Monday, May 7, 2018

Microsoft Build 2018 brings new capabilities to Azure and the Intelligent Edge

Azure and the intelligent edge are two big themes at Microsoft's Build 2018 developer conference in Seattle this week. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it was betting $5 billion over several years to cement its presence in IoT. The company is already known to be investing billions in CAPEX for its Azure data centre rollout, where it now leads the other public cloud providers in the number of cloud data centres already online -- although, in terms of market share, the other big public cloud player based in the Seattle region remains dominant. This week's Build conference offers the chance to differentiate by tying together its data centre footprint, its IoT ambitions, and its deep presence on enterprise desktops and office suites into a coherent strategy.

"We're focused on two massive platform opportunities, one, Microsoft Azure, the other Microsoft 365.  And both these platform opportunities are being shaped by one major shift in the technology paradigm, the shift to the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge," Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO.

Nadella said Microsoft is focused on building out Azure, Azure Stack, Azure IoT Edge and Azure Sphere as the one computing fabric to support this paradigm shift.

Announcements at the event spanned developer tools, DevOps, containers, serverless, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Here is a synopsis of key items from the keynotes given by Nadella and Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's Executive VP of cloud and Enterprise.

Azure is now in 50-plus regions and has 70-plus certifications -- more regions and more certifications than any other public cloud.

90% of companies are running Microsoft Cloud to some degree

Azure added 130 new capabilities in the past year and the company is introducing 70 further capabilities at this week's Build conference.

Azure Stack is now a year old and is supporting multiple scenarios.  For example, Chevron is using it so that they can essentially have Azure in a disconnected way at their oil rigs.

Azure IoT Edge, which now runs both on Linux and Windows, enables Azure Services as well as private code to escape the cloud and be deployed directly down onto devices and managed remotely

Windows ML can now serve as an inference engine with the IoT runtime and it will be hardware accelerated.

Microsoft plans to open source Azure IoT Edge so developers can modify, debug and have more transparency and control for edge applications.

Microsoft is working with DJI to integrate Azure IoT Edge right into drones, enabling AI models that have been trained in the cloud to the edge right on the drone.

Microsoft announced a joint effort with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to create a vision AI developer kit running Azure IoT Edge

Azure Sphere, which was announced at RSA last month, brings together secure silicon design, a secure operating system, as well as a security and a management service, for microcontrollers.

Microsoft also announced AI for Accessibility, a new $25 million, five-year program aimed at harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capabilities for more than 1 billion people around the world with disabilities.

Microsoft announced Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural net processing that leverages Azure and the edge. Project Brainwave is fully integrated with Azure Machine Learning. It also supports Intel FPGA hardware and ResNet50-based neural networks.

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), which allows developers to build and run container-based solutions, will be commercially available in the coming weeks. AKS integrates with developer tools and workspaces, DevOps capabilities, networking, monitoring tools, and more in the Azure portal, so developers can write code, not stitch services together. In addition, Microsoft is now offering Kubernetes support for Azure IoT Edge devices.

A new Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench helps developers to stitch together an Azure-supported blockchain network with cloud services like Azure Active Directory, Key Vault and SQL Database.

Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Database Migration Service, which has already migrated almost ten thousands databases to Azure. The Azure Database Migration Service moves on-premises databases to Azure, including SQL Server to Azure SQL Database.

Telstra expands key subsea routes in Asia

Telstra has expanded its "Always On" service to provide more bandwidth options and lower latency on some of Asia’s busiest subsea cable routes – Hong Kong to Singapore and Japan to Hong Kong.

The service uses Telstra’s cable network in the Asia Pacific region to reroute traffic to another path, even in the event of a cable cut or damage due to a natural disaster.

Paul Abfalter, Director International at Telstra said: “Last year’s introduction of our "Always On" service guarantee was targeted at customers with large capacity requirements of between 10GB and 1TB. We are now expanding this service by introducing lower bandwidth options from 1GB with the flexibility for customers to scale up as needed.” 

Telstra also claims to have the lowest latency routes between key financial hubs in the Asia Pacific region.

“We now have average speeds of 28.8m/s between the Singapore (SGX) and Hong Kong (HKEX) Exchanges, 177.8m/s between the Australian (ASX) and Chicago (CME) Exchanges, 178.2m/s between Equinix/CERMAK (EQCH) in Chicago and the ASX, and 41.9m/s and 13.9m/s respectively between Singapore to Taiwan and Hong Kong to Taiwan,” said Abfalter.

Telstra’s subsea cable network is the largest and most diverse in the Asia Pacific, accounting for up to 30 percent of active intra-regional capacity.

Telia Carrier Launches Cloud Connect Service

Telia Carrier formally launched a Cloud Connect service which enables customers to connect directly to cloud service providers form any of its over 150 PoPs (Points-of-Presence) worldwide.

