Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Microsoft Azure Arc promises single control plane for Kubernetes

 Microsoft introduced a set of technologies that extends Azure management and services to any infrastructure running Kubernetes. 

Azure Arc offers a single control plane in any Kubernetes environment, including  on-premises, multicloud, or at the edge. 

Azure Arc is built to work with any cloud native computing foundation (CNCF) conformant Kubernetes distribution. Microsoft has collaborated with popular Kubernetes distributions including VMware Tanzu and Nutanix Karbon, which join Red Hat OpenShift, Canonical’s Charmed Kubernetes, and Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) to test and validate their implementations with Azure Arc. 

Azure Arc enabled services will include Azure Machine Learning, which is an enterprise-grade service that enables data scientists and developers to build, deploy, and manage machine learning models. By using Azure Arc to extend machine learning (ML) capabilities to hybrid and multicloud environments, customers can train ML models directly where the data lives using their existing infrastructure investments. This reduces data movement while meeting security and compliance requirements.

Customers can sign up for Azure Arc enabled Machine Learning today and deploy to any Kubernetes cluster. In one click, data scientists can now use familiar tools to build machine learning models consistently and reliably and deploy anywhere.

Microsoft released Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes in preview last fall and is now releasing it as general availability.


Video: Microsoft builds Azure for Operators

 In this video, Shawn Hakl, VP 5G Strategy at Microsoft Azure, talks about how Microsoft Azure helps network operators adopt cloud technologies for their network workloads and the important changes Azure made to build a carrier-grade cloud.

Download the 2021 Telco Infrastructure Report here: http://ngi.how/telco-2021

Telefónica and CDPQ create a neutral fiber wholesale operator in Brazil

Telefónica Group and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a global investment group, announced plans to create a neutral and independent optical fibre wholesale network in Brazil.

FiBrasil Infraestrutura e Fibra Ótica SA ("FiBrasil") will be a 50-50 joint venture with the Telefónica Group's 50% participation held through Telefônica Brazil ("Vivo") and Telefónica Infra, the infrastructure arm of Telefónica Group 

Operating as a neutral wholesale company, FiBrasil is set to deploy and operate fibre-optic networks in selected mid-sized cities across Brazil outside the state of Sao Paulo, and to offer FTTH wholesale access to all telecommunications service providers, enabling them to offer these services to their end customers. Starting with a portfolio of 1.6 million Homes Passed ("HPs") contributed by Telefônica Brasil, FiBrasil aims to expand its network to reach around 5.5 million HPs within 4 years, accelerating the transition to fibre and contributing to the country's technological deployment. Telefônica Brasil will also be the anchor tenant for FiBrasil.

CDPQ is investing a total of up to R$1.8 billion (CA$408 million) in this joint venture, comprising both primary and secondary payments. CDPQ's projected capital contributions and the expected leverage to be raised by FiBrasil provide a fully funded business plan to accomplish the company's deployment targets. FiBrasil is set to become a leading operator in the Brazilian fibre space, with the backing of a strong set of shareholders.

Ángel Vilá, Chief Operating Officer at Telefónica Group, commented, "We are very excited about this opportunity to partner with CDPQ, with whom we share the ambition to accelerate fibre roll-out in Brazil, contributing to Vivo's growth plans and to the country's digital development. We are delighted to put our FTTH expertise and commercial capabilities behind this partnership, joining forces with CDPQ as a key element for success, strengthening our value proposition and reinforcing our growth strategy."

"Vivo will be FiBrasil's anchor tenant, consolidating itself as the leading convergent operator in the country. The transaction is framed within our strategic pillars, allowing Vivo to improve time-to-market, while at the same time enabling a more efficient use of funds," said Christian Gebara, Telefônica Brasil's CEO. Gebara also mentioned that "fibre will be a key driver for Vivo's future top-line growth aiming at reaching at least 24 million HPs by the end of 2024, and FiBrasil will be Vivo's platform for expanding coverage to greenfield cities."

