Thursday, April 13, 2023

AWS sees long-term opportunities as it faces short-term headwinds

AWS faces short-term headwinds, writes Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a letter to investors dated 13-April-2023, due to companies "being more cautious in spending given the challenging, current macroeconomic conditions."  Nevertheless, Jassy says AWS continues to invest in cloud infrastructure and customer development for the long term.

Some notes from his letter:

  • AWS revenue amounted to $80B in 2022, with about 90% of Global IT spending still on-premises and yet to migrate to the cloud.
  • The AWS new customer pipeline is robust, as are active migrations. 
  • AWS continues to deliver new capabilities rapidly (over 3,300 new features and services launched in 2022)
  • AWS is investing heavily is Large Language Models (LLMs) and Generative AI for its own use and for customer use.
  • AWS delivered its first training chip (“Trainium”) in 2022; and for the most common machine learning models, Trainium-based instances are up to 140% faster than GPU-based instances at up to 70% lower cost.
  • AWS launched its first inference chips (“Inferentia”) in 2019. The Inferentia2 chip, which just launched, offers up to four times higher throughput and ten times lower latency than ther predecessor. 
  • Graviton3 chips, which launched in 2022, are providing 25% better performance than the Graviton2 processors
  • The Kuiper project to create a low-Earth orbit satellite system for broadband internet service shares several similarities to AWS in that it’s capital intensive at the start, but has a large prospective consumer, enterprise, and government customer base, significant revenue and operating profit potential, and relatively few companies with the technical and inventive aptitude, as well as the investment hypothesis to go after it. 

The full letter is here:

AWS previews its generative AI service

AWS kicked off a limited preview of Amazon Bedrock, a new service that makes very large models that are pre-trained on vast amounts of data and commonly, referred to as Foundation Models (FMs), from AI21 Labs, Anthropic, Stability AI, and Amazon accessible via an API. 

Bedrock enables customers to build and scale generative AI-based applications using FMs, The service will offer the ability to access a range of powerful FMs for text and images—including Amazon’s Titan FMs.

AWS says that one of the most important aspects of Bedrock is the ability to easily  customize a model. Customers simply point Bedrock at a few labeled examples in Amazon S3, and the service can fine-tune the model for a particular task without having to annotate large volumes of data (as few as 20 examples is enough). 

AWS notes that all data is encrypted and does not leave a customer’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

Sparkle boosts global optical transport with Nokia, Infinera

Sparkle is upgrading its global optical terrestrial and subsea networks with solutions supplied by Infinera and Nokia.

With the deployment of C band + L band (“C+L”) photonic nodes on the terrestrial links in Europe, Middle East and South America, Sparkle further increases its transmission capacity up to 38.4 Tb/s per fiber pair, thus providing high-performance, scalable, and guaranteed connectivity services up to 800G per wavelength between key locations. 

The new technology will initially be deployed between 23 major Points of Presence (PoPs) in Europe over 12,465 km with the first link to connect Milan with Frankfurt.

The C+L technology will also benefit all of Sparkle’s proprietary optical subsea links, including the upcoming BlueMed fiber pairs. All new capacity injection on the MedNautilus in the Mediterranean Basin, Curie in the Pacific Ocean, Seabras and Monet in the Atlantic, as well as on the remaining subsea infrastructures, will be deployed using the said technologies and allowing even more flexibility in managing both bandwidth and spectrum services, pushing further their initial design capacity. 

“Sparkle is always committed to using the best optical technologies, once they prove reliable and sustainable, to increase the capacity carried by its network, ensuring the highest standards of quality and efficiency,” said Enrico Maria Bagnasco, CEO of Sparkle. “With this extensive deployment of the C+L technology on its network, Sparkle reinforces its competitiveness and its leadership in the global telecommunications market.”

Zayo adds low-latency transatlantic cable route

Zayo announced a new direct subsea cable route connecting Manchester to New York.

The route avoids avoids backhauling to global Internet hubs in London and Paris, reducing transatlantic latency and enabling a better user experience.

