Thursday, February 11, 2021

Microsoft to build datacenter region in Georgia - “East US 3”

Microsoft plans to build its next U.S. data center region—“East US 3”—in Georgia, with presence in both Fulton and Douglas counties, near Atlanta.

In choosing the location, Microsoft said a range of criteria, including proximity to population centers, a broad, reliable and stable power source, multiple high-capacity network connections, a large pool of qualified labor, and affordable and clean energy. 

Microsoft has announced more than 60 datacenter regions around the globe, each comprising multiple datacenters.

Microsoft Azure to connect to the International Space Station with HPE

Microsoft is working with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to connect Azure directly to space using HPE’s upcoming launch of its Spaceborne Computer-2 (SBC-2), which will deliver edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities together for the first time on the International Space Station (ISS). 

HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2, which is scheduled to launch into orbit for the ISS on the 15th Northrop Grumman Resupply Mission to Space Station (NG-15), is built on the HPE Edgeline Converged Edge system for harsh edge environments. A connection from  Spaceborne Computer-2 to Microsoft Azure will be established through NASA and the HPE ground station.

Microsoft Research and Azure Space engineering teams are evaluating the potential of HPE’s space, state-of-the-art processing in conjunction with hyperscale Azure.

Analytical Space selected for satellite-based Fast Pixel Network

Analytical Space was awarded a $26.4 million, three-year contract by the Department of the Air Force's commercial investment arm (AF Ventures), with joint funding from the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), for the development, launch, and deployment of six satellites and two additional hosted payload network nodes for Analytical Space’s Fast Pixel Network.

The Fast Pixel NetworkTM is a data transport network in low Earth orbit that ingests data from geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) collection satellites, routes that ingested data from node to node via high speed optical intersatellite links and delivers that data in real time to military operators, intelligence analysts, and commercial consumers of satellite data. Operating in the space between those GEOINT satellites and existing ground station networks, the Fast Pixel Network layer enables critical space-derived intelligence to reach end users with very low latency across diverse data pathways. 

“The Analytical Space team is thrilled to bring this cutting-edge capability to bear for the United States Space Force and its partner services and agencies,” said Gil Valdes, the Business Development Lead for Government Programs at Analytical Space. “As the space domain becomes more contested over the coming decades, maintaining connectivity with space-based assets and the data they produce will be absolutely critical. Analytical Space is proud to play a key role in ensuring that future for the United States and its allies.”

II-VI intros double-junction VCSEL arrays for 3D sensing

II‐VI introduced its double-junction vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays for next-generation world-facing 3D sensing applications.

II-VI’s new VCSEL arrays are based on a double-junction technology that doubles the power output per VCSEL emitter and improves the power conversion efficiency to 56%, compared with 46% in existing single-junction technology. The company says this can be leveraged for a number of differentiating benefits, including higher output power to sense farther and wider, reduced battery power consumption, and smaller size to achieve lower cost and to enable more inconspicuous designs.

II-VI’s double-junction VCSEL arrays emit at 940 nm, and their steep slope efficiencies enable very short pulses of very high peak powers. The VCSEL arrays are designed for low-cost non-hermetic packaging and, like the single-junction arrays, can be reliably and cost-effectively scaled in total power by increasing the number of emitters per chip. They can also be produced in high volume on II-VI’s vertically integrated 6-inch platform.

“We have developed over the years strong partnerships with our customers, closely collaborating on the development of long-term technology and product roadmaps aimed at providing breakthrough solutions and continuously elevating user experience in 3D sensing,” said Dr. Julie Eng, Sr. Vice President, Optoelectronic & RF Devices Business Unit. “A few years ago, we successfully scaled our vertically integrated GaAs optoelectronics technology platform from 3-inch to 6-inch, which enabled us to shorten our development cycles and introduce new products to meet aggressive market windows. We are now once again evolving the platform, this time with a leap to double-junction technology that we believe will unlock exciting new use cases, such as farther depth of sensing in world-facing applications and seamless integration into consumer products for AR and VR applications.”

Sabey Data Center Properties attracts $150M in new investment

Sabey Data Center Properties LLC (SDCP) closed a $150 million investment by Manulife Investment Management, which was funded from the John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) balance sheet as well as third party managed accounts.

SDCP is one of the largest and greenest privately held data center owner/developer/operators in the United States, as well as the sole data center ABS master trust platform with an S&P A+ credit rating.  

The company said the funds from this closing will be used to capitalize on robust tenant demand for data center space by growing its portfolio.

