Thursday, February 10, 2022

OIF releases Co-Packaging Framework IA

OIF published a framework Implementation Agreement (IA) for co-packaging of communication and computing interfaces with one or more ASICs. The document identifies critical co-packaged applications and their requirements and charting a path for interoperability standards.

The Co-Packaging track of OIF’s Physical & Link Layer (PLL) Working Group began by studying the application spaces contributed by the end-users. Then, it examined various related topics, including electrical and optical interfaces, thermal and mechanical considerations, reliability, safety, environmental and management interfaces. The findings of the work are summarized in the Framework Document IA.

OIF has initiated two follow-on co-packaging projects: External Laser Small Form Factor Pluggable (ELSFP) Project, announced in May 2021, and the 3.2T Module Project, announced in March 2021.

“OIF is leading industry discussion on this critical dense integration technology,” said Jeff Hutchins, Ranovus and OIF Board Member and PLL Working Group – Co-Packaging Vice Chair. “This framework IA provides the industry with a foundation for developing interoperable energy efficient co-packaged solutions.”

“Co-packaging represents a significant change to the way high-performance communications ASICs are packaged today,” said Technical Editor of the Co-Packaging Framework IA, Kenneth Jackson, Sumitomo Electric.

OIF initiates 3 projects, including co-packaged optics external laser module

OIF initiated three new projects, including a Co-Packaged Optics external laser module, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Enhanced Network Operations and CEI-112G-Linear, in addition to announcing a network operator survey for the 2022 Networking Demo.External Laser Small Form Factor Pluggable (ELSFP) Module Project – companion project to support co-packaged optics applicationsThis project for a blind-mate pluggable external light source module will...

OIF begins 3.2T Co-Packaged Module Project for data center switching

OIF started a 3.2T Co-Packaged Module project for intra data center switching applications. The 3.2T Co-Packaged Optical Module Implementation Agreement (IA) is the first project initiated under the umbrella of the Co-Packaged Framework Project announced in November 2020. The IA will define a 3.2T co-packaged optical module that targets Ethernet switching applications utilizing 100G electrical lanes. It will include the following interoperability...

POET supplies optical interposer to Celestial AI

POET Technologies announced an agreement with Celestial AI to provide multi-laser integrated external light source (ELS) modules using its advanced packaging platform based on the POET Optical Interposer. The agreement includes a contract for continued platform development, along with a purchase order for initial quantities of the advanced modules.

Celestial AI is developing a Photonic Fabric platform that uses light for data movement both within chip and between chips. 

The POET Optical Interposer allows the seamless integration of electronic and photonic devices into a single multi-chip module using advanced wafer-level semiconductor manufacturing techniques and packaging methods. 

“The customized Optical Interposer platform that we have co-developed with POET is among the most advanced of its kind in high-speed computing,” said David Lazovsky, founder and CEO of Celestial AI. “POET’s Light Engines provide us with precision optical power sources in a highly integrated form factor that meet the requirements for our Orion AI accelerator products.” Celestial AI’s Orion AI accelerator products serve the AI chipset market that is projected by Omdia to exceed $70 billion in 2025.

“We are truly excited to take the next step with Celestial AI, one of the leading technology companies in this burgeoning field, to create a highly differentiated means to co-package electronics and photonics and help overcome the fundamental challenges of speed and power faced in high performance computing,” said Dr. Suresh Venkatesan, Chairman and CEO of POET Technologies. “The challenges in this application are precisely those that the POET Optical Interposer was designed to overcome. They are the same as those faced by datacom and telecom companies as they seek to co-package electronics and optics and to achieve data transmission speeds of 3.2 and 6.4 Tbs across a number of channels with multiple wavelengths, with lower energy consumption and higher stability. The multi-laser integrated external light source developed for this application has direct applicability to other products in data communications and sensing.”

Celestial AI raises $56M for Photonics Fabric for multi chip systems

Celestial AI, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, raised $56 million in Series A funding for its proprietary hardware and software platform for machine learning chipsets.

Celestial AI’s proprietary Photonic Fabric technology platform aims to to fundamentally transform multi-chip processing systems. The Photonic Fabric enables optically addressable memory and compute (within chip and chip-to-chip). The company says uts proprietary architecture enables elegant, low-complexity system software, allowing highly efficient mapping of data and compute without the need for complex optimizations. This software advantage extends to multi-chip exascale systems as the Photonic Fabric democratizes optical access to effectively limitless memory and compute. 

The funding round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) with participation from Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund, The Engine, the venture firm spun out of MIT, Tyche Partners, Merck’s corporate venture fund, M-Ventures, IMEC XPand, and venture capital investor in the Princeton University ecosystem, Fitz Gate. 

The new capital will be used for expanding the global engineering team, product development and strategic supplier engagements, including Broadcom, to build the company’s Orion AI accelerator products. 

