China Telecom launches 5G standalone cloud native network with Tianyi Cloud

China Telecom claims it has launched what it says is the world’s largest 5G standalone (SA) network.  Executives announced the start of commercial 5G SA operations during a company virtual conference last week and said their 5G SA network is currently supported by 30 devices, with 100 expected by year-end.

China Telecom’s 5G SA end-to-end capability testing with Tencent and Huawei was completed in September.  Earlier in the week, China Telecom said it will offer 5G SA services to over 300 cities in China at a press event held with Qualcomm at Guangzhou, China.

Like all the other telcos on the path to 5G SA (only T-Mobile US has deployed it), China Telecom’s is said to be 5G SA is a cloud native network called the “Tianyi Cloud.”  Company leaders said it’s 5G SA cloud network can guarantee “five-nines reliability,” secure network slicing and latency of below 5ms.  In particular:

With the popularization of cloud computing, hybrid multi-cloud has become the new normal for cloud migration. It is just necessary to realize high-speed network interconnection and unified management between multi- clouds. The full-stack hybrid cloud launched by Tianyi Cloud realizes the same technical architecture of the underlying cloud platform and has no cloud capabilities. It extends and covers the deployment of three scenarios: edge, private cloud, and industry cloud. At the same time, it provides first-line multi-cloud capabilities, a dedicated line connects multiple mainstream public cloud service providers at the same time, and high-speed interconnection between public and private clouds can also be realized. In addition, it is worth mentioning that Tianyi Cloud’s full-stack hybrid cloud has been adapted to national production and production at the chip, hardware, and operating system levels, and has the ability to provide national production and service services.

The new generation of cloud-native database developed by Tianyi Cloud completely independently developed and technically tackled key problems. It successfully realized the de-IOE of China Telecom’s core IT system database. Telecom users and billion-level terminal equipment access. Through continuous upgrading and evolution, Tianyi Cloud’s new generation of cloud-native database has reached financial-level data security and high reliability, and has continuously broken through the limits of scale and performance, while being compatible with a complete database ecological chain, so as to meet customers’ diverse data service needs.

Also, China Telecom officially launched the “Cloud Terminal” plan at the event. Tianyi Cloud, as the base of the cloud terminal strategy, has independently created a cloud computer through computing in the cloud, data in the cloud, application in the cloud, security in the cloud, and imagination in the end mode. And cloud mobile phone products.

President and COO Li Zhengmao said the arrival of the 5G era provided the opportunity and the technical ability for the integration of cloud and the network.

 

In terms of 5G cloud integration, Hu Zhiqiang said:

“In the 5G era, cloud-network integration has entered a new realm. Cloud-network integration is the goal that Tianyi Cloud pursues.” On the one hand, Tianyi Cloud launched an intelligent edge video cloud to break through the bottleneck of ultra-high-definition real-time encoding technology. At the same time, it has real-time scheduling capabilities of millions of video streams. On the other hand, 5G is a cloud-based network. Tianyi Cloud provides 99.999% reliability guarantee and exclusive slice data security, achieving a comprehensive TCO reduction of more than 90%, and a delay of less than 5ms.”

A white paper presented at last week’s event describes China Telecom’s cloud-network integration as driven by open sharing, open network capabilities, multi-network access 5G and SD-WAN support.  The China Telecom paper said the company was a hybrid multi-cloud strategy, integrating Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, Huawei Cloud, AWS, Azure and others into its aggregation platform.

In conclusion, Hu Zhiqiang said: “China Telecom Tianyi Cloud will continue to strengthen technological innovation, strengthen open cooperation, and accelerate the construction of a digital China and a smart society, and make greater contributions with partners.”

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References:

http://www.c114.com.cn/news/117/a1143514.html

https://www.lightreading.com/asia/china-telecom-gets-cracking-on-5g-standalone/d/d-id/765464?

China says it has deployed 700,000 5G base stations this year; Huawei’s forecast

IBM Telco Cloud has 35+ Partners to Help Virtualize Carrier Networks

“IBM Cloud® for Telecommunications provides the first high trust, unified hybrid architecture to address the fundamental transformation challenges facing telecommunications operators today.”

“We are excited to launch the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications – an open, hybrid cloud architecture designed to help telecommunications providers address the specific challenges of the highly-regulated industry: accelerating business transformation, enhancing digital client engagement and improving agility as they modernize their enterprise applications and infrastructure to unlock the power of 5G and edge,” IBM’s Howard Boville wrote in a blog post.

IBM is expanding its presence in the telecom market with a new ecosystem of 35+ partners to help communication service providers virtualize their networks. Companies such as Nokia, Samsung, Juniper Networks and Intel have agreed to help operators take advantage of the new IBM Cloud Satellite platform based on Red Hat OpenShift and deploy the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications services in the cloud, on premises or at the edge.

According to a recent IBV study, 60% of Communications Service Provider (CSP) leaders surveyed agree that they must virtualize their entire network across edge locations, but only half of them are prepared to virtualize in a cloud-native environment.  Built on IBM Cloud Satellite, currently in beta, and leveraging Red Hat OpenShift, clients can deploy IBM Cloud services anywhere: on the cloud, on premises or at the edge, while addressing industry-specific requirements and data protection.

The IBM Telco Cloud platform integrates and extends IBM Edge Application Manager and IBM Telco Network Cloud Manager to help reduce network-related infrastructure costs, increase automation, speed deployment of next gen services, and deliver new consumer and enterprise value. The holistic hybrid cloud offering will be complemented by our ecosystem partners’ software and technology, and enable mission critical workloads to be managed consistently from the network core to the edge to position telecom providers to extract more value from their data while they drive innovation for their customers.

Ecosystems fuel platforms, and because the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications is built on an open architecture, a large ecosystem of partners can enhance it with their own solutions in addition to providing services for it – and this is an important distinction. In order for clients to get our best technology with the most scale and flexibility at the start, we’ve built the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications using Red Hat OpenShift, and this strategy positions partners as the engine to drive a multitude of possibilities for clients.

The partners spans numerous categories, including network equipment providers, independent software vendors, software-as-a-service providers and hardware partners. Partners include Cisco, Adva, Enghouse, Dell, Equinix, Palo Alto Networks, Spirent, Altiostar and Affirmed Networks.

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“We are happy to team up with IBM to develop 5G solutions at the telecom edge, with Red Hat OpenShift. We believe that our service provider customers will benefit greatly from having an additional choice to quickly and efficiently deploy private 5G networks,” said Jane Rygaard, Head of Edge Cloud, Nokia. “The transition to 5G will be a key step for industries to deliver on their digital transformation plans. Having multiple options of cloud-based solutions will help our industry build this path forward.”

“Samsung is committed to helping enterprises tackle the unique challenges of today’s market by utilizing the latest mobile innovations and advanced network solutions,” said KC Choi, EVP and Head of Global Mobile B2B Team, Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “We are excited to work with IBM and Red Hat to develop new user experiences for business based on transformative technologies like 5G, IoT and AI to help drive efficiency and streamline operations.”

“Cisco is excited to bring our industry leading compute, security, and Service Provider solutions to the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications,” said Keith Dyer, VP for IBM Strategic Alliance.  “We are delighted to expand our 20+ year partnership with IBM and bring the power of our joint solutions to our mutual customers.”