Comcasts posts 2020 network metrics - traffic up 32% over 2019

Comcast posted the following 2020 network data:

  • Peak Internet traffic rose 32 percent over pre-pandemic levels, and over 50 percent in some markets in March.
  • Peak downstream traffic in 2020 increased approximately 38 percent over 2019 levels and peak upstream traffic increased approximately 56 percent over 2019 levels.
  • Despite the growth in upstream traffic, traffic patterns remained highly asymmetrical, as downstream traffic volumes were 14x higher than upstream traffic volumes throughout 2020.
  • In the span of 4 months in the wake of pandemic lockdowns, Comcast’s network experienced almost 2 years-worth of traffic growth.
  • Surprisingly, despite increases in videoconferencing activity, entertainment activities continued to dominate network traffic, with video streaming accounting for 71 percent of all downstream traffic, and growing by 70 percent over 2019 levels.
  • Other key drivers of downstream traffic in 2020 were online gaming and the accompanying software downloads (10 percent), and web browsing (8 percent).
  • Despite growth in videoconferencing traffic, it still only accounted for less than 5 percent of overall network usage.
  • For the first time ever, as Comcast customers surfed, streamed and emailed more than ever before, they generated more than a trillion Internet requests (DNS lookups) each day.

Throughout this increase in demand, Comcast continued to deliver above-advertised speeds to customers across the country, including in areas most affected by COVID-19. The remarkable performance of the network during this time can be attributed both to outstanding work by technical and care teams throughout the pandemic and to key innovations and billions of dollars in strategic investment for many years before the pandemic began:

In addition, the company highlighted its recent network investments:

  • From 2017 through 2020, Comcast invested more than $15 billion to expand, strengthen and evolve its network.
  • From 2017 through 2020, the company built an additional 39,153 route miles of fiber into the network, and made thousands of capacity augments from the core of our network all the way down to individual neighborhoods.
  • Comcast engineers built multiple new smart software platforms – powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning – that can detect and fix problems before they affect customers.
  • One of those software platforms, Comcast Octave – the completion of which was dramatically accelerated by Comcast engineers in response to the pandemic – enabled Comcast to increase upstream capacity by up to 36 percent, right at the time when traffic levels began to surge.

“The Internet was a bright spot during the darkest hours of 2020, keeping hundreds of millions of people connected to work, school, entertainment, and most importantly, each other,” said Tony Werner, President of Technology, Product, Xperience at Comcast Cable. “We’re proud of the years of strategic investment and innovation that enabled us to build the foundation of a high-speed, intelligent network designed to scale to the needs of our most demanding users, and also adapt to unexpected events.”

OFS improves geometry specs for multimode fibers

OFS has improved important geometry specifications for its family of LaserWave multimode fibers, thereby reducing connector loss and improving link system performance. The enhancements can provide extra margin, or "headroom," in 40, 100 and 400 Gbps applications, enabling greater network design flexibility and reliability. The improvements were achieved through the use of OFS' patented Modified Chemical Vapor Deposition (MCVD) fiber manufacturing process. 

The improved specifications are supported by OFS' LaserWave WideBand (OM5), LaserWave FLEX 550 (OM4) and LaserWave FLEX 300 (OM3) fibers. OFS said these improvements include:

  • Clad diameter tolerance has been tightened from 125.0 ± 0.8 μm to 125.0 ± 0.7 μm
  • core non-circularity has been improved from ≤5.0% to ≤2.5%. 
  • Core/clad concentricity  has been tightened from ≤1.0 μm to ≤0.7 μm

Modeling of simulated connections conducted by OFS indicates that the tighter specifications can result in average insertion loss improvement of 0.07 dB per connection compared to industry standard fiber.  The model distribution also shows that 97% of insertion losses would be below 0.25 dB using LaserWave fiber, but 0.40dB using standards compliant fiber.  As loss budgets drop below 2 dB for 40, 100, and 400 Gb/s network, this improved insertion loss performance is critical for links containing multiple connections.

Aruba ties its Edge Services Platform to Microsoft Azure

Aruba introduced a service that enables IoT devices connected to Aruba access points (APs) and controllers to bi-directionally communicate with Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub. 

The Aruba IoT Transport for Azure service seamlessly enables the secure, bi-directional movement of data from IoT devices connected to Aruba APs and controllers, eliminating the need for an intermediate gateway, server, or application, thus reducing processing latency.

“Edge networking and IoT have had a profoundly positive impact on businesses, however, their recent convergence has surfaced interoperability challenges across platforms, applications, and systems,” said Michael Tennefoss, vice president of IoT and Strategic Partnerships at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Simplifying the integration of edge IoT and cloud services using the advanced cloud capabilities of Aruba ESP with the extensibility and power of Microsoft Azure overcomes these challenges. And it does so without sacrificing security, manageability, or reliability. The ubiquity of Azure, and its 99.99 percent regional availability, makes the solution attractive to customers worldwide that want better informed decisions and continuous process improvements.”