“We are addressing the problem of our time in computing – efficient data movement,” said Celestial AI founder and CEO David Lazovsky. “Celestial AI’s hybrid photonic-electronic platform allows us to leverage the complementary strengths of electronics for high-performance, high-precision computing and photonics for high-speed, low-power, high-bandwidth data movement. The result is transformational performance advantages relative to electronic-only systems. The ML application benefits extend beyond performance and low power to latency, user friendly software, and low total cost of ownership. Our competitive differentiation will increase with time, as AI model complexity increases, driving increased data movement.”

POET's Interposer selected for 100G CWDM4 and LR4 engines

POET Technologies has secured a commitment from a leading network systems company for a unique multi-engine design for 100G CWDM4 and 100G LR4 Optical Engines based on the POET Optical Interposer.  The combined value of the NRE and the purchase order for initial units exceeds US$1.2 million.

The POET Optical Interposer enables the integration of electronic and photonic devices into a single multi-chip module using advanced wafer-level semiconductor manufacturing techniques and packaging methods. The company says its platform eliminates costly components and labor-intensive assembly, alignment, burn-in and testing methods employed in conventional photonics. 

“We have been engaged with this customer for several months on a breakthrough design to incorporate multiple optical engines in a single industry standard transceiver module, something that only a POET Optical Interposer-based engine can enable,” noted Vivek Rajgarhia, President & General Manager of POET Technologies Inc. “The LR4 product is directed at the client side of major telecom networks, using rigorous standards for data communication between a transport network backbone to data centers and customer locations globally. Our customer is already selling into the well-established telecom equipment market, and with the POET Optical Engines, will be able to offer a solution to its customers that delivers superior performance at a price that cannot be matched today by competing solutions."

ADVA builds a software simulator for virtual end-to-end network testing

 ADVA launched a softare tool that enables optical network operators to accurately and reliably evaluate network growth strategies and verify interworking with umbrella management systems in a safe virtual test environment. 

ADVA said its Ensemble Simulator precisely mirrors production networks for risk-free testing, training and development. Multiple users can work independently in a virtual sandbox to evaluate configurations, verify APIs and simulate what-if scenarios. 

“As communication networks become more complex and software-defined networking (SDN) changes the way they’re managed, engineers are relying more and more on automated applications to design, deploy and operate their infrastructure. But the need to evaluate configurations and device integration creates a major challenge. Our Ensemble Simulator is the answer. It offers a way to simply and affordably spin up test environments on a virtual machine that perfectly mirrors real networks,” said Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA. “Now that operators have a fast and risk-free way to model network evolution, they can explore the impact of extensions and upgrades before any changes are made to their production networks.”

Salt Security raises $140M for its API Protection Platform

Salt Security, a start-up offering an AI-drive API Protection Platform, raised $140 million in Series D funding, bringing total funding to $271 million and its pre-IPO valuation to $1.4 billion.

The Salt Security API Protection Platform provides a unique approach to API security that leverages its API Context Engine (ACE) Architecture, a cloud-scale big data engine that applies machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to secure APIs. 

Salt Security says the proliferation of APIs to support digital transformation, application mobilization, and other IT modernization initiatives, combined with the focus bad actors have put on tapping APIs as an attack vector, have laid bare the reality that traditional tools, such as web application firewalls (WAFs) and API gateways, cannot adequately defend against API attacks and vulnerabilities.

The funding round was led by CapitalG, Alphabet’s independent growth fund, with participation from all existing investors, including Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, Tenaya Capital, S Capital VC, Advent International, Alkeon Capital, and DFJ Growth. The investment by CapitalG, less than eight months after Salt Security raised its $70 million Series C round.

“Our investment in Salt Security comes at a time of critical importance for the wider business community. APIs are essential to enabling business innovation, but security risks are multiplying at an unprecedented scope and scale. Salt took an innovative, best-in-class approach to building its API security platform leveraging cloud-scale big data, allowing it to effectively detect and stop attacks in the wild while not compromising on strong shift left capabilities,” said James Luo, Partner at CapitalG and Salt Security board member. 

The company cites the following milestones for the past year:

  • 500% growth in revenue
  • 300% growth in its customer base
  • 250% growth in its employee count
  • 900% growth in signed customers among Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies

Salt Security was founded in 2016 by alumni of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and serial entrepreneur executives in the cybersecurity field and is based in Silicon Valley and Israel.

Prisma Photonics raises $20 million for fiber sensing

Prisma Photonics, a start-up based in Tel Aviv, announced $20 million in a Series B funding for its optical monitoring solutions.

Prisma Photonics said its fiber sensing works by transmiting optical pulses down a fiber. A minute fraction of light is reflected from each point along the fiber. The system measures the reflected light to determine the strain, temperature, pressure, and other quantities over hundreds of kilometers of fiber with sub-meter resolution.