IBM says their partner ecosystem will provide customers with a wide range of ways to leverage the platform to enable them to deliver next generation 5G and Edge services, deploy and manage new cloud capabilities, and enrich relationships through AI-driven engagement. Those committing to join our growing ecosystem are listed below alongside descriptions about how they are helping customers today, or how we expect to collaborate on IBM Cloud for Telecommunications:

  • ADVA Optical Networking SE is contributing low latency 5G access and transport solutions, optical backbones, Network Function Virtualization (NFV), sync and timing, and disaggregated cell site gateways.
  • Affirmed Networks, Inc. enables operators to transform the economics of deploying and scaling mobile networks with its complete portfolio of open, cloud-native, 5G solutions.
  • Altiostar will provide 4G and 5G open virtualized RAN (Open vRAN) software that supports open interfaces and virtualizes the radio access baseband functions to build a disaggregated multi-vendor, web-scale, cloud-based mobile network.
  • Altran, Part of Capgemini, provides 5G solutions (vRAN, Core, Transport, Edge platform & marketplace), advanced Edge applications for industries and deep 5G System Integration & Network Engineering expertise.
  • Assima delivers powerful applications training at scale, leveraging its patented cloning technology to create immersive learner experiences.
  • Cisco is providing security, compute and Service Provider solutions.
  • Dell Technologies. An essential technology company in the data era, Dell Technologies is enabling Telecom network operators to extend their capabilities, moving beyond today’s connectivity to offer new enterprise services that will ignite broad industry innovations and create new revenue streams.
  • Dubber’s Voice Intelligence Cloud plans to integrate and be interoperable with IBM Cloud for Telecommunications, to help enable providers to deliver next generation Unified Call Recording and Voice AI Services on one cloud platform.
  • Enghouse Networks. Through IBM Cloud, Enghouse Networks offers Telecommunications service providers the ability to Plan, Design, Engineer, Provision, Operate, Monitor, Protect and simplify network complexity in a vendor-agnostic, hybrid cloud network environment.
  • Equinix, Inc. plans to host the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications solution on its globally distributed automated bare metal platform.
  • F5 Networks Inc. contributes traffic management, security for layers 2-7 and Kubernetes ingress control along with other virtual infrastructure solutions to enhance and support application services in the telco network cloud.
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise delivers a leading, comprehensive portfolio of cloud-enabled software, carrier-grade services, and open, secure infrastructure offerings to accelerate innovation for telco cloud and edge solutions.
  • Intel brings a broad ecosystem, enabling new use cases and usage models from the edge to the cloud. Emphasizing an open-based and innovative approach helps to accelerate deployments that are built on Intel technologies with performance and security in mind.
  • Juniper Networks Inc. Contrail is an end-to-end software-based network architecture delivering secure, consistent policy to applications regardless of their location and the physical underlay.
  • Kaloom offers a fully programmable and automated cloud networking solution that is disrupting how edge and data center networks are built, managed and operated.
  • Lenovo’s purpose-built edge servers and storage along with Lenovo’s infrastructure automation software (LOC-A) have been validated with IBM edge application manager to provide easy to consume edge infrastructure.
  • Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open source networking projects
  • MATRIXX Software provides a highly performant network application for charging and monetization of network resources.
  • Mavenir helps wireless service providers with comprehensive end to end software applications that transforms their networks to run on the cloud.
  • Metaswitch, a Microsoft company, provides cloud native IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network functions that help enable the deployment of highly scalable rich communication services on Red Hat OpenShift.
  • Movius provides mobile-unified communication software that enables frontline employees to securely communicate with their clients across compliant digital voice and messaging channels.
  • NetApp, Inc. helps customers simplify the adoption and readiness of 5G by providing advanced data services to enable hybrid cloud environments that extend to the Edge, and by integrating these data services with container orchestration platforms such as OpenShift and IBM Cloud Pak solutions.
  • NETSCOUT Systems provides visibility of digital services to prevent or resolve performance and security problems regardless of the technologies involved. We call it Visibility without Borders.
  • Nokia and IBM plan to deploy a fully functioning cloud-based 5G network on the IBM Cloud infrastructure, designed to help service providers to quickly deploy and deliver private 5G solutions to their Enterprise customers
  • Nuance Communications, Inc.’s enterprise solutions power over 31 billion intelligent customer interactions annually with cloud-native, AI-powered customer engagement technology to deliver industry-best digital, voice, and biometric security innovations.
  • O-RAN ALLIANCE. As a member of the O-RAN ALLIANCE, IBM Cloud for Telecommunication will help to transform the radio access networks towards open, intelligent, virtualized and fully interoperable RAN.
  • Palo Alto Networks, Inc. for Zero Trust 5G Security.
  • Portworx by Pure Storage will provide a platform of complementary data services for data rich applications running on OpenShift on IBM Satellite, including high availability, data protection, data security, multi-cloud mobility and automated capacity management required to run enterprise applications in production.
  • Red Hat will help enable the IBM Cloud for Telecommunication Ecosystem partners to run their solutions on Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack Platform.
  • Robin.io’s cloud-native solution for Telco provides end-to-end automation for the deployment, scaling, and lifecycle management of any data- or network-intensive applications – all the way from RAN, Core, Edge, and OSS/BSS on Kubernetes.
  • Samsung, IBM, and Red Hat are collaborating to bring AI-driven solutions for clients transforming to Industry 4.0 and beyond by leveraging the power of secure 5G devices, cloud-native 5G networks, and advanced edge computing platforms.
  • SevOne, a Turbonomic Company, delivers network performance management solutions with modern monitoring and analytics.
  • Sinefa plans to provide Digital Experience Monitoring for remote workers and SD-WAN by leveraging the IBM Telco Cloud.
  • Spirent delivers automated test and assurance solutions to accelerate the design, development and deployment of 5G, cloud and virtualized networks.
  • THALES Cloud Licensing and Protection helps organizations protect their most sensitive data and software, secure the cloud and achieve compliance through advanced encryption, access management and software licensing solutions.
  • TM Forum will be working with IBM Cloud for Telecommunication to help unlock the possibilities of 5G by enabling the industry to build self-sustaining networks
  • Travelping accelerates the provision of mobile 2G to 5G Networks, the turnkey solutions to the Telecommunications, Automotive, IoT, Manufacturing, Energy, Financial Services, and Hospitality businesses.
  • Turbonomic Application Resource Management (ARM) helps automatically assure applications get the resources they need to perform, no matter where they run or how they are architected.
  • Zerto will integrate with IBM Cloud Satellite as an embedded solution providing data protection, disaster recovery and mobility solutions.
  • Wipro will launch a solution suite built with IBM Edge Application Manager to help clients leverage 5G and Edge for enterprise use cases.
  • HCL’s IBM Ecosystem Unit will help clients, including those in regulated industries such as telecommunications, to develop digital and cloud-native solutions with IBM Cloud Paks.

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References:

https://newsroom.ibm.com/Introducing-IBM-Cloud-for-Telecommunications-with-35-Partners-Committed-to-Join-IBMs-Ecosystem-and-Help-Drive-Business-Transformation

https://www.ibm.com/industries/telecommunications/network-automation?_ga=2.192742383.490851429.1604597907-2126463123.1604597907

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ibm-signs-up-partners-for-telco-hybrid-cloud-platform–1360709

 

Barracuda CloudGen SD-WAN runs on Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN Hubs; 5G Next Target for CSPs?

In the new world of cloud service providers (CSPs) taking over every aspect of communications, Microsoft Azure will now be used as the basis of what Barracuda calls “the first SD-WAN service built natively inside Azure Virtual WAN Hubs.”  Those so called “hubs” are interconnected through Microsoft’s Global Network.

The new Barracuda CloudGen SD-WAN is a SaaS  deployed directly from the Azure Marketplace for as many regions as needed and administered centrally in the CloudGen WAN portal for all office locations and remote endpoints. Since the Microsoft Global Network is automatically provisioned as the backbone for anywhere, anytime application access, service providers can create a pragmatic SASE platform in the public cloud tailored to their specific needs.