Telia Carrier said its new Cloud Connect service addresses demand from existing wholesale customers as well as from enterprises. The offering is the latest addition to Telia Carrier’s data portfolio of wholesale IP, Wavelength and Ethernet services.

“We believe that the coverage and scale of our global network combined with our award winning customer service, backed up by a solid SLA, make us stand out in the cloud connectivity space” says Staffan Göjeryd, CEO Telia Carrier.

Angola Cables brings spectrum sharing capabilities to MONET cable

Angola Cables, a dedicated wholesale carrier, has implemented Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme Spectrum Sharing capability on the MONET subsea cable, which is now live between Boca Raton, Fla. and São Paulo, Brazil, with a branching unit extension to Fortaleza, Brazil.

The capability enables Angola Cables to offer its customers customized amounts of capacity in virtual fiber pairs, which are dedicated and upgradeable portions of overall optical spectrum over a shared physical fiber pair.

Angola Cables is one of the leading capacity providers for the African West Coast and is also a service provider on the MONET subsea cable, an Open Cable system, where each consortium member can select the submarine line terminals for its cable fiber pairs, providing customers greater flexibility and choice of technology.

Angola Cables’ customers can manage their own traffic and submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE) without the risk of impact to and from other users sharing the common open cable system. The primary benefit of Ciena’s Spectrum Sharing capability is that it provides secure, cost-effective, and reliable connectivity in the form of highly flexible spectrum partitioning allowing Angola Cables to offer virtualized fiber pair products to their end-customers.

Last year, Angola selected Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme with WaveLogic Ai and Blue Planet solutions and services to support its new service launch on the MONET subsea cable. The 10,556 km route currently provides more than 25 Tb/s of traffic on Angola Cables’ network between the U.S. and Latin America’s major business hub of São Paulo, Brazil.

“With Ciena’s advanced Spectrum Sharing capabilities, we can expand our global reach by offering unique and highly differentiated virtual fiber pair products to our customers that provides them with increased flexibility and choice to best align to continually evolving and growing market demand for submarine connectivity,” stated António Nunes, CEO, Angola Cables.

MONET subsea cable enters service connecting U.S. and Brazil

The Monet subsea cable system, which links the U.S. and Brazil, is complete and ready for commercial service.

The 100Gbps-capable cable system offers an initial 64 Tbps of capacity.  The 10,556km cable has shore landings in Boca Raton, Florida; Fortaleza, Brazil; and Praia Grande, Brazil.

Monet is owned by Algar Telecom (Brazil), Angola Cables (Angola), Antel (Uruguay), Google and TE SubCom, a TE Connectivity Ltd. company.

Equinix Brings Submarine Cable Connections to its Data Centers

Equinix's data center in Miami will host the Florida cable landing equipment of the Monet submarine cable system.

The Monet submarine cable, which will deliver 60 terabits of capacity between the U.S. and Brazil, is owned by Algar Telecom (a Brazilian telecom company and ISP), Angola Cables, Antel (the Uruguayan telecom company) and Google, which is also the U.S. landing party for Monet. Construction of the system is underway and is expected to be completed in 2017.

The Monet cable will terminate in the U.S. at Equinix's MI3 International Business Exchange (IBX) data center. In Brazil, Monet will land in Fortaleza and Praia Grande near São Paulo. Landing facilities in those markets are to be provided by Angola Cables in Fortaleza and Google in Praia Grande.

Equinix said this represents an industry first for deploying an open submarine cable architecture together with an integrated cable landing station; colocation and interconnection inside a network-dense, multi-tenant data center.

Nokia acquires SpaceTime for IoT software

Nokia has acquired SpaceTime Insight, a start-up based in San Mateo, California with offices in Canada, UK, India, and Japan, specializing in IoT analytics. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SpaceTime Insight provides machine learning-powered analytics and IoT applications. Its machine learning models and other advanced analytics, designed specifically for asset-intensive industries, predict asset health with a high degree of accuracy and optimize related operations. The company said customers include some of the world's largest transportation, energy and utilities organizations, including Entergy, FedEx, NextEra Energy, Singapore Power and Union Pacific Railroad.

Nokia said the acquisition expands its Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio and IoT analytics capabilities, and accelerates the development of new IoT applications for key vertical markets.

Bhaskar Gorti, president of Nokia Software, said: "Adding SpaceTime to Nokia Software is a strong step forward in our strategy, and will help us deliver a new class of intelligent solutions to meet the demands of an increasingly interconnected world. Together, we can empower customers to realize the full value of their people, processes and assets, and enable them to deliver rich, world-class digital experiences."

SFR and Nokia test 5G NR in 3.5 GHz spectrum

SFR, in conjunction with Nokia, tested a 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio (NR) system over-the-air on the 3.5GHz frequency band. The test took place  at the Nokia 5G Test Network and Competence Center in Paris-Saclay, France.