In addition, Aruba announced the introduction of the Aruba Central cloud management platform hosted on Azure, bringing Aruba’s enterprise-grade cloud networking solution, with more than 1 million devices already under management, to Azure.


OFS intros behind-the-wall fiber spool

OFS introduced an InvisiLight EZ-Hide Behind-the-Wall Module for fiber installation inside homes and multiple dwelling units, or for passive optical LAN applications. 

OFS says its new module can further reduce the footprint of InvisiLight ILU installations by up to 50% by hiding the spool behind the wall and using the InvisiLight 600µm buffered fiber.

The original InvisiLight ILU Solution, launched in 2012, offered an innovative yet simple process to reach indoor ONTs by adhering a 0.9 mm diameter optical fiber into the crevices along ceilings and walls or moldings and walls. The InvisiLight EZ-Hide Behind-the-Wall Module uses an even smaller 0.6 mm optical fiber and installs with the same simple installation process and tools as the original. The compact EZ-Hide spool can dispense up to 40 meters of fiber as it is moved along the deployment path to the ONT location yet still fit inside a common behind the wall gang box.


Dell'Oro: SD-WAN market Surged 50% in 4Q2020

The worldwide SD-WAN market grew 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the prior year, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. The top five vendors in revenue share for the full-year 2020 were led by Cisco, followed by VMware, Fortinet, Versa, and HPE/Silver Peak.

“The combination of pent-up demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and an acceleration away from legacy technologies created a surge in SD-WAN adoption during the fourth quarter,” said Shin Umeda, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “On a full-year basis, the market grew 32 percent in 2020, which was about half the rate of the prior year, but very impressive given the challenging macroeconomic environment that we faced throughout the year,” added Umeda.

Additional highlights from the 4Q 2020 SD-WAN Report:

  • Dell’Oro Group’s quarterly tracking of the SD-WAN market is now available as a separate research report.
  • SD-WAN market share for 2020 saw increasing concentration in a small number of vendors. The top five vendors accounted for almost two-thirds of revenue share.
  • Vendors are increasingly leveraging security functionality to differentiate their SD-WAN solution and driving growth.

Ayar Labs hires Dr. Ken Chang, former VP of Wired Engineering at Xilinx

Ayar Labs appointed Dr. Ken Chang as Senior Vice President of Engineering.

Dr. Chang is the former VP of Wired Engineering at Xilinx, where he led its SerDes technology group which delivered industry first 28G KR/CR compliant transceivers for FPGAs and 56G PAM4 and 112G PAM4 transceivers capable of long reach transmission. Prior to that, he was at Rambus for 11 years where he led the development of numerous products and advanced technology development projects, all in the high-speed links domain.

Dr. Chang, an IEEE fellow since 2018, brings a wealth of industry and research experience to Ayar Labs. He has authored or co-authored over 50 technical papers in ISSCC, VLSI, A-SSCC, and JSSC in the area of chip-to-chip interfaces and chip-to-memory. He is also active in the IEEE community and recently served as the technical program chair and co-chair of the VLSI Circuit Symposium in 2018 and 2017, respectively, and served on the Technical Program Committee since 2009. He also served on the Technical Program Committee of ISSCC from 2011-2016 and CICC from 2008-2010.

“We’re excited to have Dr. Ken Chang join Ayar Labs to lead our growing engineering organization,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs. “Ken has decades of experience in bringing high speed I/O products to market as well as leading and growing world class engineering organizations. He joins Ayar Labs at a seminal moment as the industry prepares to transition to in-package optical I/O to meet growing workload demands and maintain Moore’s Law scaling.”

“I believe that silicon photonics is critical for the advancement of high-performance interconnects,” said Dr. Chang. “Ayar Labs has pioneered much of the technology for in-package optical I/O through its development of micro-ring resonator-based electro-optical chiplets that deliver the bandwidth density and energy efficiency in cost effective 2.5/3D packaging solutions to make this future a reality. I am excited to join this very talented and energetic team to bring these transformative innovations to market.”

yar Labs hits key milestone for chip-to-chip optical connectivity

 Ayar Labs demonstrated its patented monolithic electronic/photonic solution on Globalfoundries' next-gen photonics solution based on its 45nm platform. 

