Sunday, December 5, 2021

AWS SiteLink bridges on-prem resources over global backbone

A new AWS Direct Connect SiteLink capability has been introduced to help enterprises create connections between  on-premises networks through the AWS global network backbone.

Amazon says its AWS global backbone can serves as an alternative to the public Internet or managed connectivity service for linking private data centers to branch office resources.

Previously, such connections required routing through an AWS Region and an AWS Transit Gateway.

Currently, AWS has 108 Direct Connect locations available in 32 countries across Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Traffic flows from one Direct Connect location to another following the shortest possible path. 

AWS Direct Connect SiteLink does not require a long-term contract. Service speed ranges from 50 Mbps to 100 Gbps. SiteLink also integrates with other AWS services, letting customers reach their VPCs, other AWS services, and  on-premises networks from your Direct Connect connections.

Once you connect your locations (NY1, AM3, Paris, and TY2 in the diagram) to a Direct Connect gateway, those connections can reach any AWS Region (except the two AWS China Regions). No peering between Regions is necessary, because Direct Connect gateways are global resources.

Video: The Journey to CI/CD and Automation

When we talk about embracing the principles of CI/CD, the goal is to automate Ribbon’s CI/CD pipeline to align with, and enable, our customer’s CI/CD environment.  It also encompasses how automation enables cloud native operations.   This engineering discussion delves into Ribbon’s adoption of CI/CD and cloud native operations and how the artifacts delivered by Ribbon enable frictionless integration with their customer’s automation environments.

Blueprint: To Unlock the 5G Future, Service Providers Need to Get Active

by Steve Douglas, Head of Market Strategy, Spirent Communications

Imagine a big storm just passed through your neighborhood, and you’re worried it might have damaged your roof. Do you:

a. Go investigate how the roof is holding up 

b. Wait until the next storm to see if water starts dripping into your bedroom

Most of us would choose option A. It just makes sense to try to determine if something is broken ahead of time, before it fails and creates a bigger, more expensive problem. And yet, that’s not the approach most service providers use today when monitoring their networks.

Modern active monitoring technologies let operators poke and prod their networks in a variety of ways to spot potential problems before they affect customers. But only a fraction of service providers actually use them across the end-to-end network. Instead, most rely on the same techniques they’ve used for years: passively collecting telemetry data, analyzing it over time, detecting many problems only when someone calls to complain. 

This has never been an ideal situation, but in the near future, it will be an impossible one. As service providers progress with 5G rollouts, passive monitoring strategies fall apart. Which means, active testing and assurance is no longer optional. It’s becoming a mission-critical requirement. 

 Problems with Traditional Testing

Historically, most operators have relied on passive monitoring to assess network health, isolate faults, and ensure they live up to their service-level agreements (SLAs). That is, they deploy passive probes throughout their environment to capture network traffic data, dump that data into huge data lakes, and run analytics on it to identify anomalies. Active monitoring takes a more proactive approach. Instead of waiting for statistical analysis to reveal issues over weeks or months, it continually injects synthetic traffic into the network to measure performance in real time. 

Active monitoring is not a new concept. Many operators use it today in transport networks, where they’ve been seeking to introduce self-healing and automation capabilities. In the heart of most networks though, the passive approach still dominates. Now, that’s starting to change in response to five big trends:

  • Cloudification: To enable more agility and automation, operators are implementing more of the network as software, hosted in cloud environments. As a result, network elements are no longer static, rigid functions. They’re dynamic pieces of software that can be continually spun up and moved across cloud environments.  
  • Openness: The 5G specification mandates open interfaces. This allows operators to work with new vendors and open-source technologies in ways that weren’t possible before. But it also means that, instead of getting software updates a couple times a year from one or two well-known suppliers, you can now expect constant updates from dozens of vendors. 
  • Automation: Legacy manual approaches can’t keep up with the volume and velocity of change in cloudified networks. As complexity and costs grow, operators need to automate more of their operations and enable self-healing, self-optimizing networks. 
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): To enable true “self-driving networks,” you can’t stop and wait for human beings to make decisions. So, AI is playing play a larger role in network operations. 
  • Shift to work from home: Businesses were already seeing their workforces get more distributed, but COVID-19 kicked this trend into overdrive. Suddenly, operators need to deliver business-quality network experiences anywhere and everywhere.
As these trends converge, network traffic patterns become incredibly dynamic, elastic, and hard to predict. Just understanding what’s happening out there, much less isolating the source of issues, gets enormously difficult—especially if you’re relying on passive probes in static locations. 

