Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Comcast Business accelerates software-defined services with Masergy

Comcast Business agreed to acquire Masergy, which offers managed SD-WAN, UCaaS, CCaaS, and security services for global enterprises. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Comcast Business said the acquisition accelerates its increasing growth serving large and mid-size companies, particularly U.S.-based organizations with multi-site global operations.

Masergy, which is based in Plano, Texas, has more than 1,400 customers in nearly 100 countries.

“Masergy provides a perfect complement to our portfolio of enterprise services and solutions and will allow us to instantly and dramatically amplify our growth in the global enterprise market,” said Bill Stemper, President, Comcast Business. “We’re excited to welcome Masergy’s employees and leadership to Comcast Business as we bring continued innovation and superior experience to our customers.”

“On behalf of everyone at Masergy, we are thrilled to join the Comcast Business family and are extremely excited for the next chapter of Masergy. We are confident that together we can significantly enhance our service offerings to businesses of all sizes in their journey to the cloud,” said Chris MacFarland, Chairman and CEO, Masergy.

Masergy Performance Edge boosts SD-WAN + SASE

Masergy introduced a new SD-WAN and SASE capability designed to minimize packet loss over public broadband connections, making them perform more like a private Ethernet circuit.

Masergy Performance Edge is available with Masergy’s Managed SD-WAN Secure and SASE offerings and uses proprietary network architecture along with industry standard and compatible routing algorithms. The company says it is able to minimize packet loss over public broadband connections for more predictable application experiences.

Calix expands XGS-PON and 100G transport capabilities

Calix introduced new line cards to simplify the deployment of software-defined XGS-PON networks and 100G transport, even in temperature-hardened environments like cabinets. 

The two new AXOS E7-2 Intelligent Modular System line cards, the XG801 and the CE201, along with the latest 10G Outdoor GigaPoint ONT, the GP4200XH, enable BSPs to deliver 10 Gbps XGS-PON services, high-density aggregation, and 100G temperature hardened transport capabilities while simplifying the addition of more capacity and scale to their networks.

Both the XG801 and CE201 support the use of widely available commercial temperature (C-Temp) 100G optics to be used in outside plant cabinets (i.e., industrial temperature applications), simplifying the addition of capacity throughout the access network.

The cards enable L2 FTTH/FTTB residential and business 10-gigabit XGS-PON/GPON services, providing high-density aggregation and 100G transport flexibility, as well as 10GE point-to-point. 

“Broadband service providers need XGS-PON networks to support applications like HD and 4K content streaming, video surveillance services, and cloud-enabled interactive gaming,” said Michel Langlois, chief development officer at Calix. “The new line cards and optical solutions for the Intelligent Access EDGE, which is powered by the Network Innovation Platform (AXOS), radically simplifies the path to XGS-PON and 100G transport—ushering in unprecedented scale, capacity, and cost-per-bit economics. The new solutions and the Network Innovation Platform are already making it easier than ever for BSPs to build future proof 10G networks as shown by the number of service providers that installed the cards and instantly moved subscribers over.”

NTIA receives $2.5 billion in funding requests

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) received more than 230 applications for the Broadband Infrastructure Program, for a total of more than $2.5 billion in funding requests across 49 states and U.S. territories.

NTIA has begun reviewing the applications as part of the $288 million grant program, which was funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the Act). Grants will be awarded to covered partnerships between a state, or political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service. The program’s 90-day application window closed on Tuesday, August 17.

“The intense demand for this program across the country demonstrates the widespread need for better broadband connectivity in unserved communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “These investments are critical, but there is more to be done. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, recently passed by the Senate, will expand upon the groundwork being laid by this program to advance digital equity and get us one step closer to every American having access to high-speed, affordable, and reliable Internet.” 

HPE builds exascale supercomputer for Argonne National Lab

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has selected Hewlett Packard Enterprise to build a new testbed supercomputer to prepare critical workloads for future exascale systems that will deliver up to four times faster performance than Argonne’s current supercomputers.

The new system, which Argonne has named Polaris, will deliver approximately 44 petaflops of peak double precision performance and nearly 1.4 exaflops of theoretical AI performance, which is based on mixed-precision compute capabilities.

Polaris uses 280 HPE Apollo Gen10 Plus systems, which are HPC and AI architectures built for the exascale era and customized to include the following:

  • 560 2nd and 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors
  • 2240 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs, making it ALCF’s largest GPU-based system to date.
  • HPE Slingshot, a high performance Ethernet fabric designed for HPC and AI solutions. HPE Slingshot will also be featured in Argonne’s Aurora exascale system.
  • HPE Performance Cluster Manager, a system management software solution.