Virtual WAN diagram

Illustration of Azure Virtual WAN from Microsoft (see reference below)

Microsoft says its Virtual WAN offers the following advantages:

  • Integrated connectivity solutions in hub and spoke: Automate site-to-site configuration and connectivity between on-premises sites and an Azure hub.
  • Automated spoke setup and configuration: Connect your virtual networks and workloads to the Azure hub seamlessly.
  • Intuitive troubleshooting: You can see the end-to-end flow within Azure, and then use this information to take required actions.

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Barracuda said that their CloudGen WAN architecture can replace costly, inflexible network connectivity circuits, and the entire network can be dynamically sized to match current traffic workload, which can optimize network performance and minimize cost.

“A cloud-first strategy asks for a different approach on connectivity,” said Leon Sevriens, program manager, IT at Humankind, a large organization in the Netherlands that offers daycare and after-school care, with over 3,000 employees and over 450 locations. “We have invested heavily in Microsoft Office 365 adoption across the organization, and traditional connectivity doesn’t fit the bill anymore. We need a solution that is focused on delivering application performance, not just ‘plain’ connectivity. That’s why we’re moving forward with Barracuda CloudGen WAN,” he added.

In the recent report “Secure SD-WAN: The Launch Pad into Cloud,” Barracuda found that SD-WAN is being used by more than half of those who have added security to their public cloud. As the report explains, “SD-WAN can help overcome the top two security challenges organizations are facing when it comes to public cloud: lack of access control and backhauling traffic.”

Cloud-native, secure SD-WAN:

The perimeter is changing, and organizations need to be ready to adapt. According to Gartner, “The enterprise perimeter is no longer a location; it is a set of dynamic edge capabilities delivered when needed as a service from the cloud.”1

Secure SD-WAN services built natively on the cloud combine ease of use, full security, and cloud-scalable SD-WAN connectivity to use the Microsoft Global Network as the WAN backbone instead of leased lines. The new Barracuda CloudGen WAN is a SaaS service deployed directly from the Azure Marketplace for as many regions as needed and administered centrally in the CloudGen WAN portal for all office locations and remote endpoints. Since the Microsoft Global Network is automatically provisioned as the backbone for anywhere, anytime application access, service providers can create a pragmatic SASE solution in the public cloud tailored to their specific needs.

“With an all-in-one, secure SD-WAN solution natively built on the public cloud network, enterprises can finally make the shift to more public cloud deployments, both faster and more securely,” said Hatem Naguib, COO at Barracuda. “We appreciate the relationship we have developed with Microsoft over the years and the close collaboration over many months to integrate Barracuda SD-WAN technology natively on Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN Hubs. We know this is the future of networking in the public cloud, and we’re excited to be on this forefront with Microsoft.”

Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President, Azure Networking at Microsoft said, “Cloud-native, secure SD-WAN technology, like the new CloudGen WAN service from Barracuda, provides a fast, reliable, and direct path to Microsoft Azure. We’re pleased to collaborate with Barracuda for this new wave of faster public cloud adoption to help our joint customers optimize network performance.”

Opinion: The huge implication here is that the major cloud service providers (Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud) will be replacing traditional telco networks.  In this case, it’s SD-WAN access and Microsoft’s WAN backbone, but in the future it will likely be 5G network access built mostly from software building blocks.  Why else did Microsoft acquire Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch?

For an Amazon AWS executive’s take on this topic (“we’re partners with telco’s”) read this Light Reading piece.

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References:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/barracuda-introduces-first-global-secure-sd-wan-service-built-natively-on-microsoft-azure-301094835.html

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-wan/virtual-wan-about

Will Hyperscale Cloud Companies (e.g. Google) Control the Internet’s Backbone?

Resources from Barracuda:

For more information about Barracuda CloudGen WAN, visit https://www.barracuda.com/products/cloudgenwan

Read the Barracuda blog post: http://cuda.co/40855

Read the Microsoft blog post from Yousef Khalidihttps://aka.ms/vwan-sdwan

Watch Reshmi Yandapalli’s session on “Use Azure networking services to accelerate, scale or re-architect your customer’s global network” for Microsoft Inspire: https://aka.ms/T4D193

Read the market report: https://www.barracuda.com/sdwan-report-2020

Find out Barracuda was recognized as a finalist for Commercial Marketplace 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year: http://cuda.co/40853

1 Gartner, “The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud”, Neil MacDonald, Lawrence Orans, Joe Skorupa30 August 2019.

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IBM and Verizon Business Collaborate on 5G, Edge Computing and AI Solutions for Enterprise Customers

Verizon Business and IBM are working together on 5G and edge computing innovation to help enable the future of “Industry 4.0.” The two companies plan to combine the high speed and (yet to be proven) low latency of Verizon’s 5G and Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) functionalities, IoT devices and sensors at the edge, and IBM’s expertise in AI, hybrid multi-cloud, edge computing, asset management and connected operations.  These will be jointly offered with IBM’s Maximo Monitor with IBM Watson and advanced analytics. The combined products may help clients detect, locate, diagnose and respond to system anomalies, monitor asset health and help predict failures in near real-time. The first solutions to be aimed at helping improve industrial quality, availability and performance.

“Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalize on joint solutions that are designed to be multi-cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge,” IBM’s Bob Lord, SVP of cognitive applications, blockchain and ecosystems, said in a press release from the companies.

“Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalize on joint solutions that are designed to be multi-cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge.”

“This collaboration is all about enabling the future of industry in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business. “Combining the high speed and low latency of Verizon’s 5G UWB Network and MEC capabilities with IBM’s expertise in enterprise-grade AI and production automation can provide industrial innovation on a massive scale and can help companies increase automation, minimize waste, lower costs, and offer their own clients a better response time and customer experience.”

5G Network Internet Mobile Wireless Business concept.5G standard of modern signal transmission technology.

              Image Credit: iStockphoto/LHG

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IBM and Verizon said their first offerings would target “mobile asset tracking and management solutions,” and that, eventually, they hope to offer products for remote control robotics, real-time video analysis and plant automation.  The two companies also plan to collaborate on potential joint solutions to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.

Many industrial enterprises are today seeking ways to use edge computing to accelerate access to near real-time, actionable insights into operations to improve productivity and reduce costs.  To address industrial firms’ need for edge computing ways to accelerate access to near real-time insights into operations, the first products planned from this collaboration are mobile asset tracking and management products to help enterprises improve operations, optimise production quality, and help clients enhance worker safety.

IBM and Verizon are also working on potential combined products for 5G and MEC-enabled use cases such as near real-time cognitive automation for the industrial environment.

Verizon and IBM also plan to collaborate on potential joint products to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.

Light Reading’s Mike Dano had this comment:

For IBM, the announcement underscores its efforts to offer products and services in the edge computing marketplace, an area that’s becoming a key focus for a variety of businesses looking for speedy computing services via nearby or onsite facilities.

And for Verizon, the announcement adds further momentum to its 5G and edge computing ambitions. Company executives have long argued that the combination of 5G and edge computing has a wide range of enterprise applications, and Verizon’s new pairing with IBM could open the doors to more potential customers for such services.

To be clear, Verizon has been working to stamp out a position in the 5G and edge computing sector for years. The company hopes to offer its high-speed, millimeter-wave 5G network across 60 cities by the end of this year, and concurrently it has said it will launch nationwide 5G on lowband spectrum in that same timeframe. Separately, Verizon late last year announced it would team up with Amazon to support its AWS edge computing initiative.

But Verizon’s edge computing efforts don’t stop there. The company joined América Móvil, KT, Rogers, Telstra and Vodafone to establish the “5G Future Forum” in January in part to accelerate the development of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC)-enabled solutions. The group this week announced it will release its first technical specifications in the third quarter.