The companies said this industry-first demonstration is a key milestone in providing chip-to-chip optical connectivity at scale. The two companies began working together in 2015 with a commitment to collaborate and commercialize differentiated silicon photonics solutions for greenfield applications that would require extreme bandwidth density (high data throughput in a small physical package) at low latency and high energy efficiency.

“Ayar Labs has been perfecting our micro-ring based monolithic electronic/photonic solution for nearly a decade. But the true commercial potential is realized when coupled with a 300mm semiconductor fabrication process that delivers the performance, reliability, and cost advantages that we and our customers require,” says Charles Wuischpard, CEO, Ayar Labs. “This is yet another industry-first result that solidifies our leadership for this market opportunity.”

“Ayar Labs is an important partner of GLOBALFOUNDRIES,” says Anthony Yu, Vice President of Silicon Photonics at GF. “As collaborators, we’ve incorporated their requirements for PDK and process optimizations while providing early access to our next-generation process. Together, we will unlock a larger market opportunity and realize chip-to-chip optical I/O solutions that will enable higher bandwidth and faster connection for high performance compute applications.”

Over the last 18 months, Ayar Labs has been working with select semiconductor manufacturers, systems builders, and end users on co-design partnerships. The company is now announcing an expanded sampling program of its next-generation chiplet developed on GF’s latest silicon photonics manufacturing process that will be available to a broader group by request at ayarlabs.com/starterkit/

Dr. Mark Wade, President and CTO of Ayar Labs, will be sharing details of this industry first demonstration at ECOC 2020 as part of his presentation on ‘Silicon photonic chiplets for chip-to-chip communications’ on Tuesday, December 8, from 16:20 – 16:40 (CET). A video of the demonstration will also be made available at this time.


Lockheed Martin Ventures invests in Ayar Labs

Lockheed Martin Ventures has made a strategic investment in Ayar Labs, a start-up that is developing  monolithic in-package optical I/O (MIPO) solution for applications that require high bandwidth, low latency and power efficient short reach interconnects. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ayar Labs publicly demonstrated its monolithic electronic photonic TeraPHY chiplet at the Supercomputing 2019 conference and is now working with select semiconductor manufacturers, OEM systems builders, and end users on sampling and co-design partnerships in 2020. The company is based in Santa Clara, California.

“We are excited to welcome Lockheed Martin Ventures as a strategic investor,” said Charles Wuischpard, CEO of Ayar Labs. “Working with key system integrators like Lockheed Martin, who really understand the value of our solution and how to design it into future complex systems, is incredibly important. In that sense, we view this relationship as more than funding alone, but as an important long-term working relationship as well.”

Ayar Labs selected for Intel’s DARPA PIPES Project

Ayar Labs has been selected as Intel’s optical I/O solution partner for their recently awarded DARPA PIPES (Photonics in Package for Extreme Scalability) project.

The PIPES project aims to develop integrated optical I/O solutions co-packaged with next generation FPGA/CPU/GPU and accelerators in Multi-Chip Packages (MCP) to provide extreme data rates (input/output) at ultra-low power over much longer distances than supported by current technology. In the first phase of the project, the Ayar Labs TeraPHY chiplet will be co-packaged with an Intel FPGA using the AIB (Advanced Interconnect Bus) interface and Intel’s EMIB silicon-bridge packaging. “We’re seeing an explosion of Datacenter workloads that have an insatiable demand for bandwidth and the need to connect devices at rack-scale distances,” said Vince Hu, VP of Strategy and Innovation for Intel’s FPGA products. “The best way to do that is with optical interconnect and by using an Ayar Labs chiplet(s), we can achieve very high bandwidth at low latency and low power consumption.”

Telxius launches fast resolution DNS for Europe and Latin America

Telxius, the neutral telecommunications infrastructure operator with an extensive tower and submarine cable portfolio, launched a new DNS service that is integrated with its Internet Transit and Global Carrier Ethernet services and provides extensive coverage, with communication hubs in Europe and Latin America. 

Telxius DNS offers different levels of security and content filtering that adapt to the customers’ needs. It improves security for both service platforms and users, blocking access to malicious sites or those limited by the regulations of a given country.

“Telxius DNS offers extensive coverage in both Europe and Latin America, allowing it to provide high-speed resolution of DNS queries with the minimum latency. It also includes security and content filtering functionalities that can be customized for each customer”, states Carlos Dasi, Telxius Cable CTO.

