Monday, July 16, 2018

Arrcus builds Network OS for white box data center infrastructure

Arrcus, a start-up based in San Jose, California, emerged from stealth to unveil its software-driven, hardware agnostic network operating system for white boxes.

Arrcus said it sees an opportunity to help enterprises transform the way they manage their networks, liberating them from vertically integrated proprietary solutions and opening the door to horizontally diversified choices of best-in-class silicon and hardware systems.

The company's new ArcOS networking operating system has been ported to both Broadcom’s StrataDNX Jericho+ and StrataXGS Trident 3 switching silicon platforms.

ArcOS is built on a modular micro-services paradigm and offers advanced Layer 3 routing capabilities. Key elements include a hyper-performance resilient control plane, an intelligent, programmable Dataplane Adaptation Layer (DPAL), a data-Model Driven Telemetry for Control Plane, Data Planes and Environmental, and a consistent YANG/OpenConfig APIs for easy programmatic access.  These capabilities in conjunction with Broadcom’s StrataDNX Jericho+ platform enable the support for the full BGP internet routing table.

Arrcus cites the following use cases:

  • Spine-Leaf Clos for Datacenter workloads
  • Internet Peering for CDN providers and ISPs
  • Resilient Routing to the Host
  • Massively Scalable Route-Reflector clusters in physical/container form-factors

Arrcus also announced $15 million in Series A funding from General Catalyst and Clear Ventures. Advisors include include Pankaj Patel, former EVP and CDO of Cisco; Amarjit Gill, serial entrepreneur who founded and sold companies to Apple, Broadcom, Cisco, EMC, Facebook, Google, and Intel; Farzad Nazem, former CTO of Yahoo; Randy Bush, Internet Hall of Fame, founder Verio (basis of NTT’s DataCenter Business); Fred Baker, former Cisco Fellow, IETF Chair and Co-Chair of the IPv6 Working Group; Nancy Lee, ex-VP of People at Google, and Shawn Zandi, Director, Network Engineering at LinkedIn.

“We use ‘network different’ as our fundamental approach to enable the freedom of choice through our product innovation and challenging the status quo.  Arrcus has assembled the world’s best networking technologists, is bringing new capabilities, and changing the business model to make it easier to design, deploy, and manage large scale networking solutions for our customers,” stated Arrcus co-founder and CEO Devesh Garg.

  • Arrcus is headed by Devesh Garg, who previously was president of EZchip (acquired by Tilera) and founding CEO of Tilera (acquired by EZchip). He also served at Bessemer Venture Partners and Broadcom. Other Arrcus co-founders include Keyur Patel, who was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco; and Derek Yeung, a former Principal Engineer at Cisco.

Microsoft Azure Service Fabric Mesh enters beta

Microsoft announced the public preview release of Azure Service Fabric, which is its new distributed systems platform for managing scalable microservices and container-based applications for Windows and Linux.

Microsoft describes Service Fabric as a foundational technology for its core Azure infrastructure, as well as other Microsoft cloud services such as Skype for Business, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL Database, Dynamics 365, and many more.

Azure Service Fabric Mesh will be a fully-managed service that enables developers to deploy and operate containerized applications without having to manage VMs, storage or networking configuration, while keeping the enterprise-grade reliability, scalability, and mission-critical performance of Service Fabric.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-service-fabric-mesh-is-now-in-public-preview/

Azure Kubernetes Service enters general availability

Microsoft announced that its Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is now generally available in ten regions across three continents. Microsoft expects to add ten more regions in the coming months.

The new Kubernetes service features an Azure-hosted control plane, automated upgrades, self-healing, easy scaling, and a simple user experience for both developers and cluster operators. Users are able to control access to their Kubernetes cluster with Azure Active Directory accounts and user groups. A key attribute of AKS is operational visibility into the managed Kubernetes environment. Control plane telemetry, log aggregation, and container health are monitored via the Azure portal.

Microsoft also announced five new regions including Australia East, UK South, West US, West US 2, and North Europe.

Telecom Egypt + Liquid Telecom link Cairo-to-Cape Town terrestrial fiber

Telecom Egypt and Liquid Telecom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to complete the first terrestrial fibre network stretching all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, to Cairo, Egypt.

Under the MoU, Liquid Telecom will link its network from Sudan into Telecom Egypt’s network via a new cross border interconnection – bringing together a 60,000km network that runs from Cape Town, through all the Southern, Central, and Eastern African countries, and has now reached the border between Sudan and Egypt.

