Wednesday, April 22, 2020

AWS activates Africa (Cape Town) Region

Amazon Web Services (AWS) activated AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region.

The AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region has three Availability Zones. AWS Regions are composed of Availability Zones, which each comprise of one or more data centers and are located in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting business continuity, yet near enough to provide low latency for high-availability applications. Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networking. AWS customers focused on high availability can design their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones to achieve even greater fault-tolerance. Like all AWS infrastructure regions around the world, the Availability Zones in the Cape Town Region are equipped with back-up power to ensure continuous and reliable power availability to maintain operations during electrical failures and load shedding in the country.

AWS now spans 73 Availability Zones within 23 geographic regions around the world, and has announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones across four more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Italy, Japan, and Spain.

“The cloud is positively transforming lives and businesses across Africa and we are honored to be a part of that transformation,” said Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure and Customer Support, Amazon Web Services. “We have a long history in South Africa and have been working to support the growth of the local technology community for over 15 years. In that time, builders, developers, entrepreneurs, and organizations have asked us to bring an AWS Region to Africa and today we are answering these requests by opening the Cape Town Region. We look forward to seeing the creativity and innovation that will result from African organizations building in the cloud.”

Cisco SD-WAN offers tighter integration with Google Cloud

Cisco and Google Cloud are building tighter integration for enterprise customers.

A new turnkey networking solution called Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Google Cloud promises secure and on-demand connectivity from a customer's branch, to the edge of the cloud, through Google Cloud’s backbone, and to applications running in Google Cloud, a private data center, another cloud or a SaaS application.

Google notes that the network that supports services like YouTube, Search, Maps and Gmail is the same infrastructure that provides connectivity to Google Cloud customers and their users.

Key capabilities of Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Google Cloud:

  • A flexible, on-demand network that allows customers to automatically provision a reliable, global network that grows with enterprises’ business needs. In most cases, customer traffic enters Google’s network directly from their last mile provider and stays on Google’s network while it traverses the globe. Combining Cisco’s advanced SD-WAN capabilities with Google's software-defined backbone, customers get an end-to-end network that not only optimizes connectivity between branches, stores and to the cloud, but also provides telemetry for troubleshooting and diagnostic purposes. 
  • Automated application and path-aware routing takes the complexity out of mapping business services to the appropriate network. The Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Google Cloud solution allows customers to publish all of their services in a single place with the ability to define the intent of how the network should treat those services in an automated fashion, reducing time to onboard new services on to the network. With a combined view of network telemetry, this solution also provides the most optimized path to interconnect Anthos-based services hosted in hybrid/multi cloud environments. 
  • Stronger, smarter security thanks to Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub with Google Cloud’s end-to-end security, which seamlessly integrates network control and available application-layer security controls based on workload and user identities. With this rich set of controls, customers get security at multiple layers, resulting in stronger protection for their applications.

SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites on Wednesday, 22-April-2020, bringing its constellation to 420 satellites in orbit.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully landed on the drone ship in the Atlantic.

AT&T cites impact of COVID-19, networks performing well, guidance withdrawn

Citing an approximate $600 million impact of COVID-19 on its business,  especially on advertising sales and the cancellation of live sports such as March Madness, AT&T reported Q1 2020 consolidated revenues of $42.8 billion, down from $44.8 billion in the year-ago quarter, and below market expectations. Growth in domestic wireless service revenues and strategic and managed business services revenues partially offset declines in revenues from WarnerMedia, domestic video, legacy wireline services, domestic wireless equipment and Vrio.

AT&T suspended its share repurchase program and the company withdrew its financial guidance due to uncertainty related to COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

“The COVID pandemic had a 5 cents per share impact on our first quarter. Without it, the quarter was about what we expected — strong wireless numbers that covered the HBO Max investment, and produced stable EBITDA and EBITDA margins,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. We have a strong cash position, a strong balance sheet, and our core businesses are solid and continue to generate good free cash flow — even in today’s environment. In light of the pandemic’s economic impact, we’ve already adjusted our capital allocation plans and suspended all share retirements,” Stephenson said.  “As a result, we’re able to continue investing in critical growth areas like 5G, broadband and HBO Max, while maintaining our dividend commitment and paying down debt.”