“Cultivating an enhanced performance for our customers is at the forefront of Zayo's mission,” said Yannick Leboyer, Europe Chief Operating Officer at Zayo. “The new subsea route is Zayo’s latest step towards providing fast, reliable infrastructure to connect global Internet hubs both within Europe and to the U.S. With the fastest transatlantic connection from Manchester, Zayo is well-positioned to handle the increasing capacity demands between these hubs, fueling business innovation and digital transformation for our customers.”

The investment marks an additional transatlantic cable for Zayo, connecting Zayo's packet IP network between North America and Continental Europe.

Missouri's CEPC deploys Infinera's XT

Central Electric Power Cooperative (CEPC) deployed Infinera’s XTM Series to modernize and significantly increase capacity on its existing rural broadband network across the state of Missouri. 

CEPC is an electric generation and transmission cooperative in Missouri that spans 22,000 square miles, providing power for eight distribution cooperatives, and operates an extensive rural optical network that supports critical infrastructure telecommunications as well as middle-mile connectivity for rural broadband efforts. 

Deployments leveraged a fully ROADM-powered DWDM optical layer and a combination of Layer 1 and 2 200 Gb/s traffic management solutions.

“Keeping pace with bandwidth demands and delivering reliable broadband connectivity represent key challenges as local operators strive to bridge the digital divide in rural communities,” said Nick Walden, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Infinera. “Infinera’s XTM platform is purpose-built for these types of network challenges, providing an efficient and flexible solution that helps network operators like CEPC quickly and cost-effectively scale to meet end-user demand.”

Ekinops reports Q1 revenue of €31.9 million, up 15%.

Ekinops reported consolidated revenue of €31.9 million, up +15 and in line with annual guidance of more than +12% revenue growth on a full-year basis. At constant exchange rates, growth for the quarter ended at +14%.

Key points:

  • Growth in all business lines, with +32% for Optical Transport, which was boosted by the continued success of WDM systems
  • Access solutions reported quarterly growth of +2%. It should be noted that growth in France remained brisk, in the double digits.
  • The share of Software & Services represented 14% of quarterly revenue, versus 15% in FY 2022, considering a particularly high basis for comparison (up +64% in Q1 2022).
  • Record sales growth in North America: +86%, representing 30% of revenue. For the first time, on a quarterly basis, this region represented 30% of Group sales. The company cited significant deliveries to an important US service provider that covers 16 states.
  • This past quarter was characterized by similar growth in France and international business, amounting to +15%.
  • The share of international activity accounted for 67% of revenue in Q1 2023, compared to 64% for FY 2022.
  • EMEA (Europe, excluding France, the Middle-East and Africa), which represents 34% of the Group's activity, posted a decline of -7% in its quarterly sales. Considering the basis for comparison (up +21% in Q1 2022), this trend is not indicative of the growth levels expected for the region on a full-year basis.
  • Asia-Pacific reported a -40% decline which is also immaterial since it follows a +113% increase in sales over Q1 2022. Asia-Pacific accounted for 3% of the quarter's business volumes.

EFFECT Photonics adds to team

EFFECT Photonics announced the appointments of Dr. Ted Schmidt as Senior Vice President of Product Development, Tony Englese as Vice President of Operations, and Veronique Gremmen-de Groot as lobal Head of Resources.

Schmidt has over 20 years of fiberoptic transceiver development experience, delivering advanced optical technologies for industry leaders such as Lumentum, Juniper Networks, OpNext, and Stratalight Communications. With a PhD in Physics, he is an inventor on 45 US patents and has authored numerous books, papers and articles in the field of optical communications.

Englese is an expert manufacturing and operations professional with a wide range of experience at companies such as Juniper Networks, Aurrion and Xsigo Systems (acquired by Oracle).

Gremmen-de Groot has an extensive background in Human Resources and organizational development for various industries, having worked for global companies such as KPN, Office Depot, TenneT and Conclusion.