“Telxius DNS helps us to complete our offer, with a customizable service adapted to the needs of each customer. Thanks to this, our customers will be able to offer end users a faster and more secure web browsing experience”, says Monica Martinez, Telxius Cable Marketing Director.


Openreach employs Viavi's Optical Network Monitoring

Openreach is using the VIAVI Optical Network Monitoring System (ONMSi) to accelerate its Full Fibre broadband deployment across the U.K. 

The ONMSi platform is being used for validating new construction, performing preactivation checks, and monitoring ongoing service remotely. Full Fibre build monitoring processes are fully centralized and automated with Openreach OSS and Field App requirements. 

Peter Bell, Director, Network Technology, Openreach, states "This year, our nationwide build programme has been gathering pace – passing 42,000 premises every week – and we're determined to match that speed of deployment with the highest quality of build standards. We want to maintain our position as the U.K.'s leading Full Fibre network by working with world class partners, and VIAVI's innovations in remote fibre testing will help us monitor and accelerate our network build whilst making sure we continue to deliver great experience for customers."

Manuel Mato, Vice President, EMEA, VIAVI: "VIAVI has a longstanding relationship with Openreach, whose deployment and maintenance teams are utilizing our test solutions for their existing broadband networks. Over the last two years, we are pleased to have extended our partnership with Openreach to include the ONMSi platform, which proved to deliver significant improvements in scale, speed, and quality of FTTx networks. Moving forward, the ONMSi platform has been trusted to continue to drive further efficiencies and support Openreach's Full Fibre programme."

HPE reports strong financial quarter driven by intelligent edge

 Hewlett Packard Enterprise reported Q1 FY2021 net revenue of $6.8 billion, down 2% from the prior-year period or 3% when adjusted for currency, marked by stronger than normal sequential seasonality. Non-GAAP diluted net EPS was $0.52, compared to $0.50 in the prior-year period and above the previously provided outlook of $0.40 to $0.44 per share. 

“We delivered a strong Q1 performance,” said Antonio Neri, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Our revenue exceeded our outlook and we significantly expanded our gross and operating margins to drive strong profitability across most of our businesses. Our non-GAAP EPS exceeded the high-end of our guidance and free cash flow was a record Q1 performance. These results give us confidence to raise our FY21 outlook. The global pandemic has brought a renewed focus on digital transformation as businesses are rethinking everything from remote work and collaboration to business continuity and data insight,“ he continued. 

Segment Results

  • Intelligent Edge revenue was $806 million, up 12% year over year or 11% when adjusted for currency, with 18.9% operating profit margin, compared to 12.1% from the prior-year period. Rich software capabilities combined with greater operational productivity helped accelerate revenue and profits. Based on the solid performance, the Company expects to continue to take share in both campus switching and WLAN.
  • High Performance Compute & Mission Critical Systems (HPC & MCS) revenue was $762 million, down 9% year over year, with 5.6% operating profit margin, compared to 7.5% from the prior-year period. Despite inherent uneven nature of the business, the Company remains confident in the near-term and longer-term outlook for this business.
  • Compute revenue was $3.0 billion, down 1% year over year or down 2% when adjusted for currency, with 11.5% operating profit margin, compared to 10.7% from the prior-year period.
  • Storage revenue was $1.2 billion, down 5% year over year or down 6% when adjusted for currency, with 19.7% operating profit margin, compared to 20.0% from the prior-year period. Notable strength in software-defined solutions, including Nimble, up 31% from the prior-year period when adjusted for currency and All Flash Array Storage, up 5% from the prior-year period, driven by increased adoption of Primera All Flash.
  • Financial Services revenue was $860 million, flat year over year or down 1% when adjusted for currency, with 9.8% operating profit margin, compared to 8.7% from the prior-year period. Net portfolio assets were up 3% year over year or flat when adjusted for currency. The business delivered return on equity of 16.5%, up 1.3 points from the prior-year period.

Chris Rice to head STL's Access Solutions Business

Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL) has appointed Chris Rice as Chief Executive Officer for its Access Solutions Business. 

Rice previously was SVP, AT&T Labs, where he led the company's pivot to SDN and automation. 

STL is an industry-leading integrator of digital networks. The company provides integrated 5G ready end-to-end solutions ranging from wired to wireless, design to deployment, and connectivity to compute.  Core capabilities include Optical Interconnect, Virtualised Access Solutions, Network Software, and System Integration.