Some highlights:
  • Strong cash position and liquity
  • Operating expenses were $35.3 billion versus $37.6 billion in the year-ago quarter, down 6.1% due to a one-time spectrum gain, lower Entertainment Group costs, lower WarnerMedia costs primarily associated with lower revenues, lower domestic wireless equipment costs and cost efficiencies. 
  • Operating income was $7.5 billion versus $7.2 billion in the year-ago quarter, with operating expense reductions outpacing revenue declines. 
  • Operating income margin was 17.5% versus 16.1% in the year-ago quarter. 
  • Capital expenditures were $5.0 billion
  • Mobility Service revenues up 2.5%
  • Mobility Operating income up 9.0% with EBITDA of $7.8 billion, up 7.0%
  • Postpaid phone churn of 0.86%, a 6 basis point improvement
  • 163,000 postpaid phone net adds
  • Solid video and broadband ARPU gains
  • AT&T TV national launch; video subs impacted by focus on long-term value customer base:
  • 18.6 million premium TV subscribers – 897,000 net loss
  • 209,000 AT&T Fiber net adds; IP broadband revenue growth of nearly 2%

Arista's Cognitive WiFi identifies Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Zoom

Arista Networks updated its Cognitive WiFi software to offer real-time insight into the WiFi client journey, including the health of collaboration and video applications delivering optimal WiFi experiences through analytics and proactive remediation recommendations. Arista’s WiFi foundation is based on a modern and cloud-based approach unlike traditional controller-based WiFi legacy networks with overheads.


  • Automated visibility of WiFi users' experience while using Google Hangouts, Zoom and Microsoft Team video collaboration applications, delivering an optimal client to application experience.
  • OpenConfig WiFi innovation for operational efficiency and scale, providing a standards-based management interface for WiFi access points.
  • Rapid problem resolution with new Cognitive WiFi artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities for root cause analysis on per client or a group of clients accessing an application and applying remedial action recommendations.
  • New Location Services - Track location of any WiFi APs and clients on a floor; visualize WiFi associations; filter based on client or user information, or connectivity or performance issues.
  • Built-in Remote Access Point Capabilities
  • Easy upgrade for Arista WiFi 6 access points via software supporting uplink access (with orthogonal frequency-division multiple access OFDMA) and multi-user uplink (multiple input, multiple output MIMO) for improved investment protection.
  • These upgrades enhance IOT users to increase efficiency for high bandwidth applications like video collaboration assuring the optimal client to application experience.

“Recent world events have shown the importance of collaboration solutions and with these new capabilities, Arista is delivering the power of cloud-based cognitive analytics to identify, track and protect these critical business applications,” said John McCool, Chief Platform Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations for Arista.

Arista integrates Mojo wireless into its campus architcture

Arista Networks unveiled the next phase in its campus architecture by introducing wireless networking into its CloudVision platform.

The wireless capabilities, which are based on Arista's acquisition of Mojo Networks, include access points for a controller-less wireless network. These AP solutions are available in disaggregated options harnessing the power of cloud, machine learning and cognitive computing to deliver great experiences to WiFi users.

Arista's CloudVision's Device Analyzer provides inventory and deep flow analysis of all connected devices. Arista said campus administrators can access device type, connectivity method, location and communication patterns. This visibility enables an administrator to identify unauthorized traffic and compromised endpoints. Since CloudVision spans the data center and the campus, customers can leverage a single platform for end-to-end troubleshooting.

The Arista Cognitive WiFi software and family of disaggregated access points is available now, including the new Client Journey and WiFi Tracer feature sets. Arista’s CloudVision for Campus is available in Q4 2018 for early field trials and general availability in the first half of 2019.

Arista’s Cognitive WiFi is based on a similar CMP model for cognitive analytics unifying the operational experience across wired and wireless. CloudVision WiFi enhances real-time insight into the experience of WiFi clients to connect and utilize the network.