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References:

https://newsroom.ibm.com/2020-07-16-IBM-and-Verizon-Business-to-Collaborate-on-5G-and-AI-Solutions-at-the-Enterprise-Edge

https://www.lightreading.com/the-edge/verizon-ibm-team-up-on-5g-and-edge-computing/d/d-id/762452?

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ibm-verizon-business-to-collaborate-on-5g-ai-products-at-enterprise-edge–1346836

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/ibm-and-verizon-business-collaborate-to-merge-ai-computing-with-5g-networks-for-the-enterprise/

Internet traffic spikes under “stay at home”; Move to cloud accelerates

With worldwide coronavirus induced “stay at home/shelter in place” orders, almost everyone that has high speed internet at home is using a lot more bandwidth for video conferences and streaming.  How is the Internet holding up against the huge increase in data/video traffic?  We focus this article on U.S. Internet traffic since the stay at home orders went into effect in late March.

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Sidebar:  North America has only 7.6% of world’s Internet users:

Percentage of Internet users by continent/region.

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According to Eric Savitz of Barron’s, the U.S. networks are handling the traffic spikes without any major hiccups. In a call this past week with reporters, Comcast, the largest U.S. internet service provider, said that its network is working well, with tests done 700,000 times a day through customer modems showing average speeds running 110% to 115% of contracted rates. Overall peak traffic is up 32% on the network, with some areas up 60%, in particular around Seattle and the San Francisco Bay area, where lockdowns were put in place before they were in most of the rest of the country. In both Seattle and San Francisco, peak traffic volumes are plateauing, suggesting a new normal.

While Comcast said its peak internet traffic has increased 32 percent since the start of March, total traffic remains within the overall capacity its network. The increase in people working at home has shifted the downstream peak to earlier in the evening, while upload traffic is growing during the day in most cities.  Tony Werner, head of technology at Comcast Cable, says it has a long-term strategy of adding network capacity 12 to 18 months ahead of expected peaks. He says that approach has given Comcast the ability to smoothly absorb the added traffic. The company hasn’t requested that video providers or anyone else limit their traffic.

AT&T, the second largest U.S. internet service provider, likewise asserts that its network is performing “very well” during the pandemic. This past Wednesday, it said, core traffic, including business, home broadband, and wireless, was up 18% from the same day last month. Wireless voice minutes were up 41%, versus the average Wednesday; consumer home voice minutes rose 57%, and WiFi calling was up 105%.

Over the past three weeks, the company has seen new usage patterns on its mobile network, with voice calls up 33% and instant messaging up 63%, while web browsing is down 5% and email is off 18%.

Verizon also says its network is handling the traffic well. One telling stat: The carrier says that mobile handoffs, the shifting of sessions from one cell site to another as users move around, is down 53% in the New York metro area, and 29% nationally; no one is going anywhere.  More on Verizon’s COVID-19 initiatives here.

In the United States prior to coronavirus, total home internet traffic averaged about 15% on weekdays. But it started growing in mid March, and by late March it had reached about 35%, clearly connected to all the working and learning from home due to stay-at-home orders.

“The data suggests remote working will remain elevated in the U.S. for a prolonged period of time,” wrote analysts from Cowen analysts.

Craig Moffett of MoffetNathanson said “The cable companies are simply digital infrastructure providers. They are agnostic about how you can get your video content. And the broadband business is going to be just fine.”

“Our broadband connections are becoming our lifelines – figuratively and literally: we are using them to get news, connect to our work environments (now all virtual), and for entertainment too,” wrote Craig Labovitz, CTO for Nokia’s Deepfield portfolio, in a blog post.

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Enterprise IT Accelerates Move to Cloud:

One takeaway from this extended, forced stay at home period is that, more than ever, corporate IT (think enterprise computing and storage) is moving to the cloud.  We’ve previously reported on this mega-trend in an IEEE techblog post noting the delay in 5G roll-outs.  In particular:

Now the new (5G) technology faces an unprecedented slow down to launch and expand pilot deployments.  Why? It’s because of the stay at home/shelter in place orders all over the world.  Non essential business’ are closed and manufacturing plants have been idled.  Also, why do you need a mobile network if you’re at home 95% of the time?

One reason to deploy 5G is to off load data (especially video) traffic on congested 4G-LTE  networks. But just like the physical roads and highways, those 4G networks have experienced less traffic since the virus took hold.  People confined to their homes need wired broadband and Wi-Fi, NOT 4G and 5G mobile access.

David Readerman of Endurance Capital Partners, a San Francisco, CA based tech hedge fund told Barron’s: “What’s certainly being reinforced right now, is that cloud-based information-technology architecture is providing agility and resiliency for companies to operate dispersed workforces.”

Readerman says the jury is out on whether there’s a lasting impact on how we work, but he adds that contingency planning now requires the ability to work remotely for extended periods.

On March 27th, the Wall Street Journal reported:

Cloud-computing providers are emerging as among the few corporate winners in the coronavirus pandemic as office and store closures across the U.S. have pushed more activity online.

The remote data storage and processing services provided by Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Google and others have become the essential link for many people to remain connected with work and families, or just to unwind.

The hardware and software infrastructure those tech giants and others provide, commonly referred to as the cloud, underpins the operation of businesses that have become particularly popular during the virus outbreak, such as workplace collaboration software provider Slack, streaming video service company Netflix Inc. and online video game maker Epic Games Inc.

Demand has been so strong that Microsoft has told some customers its Azure cloud is running up against limits in parts of Australia.

“Due to increased usage of Azure, some regions have limited capacity,” the software giant said, adding it had, in some instances, placed restrictions on new cloud-based resources, according to a customer notice seen by The Wall Street Journal.

A Microsoft spokesman said the company was “actively monitoring performance and usage trends” to support customers and growth demands. “At the same time,” he said, “these are unprecedented times and we’re also taking proactive steps to plan for these high-usage periods.”

“If we think of the cloud as utility, it’s hard to imagine any other public utility that could sustain a 50% increase in utilization—whether that’s electric or water or sewage system—and not fall over,” Matthew Prince, chief executive of cloud-services provider Cloudflare Inc. said in an interview. “The fact that the cloud is holding up as well as it has is one of the real bright spots of this crisis.”

The migration to the cloud has been happening for about a decade as companies have opted to forgo costly investments into in-house IT infrastructure and instead rent processing hardware and software from the likes of Amazon or Microsoft, paying as they go for storage and data processing features. The trends have made cloud-computing one of the most contested battlefields among business IT providers.

“If you look at Amazon or Azure and how much infrastructure usage increased over the past two weeks, it would probably blow your mind how much capacity they’ve had to spin up to keep the world operating,” said Dave McJannet, HashiCorp Inc., which provides tools for both cloud and traditional servers. “Moments like this accelerate the move to the cloud.”

In a message to rally employees, Andy Jassy, head of the Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud division, urged them to “think about all of the AWS customers carrying extra load right now because of all of the people at home.”

Brad Schick, chief executive of Seattle-based Skytap Inc., which works with companies to move existing IT systems to the cloud, has seen a 20% jump in use of its services in the past month. “A lot of the growth is driven by increased usage of the cloud to deal with the coronavirus.”

For many companies, one of the attractions of cloud services is they can quickly rent more processing horsepower and storage when it is needed, but can scale back during less busy periods. That flexibility also is helping drive cloud-uptake during the coronavirus outbreak, said Nikesh Parekh, CEO and cofounder of Seattle-based Suplari Inc., which helps companies manage their spending with outside vendors such as cloud services.

“We are starting to see CFOs worry about their cash positions and looking for ways to reduce spending in a world where revenue is going to decline dramatically over the next quarter or two,” he said. “That will accelerate the move from traditional suppliers to the cloud.”