The 5G call used Nokia's 5G-ready AirScale radio platform and Cloud RAN technology together with 3GPP-compliant end user test devices. A cloud infrastructure based on the Nokia AirFrame Datacenter solution was built to support Cloud RAN.

Nokia is a key supplier to SFR, specifically on the radio access network, and this latest milestone is fully in line with SFR's ambition to be at the forefront of innovation for the benefit of its customers.

François Vincent, head of Mobile Network at SFR, said: "SFR is developing a roadmap for the evolution of its networks that takes into account the benefits and complexity of implementing 5G. The joint projects and trials will enable us to meet future data demand in the most effective way, while exploring new ways to deliver our media content that will increase the subscriber experience."

NTT Comm activates PoP in Manchester

NTT Communications (NTT Com) expanded its Tier-1 Global IP Network with a new Point-of-Presence (PoP) in Manchester, United Kingdom, at Equinix’s MA4 Manchester IBX data center, a strategically-located facility within the Manchester Science Park.

Equinix’s MA4 data center enables direct interconnection to IX Manchester and the London Internet exchange, LINX, as well as a wide range of network service providers and major cloud service providers.

NTT Com customers at MA4 will be able to connect to the Global IP Network at numerous capacity levels including 100G ports.

Turkcell deploys nationally-produced ULAK base station

Turkcell is deploying a locally-produced "ULAK" base station to bring 4.5G mobile connectivity to rural areas in Anatolia. The deployment, which is part of Turkey’s “Universal Connectivity” project, upgrades 9 villages in the town of Cankiri, which were previously served only with 2G. The agreement with the Turkish government requires 10% use of locally produced base stations.

Turkey’s national base station was developed by Aselsan with the contribution of Netas and Argela, under the coordination of the Undersecretariat of Defence Industries and with the support of Ministry of Transport, Communication and Maritime Affairs, and Information and Communication Technology Agency.

Turkcell plans to deploy Turkey’s nationally-produced base station ULAK for nearly 50% of the “Universal 4.5G Connectivity” project - with Cankiri being one of the first areas to be connected with the national base stations.

“If we want Industry 4.0 to transform the societies, we cannot leave anyone behind, no matter what today’s economic feasibilities suggest. As the digital operator, we are honored to support the Turkish Government in taking 4.5G to rural parts of Turkey,” said Gediz Sezgin, Chief Technology Officer of Turkcell. “We are also proud to see that Turkey today has the capability to support this effort with locally produced technology. We are happy to help foster the growth of Turkey’s local technological capabilities and ecosystem through our deployment of the national base station. Both dimensions of our recent deployment in Cankiri exemplify a public-private partnership done right.”

Gigalight launches 40km 100G Single Receiver Optical Modules for DPI

Gigalight, which is based in Shenzhen, introduced two 40km single receiver optical modules for Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) applications.

  • a single receiver 100G QSFP28 ER4 Lite optical module with a power dissipation less than 2.5W. This module uses a high-sensitivity APD detector (ROSA) with a receiving sensitivity up to -15dBm per channel (1E-12, @25G). This module increases the optical transmission budget for users and meets the optical transmission applications (optical fiber directly connected without splitting) up to 40km when the Forward Error Correction (FEC) function in the front of the system side is enabled.
  • a single receiver 100G CFP2 ER4 optical module with a power dissipation less than 3.5W. It uses the PIN photodetector (ROSA) and the miniaturized Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (SOA). At the same time, it adopts the SOA closed-loop adaptive gain control algorithm developed by Gigalight, which can quickly lock the working current of SOA and quickly adjust the amplification performance of SOA, to ensure that the receiver's acceptance sensitivity is as high as -21.4dBm per channel (1E-12, @25G). 

Gigalight said the optical interface of the front-end, DPI flow collection and distributary equipment needs to be upgraded from 10GE to 100GE ports. When the flow collection equipment cannot be placed in the same room as the analytics and storage, a long distance fiber transmission is needed.

Marvell appoints Bethany Mayer and Donna Morris to Board

Marvell has appointed Bethany Mayer, former President and CEO of Ixia, and Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Customer and Employee Experience at Adobe, to its board of directors. Incumbent directors Gerri Elliott, who recently joined Cisco Systems as its new Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, and Peter Feld have notified Marvell that they will not be standing for re-election at the company's 2018 annual general meeting of shareholders to be held on June 28, 2018.

Bethany Mayer is currently an executive partner with Siris Capital Group LLC. From 2014 through 2017, she was the president, CEO and a board member of Ixia, a market leader in test, visibility and security solutions acquired by Keysight Technologies in 2017. From 2011 through 2014, Mayer was senior vice president and general manager of HP's Networking Business unit and the NFV Business unit and as vice president, marketing and alliances for HP's Enterprise Servers Storage and Networking Group from 2010 until 2011.

Donna Morris has served as Executive Vice President, Customer and Employee Experience at Adobe Systems Incorporated since 2016, and in other senior positions with Adobe since 2002.