Xilinx posts quarterly revenue of $756 million

Xilinx announced revenues of $3.16 billion for fiscal year 2020, up 3% from the prior fiscal year. Revenues were $756 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, up 5% from the prior quarter and down 9% year over year.

GAAP net income for fiscal year 2020 was $793 million, or $3.11 per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income for fiscal year 2020 was $853 million, or $3.35 per diluted share. GAAP net income for the March quarter was $162 million, or $0.65 per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income for the March quarter was $193 million, or $0.78 per diluted share.

“Despite our fiscal 2020 being uniquely challenging, particularly related to the US trade-related restrictions with Huawei as well as some COVID-19 impact during our Q4, we were able to deliver another record year with revenue of $3.16 billion, a 3% increase over fiscal 2019,” said Xilinx president and CEO Victor Peng. “The strength and diversity of our business were reflected in the results of our fiscal fourth quarter with strong sequential growth in both revenue and profitability.”

“There remains a high degree of uncertainty in the global business environment given the impact of COVID-19 which creates challenges with visibility beyond the near term. Therefore, we believe it is prudent to provide only quarterly guidance at this time. We will continue to closely monitor business conditions. Lastly, I want to thank our employees for their continued focus and commitment in these challenging times.”

The Xilinx Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.38 per outstanding share of common stock payable on June 3, 2020 to all stockholders of record at the close of business on May 13, 2020. The declared dividend represents a 2.7% increase over the prior quarter’s dividend and reflects Xilinx’s commitment to growing the dividend.

Ericsson sees limited impact from Covid-19, sales steady, margin rises

Ericsson reported Q11 2020 sales of SEK 49.8 billion compared with SEK 48.9 billion a year ago, representing a decline of 2% adjusted for comparable units and currency. Gross margin excluding restructuring charges improved to 40.4% (38.5%). Gross margin improved QoQ in all segments.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, states: "Ericsson delivered a solid result during the first quarter, with limited impact from the Covid-19 pandemic. An important indicator of our strategy execution is the improvement in gross margin. The Q1 gross margin[1] increased to 40.4% (38.5%) YoY, driven by improvements across segments. We expect our industry to show resilience throughout the pandemic and we are well positioned with a competitive 5G product offering and cost structure. There is near-term uncertainty around sales volumes due to Covid-19 and the macroeconomic situation, but with current visibility we have no reason to change our financial targets for 2020 and 2022."

Some highlights:

  • In segment Networks, the gross margin increased to 44.6% (43.2%). The operating margin[1] reached 16.8%.
  • In segment Digital Services, Ericsson is confident about its offering and market position. Leading operators have awarded us several 5G Core contracts, which are expected to start generating material revenues from 2021. 
  • Ericsson is increasing R&D investments in our 5G and cloud-native portfolio to capture the new opportunities.
  • In the first quarter, currency adjusted sales declined by -9% due to fewer project completions and a somewhat negative impact from Covid-19 as access to some customer networks was limited. 
  • Ericsson 5G equipment is used in 29 live networks across four continents. The company has 86
  • commercial agreements for 5G.
  • Ericsson is concerned that 5G investments in Europe are delayed, and is encouraging governments to see 5G investments as a way to restart economies.
  • Ericsson has 85,000 employees working from home.

Seagate posts strong quarterly revenue of $2.718 billion

Seagate Technology reported quarterly revenue of $2.718 billion, up from $2.313 million a year ago. Net income (GAAP) was $320 million, compared with $195 million a year ago.

“Seagate executed very well in the third quarter while navigating the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teams worked tirelessly to safeguard the health of their colleagues, support customer demand, and execute our product roadmap. In this challenging environment, we achieved strong financial performance, delivering revenue and non-GAAP EPS that were above our guidance midpoint and continuing to generate solid free cash flow,” said Dave Mosley, Seagate’s chief executive officer.

“Our results demonstrate the resilience of our business model, which combined with our strong balance sheet and liquidity offer stability to manage through this uncertain environment. Over the long-term, we believe the strength of our technology innovation and product portfolio position Seagate well to capitalize on secular demand for mass capacity storage as well as the growing necessity for cost effective data management solutions driven by the transition to IT 4.0.”