Dan Ives of Wedbush opines that the coronavirus pandemic is a “key turning point” around deploying cloud-driven and remote-learning environments.  As a majority of Americans are working or learning from home amid federal social distancing measures, Ives’ projections of moving 55% of workloads to the cloud by 2022 from 33% “now look conservative as these targets could be reached a full year ahead of expectations given this pace,” he said. He also expects that $1 trillion will be spent on cloud services over the next decade, benefiting companies such as Microsoft and Amazon.


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Gartner: Telecom at the Edge + Distributed Cloud in 3 Stages

Source: Gartner report on Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020

Communicating to the Edge — The Role of 5G
Connecting edge devices with one another and with back-end services is a fundamental aspect of IoT and an enabler of smart spaces. 5G is the next-generation cellular standard after 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE; LTE Advanced [LTE-A] and LTE Advanced Pro [LTE-A Pro]).

Several global standards bodies have defined it — International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) [NOT A STANDARDS BODY] and ETSI [Has submitted their IMT 2020 RIT to ITU-R WP5D jointly with DECT Forum].

Successive iterations of the 5G standard also will incorporate support for NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) aimed at devices with low-power and low-throughput requirements. New system architectures include core network slicing as well as edge computing.
5G addresses three key technology communication aspects, each of which supports distinct new services, and possibly new business models (such as latency as a service):

■ Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), which most providers will probably implement first.
■ Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), which addresses many existing industrial, medical, drone and transportation requirements where reliability and latency requirements surpass bandwidth needs.
■ Massive machine-type communications (mMTC), which addresses the scale requirements of IoT edge computing.

Use of higher cellular frequencies and massive capacity will require very dense deployments with higher frequency reuse. As a result, we expect that most public 5G deployments will initially focus on islands of deployment, without continuous national coverage. We expect that, by 2020, 4% of network-based mobile communications service providers globally will launch the 5G network commercially. Many CSPs are uncertain about the nature of the use cases and business models that may drive 5G. We expect that, through 2022, organizations will use 5G mainly to support IoT communications, high-definition video and fixed wireless access. The release of unlicensed radio spectrum (Citizens Broadband Radio Service [CBRS] in the U.S., and similar initiatives in the U.K. and Germany) will facilitate the deployment of private 5G (and LTE) networks.

This will enable enterprises to exploit the advantages of 5G technology without waiting for public networks to build out coverage. Identify use cases that definitely require the high-end performance, low latency or higher densities of 5G for edge computing needs.

Map the organization’s planned exploitation of such use cases against the expected rollout by providers through 2023. Evaluate the available alternatives that may prove adequate and more cost-effective than 5G for particular IoT use cases. Examples include low-power wide-area (LPWA), such as 4G LTE-based NB-IoT or LTE Cat M1, LoRa, Sigfox and Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Networks (Wi-SUN).
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Distributed Cloud examines a major evolution in cloud computing where the applications, platforms, tools, security, management and other services are physically shifting from a centralized data center model to one in which the services are distributed and delivered at the point of need. The point of need can extend into customer data centers or all the way to the edge devices.

A distributed cloud refers to the distribution of public cloud services to different locations outside the cloud providers’ data centers, while the originating public cloud provider assumes responsibility for the operation, governance, maintenance and updates. This represents a significant shift from the centralized model of most public cloud services and will lead to a new era in cloud computing.

Concept of Distributed Cloud:

Concept of distributed cloud. 

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Gartner expects distributed cloud computing will happen in three phases:

■ Phase 1: A like-for-like hybrid mode in which the cloud provider delivers services in a distributed fashion that mirror a subset of services in its centralized cloud for delivery in the enterprise.
■ Phase 2: An extension of the like-for-like model in which the cloud provider teams with third parties to deliver a subset of its centralized cloud services to target communities through the third-party provider. An example is the delivery of services through a telecommunications
provider to support data sovereignty requirements in smaller countries where the provider does not have data centers.
■ Phase 3: Communities of organizations share distributed cloud substations. We use the term“substations” to evoke the image of subsidiary stations (like branch post offices) where people gather to use services.

Cloud customers can gather at a given distributed cloud substation to
consume cloud services for common or varied reasons if it is open for community or public use.  This improves the economics associated with paying for the installation and operation of a distributed cloud substation. As other companies use the substation, they can share the cost of
the installation.

We expect that third parties such as telecommunications service providers will explore the creation of substations in locations where the public cloud provider does not have a presence. If the substation is not open for use by others outside the organization that paid for its installation, then the substation represents a private cloud instance in a hybrid relationship with the public cloud. The distributed cloud supports continuously connected and intermittently connected operation of like-for-like cloud services from the public cloud “distributed” to specific and varied locations. This enables low-latency service execution where the cloud services are closer to the point of need in remote data centers or all the way to the edge device itself.

This can deliver major improvements in performance and reduce the risk of global network-related outages, as well as support occasionally connected scenarios. By 2024, most cloud service platforms will provide at least some services that execute at the point of need.

References:

https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/doc/documents/432920-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020.pdf

https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/doc/documents/450595-top-strategic-predictions-for-2020-and-beyond.pdf

Gartner Group Innovation & Insight: Cutting Through the 5G Hype

AWS looks to dominate 5G edge with telco partners that include Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, SK Telecom

On Dec. 3rd at AWS re:Invent (Dec. 2-6, 2019) in Las Vegas, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), announced AWS Wavelength, which provides developers the ability to build applications that serve end-users with single-digit millisecond latencies over the 5G network.  AWS is partnering with Verizon on making AWS Wavelength available across the United States. Currently, AWS Wavelength is being piloted by select customers in Verizon’s 5G Edge, Verizon’s mobile edge compute (MEC) solution, in Chicago. Additionally, AWS is collaborating with other global telecommunications companies (including Vodafone, SK Telecom, and KDDI) to launch AWS Wavelength across Europe, South Korea, and Japan in 2020, with more global partners coming soon.  From Amazon’s AWS Wavelength press release:

AWS Wavelength enables developers to build applications that deliver single-digit millisecond latencies to mobile devices and end-users. AWS developers can deploy their applications to Wavelength Zones, AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within the wireless telecommunications providers’ data centers at the edge of the 5G networks, and seamlessly access the breadth of AWS services in the region. This enables developers to deliver applications that require single-digit millisecond latencies such as game and live video streaming, machine learning inference at the edge, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).

AWS Wavelength brings AWS services to the edge of the 5G network, minimizing the latency to connect to an application from a mobile device. Application traffic can reach application servers running in Wavelength Zones without leaving the mobile provider’s network. This reduces the extra network hops to the Internet that can result in latencies of more than 100 milliseconds, preventing customers from taking full advantage of the bandwidth and latency advancements of 5G.

Image result for image of AWS wavelength

More from the press release:

Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services at the edge of wireless telecommunications providers’ 5G networks, enabling developers to serve use-cases that require ultra-low latency like machine learning inference at the edge, autonomous industrial equipment, smart cars and cities, Internet of Things (IoT), and Augmented and Virtual Reality. Wavelength brings the power of AWS to the edge of the 5G network, so developers can deploy the portions of an application that require ultra-low latency within the 5G network, and then seamlessly connect back to the rest of their application and full range of cloud services running in AWS. AWS customers can now use the same familiar AWS APIs, tools, and functionality they use today, to deliver-low latency applications at the edge of the 5G network, around the world […]

With infrastructure that consists of 69 Availability Zones, in 22 AWS Regions, AWS enables developers to serve end-users with low latencies worldwide. However, emerging interactive applications like game streaming, virtual reality, and real-time rendering require even lower latencies, of single-digit milliseconds to end-users and devices, connected through mobile networks. In addition, use-cases like industrial automation, smart cities, IoT, and autonomous vehicles require data processing to take place close to the source in order to conserve resources like device power and bandwidth. The 5G network is up to 20 times faster than 4G, and can be used to dramatically increase the number of supported devices and shrink network latency for mobile devices. However, even with the arrival of 5G, mobile devices still have to cross multiple network hops when connecting to an application over the Internet. Today, application traffic has to travel from a device to a cell tower to metro aggregation sites to regional aggregation sites and to the Internet before it can access resources running in AWS. These network hops can result in latencies of more than 100 milliseconds. This prevents developers from realizing the full potential of 5G to address low-latency use-cases.

