Thursday, December 21, 2023

Luna acquires Silixa for fiber optic sensing

Luna Innovations announced a $50 million investment by White Hat Capital Partners as well as the acquisition of Silixa, a UK-based supplier of distributed fiber optic sensing solutions. 

Silixa Ltd is a company specializing in fiber optic-powered data services, primarily serving sectors like alternative energy, mining, and others. They provide distributed fiber optic sensing solutions, which are used to measure temperature, strain, and acoustics, even in hostile environments. These solutions are particularly significant for their high fidelity and real-time, high-resolution data collection, enabling a more comprehensive understanding of various environments and assets.

Founded in 2007, Silixa is based in both London, UK, and the US. It was established by Mahmoud Farhadiroushan and Tom Parker. The company is privately held and has been supported by major investors such as Lime Rock Partners, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Equinor Technology Ventures.

Silixa is expected to achieve approximately $30 million in 2023 revenue, representing approximately 15% annual growth on a constant currency basis. The purchase price consists of $21.5 million in upfront cash consideration and up to an additional $16.5 million in earnouts payable in 2025 upon the achievement of certain 2024 financial performance milestones. The transaction was funded with a portion of the proceeds from White Hat Capital Partners’ strategic investment in Luna. Inclusive of modest cost synergies, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to non-GAAP earnings in the first year.

Luna Innovations, which was founded in 1991 and is based in Roanoke, Virginia, is known for its fiber optic sensing products (like ODiSI), fiber optic test and measurement products (including OVA, OBR, and tunable lasers), and terahertz test and measurement devices (such as T-Ray and T-Gauge).

Luna Innovations reported a revenue of $109.5 million in the fiscal year 2022. 

Under the investment deal, White Hat has initially purchased 52,500 shares of Series B convertible preferred stock at a purchase price of $50.0 million, to be used for the Silixa acquisition and other corporate purposes.

Luna said the acquisition advances its position in the fiber optic sensing market, adding capabilities in distributed acoustic sensing (DAS), distributed temperature sensing (DTS) and distributed strain sensing (DSS) that offer enhanced performance for applications in energy, natural environments, mining and defense.

“The addition of Silixa not only elevates the portfolio of solutions we already offer in our key end markets, but also further strengthens our position as an enabler of energy transition by extending our reach into exciting new growth sectors, such as carbon capture and storage, as well as into monitoring processes that will help sustain ecosystems and safeguard fragile environments,” said Scott Graeff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Luna. “Silixa brings important technology capabilities and strong talent that we expect to leverage across our EMEA footprint, which we expect will drive profitable growth across our European enterprise.”

“Today’s announcement is a pivotal milestone in the history of Silixa and a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees,” said Co-Founders Mahmoud Farhadiroushan and Tom Parker, who are both continuing with Luna. “We’re thrilled to be joining a company that shares our focus on innovation and our passion to provide solutions to some of the world’s most critical challenges,” added Glynn Williams, CEO at Silixa, who will remain as an advisor to Luna through 2024.

Cisco to acquire Isovalent for eBPF-based open source security

Cisco agreed to acquire Isovalent, a start-up focused on open source cloud native networking and security. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Isovalent holds leadership positions in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and eBPF Foundation, in addition to upstream software contributions, and has led the development of Cilium, the leading cloud native solution for networking and security. 

eBPF, which stands for extended Berkeley Packet Filter,” provides a lightweight, efficient, and secure framework for running bytecode in the Linux kernel without changing kernel source code or loading kernel modules. Originally designed for network packet filtering, eBPF has evolved to offer more generalized functionality, including:

  • Network Functionality: eBPF is widely used for networking tasks, such as filtering, monitoring, and routing of network packets.
  • Observability: It allows for detailed monitoring and tracing of system and application behaviors. eBPF can be used to trace kernel and user-space functions, making it a powerful tool for performance analysis and debugging.

Cilium provides IT and platform engineering teams with networking capabilities and visibility into the behavior and communication of cloud native applications, enabling seamless policy definition of software-defined networks. Isovalent has also recently introduced:

  • Cilium Mesh:  allows for the easy connection of Kubernetes clusters with existing infrastructure across hybrid clouds,
  • Tetragon: an eBPF-based open source security solution that provides visibility to and enforces runtime behavior within an application and on the network.  
  • Isovalent Enterprise: an enterprise distribution of Cilium and Tetragon

Cisco said the acquisition will bolster its secure networking capabilities across public clouds, building on its Cisco Security Cloud vision for an AI-driven, cloud delivered, integrated security platform. The Cisco Security Cloud enables customers to abstract security controls from multicloud infrastructure to provide advanced protection against emerging threats across any cloud, application or workload.

“Together with Isovalent, Cisco will build on the open source power of Cilium to create a truly unique multicloud security and networking capability to help customers simplify and accelerate their digital transformation journeys,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco. "Imagine in today's distributed environment - of applications, virtual machines, containers and cloud assets - having security controls with total visibility, without hindering networking and application performance. The combination of Cisco and Isovalent will make this a reality.”

“Cisco is committed to nurturing, investing in, and contributing to the eBPF and Cilium open source communities,” said Stephen Augustus, Head of Open Source at Cisco. “Isovalent’s team will join Cisco's deep bench of open source governance and technical leadership to solve complex cloud native, security, and networking challenges. Their knowledge will accelerate innovation across the business and help further strengthen the Cisco Security Cloud platform to meet the growing demands of our customers.”