 “As we approach the exascale era, which will power a new age of insight and innovation, high performance computing (HPC) will play a critical role in harnessing data to take on the world’s most pressing challenges. Increasingly, the computational power and scale required to process artificial intelligence and machine learning data sets can only be delivered through HPC systems, and HPE uniquely provides a powerful, software-driven platform capable of tackling complex scientific data and simulations,” said Justin Hotard, senior vice president and general manager, HPC and Mission Critical Solutions at HPE. 

AWS announces two cyber security initiatives

Amazon announced two cyber security initiatives that will be offered to the public in October:

  • Cybersecurity training materials it has developed to keep its employees and sensitive information safe from cyberattack. 

  • A free multi-factor authentication (MFA) device for AWS customers designed to further secure their environments. The free MFA token adds a layer of security to protect customers’ AWS accounts against phishing, session hijacking, man-in-the-middle, and malware attacks. Customers can also use their MFA devices to safely access multiple AWS accounts, as well as other token-enabled applications, such as GitHub, Gmail, and Dropbox.

Wind River and Intel collaborate on 5G vRAN for FlexRAN

 Wind River and Intel are jointly developing a 5G vRAN solution that integrates Intel FlexRAN reference software for systems powered by 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with built-in AI acceleration, and also features Intel Ethernet 800 Network Adapters and the Intel vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100 in concert with Wind River Studio. 

The collaboration will further expand with future next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (Sapphire Rapids). 

Wind River Studio provides a cloud-native platform for the development, deployment, operations, and servicing of mission-critical intelligent systems. Its cloud infrastructure capabilities include a fully cloud-native, Kubernetes container-based architecture based on the StarlingX open source project for the deployment and management of distributed edge networks at scale. 

“As 5G opens up new opportunities across industries, there will be an increasing need to put greater intelligence and compute to the edges of the network, where new use cases evolve and thrive. As such, operators must adopt a low-latency far-edge cloud architecture to enable these new use cases in an intelligent, AI-first world,” said Kevin Dallas, president and CEO at Wind River. “Together with Intel, we are providing a best-in-class differentiated solution to help customers deliver on high-reliability, ultra-low-latency, and highly efficient offerings for their next-generation networks.”

US Dept of Energy awards $54 million for microelectronics projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $54 million for 10 new projects to increase energy efficiency in microelectronics design and production.

The research will be led by DOE’s National Laboratories and include participation from academia and industry. The research will aim to increase energy efficiency and functionality while stimulating US-based innovation as the foundation for future domestic technology development and manufacturing. These projects are “co-design” microelectronics projects, involving multi-disciplinary collaboration that takes into account the interdependencies among materials, physics, architectures, and software.

Snowflake clocks Q2 revenue of $272.2 million, up 104% yoy

Snowflake, which provides data cloud services reported revenue of $272.2 million for its second quarter of fiscal 2022, ended July 31, 2021. This represents 104% year-over-year growth. 

Product revenue for the quarter was $254.6 million, representing 103% year-over-year growth. Remaining performance obligations were $1.5 billion, representing 122% year-over-year growth. Net revenue retention rate was 169% as of July 31, 2021. The company now has 4,990 total customers and 116 customers with trailing 12-month product revenue greater than $1 million. 

“Snowflake saw continued momentum in Q2 with triple-digit growth in product revenue, reflecting strength in customer consumption,” said Snowflake Chairman and CEO Frank Slootman. “While increasing net revenue retention rate to 169%, we also boosted gross margin and operating margin efficiency while our adjusted free cash flow was positive for the third quarter in a row.”

Snowflake's customers use the Data Cloud to unite siloed data, discover and securely share data, and execute diverse analytic workloads.

NTIA establishes two broadband-focused offices

 The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the establishment of the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) and the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives (OMBI).

  • The Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth  will house all broadband activities at NTIA, including three active broadband grant programs: the Broadband Infrastructure Program, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. The office will also house BroadbandUSA, which provides community outreach, support for state leaders, technical assistance, and helps coordinate federal broadband resources and programs.  The OICG will be led by Douglas Kinkoph, who has served as the head of NTIA’s broadband program since 2015. The 
  • The Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives codifies NTIA’s work on its Minority Broadband Initiative since 2018. The OMBI, established within the OICG, fulfills requirements of the Connecting Minority Communities provisions enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The office will continue NTIA’s efforts to collaborate with federal agencies; state, local and tribal governments; Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions; and any interested stakeholders to promote initiatives related to expanding connectivity and digital opportunities for anchor communities.