT and SES Networks have been partners for the last decade. It was thanks to SES satellites that we brought French Polynesia into the Internet age. Today, mobile broadband and Internet connectivity demands from residents and businesses are growing faster than ever. NSS-9 offers reliable coverage and a wide footprint spanning the Pacific Ocean – a perfect complement to our terrestrial infrastructure, as we expand our network to provide new and enhanced services that people need,” said Tehina Thuret, Telecommunications Chief Executive at OPT.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

ONF moves ahead with reference designs

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced a series of reference designs backed by ONF’s operator leadership, which includes AT&T, China Unicom, Comcast, Google, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, NTT Group, and Turk Telekom.

The initial set of open source Reference Designs, which target edge and access clouds infrastructure, essentially are “blueprints” for how to put common modular components together to create platforms based on open source. They leverage the ONF's prior work with CORD and M-CORD.

Another way to think of the reference designs is as "swim lanes" for assembling open source platforms for both the cloud data center infrastructure and the underlying optical transport network.

It is also interesting to note Google's presence in ONF's operator leadership ranks. In April, Google announced plans to use P4Runtime as the foundation for its next generation of data centers and wide area network control-plane programming. P4 is a programming language was designed to be target-independent (i.e. a program written in P4 could be compiled, without modification, to run on a variety of targets, such as ASICs, FPGAs, CPUs, NPUs, and GPUs), and protocol-independent (i.e. a P4 program can describe existing standard protocols, or be used to specify innovative, new, customized forwarding behaviors).  The ONF's reference design for a Unified, Programmable & Automated Network (UPAN) will use P4 as its enabling technology. If other telcos adopt the UPAN reference design, Google will be well-positioned to offer them a wholesale service running in its cloud.

In addition, ADTRAN, Dell/EMC, Edgecore Networks and Juniper Networks have joined the ONF as supply chain partners in this reference design process.

“Over the last several years, ADTRAN has fully embraced open, disaggregated and software-defined attributes as the core principles in our Mosaic-branded access focused solutions. We are encouraged by ONF’s new strategic plan and strong operator commitment and believe ADTRAN is a perfect fit as a supply chain partner,” said ADTRAN Senior Vice President of Technology and Strategy Jay Wilson. “ADTRAN intends to contribute across multiple reference design initiatives by applying access domain expertise both in software and systems integration.”



Open Disaggregated Transport Network project gets underway

A new, operator-led Open Disaggregated Transport Network (ODTN) project is underway at the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

The goal of ODTN is to build optical transport networks using disaggregated optical equipment, open and common standards, and open source software.

The project will deliver an open source platform for running multi-vendor optical transport networks. It will leverage the ONF’s ONOS SDN Controller, automatically and transparently discovers the disaggregated components and will control the entire transport network as a unified whole, thus enabling multi-vendor choice.

The organizers of the project say that just as the SDN movement has disaggregated the data center and operator edge networks, ODTN will bring similar benefits to the optical transport network including best-of-breed choice, elimination of vendor lock-in, cost containment and accelerated innovation.

Backers of the project include China Unicom, Comcast, NTT Communications, Telefonica and TIM.

Each of the five founding operators has committed to performing lab integration and evaluation of the platform for future transport applications. Additional support is coming from leading vendors in the optical equipment space, with NEC, NOKIA, Oplink, ZTE contributing to the software platform and building full solutions, CTTC contributing from academia, and ADVA, Ciena, Coriant, CoAdna, Infinera and Lumentum participating in lab and field trials.

Relationship to Other Projects

ODTN is the only open source solution in the optical transport space, but is leveraging other ongoing work which has focused on standardizing various interfaces and components.

ODTN will leverage and expose TAPI as its northbound interface, leveraging the work coming out of the ONF’s Open Transport Configuration and Control (OTCC) project. Likewise, OpenConfig is the base southbound model and API for communicating to optical equipment.

The OpenROADM MSA defines interoperability specifications and data models for optical devices, networks and services.  ODTN benefits from this effort and, over time, it helps the industry achieve transponder compatibility.  This will eliminate the need to deploy transponders in matched pairs, further disaggregating the solution and enabling even greater deployment flexibility.

TIP’s Open Optical & Packet Transport project is producing open DWDM architectures, models and APIs, covering transponders, open line systems, and routers. In time, the ODTN project hopes to benefit from the availability of open optical hardware coming from the TIP work.  And visa versa, the TIP project can leverage the open source work coming out of ODTN on TIP white box hardware building blocks (such as Voyager).


Mellanox supplies Infiniband for Sandia's ARM supercomputer

Mellanox Technologies will supply an InfiniBand solution to accelerate the world’s top Arm-based supercomputer to be deployed in Sandia National Laboratory in the second half of 2018.

The Astra supercomputer will include nearly 2600 nodes, and will leverage InfiniBand In-Network Computing acceleration engines. Astra is the first system in a series of the Vanguard program of advanced architecture platforms, supporting the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) missions.

“InfiniBand smart In-Network Computing acceleration engines will enable the highest performance and productivity for Astra, the first large scale Arm-based supercomputer,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “InfiniBand is the world-leading interconnect technology that supports the full range of compute and storage infrastructures, including X86, Power, Arm, GPUs, FPGAs and more. We are happy to support the Department of Energy’s efforts to explore new supercomputing platforms for their future needs.”

http://www.mellanox.com

Colt activates U.S. network

Colt has connected 13 major cities in North America, including New York, San Francisco and Chicago, to its dense Asian and European metro networks, which is made up of more than 870 data centers and 26,000 fiber-connected buildings.