As part of the strategic partnership, Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt will share network infrastructure and explore further areas of collaboration, including joint network services, a peering arrangement and a voice interconnection agreement.

The Cape to Cairo network - often referred to as “the One Africa” broadband network - has been in the making for over ten years and serves some of the largest global companies with some of the fastest network speeds on the continent.

“Completing our vision of building a single network running on land, all the way from Cape to Cairo is a historic moment for the company and for a more connected Africa. This network not only represents a remarkable engineering achievement that has overcome some of the most challenging distances and terrains on the continent, but it is also supporting the rise of Africa’s digital economies,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet.

“This MoU is a great step in our strategy to penetrate the African market and avail Telecom Egypt’s most advanced technology and global infrastructure services to customers across Africa. We look forward to working alongside Liquid Telecom to develop new network services and products that will help stimulate intra-regional trade,” said Ahmed El Beheiry, Telecom Egypt’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Ericsson, Telstra and Intel complete first 5G data call over 3.5GHz

Ericsson, Telstra and Intel completed the first end-to-end 5G non-standalone (NSA) 3GPP data call on a commercial mobile network at Telstra’s 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast Australia in a multivendor setup.

The 5G data call was made over Telstra’s 5G NSA enabled commercial network using the following components:

  • Ericsson’s base station comprising Baseband 6630, AIR 6488 and 4G / 5G system software
  • Telstra’s licenced 5G Band 42 (3.5 GHz) and 4G Band 1 spectrum (2100 MHz)
  • A Telstra retail SIM
  • Network connection to an Ericsson virtualized 5G packet core (vMME and vEPG) running on Ericsson’s NFVi - the 5G slice was connected into the existing Telstra mobile network, which supports other functions such as backhaul, user authentication, billing and provisioning
  • Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform for the 5G NR UE, running an early 3GPP Rel15 Intel 4G module and a 5G NSA implementation

"Demonstrating this 5G data call end-to-end using my own personal SIM card on Telstra’s mobile network is the closest any provider has come to making a ’true’ 5G call in the real world-environment, and marks another 5G first for Telstra. We continue to work with global technology companies Ericsson and Intel as well as global standards bodies to advance the deployment of commercial 5G capability in Australia,” stated Telstra’s Group Managing Director Networks Mike Wright.

CenturyLink offers private access to Oracle Cloud

CenturyLink is launching a dedicated and private access service to Oracle Cloud.

The CenturyLink Cloud Connect Solutions and Oracle’s FastConnect service will be delivered via both Wavelengths and MEF 2.0-certified Carrier Ethernet services.

“Our integration with Oracle FastConnect provides our customers a network experience that matches their cloud experience,” said Chris McReynolds, vice president of core network services, CenturyLink. “In today’s rapidly changing IT environment, our customers need a network that can adapt with their cloud workloads. Our Ethernet Services connectivity offers real-time network visibility and dynamic bandwidth, providing enterprises with control and scalability across their entire cloud ecosystem.”


Orange acquires Basefarm for cloud infrastructure in Europe

Orange Business Services has agreed to acquire Basefarm Holding AS, a major player in cloud infrastructure and critical application services in Europe, for EUR 350 million.

Basefarm, which recorded revenues of over EUR 100 million in 2017, has an operational presence in several European countries, particularly in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria and in Germany.

Orange Business Services said the acquisition of Basefarm represents an advancement of its development strategy, complementing its existing catalogue of offers. The addition of Basefarm will also complete the geographical reach of Orange’s services, enabling it to become a leading player in Europe.

“We are very proud to announce the acquisition of Basefarm, which will mark a major milestone in our international development. In particular, the company’s integration will enable us to significantly extend our Big Data and critical application management services on a rapidly consolidating market. In addition to our ability to offer access to public or private cloud infrastructure, it is above all our capacity to propose enriched, automated services to our customers, wherever they are in the world, that will enable us to support companies as they transform onto new, digital models based on cloud-computing, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence,” said Helmut Reisinger, Chief Executive Officer of Orange Business Services.


  • The Basefarm group consists of four companies; Basefarm AS (Norway), Basefarm BV (Netherlands), Basefarm AB (Sweden) and The unbelievable Machine Company Gmbh (Germany and Austria). ABRY Partners holds a 90% stake in Basefarm. The company was founded in 2000, is based in Oslo, and is headed by Fredrik Olhsen.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

ZTE begins recovery, posts huge 1H loss

ZTE confirmed that it has resumed business operations following the lifting of the export ban of U.S. components and technology to the company imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

ZTE paid US$1.0 billion in civil monetary penalties to the U.S. and placed an additional US$0.4 billion in escrow as a suspended penalty.