Wavelength addresses these problems by bringing AWS services to the edge of the 5G network, minimizing the latency to connect to an application from a mobile device. With Wavelength, AWS developers can deploy their applications to Wavelength Zones, AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within the network operators’ datacenters at the edge of the 5G network, so application traffic only needs to travel from the device to a cell tower to a Wavelength Zone running in a metro aggregation site. This removes a lot of the latency that would result from multiple hops between regional aggregation sites and across the Internet, which enables customers to take full advantage of 5G networks. Wavelength also delivers a consistent developer experience across multiple 5G networks around the world, and allows developers to build the next generation of ultra-low latency applications using the familiar AWS services, APIs, and tools they already use today – eliminating the need for developers to negotiate for space and equipment with multiple telecommunications providers, and stitch together application deployment and operations through different management interfaces, before they can begin to deploy their applications.

AWS Wavelength combines the power of the AWS cloud with the cutting-edge 5G networks of leading telecommunications providers like Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, and SK Telecom to unlock a new wave of innovative applications and services around the world. By delivering these new capabilities, Wavelength enables developers to serve mobile users with single-digit millisecond latency and to optimize their applications by processing data closer to its source, enabling use-cases across a wide range of platforms – from factories to stores to cars to homes.

To deploy their application to the 5G edge, developers can simply extend their Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to include a Wavelength Zone and then create AWS resources like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances, Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes, and AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services (EKS) containers. In addition, developers can continue to use familiar and powerful AWS services to manage, secure, and scale their applications like AWS CloudFormation, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and AWS Auto Scaling. This enables developers to easily run a wide variety of latency-sensitive workloads like analytics, IoT, machine learning, game streaming, and AR/VR.”

With Wavelength, we bring 5G and cloud together to give our customers the powerful new capability to run cloud services consistently within a few milliseconds of mobile end-users,” said Matt Garman, Vice President Compute Services, AWS. “This is a game changer for developers that is going to unlock a whole new generation of applications and services. We are really excited to see our customers innovate with these unique new capabilities that they did not have access to before.

Image result for image of AWS wavelength

AWS Wavelength: Partner testimonials:

From the AWS press announcement, here are current Amazon’s Wavelength partners’ testimonial statements:

Verizon is building the most powerful 5G network in the U.S. Launched in April, Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is currently live in 18 cities as well as 16 sporting and entertainment arenas across the country, and plans to expand to more than 30 U.S. cities by the end of this year. “Continuing our tradition of bringing new technology to market first we are excited to launch a mobile edge compute service — integrating our 5G Edge platform with Wavelength to allow developers to build new categories of applications and network cloud experiences,” said Kyle Malady, CTO of Verizon. “Bringing together the full capabilities of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and AWS, we unlock the full potential of our 5G services for customers to create applications and solutions with the fastest speeds and ultra-low latency.”

Verizon and AWS will integrate AWS – Wavelength with 5G Edge so developers can begin testing applications on ultra-low latency networks. The plan is to connect 5G applications to AWS cloud services without the hops. The two companies will bring compute and storage closer to 5G users. Deployments are planned in Chicago for select customers in 2020 with additional locations added throughout the year.

Varjo Technologies Oy is based in Helsinki and is creating the world’s best hardware and software for groundbreaking VR/AR/XR computing devices, merging the real and digital worlds seamlessly together in human-eye resolution. “Simulating things at the same acuity you see in real life is a game changer compared to standard VR approaches. Varjo’s unique human-eye resolution technology helps professionals save time, money, and effort,” said Niko Eiden, Founder and CEO, Varjo. “Not too far down the road, our technology will be fully wireless, collaborative mixed reality. And this workspace of the future needs to be rendered in the cloud – with millions of pixels of extremely high-resolution, uncompressed content with single-digit millisecond latencies delivered to our devices – whether on premises at carmakers or in remote sites, through 5G. Now, instead of having to develop expensive local computing services that would be impossible to run on a battery-operated device, we can use edge computing to scale the rendering power and the business of our industrial-grade VR/MR from thousands to hundreds of thousands of units. Having access to the power of the AWS Cloud, together with 5G’s high bandwidth, low latency, and increased connectivity, is vital to our ability to deliver professional immersive computing experiences and to grow our business.”

Mapbox is the location data platform for mobile and web developers, providing building blocks to add location features like maps, search, and navigation into any experience and changing the way people move around cities and explore the world. Mapbox tools are used by more than 1.7 million live location developers to power daily experiences for people, technology, and business. “Everyone needs maps, so 600 million people touch Mapbox every month as they read the headlines of the New York Times, check the weather on Weather.com, and find great restaurants or concerts on Facebook,” said Eric Gundersen, CEO and Co-Founder, Mapbox. “Our map gets smarter every time someone touches it, using AI to constantly update traffic and new streets — AWS Wavelength’s ultra-low-latency compute can help us process billions of sensor data updates into better maps by identifying new roads as they’re built, routing drivers around traffic jams, and spotting road construction with the Vision SDK. AWS Wavelength can reduce our refresh timelines from minutes to seconds, delivering Mapbox users a truly living map.”

SK Telecom, the largest mobile operator in Korea, with nearly 50 percent market share, has been leading the global mobile industry through constant innovations in technologies and services. As a 5G pioneer, SK Telecom is also one of the first telco providers to launch commercial 5G mobile-edge computing (MEC) in collaboration with AWS. “By combining the strengths of SK Telecom’s 5G network and AWS cloud, we are set to bring innovative changes to all individuals, businesses and industries. This collaboration enables exciting use cases like game streaming, headless robotics, Ultra High Definition interactive media, autonomous driving, and smart factories. For example, through the application of AWS Wavelength and SK Telecom’s advanced 5G solutions, a smart factory can enhance the response time of robots performing maintenance, security, and manufacturing tasks, allowing the factory to scale operations without increasing costs,” said Ryu Young-sang, Vice President and Head of MNO Business, SK Telecom. “SK Telecom and AWS are deploying 5G multi-access cloud services at the edge, helping third-party developers and enterprises improve quality of experience, create business models, and accelerate time to market for new revenue opportunities. With SK Telecom’s 5G network, we can jointly develop sophisticated cloud services that can create greater value for enterprises of any size in Korea.”

Vodafone Group is one of the world’s leading telecoms and technology service providers, with extensive experience in connectivity, convergence and the Internet of Things, as well as championing mobile financial services and digital transformation in emerging markets. Vodafone Business and AWS will provide multi-access edge computing capabilities to developers, Internet of Things (IoT), devices and end users by bringing the AWS cloud closer to the devices that need it, and running AWS Wavelength in strategic locations within Vodafone’s 5G network. “With Europe’s largest 5G network across 58 cities and as a global leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) with over 90 million connections, Vodafone is pleased to be the first telco to introduce AWS Wavelength in Europe,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “Faster speeds and lower latencies have the potential to revolutionize how our customers do business, and they can rely on Vodafone’s existing capabilities and security layers within our own network.”