Colt services available in the US include; enterprise bandwidth services up to 100Gbps, delivered over entire wavelengths and Ethernet, with private network options, and a number of wholesale services.

Colt’s On Demand bandwidth provisioning is available to businesses in Europe and Asia, with the service launching in Q4 in the US.

“Colt has been disrupting the market for more than 25 years, from our beginning as the only challenger to the local incumbents in the City of London to today, where we are a global network challenger that thinks and acts differently in a rapidly consolidating US market,” said Carl Grivner, Chief Executive Officer of Colt. “We know from our experience that business agility and the need for real-time response to customers is vital for large enterprises and financial firms. Colt is able to deliver on both counts. We’re privately held, affiliated with Fidelity Investments, and have the freedom to act extremely rapidly in a market characterized by unique, on-demand requirements.”

Facebook open sources binary optimization and layout tool

Facebook has decided to open source a binary optimization and layout tool (BOLT) that optimizes the placement of instructions in memory, thereby reducing CPU execution time by 2 percent to 15 percent.

BOLT rearranges code inside functions based on their execution profile.

Facebook said the tool was proven to be very efficient with its highly complex services which are driven by very large source code bases.

https://code.facebook.com/posts/605721433136474/accelerate-large-scale-applications-with-bolt/


DE-CIX deploys Infinera Cloud Xpress 2

DE-CIX, the world’s leading internet exchange operator, has deployed the Infinera Cloud Xpress 2 to address soaring demand for internet exchange services in rapidly growing markets including New York City, Frankfurt and Dallas.

DE-CIX serves over 1,300 carriers, internet service providers and content networks from more than 100 countries, including all leading international players in various metro markets in Europe, the Middle East, India and North America.

Infinera said DE-CIX selected its Cloud Xpress 2 for the combination of capacity and simplicity in a compact, easy-to-install optical networking platform.

Infinera's Cloud Xpress 2 supports simple point-and-click provisioning. It delivers 1.2 terabits per second of capacity up to 130 kilometers without requiring any external equipment.  Infinera Instant Bandwidth allows DE-CIX to activate and pay for additional capacity in minutes, reducing the initial cost of deployment while remaining responsive to customer capacity demands.

The solution was implemented by network specialist Axians Networks & Solutions, which is a longtime partner of Infinera and has been involved in other projects for DE-CIX.

"DE-CIX is experiencing tremendous and unpredictable customer demand for interconnection services in major markets across the globe," said Daniel Melzer, CTO, DE-CIX. "Our customers request instant activation of high-capacity internet exchange services, and Cloud Xpress 2 with Instant Bandwidth enables us to deliver that to our customers. Cloud Xpress 2 is easy to install and is performing better than advertised for our data center interconnection requirements."

"With internet traffic booming, driven by growth in cloud-based services, neutral interconnection services from DE-CIX are the glue connecting the cloud ecosystem," said Nick Walden, Infinera Senior Vice President, EMEA. "We are delighted to work with DE-CIX to rapidly meet the needs of their customers.”

ADVA's Oscilloquartz delivers enhanced PRTC for 5G network timing

Oscilloquartz, which is a division of ADVA, launched an enhanced primary reference time clock (ePRTC) system for 5G network timing.

The Oscilloquartz solution, which is able to provide timing accuracy and stability even when the GNSS signal is lost, features the OSA 3230B ePRC atomic cesium clock connected to an Oscilloquartz clock combiner and grandmaster.

The company said the technology provides the ideal timing source for mission-critical transport systems, such as utility networks, government infrastructure and radio access networks, and provides the strict synchronization needed for LTE-A and 5G applications.

“With our ePRTC system, we’re taking reliability and accuracy to the next level. This solution meets the requirements of next-generation mobile networks, offers the precise synchronization needed by many of today’s industries and removes vulnerability to GNSS outages,” said Gil Biran, general manager, Oscilloquartz. “Combining our advanced multi-constellation GNSS receiver with our atomic cesium clock technology creates an outstandingly accurate source of time with guaranteed holdover performance. This provides vital protection against loss of satellite signal due to jamming, which can be a major problem."

HPE to invest $4 billion in Intelligent Edge technologies

Hewlett Packard Enterprise plans to invest $4 billion in Intelligent Edge technologies and services over the next four years.

The plan calls for investments in research and development to advance and innovate new products, services and consumption models across a number of technology domains such as security, AI and machine learning, automation and edge computing. HPE said it intends to build out its portfolio of transformational advisory and professional services for the edge.  HPE will also continue to advance Memory-Driven Computing. The company vowed support for open standards and open source technologies.

“Data is the new intellectual property, and companies that can distill intelligence from their data —whether in a smart hospital or an autonomous car—will be the ones to lead,” said Antonio Neri, president and chief executive officer, HPE. “HPE has been at the forefront of developing technologies and services for the Intelligent Edge, and with this investment, we are accelerating our ability to drive this growing category for the future. The next evolution in enterprise technology will be in edge-to-cloud architecture. Enterprises will require millions of distributed clouds that enable real-time insights and personalized experiences exactly where the action is happening.”

Cisco to acquire July Systems for location services platform

Cisco agreed to acquire July Systems, a start-up offering a cloud-based mobile experience and location services platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

July Systems, which based in Burlingame, California with offices in Bangalore, India, has worked for several years as an OEM for Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX). Cisco plans to add July Systems’ platform and business context capabilities to provide a unified solution on which partners and customers can build and deliver indoor location services for industries as diverse as healthcare, government, logistics, manufacturing, sports arenas, hotels, education and retail.

Cisco said the acquisitions supports its journey to intent-based networking.

The July Systems team will join Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group led by Scott Harrell, senior vice president and general manager.

See also