ZTE reported a preliminary loss of between RMB 7 billion (US$1.06 billion) to RMB 9 billion (US$1.345 billion) for the first half of 2018. On a per-share basis, this amounts to a loss of RMB 1.67–2.15 per share.

In June, ZTE said it was pursuing a 30 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) line of credit from Bank of China and a separate $6 billion credit line from China Development Bank.

Microsoft Azure adds Virtual WAN and Firewall capabilities

Microsoft is introducing two new services that significantly increase the reach and security of its cloud service:  Azure Virtual WAN (wide-area network) and Azure Firewall.

Azure Virtual WAN is a networking service providing optimized and automated branch to branch connectivity for connecting to and through Azure using a distributed connectivity model. It provides mechanisms to connect traditional customer routers on-premises as well as an expanding ecosystem of new Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) systems from Microsoft partners. Microsoft said its Virtual WAN allows customers to seamlessly connect their branches to each other and Azure using last mile Internet. It also enables customers to construct a hub and spoke network in Azure to more easily route traffic to virtual appliances such as firewalls and Azure network security services.  Microsoft's current Virtual WAN partners include Citrix and Riverbed.

Azure Firewall is a cloud-native network security service that protects Azure Virtual Network resources. It is a fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability. Customers can centrally create, enforce, and log application and network connectivity policies, spanning Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs), IP Addresses, ports and protocols across subscriptions and virtual networks. Azure Firewall policies can be fully integrated with customers’ DevOps model while enabling them to manage security risks and achieve compliance requirements for managing resource access and protection in the cloud.

Microsoft has also updated its Azure Data Box, which is its data storage appliance for physically transferring large data sets from a customer location to the Azure cloud. The Azure Data Box will now be offered in Europe and the United Kingdom. A new Azure Data Box is an SSD-disk based option with up to five 8TB drives, totaling 40TB, for a recurring or one-time data migration.

This week Microsoft is hosting its Inspire partner conference in Las Vegas.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-public-preview-of-azure-virtual-wan-and-azure-firewall/

What is Azure Virtual WAN (preview)?

Facebook to open source eXecutable ARchives (XARs)

Facebook has decided to pursue an open source path for its eXecutable ARchives (XARs), which is a way to create self-contained executables.

XARs, which are already being used at scale  at Facebook, are described as "a system for distributing self-contained executables that encapsulate both data and code dependencies."

Facebook says XARs are the fastest way to distribute and execute large Python applications.

https://code.fb.com/data-infrastructure/xars-a-more-efficient-open-source-system-for-self-contained-executables/

Ericsson to divest its field services in Sweden

Ericsson will sell off its business providing field service operations and maintenance of fixed and mobile networks in Sweden.

Under the deal, the Swedish company Transtema Group AB will Ericsson Local Services AB (LSS), a subsidiary of Ericsson. All operations and assets of LSS will be transferred to Transtema ownership. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Ericsson did say the transaction will make it a minority shareholder and represented on the Board of Directors of Transtema Group.

Per Narvinger, Head of Customer Unit Northern & Central Europe, Market Area Europe & Latin America, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson Local Services is a market leader in field service operations in Sweden with a skilled workforce of approximately 700 employees across the country. They deliver very good support to our customers, and we believe Transtema has an excellent opportunity to continue to develop the field service operations while also executing on existing customer commitments. Together we will ensure a quick and smooth transition and a good relationship.”

Magnus Johansson, CEO Transtema Group says “We intend to operate LSS as a separate legal entity within Transtema Group. With LSS experience, competence and customer relations in Sweden they will become the backbone of our field service operations business. Our goal is to continue to grow the service business for telecom networks. This is in line with our ambition to develop our operations in Sweden and internationally. We look forward to welcome and on-board all LSS employees as soon as the deal is closed.”

Spectrum auctions to top FCC's August meeting

The Federal Communications Commission's open meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 2, 2018, is expected to clear up key spectrum issues: On the agenda:

Spectrum Frontiers Auction Procedures – setting the rules for auctioning Upper Microwave Flexible Use Licenses in the 28 GHz (Auction 101) and 24 GHz (Auction 102) bands.

The auction of the 28 GHz band (Auction 101) would employ the FCC's standard simultaneous multiple round (SMR) auction format, which offers every license for bid at the same time and consists of successive bidding rounds in which bidders may place bids on individual licenses. This auction is scheduled to commence on November 14, 2018,

The auction of the 24 GHz band (Auction 102) would employ a clock auction format, which would allow bidding on generic blocks in each PEA in successive clock bidding rounds. The bidding for the 24 GHz band (Auction 102) will be scheduled to commence after the conclusion of bidding in Auction 101.