KDDI, a leading telecommunications provider in Japan, offers services that include both mobile and fixed-line communications, and Internet services. KDDI, which plans to launch commercial 5G services in Japan by March 2020, is actively developing its 5G network to enable enhanced Mobile Broadband in both densely populated metropolitan areas and rural areas. “In preparation for our 5G service launch, KDDI has been successfully proving that 5G can be delivered with reliable service quality in Japan in metropolitan and rural locations. We have achieved successful trials, like 5G handovers for high-speed racing cars and trains, a real-time, free-viewpoint video stream at a baseball stadium, and 4K video communication at a major station,” said Makoto Takahashi, President, KDDI. “Having the power of the AWS cloud processing and storage services available at the edge of the KDDI 5G network enables us to accelerate IoT innovation for applications like high-definition VR video streaming, VPS (visual positioning service), smart factories, autonomous vehicles, and more. AWS Wavelength provides Japanese businesses and consumers immediate access to these services over the KDDI 5G network. This will also enable us to address some of Japan’s pressing societal issues, such as revitalizing economies in areas facing population decline, rebuilding infrastructure, and improving prompt reaction to natural disasters.”

Interoperability Issues:

The tight coupling of 5G networks with edge computing raises challenging interoperability questions.  Currently, it appears that a U.S. end user wanting to use an application that relies on a AWS Wavelength Zone would have to be a Verizon 5G Edge customer with a Verizon 5G end point device. That’s not how we usually think about “the cloud,” which today can be accessed from a wide range of different vendor devices over a wide range of connectivity providers.

At MWC 2019, A&T announced it was working with Microsoft Azure to bring network edge computing (NEC) closer to the end point.  We wrote in February 2019 that AT&T is using drones to test the network edge compute capabilities with Azure, working with Israel-based startup Vorpal in its foundry in Plano, TXMicrosoft provided new details of its Azure – AT&T 5G partnership on November 26th: 

Microsoft Azure cloud services are being integrated into AT&T network edge locations (closer to customers). This means AT&T’s software-defined and virtualized 5G core – what the company calls the Network Cloud – is now capable of delivering Azure services. NEC will initially be available for a limited set of select customers in Dallas. Next year, Los Angeles and Atlanta are targeted for select customer availability.

That implies if you are an AT&T 5G customer you will, at some point in time, likely have access to Microsoft Azure cloud services via NEC.  However, AT&T customers won’t be able to access NEC for any other cloud provider, i.e. AWS, Google Cloud, etc.

Hence, you only get the advantages of edge computing (with much lower latency) if you are locked in to a pair of 5G network and cloud providers that have an edge computing partnership.

And what about roaming or truly mobile, such that a 5G endpoint device (in a train, car, bus, ship, etc) moves from one Wavelength Zone or 5G network to another?  Will there be any sort of hand-off between providers and will the 5G device be able to operate on more than the 5G network it subscribed to?

Once again, this issue can only be solved once the complete suite of IMT 2020 standards are finalized and implemented by 5G network operators and endpoint device makers!

 

 

References:

https://aws.amazon.com/wavelength

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191203005910/en/AWS-Announces-AWS-Wavelength

 

Synergy Research Group: Hyperscale Data Center Count > 500 as of 3Q-2019

New data from Synergy Research Group shows that the total number of large data centers operated by hyperscale providers increased to 504 at the end of the third quarter, having tripled since the beginning of 2013. The EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions continue to have the highest growth rates, though the US still accounts for almost 40% of the major cloud and internet data center sites.

The next most popular locations are China, Japan, the UK, Germany and Australia, which collectively account for another 32% of the total. Over the last four quarters new data centers were opened in 15 different countries with the U.S., Hong Kong, Switzerland and China having the largest number of additions. Among the hyperscale operators, Amazon and Microsoft opened the most new data centers in the last twelve months, accounting for over half of the total, with Google and Alibaba being the next most active companies. Synergy research indicates that over 70% of all hyperscale data centers are located in facilities that are leased from data center operators or are owned by partners of the hyperscale operators.

Hyperscale DC Q319

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Backgrounder:

One vendor in the data center equipment space recently called hyperscale “too big for most minds to envision.” Scalability has always been about creating opportunities to do small things using resources that happen to encompass a very large scale.

IDC, which provides research and advisory services to the tech industry, classifies any data center with at least 5,000 servers and 10,000 square feet of available space as hyperscale, but Synergy Research Group focuses less on physical characteristics and more on “scale-of-business criteria” that assess a company’s cloud, e-commerce, and social media operations.

A hyperscale data center is to be distinguished from a multi-tenant data center as the former is owned and operated by a mega cloud provider (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, etc) while the latter is owned and operator by a real estate company that leases cages to tenants who supply their own IT equipment.

A hyperscale data center accomplishes the following functions:

  • Maximizes cooling efficiency. The largest operational expense in most data centers worldwide — more so than powering the servers — is powering the climate control systems. A hyperscale structure may be partitioned to compartmentalize high-intensity computing workloads, and concentrate cooling power on the servers hosting those workloads. For general-purpose workloads, a hyperscale architecture optimizes airflow throughout the structure, ensuring that hot air flows in one direction (even if it’s a serpentine one) and often reclaiming the heat from that exhaust flow for recycling purposes.
  • Allocates electrical power in discrete packages. In facilities designed to be occupied by multiple tenants, “blocks” are allocated like lots in a housing development. Here, the racks that occupy those blocks are allocated a set number of kilowatts — or, more recently, fractions of megawatts — from the main power supply. When a tenant leases space from a colocation provider, that space is often phrased not in terms of numbers of racks or square footage, but kilowatts. A design that’s more influenced by hyperscale helps ensure that kilowatts are available when a customer needs them.
  • Ensures electricity availability. Many enterprise data centers are equipped with redundant power sources (engineers call this configuration 2N), often backed up by a secondary source or generator (2N + 1). A hyperscale facility may utilize one of these configurations as well, although in recent years, workload management systems have made it feasible to replicate workloads across servers, making the workloads redundant rather than the power, reducing electrical costs. As a result, newer data centers don’t require all that power redundancy. They can get away with just N + 1, saving not just equipment costs but building costs as well.
  • Balances workloads across servers. Because heat tends to spread, one overheated server can easily become a nuisance for the other servers and network gear in its vicinity. When workloads and processor utilization are properly monitored, the virtual machines and/or containers housing high-intensity workloads may be relocated to, or distributed among, processors that are better suited to its functions, or that are simply not being utilized nearly as much at the moment. Even distribution of workloads directly correlates to temperature reduction, so how a data center manages its software is just as important as how it maintains its support systems.

References:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-hyperscale-data-centers-are-reshaping-all-of-it/

https://www.vxchnge.com/blog/rise-of-hyperscale-data-centers

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Synergy’s research is based on an analysis of the data center footprint of 20 of the world’s major cloud and internet service firms, including the largest operators in SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, search, social networking, e-commerce and gaming. The companies with the broadest data center footprint are the leading cloud providers – Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM. Each has 60 or more data center locations with at least three in each of the four regions – North America, APAC, EMEA and Latin America. Oracle also has a notably broad data center presence. The remaining firms tend to have their data centers focused primarily in either the US (Apple, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Yahoo) or China (Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent).

There were more new hyperscale data centers opened in the last four quarters than in the preceding four quarters, with activity being driven in particular by continued strong growth in cloud services and social networking,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst and Research Director at Synergy Research Group.

“This is good news for wholesale data center operators and for vendors supplying the hardware that goes into those data centers. In addition to the 504 current hyperscale data centers we have visibility of a further 151 that are at various stages of planning or building, showing that there is no end in sight to the data center building boom.”