Getting Active 

To navigate these issues and position themselves to succeed in the 5G marketplace, service providers are now extending active testing and assurance across more of their networks. Active monitoring involves three basic components: 

  • Active test agents—lightweight software probes that can run on any cloud compute platform and be spun up anywhere in the network, even on end-user devices
  • Large testing libraries to cover a variety of simulations—voice calls, video sessions, web browsing, low-latency services, and more
  • Intelligent automation, so the environment can not only run tests in the background continuously but can make smart decisions about which tests to run and where, without human input 

By adopting active testing and assurance, you can:

  • Monitor more proactively: With active testing always working in the background, you can continually probe your environment and spot most problems before they affect customers or SLAs. 
  • Accelerate change management: Active testing can become a default step when provisioning new services or network functions (NFs), immediately validating their performance as soon as they’re deployed. But it’s also valuable for contending with nonstop multivendor software updates. Now, you can rapidly test and validate updates in the live network, instead of having to wait weeks or months for lab testing. 
  • Assure SLAs: A growing number of services use hybrid environments, where parts of the service depend on cloud providers or other third parties. How do you guarantee that enterprise customers get the performance they’re paying for when you don’t fully own the service delivery infrastructure? The only way is to continually test the end-to-end service. 
  • Reduce mean time to repair (MTTR): If you’re relying on passive monitoring, you have to capture enough statistical data to feel confident that an anomaly signifies a real problem. Getting to that point takes time—especially if you’re waiting for organic traffic to recreate the conditions that caused the issue. Too often, while you’re waiting, customers are already calling to complain. With active monitoring, you can recreate any network conditions synthetically. And when you identify issues, you can isolate their source more quickly. 

In early active testing deployments, we’ve seen operators reduce MTTR by close to 75% through rapid fault isolation. Just as important, they’re seeing trouble tickets fall by nearly 90% through proactive monitoring—meaning they’re fixing most issues before they ever impact customers.

Preparing for the Future

Active testing can be enormously useful in today’s telecommunications networks. But if you want to achieve your business objectives in the coming years for 5G, it’s absolutely essential. Whether you’re embracing DevOps software methodologies to accelerate innovation, offering low-latency enterprise services under SLAs, or driving down costs and complexity with self-driving networks, you can’t do any of it with passive monitoring. It’s time for active assurance. 

BT opens new global headquarters in Aldgate, London

BT officially opened a new global headquarters in Aldgate, London.

The building, known as One Braham, houses approximately 3,500 BT workers and boasts smart building technology, flexible workspaces, and collaboration areas. There are also a range of catering options including a ground floor café open to the public, world class event spaces, and a large media screen in reception.

Philip Jansen, BT Group Chief Executive, said: “Our new HQ in London will bring our people together in an impressive and modern environment, transforming the way teams work.  We’re really excited to be moving into One Braham. It represents a changing BT, one that is more agile, forward thinking and able to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the acceleration of digital technologies. We want our colleagues to be proud of where they work, to feel part of something brilliant at BT. Our new HQ has been designed to support our people, to enable them to be at their best and deliver great results for our customers.”

Marvell posts revenue of $1.211 billion

Marvell Technology reported revenue of $1.211 billion for the third quarter of fiscal year 2022, which exceeded the midpoint of the company's guidance provided on August 26, 2021. 

GAAP net loss for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 was $(63) million, or $(0.08) per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 was $364 million, or $0.43 per diluted share. Cash flow from operations for the third quarter was $265 million.

"Marvell delivered record revenue of $1.211 billion in the fiscal third quarter, growing 13 percent sequentially and 61 percent year over year, exceeding the high end of our guidance. Revenue grew substantially in each of our five end markets, led by data center, our largest contributor at 41 percent of total revenue, which grew 15 percent sequentially and 109 percent year over year," said Matt Murphy, Marvell's President and CEO. "For the fourth quarter, we are expecting sequential revenue growth of 9 percent at the midpoint of guidance, led by 5G, which is projected to increase by 30 percent sequentially and data center which is forecasted to continue to grow in the double digits on a percentage basis."

Hurricane Electric opens PoP at NEXTDC Melbourne

Hurricane Electric opened a new Point of Presence (PoP) in NEXTDC’s M1 Melbourne Data Centre, located in Port Melbourne, Australia.

NEXTDC’s M1 Melbourne offers access to the world’s largest cloud platforms including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud and Alibaba Cloud, as well as the nation's major carrier networks and digital service providers.

The expansion of Hurricane Electric’s presence into M1 delivers NEXTDC’s Melbourne-based customers a variety of new connectivity options and access to Hurricane Electric’s extensive IPv4 and IPv6 network through 100GE (100 Gigabit Ethernet), 10GE (10 Gigabit Ethernet) and GigE (1 Gigabit Ethernet) ports. Additionally, customers at the facility are able to exchange IP traffic with Hurricane Electric’s global network, which offers over 20,000 BGP sessions with over 9,000 different networks via more than 250 major exchange points and thousands of customer and private peering ports.

“Connectivity continues to play an increasingly important role for organisations as they continue to accelerate and modernise their hybrid IT environments. Our partnership with Hurricane Electric enables us to deepen optionality within our ecosystem, and deliver our customers the power of choice to seamlessly connect to the critical services their business relies on,” said David Dzienciol, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer at NEXTDC. “With Melbourne rapidly emerging as Australia’s next major digital region, it’s critical customers have access to a global network of services such as Hurricane Electric, to provide the speed and global reach needed.”