Making 39 GHz Band Auction Ready – transitioning existing spectrum holdings in the 39 GHz band (38.6-40 GHz) to a new flexible-use band plan by offering new licenses for contiguous spectrum in the band.

Wireline Infrastructure – an order to reform the pole attachment process, allowing one-touch, make-ready for most pole attachments. The FCC may also issue a Declaratory Ruling to prohibit state and local moratoria on telecommunications facilities deployment.

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-tentative-agenda-august-open-meeting-4

Compliance testing begins for Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service

The Wireless Innovation Forum (WInnForum) has approved the first six test labs for Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) device testing:

  • Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services (Hong Kong) Ltd., Taoyuan Branch, Mobile Communications
  • DEKRA Certification, Inc.
  • Nemko (multiple approved locations)
  • Nokia Global Product Compliance Laboratory
  • Sporton International Inc.
  • TUV SUD Canada

“WInnForum is excited to have approved the first six labs for CBSD testing,” said Lee Pucker, CEO of the WInnForum. “Approval of WInnForum standards certified test labs provides a significant step towards commercialization of the CBRS Band. These approvals are considered the first wave of WInnForum CBRS Approved test labs with more to follow.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be certifying CBSDs against CFR 47 Part 96 using FCC Authorized Test Labs.

Accordingly, the WInnForum is facilitating CBSD certification testing, against this test specification by approving FCC approved test labs to run the WInnForum CBSD tests.

http://www.WirelessInnovation.org

Verizon deploys LTE over CBRS spectrum


Verizon announced 4G LTE over CBRS spectrum (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) using its live commercial network in Florida. The deployment uses a combination of Verizon licensed AWS and 700 MHz spectrum aggregated with 50 MHz of CBRS band 48 spectrum.  Verizon said it has achieved peak speeds of 790 Mbps using LTE Advanced features including multiple antennas, 256 QAM, and carrier aggregation across the shared and licensed spectrum. ...


Ten baseline specifications for commercial operations within the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band are now ready to go. CBRS Operational and Functional Requirements CBRS Communications Security Technical Specification CBRS Operational Security Technical Specification SAS to CBSD Protocol Specification SAS to SAS Protocol Specification SAS Test and Certification Specification PAL Database Specification  CBRS PKI Certificate...


Fujitsu builds its role as global systems integrator for multicloud

Following on from its recent cloud partnerships announcements with Microsoft and VMware, Fujitsu announced new collaborations with SAP and Oracle.

The offerings will include a new "SAP on Microsoft Azure from Fujitsu" managed service that leverages the Fujitsu end-to-end hybrid IT capabilities and global partnerships with both Microsoft and SAP. A separate global Managed Services Provider (MSP) agreement with Oracle enables Fujitsu to provide and fully manage Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) on Oracle Cloud and on-premises infrastructure globally.

Fujitsu said it is pursuing a global multi-cloud, multi-partner approach in its mission to be a top global systems integrator for delivering and managing complex multi-cloud hybrid IT environments. The company is training approximately 10,000 customer-facing employees globally in multi-cloud certifications to address industry-wide skills shortage.

"The days of 'one size fits all' cloud are over. Fujitsu is empowering businesses to achieve their goals faster by eliminating the burdensome task of moving to cloud. With an enhanced strategy that provides end-to-end, multi-cloud and Hybrid IT services from world-class hyperscale cloud and application partners, Fujitsu offers clients extensive choice so they can select a cloud solution that is right for their business and workloads, freeing them to focus on growth, unhindered by limitations in IT capability. And with vast investments in people and skills, Fujitsu brings in hard-to-find talent to do the job," stated Dixie Erwin, Head of Digital Technology Services at Fujitsu America.

Oasis Labs plans cloud platform based on blockchain

Oasis Labs, a start-up based in Berkeley, California, is reported to have raised $45 million in a private token sale for its "privacy-first public cloud platform based on blockchain. The idea is to ensure that privacy is built into each layer of the stack, from the application all the way down to hardware.  The system promises codified and self-enforceable privacy protection without relying on any central party.