Reference:

https://www.srgresearch.com/articles/hyperscale-data-center-count-passed-500-milestone-q3

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About Synergy Research Group:

Synergy provides quarterly market tracking and segmentation data on IT and Cloud related markets, including vendor revenues by segment and by region. Market shares and forecasts are provided via Synergy’s uniquely designed online database tool, which enables easy access to complex data sets. Synergy’s CustomView ™ takes this research capability one step further, enabling our clients to receive on-going quantitative market research that matches their internal, executive view of the market segments they compete in.

Synergy Research Group helps marketing and strategic decision makers around the world via its syndicated market research programs and custom consulting projects. For nearly two decades, Synergy has been a trusted source for quantitative research and market intelligence. Synergy is a strategic partner of TeleGeography.

To speak to an analyst or to find out how to receive a copy of a Synergy report, please contact sales@srgresearch.com or 775-852-3330 extension 101.

 

 

AT&T announces cloud partnership with Microsoft 1 day after similar deal with IBM

AT&T has entered into a multi-year, cloud-based collaborative effort with Microsoft the day after announcing an alliance with IBM [1] that also focused on  cloud computing. The teleco and media giant will move many of its non-network apps to Microsoft Azure and use the company’s 365 software suite while Microsoft will deploy new AT&T technologies, such as 5G, to build edge computing applications.

Comment: This is yet another proof point that telco cloud computing has been a dismal failure.  AT&T and Verizon have both sold off many of their data centers and given up on cloud computing/storage in favor of the much bigger players (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM in the U.S.). This new agreement appears to be a big win for Microsoft Azure, and probably at the expense of Amazon AWS, Google and IBM cloud rivals.

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“AT&T and Microsoft are among the most committed companies to fostering technology that serves people,” said John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications in a prepared statement. “By working together on common efforts around 5G, the cloud, and AI, we will accelerate the speed of innovation and impact for our customers and our communities,” he added (John is NEVER at a loss for words!)

Microsoft.jpg

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan

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Observation:

The AT&T Microsoft partnership appears to be broader than the just announced AT&T IBM deal (see note 1 below). That deal is cloud-focused as well but is limited to the AT&T Business Solutions business unit, helping to better manage internal applications. A key objective of the IBM deal is to provide tools for AT&T Business solutions to better serve enterprise customers.

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AT&T partnerships on edge computing:

AT&T and Microsoft had earlier announced a deal on mobile edge computing which we reported here.  Earlier this year, AT&T said it will work with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to help businesses harness powerful edge capabilities. The two companies have agreed to a go-to-market program to accelerate business adoption of edge connections and edge computing.

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Note 1.  AT&T – IBM Cloud Parthership:

AT&T Communications will work with IBM to modernize AT&T Business Solutions’ internal software applications, enabling migrations to the IBM Cloud.  IBM will provide infrastructure to support AT&T Business’s applications. AT&T Business will use the Red Hat open source platform to manage workloads and applications.  IBM will be the primary developer and cloud provider for AT&T Business’s operational applications and will help manage the AT&T Communications IT infrastructure, on and off-premises and across different clouds –private and public.

As part of the agreement, AT&T Business will be IBM’s primary provider of software defined networking and will leverage the carrier’s latest technologies including 5G, Edge Compute, and IoT as well as multi-cloud capabilities using Red Hat.

Additionally, the two companies will work together on edge computing platforms, which will help enterprise clients capitalize on the power of 5G network speeds and the internet-connected devices and sensors at the edge of the network.

“In AT&T Business, we’re constantly evolving to better serve business customers around the globe by securely connecting them to the digital capabilities they need,” said Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Business, in a prepared statement. “This includes optimizing our core operations and modernizing our internal business applications to accelerate innovation. Through our collaboration with IBM, we’re adopting open, flexible, cloud technologies, that will ultimately help accelerate our business leadership.”

References:

https://about.att.com/story/2019/microsoft.html

AT&T Taps Microsoft for Broad Strategic Cloud Partnership

AT&T tests 5G and network edge computing with Microsoft Azure; Partners with Vodafone Business for IoT

https://www.business.att.com/products/multi-access-edge-computing.html

AT&T owns >630 MHz nationwide of mmWave spectrum + HPE partnership for Edge Networking & Computing

 

IHS Markit: Microsoft #1 for total cloud services revenue; AWS remains leader for IaaS; Multi-clouds continue to form

Following is information and insight from the IHS Markit Cloud & Colocation Services for IT Infrastructure and Applications Market Tracker.

Highlights:

·       The global off-premises cloud service market is forecast to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16 percent, reaching $410 billion in 2023.

·       We expect cloud as a service (CaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) to be tied for the largest 2018 to 2023 CAGR of 22 percent. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) will have the second and third largest CAGRs of 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

IHS Markit analysis:

Microsoft in 2018 became the market share leader for total off-premises cloud service revenue with 13.8 percent share, bumping Amazon to the #2 spot with 13.2 percent; IBM was #3 with 8.8 percent revenue share. Microsoft’s success can be attributed to its comprehensive portfolio and the growth it is experiencing from its more advanced PaaS and CaaS offerings.

Although Amazon relinquished its lead in total off-premises cloud service revenue, it remains the top IaaS provider. In this very segmented market with a small number of large, well-established providers competing for market share:

•        Amazon was #1 in IaaS in 2018 with 45 percent of IaaS revenue.

•        Microsoft was #1 for CaaS with 22 percent of CaaS revenue and #1 in PaaS with 27 percent of PaaS revenue.

•        IBM was #1 for SaaS with 17 percent of SaaS revenue.

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Multi-clouds [1] remain a very popular trend in the market; many enterprises are already using various services from different providers and this is continuing as more cloud service providers (CSPs) offer services that interoperate with services from their partners and their competitors,” said Devan Adams, principal analyst, IHS Markit. Expectations of increased multi-cloud adoption were displayed in our recent Cloud Service Strategies & Leadership North American Enterprise Survey – 2018, where respondents stated that in 2018 they were using 10 different CSPs for SaaS (growing to 14 by 2020) and 10 for IT infrastructure (growing to 13 by 2020).

Note 1. Multi-cloud (also multicloud or multi cloud) is the use of multiple cloud computing and storage services in a single network architecture. This refers to the distribution of cloud assets, software, applications, and more across several cloud environments.

There have recently been numerous multi-cloud related announcements highlighting its increased availability, including:

·       Microsoft: Entered into a partnership with Adobe and SAP to create the Open Data Initiative, designed to provide customers with a complete view of their data across different platforms. The initiative allows customers to use several applications and platforms from the three companies including Adobe Experience Cloud and Experience Platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure, and SAP C/4HANA and S/4HANA.

·       IBM: Launched Multicloud Manager, designed to help companies manage, move, and integrate apps across several cloud environments. Multicloud Manager is run from IBM’s Cloud Private and enables customers to extend workloads from public to private clouds.

·       Cisco: Introduced CloudCenter Suite, a set of software modules created to help businesses design and deploy applications on different cloud provider infrastructures. It is a Kubernetes-based multi-cloud management tool that provides workflow automation, application lifecycle management, cost optimization, governance and policy management across cloud provider data centers.

IHS Markit Cloud & Colocation Intelligence Service:

The bi-annual IHS Markit Cloud & Colocation Services Market Tracker covers worldwide and regional market size, share, five-year forecast analysis, and trends for IaaS, CaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and colocation. This tracker is a component of the IHS Markit Cloud & Colocation Intelligence Service which also includes the Cloud & Colocation Data Center Building Tracker and Cloud and Colocation Data Center CapEx Market Tracker. Cloud service providers tracked within this service include Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, Oracle, SAP, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom Tencent, China Unicom and others. Colocation providers tracked include Equinix, Digital Realty, China Telecom, CyrusOne, NTT, Interion, China Unicom, Coresite, QTS, Switch, 21Vianet, Internap and others.