  • Isovalent, which is based in Cupertino, California, was founded in 2017 by Dan Wendlandt and Thomas Graf. In terms of funding, Isovalent has successfully raised a total of $69 million over two rounds of funding. The latest funding round was a Series B, which took place on September 7, 2022. The company has attracted a notable group of investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Mango Capital, Mirae Asset Capital, Thomvest Ventures, M12, Grafana Labs, Google, Cisco, and SV Angel.

Equinix allocates $4.9B in green bonds to support 172 projects

Equinix completed the allocation of $4.9 billion in investment-grade green bonds, marking a significant step towards its science-based target of achieving climate neutrality by 2030 and enhancing operational eco-efficiency. Since 2020, the company has issued six bond offerings, with full allocation achieved by June 2023. These bonds have financed 172 green building projects at 105 sites, 33 energy efficiency projects, and two Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects over the past five years. The PPAs contribute to 225 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, expected to reduce or avoid 383,300 metric tons of CO2e annually, which is equivalent to the emissions from over 85,296 gasoline-powered vehicles driven for a year.

The cited a number of examples of its green projects, including:

  • Equinix's Co-Innovation Facility (CIF) in Ashburn, VA, which provides a platform for trialing and showcasing advanced power, cooling and control methodologies—such as fuel cells and liquid cooling—for use in its future data centers. The facility, located in Equinix's DC15 International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center, allows the company to work with key innovative suppliers to develop prototype approaches, such as direct-to-chip liquid cooling. Last week the company announced plans to expand support for advanced liquid cooling technologies—such as direct-to-chip—to more than 100 of its IBX data centers in more than 45 metros around the world.
  • Equinix's MU4 IBX data center, located in Aschheim, Germany, is designed for optimal efficiency and includes technologies for hybrid cooling and an Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system for efficient storage and recovery of thermal energy. The building also has a green fa├žade and partially planted roof aimed at enhancing biodiversity while acting as additional natural insulation and cooling. Equinix is also exploring options to share the site's waste heat with external consumers.
  • Entering PPAs with developers to help build new renewable energy resources on the grids where Equinix operates, can enable the company to grow its business responsibly. This includes projects like the Rush Springs wind farm, a 125-megawatt wind farm in Grady and Stephens Counties, OK, where Equinix made a 15-year commitment. The projects are expected to deliver average annual avoidance of more than 218,600 metric tons of CO2e relative to the energy grid in the region.
  • The redesign of the chilled water production system at LD5, located in Slough near London. The new system enables the site to harness low outside temperatures during colder months and lowers energy consumption. This project has the potential to result in an average annual avoidance of more than 2,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) due to reduced electricity demand.

"Equinix considers green bonds a valuable tool to raise capital and finance large projects that can increase the sustainability of our business. Our green bonds demonstrate Equinix's continued commitment to design, build and deliver the most reliable, secure and sustainable data center and digital infrastructure possible in order to benefit our customers, the communities in which we operate, our investors, and the planet," said Katrina Rymill, SVP Corporate Finance & Sustainability, Equinix. "Through the allocation of our green bonds, we continue to be able to directly align our financing needs with our sustainability strategy."

KT deploys 600G transmission route with Ciena

KT completed the construction of South Korea's first nationwide 600G transmission network.

The transmission network, operational since September 2023, spans over 1,000 km and is capable of transmitting 600G per wavelength in long-distance segments, connecting major cities nationwide from Seoul to Busan, Gwangju, and even Jeju Island.

The deployment uses Ciena’s 6500 flexible grid Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) with WaveLogic 5 Extreme (WL5e) coherent optics, and Ciena's Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller.

Henry Kim, Regional Managing Director of Ciena North Asia, stated: “As pioneers in coherent optical technology, Ciena has been supplying optical transmission equipment capable of delivering 100G and 400G services to domestic telecom operators. The 600G transmission network introduced by KT is expected to provide a groundbreaking, cost-effective solution for transmitting high-capacity traffic throughout South Korea. This, in turn, is anticipated to enhance dedicated circuit services significantly.”

EIB awards €300m loan to iliad for 5G rollouts in France

The European Investment Bank issued a €300m loan to iliad SA to expand its 5G network rollout in France. This is iliad SA’s seventh loan from EIB, bringing its total amount of EIB financing granted since 2009 to more than €1.7 billion.

The iliad Group is now Europe’s sixth-largest mobile operator with some 38 million mobile subscribers. the Group’s 5G coverage rate in France is now over 94.4% of the population, and it has almost 15 million mobile subscribers across the country, of which 11 million are on the 4G/5G Free Mobile Plan.

“This financing transaction – the seventh loan granted to iliad SA by the EIB since 2009 – reaffirms the strength of the long-standing relations that unite our two groups, not only in France, but also in Poland via our subsidiary Play since the beginning of 2022. We’re delighted to be furthering our partnership with the EIB, which will enable us to pursue our ambitious objectives of rolling out and densifying our mobile networks in France so we can provide the best connectivity to our subscribers,” said Thomas Reynaud, CEO of the iliad Group.