Oasis Labs is headed by Dr. Dawn Song (CEO) who is Professor of Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley, and a MacArthur Fellow.

https://www.oasislabs.com


Thursday, July 12, 2018

IEEE 5G World Forum: T-Mobile says 5G is AWESOME

"5G is AWESOME" -- that's the message delivered emphatically by Egil Gronstad, Senior Director of Technology Development and Strategy for T-Mobile USA, speaking to a mostly academic audience at the 2018 IEEE 1st 5G World Forum (5GWF’18) in Santa Clara, California this week. 

The main takeaway from his half-hour presentation: 5G is happening now at T-Mobile USA. The rollout is real and is proceeding if for no other reason than higher performance, which is always desirable in networking.


Some key takeaways:

  • T-Mobile's 5G commercial rollout begins this year in 30 cities and will be fully nationwide within 2.5 years. T-Mobile will deploy its 5G RAN using both 600MHz and 28GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Previously, Nokia confirmed that its equipment has been selected for the initial rollout.
  • A key learning is that 5G requires mid-band spectrum and T-Mobile's newly licensed 600 MHz spectrum is a strategic advantage
  • Building penetration loss for 5G in mmWave spectrum is significant
  • T-Mobile is not expecting to charge more for 5G service compared to its existing plans. The company expects to attract new customers and applications as the cost justification for upgrading to 5G
  • Voice needs to ride on the 5G network as soon as possible. In the transition to 4G, it was a mistake for voice to continue on the 3G for so long.
  • T-Mobile USA has no current plans for 5G fixed wireless service but is looking very closely at the business case.
  • T-Mobile USA has added one million or more users each quarter for the past 20 quarters


Video of Egil Gronstad's presentation:
http://ieeetv.ieee.org/conference-highlights/ieee-5g-world-forum-keynotes-full-stream-day-3-2018

FCC looks to open 3.7 and 4.2 GHz for 5G

The Federal Communications Commission has identified up to 500 megahertz of mid-band spectrum between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz that could be open for 5G wireless services.

A newly adopted FCC order sets forth several steps toward making more mid-band spectrum available for terrestrial fixed and mobile broadband use.  Specifically, the Order will require Fixed Satellite Service earth stations operating in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band to certify the accuracy of existing registration and license information and will collect additional information from space station licensees on their operations in the band to assist the Commission and commenters in developing a clearer understanding of how the band is currently being used.  The Commission will then use this information to evaluate the most efficient way to drive the deployment of mid-band spectrum for mobile services and more intensive fixed services.

The FCC said its Notice also proposes to add a mobile (except aeronautical mobile) allocation to all 500 megahertz in the band and seeks comment on various proposals for transitioning part or all of the band for flexible use, working up from 3.7 GHz, including market-based, auction, and alternative mechanisms.  The Notice also seeks comment on allowing more intensive point-to-multipoint fixed use in some portion of the band, on a shared basis, working down from 4.2 GHz and on how to define and protect incumbent users from harmful interference, and it seeks comment on service and technical rules that would enable efficient and intensive use by any new services in the band.

"Our focus here is on making more intensive use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band, commonly called the C-band.  To help us figure out the best way forward, we authorize the collection of additional information from the band’s current users.  That data will help us figure out how to accommodate the needs of incumbents, which are primarily using the band to provide Fixed Satellite Service.  It’ll also enable us to free up more spectrum for advanced wireless services," stated FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Intel to acquire eASIC for programmable logic

Intel agreed to acquire eASIC, a privately-held developer of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Financial terms were not disclosed.

eASIC, which was founded in 1999 and is based in Santa Clara, California, helps customers to develop custom silicon with low up-front costs. The company says it can deliver tested prototypes in as little as 5 weeks from tape out.  The eASIC Platform replaces SRAM based routing with a scheme that utilizes a single via, significant die size reduction can be achieved compared to comparable density FPGAs.

eASIC's fifth generation Nextreme-3S, which is built on a 28nm CMOS process, can be used for logic, DSP or memory intensive designs and provides greater than 1 terabit of bandwidth using a combination of 28 Gbps and 16 Gbps high speed transceivers.

Following the acquisition, the eASIC team will join Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group.

https://www.easic.com/
https://newsroom.intel.com/editorials/mcnamara-psg-expands-portfolio/

DOJ to challenge AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner

The U.S. Department of Justice will appeal the decision by U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. in the case involving the merger of AT&T and Time Warner.

On June 12th, U.S. federal judge Richard Leon ruled in favor of AT&T in the lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice to block its acquisition of Time Warner. Since then, AT&T has consummated its acquisition of Time Warner.

In response, David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel, issued the following statement: “The Court’s decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned.  While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the DOJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances.  We are ready to defend the Court’s decision at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.”

See also