The funding round was led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, with participation from SE Ventures (Schneider Electric's venture capital arm) and Future Energy Ventures, the venture capital investment and collaboration platform of E.ON. This brings the total funding raised by Prisma Photonics to over $30 million. The company's earlier investors include i3 Equity Partners and Chione Switzerland.

Prisma Photonics customers manage thousands of kilometers of infrastructures, among them New York Power Authority, Israeli Natural Gas Lines, Israel Electric Corporation and other tier-1 utility operators). 

"With the demand for energy on the rise, utility operators find it harder to keep their assets operating smoothly and safely. It is a challenge to monitor and maintain these long infrastructures," said Dr. Eran Inbar, Prisma Photonics CEO. "Our Machine Learning based solutions are unique as we address this huge scale challenge with ease and accuracy. The investment is a vote of confidence from Insight Partners and a first of its kind in a new domain of critical infrastructure management."

Howard University builds a CBRS network with Samsung + Amdocs

Howard University has deployed a 5G-ready network using CBRS specturm to deliver secure and enhanced broadband connectivity to students, faculty and local residents on its campus in Washington, D.C.

The private network uses Samsung RAN solutions including 5G-ready 4T4R CBRS radios, connected to the company’s baseband unit. Samsung’s CBRS radios are OnGo Alliance-certified, indicating a product that meets the highest standards of quality, interoperability and security.

As the lead systems integrator, Amdocs designed the network, integrated the required network infrastructure (RAN, CORE, transport, security), and performed the deployment services. In addition, Amdocs is providing managed services to operate and maintain the network. During implementation, Amdocs partnered with small business teams to provide consulting and installation support, which included Matek Inc. and WAZ Wireless.

This deployment is part of a network collaboration agreement between Samsung and Amdocs, which announced they will deliver end-to-end 4G and 5G solutions to enterprises with a focus on industries such as manufacturing, education and utilities.

“The Samsung and Amdocs solution has provided our end users with a reliable and sustainable solution for both CBRS and WiFi connectivity,” said Jahmal Cue, Howard University Senior Network and Infrastructure Manager. “The deployment was on schedule and supported the various ‘use cases’ on the campus. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Samsung and Amdocs to expand the network.”

Cloudflare acquires Vectrix for API-driven CASB

Cloudflare has acquired Vectrix, a company that provides an API-driven cloud access security broker (CASB) for SaaS applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cloudflare said the Vectrix CASB will enhance his own existing Zero Trust platform, by enabling security teams to scan third-party tools–including Google Workspace, GitHub, and AWS–to detect and mitigate issues such as inappropriate file sharing and user permission misconfigurations.

“Tens of thousands of organizations rely on Cloudflare One’s Zero Trust platform to keep their teams and data secure,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. “Cloudflare’s global network blocks attempts to compromise data at multiple levels while accelerating traffic to the Internet. We’re excited to welcome the Vectrix team to Cloudflare to help deliver the fastest, most secure, and robust Zero Trust platform for the enterprise.”

“Everyone uses SaaS applications, from sending emails to managing HR, but simply ticking the wrong box can leave a business’s critical data exposed,” said Corey Mahan, co-founder and CEO of Vectrix. “By combining Vectrix's API first approach with the scale of Cloudflare’s Zero Trust platform we’re able to give customers an easy and simple way to control how data from those applications are shared.”

Separately, Cloudflare reported fourth quarter revenue of $193.6 million, representing an increase of 54% year-over-year; fiscal year 2021 revenue totaled $656.4 million, representing an increase of 52% year-over-year. GAAP gross profit was $151.1 million or 78.0% gross margin, compared to $96.9 million or 76.9%, in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

 “We had a most excellent 2021, capping off the year with fourth quarter revenue growth up 54% year-over-year. The full year represented a 52% year-over-year increase in revenue growth and a 71% year-over-year increase in large customer growth. It was also the fifth straight year we achieved 50 percent, or greater, compounded growth,” said Matthew Prince, co- founder & CEO of Cloudflare.

KIOXIA markets 35th anniversary of the invention of NAND flash

Kioxia (formerly Toshiba Memory) marked the  35th anniversary of the company’s invention of NAND flash memory.

Since starting at zero 35 years ago, the NAND flash market has grown to $70B1. In terms of die density, flash memory has grown from 4Mb to 1.33Tb – a 333,000x increase2. To put this exponential growth in perspective, in the 1990s, the largest available density flash memory could hold 1/8 of a photo. Flash forward to today, where the largest available die density is a whopping 1.33Tb – and capable of storing 39,000 photos.

“Flash memory is a game-changer that continues to stand the test of time,” said Scott Nelson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for KIOXIA America, Inc. “Imagine what’s to come – will the vision of smart cities be realized? Will truly autonomous cars take us from place to place? Whatever the future holds, KIOXIA will continue to lead the way forward, investing in and evolving the technology that makes storage densities higher and costs lower. The sky is the limit for flash memory, and the next wave of applications that will further enrich our lives is just around the corner. In some ways, we’re just getting started.”