“The Sabey partnership with National Real Estate Advisors has been key to our success in expanding our nationwide data center footprint and we are pleased to welcome Manulife Investment Management as a new strategic partner,” said Dave Sabey, Chairman & President, Sabey Corporation. “Demand for digital capacity will continue to increase, and Sabey Data Center Properties is dedicated to meeting that demand.”

Pivotal Commware secures $50M for Holographic Beam Forming

Pivotal Commware, a start-up based in Kirkland, Washington, announced $50 million in C round funding for its Holographic Beam Forming technology for 5G mmWave infrastructure.

Pivotal’s mmWave product ecosystem includes its WaveScape network modelling tool, Pivot 5G outdoor network repeaters, Echo 5G indoor subscriber repeaters, and Intelligent Beam Management System (IBMS) for remote management and optimization.  

The company plans to extend its products and services into mid-band frequencies like the recently auctioned C-Band, CBRS, Band n53 and other upcoming frequency bands.

The funding round was led by an affiliate of Tracker Capital Management, which was founded by Stephen A. Feinberg who is also Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Cerberus Capital Management. Tracker Capital was joined in this round by Devonshire Investors, the private investment firm affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments. Pivotal’s existing investors, including DIG Investment, Thermo, Lux Capital and Bill Gates, also participated in the financing.

“As the telecom industry evolves globally, we believe that Pivotal is at the forefront of the next wave of telecom infrastructure providers,” said Pivotal CEO Brian Deutsch. “For 5G, ultra-wideband mmWave is the real game changer and Pivotal has built the complete solution for rapid, cost-effective deployment of these high-value networks. We are extremely pleased to have a partner like Tracker Capital, with its extensive telecom horsepower and expertise that shares our vision for the future of our crucial and rapidly expanding industry.”

Pivotal COO Chris Brandon commented: “This capital will allow Pivotal to become a significant 5G telecom infrastructure provider on a global stage.”

Cloudflare posts Q4 sales of $126M, up 50% year-over-year

 Cloudflare reported Q4 2020 revenue of $125.9 million, representing an increase of 50% year-over-year. GAAP gross profit was $96.9 million, or 76.9% gross margin, compared to $65.7 million, or 78.3%, in the fourth quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP gross profit was $98.3 million, or 78.1% gross margin, compared to $66.0 million, or 78.7%, in the fourth quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP net loss was $7.4 million, compared to $16.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. GAAP net loss per share was $0.11, compared to $0.10 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP net loss per share was $0.02, compared to $0.06 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

“We had a remarkable end to a year we’ll never forget, delivering a record fourth quarter and full year 2020. Our paid customer count grew to more than 111,000, with our largest customers continuing to be our strongest growth area,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. “We helped our customers shift away from the weight of the appliances that held them down when they needed flexibility to succeed, and delivered more than 550 products and capabilities during 2020 that also supported needs bigger than all of us—whether it was helping to secure the US election from cyberattacks or ensuring COVID-19 vaccine registration sites withstand demand with Project Fair Shot. Innovation is the energy that fuels Cloudflare, differentiates us in the market, and enables us to help build a better Internet.”

Internet properties powered by Cloudflare have all web traffic routed through its intelligent global network, which gets smarter with every request, yielding improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.

Amazon commits to 50% capacity of offshore wind project in the Netherlands

Amazon announced its largest single renewable energy project yet -- a new offshore wind project in the Netherlands backed by the Crosswind Consortium, a joint venture between energy companies Shell and Eneco.

The Amazon-Shell HKN Offshore Wind Project, which is scheduled for operation by 2024, promises an overall capacity of 759 megawatts (MW). Amazon is purchasing over 50 percent of that capacity, a total of 380 MW, to power its operations in Europe.

Nokia teams with Brazil's Telecom R&D center on Open RAN

Nokia is working with Brazil’s Telecommunications Research and Development Center (CPQD), an independent government-affiliated research body, to jointly develop applications and solutions based on the Open RAN (O-RAN) compliant near-real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC). 

The RIC is a virtualized 5G optimization technology that adds programmability to the Radio Access Network (RAN) and enables artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as well as new services. It provides a framework for deploying applications from multiple sources. The near-real-time RIC platform provides functions and interfaces that boost optimization, automation, and faster, more flexible service deployments.

Nokia said the collaboration will leverage its Service Enablement Platform (SEP), which combines the capabilities of the RIC and multi-access edge computing (MEC).

Use cases include fixed wireless access (FWA), smart cities, IoT for Industry 4.0, and critical networks, which will be customized for the Brazilian market.