Displaying items by tag: MWC 2016

VP of QLogic on new FastLinQ Ethernet-based technology

Written on Sunday, 17 April 2016 06:42

US-based QLogic is a global leader and technology innovator specializing in high performance server and storage networking connectivity products. Leading OEMs and channel partners worldwide rely on QLogic for their server and storage networking solutions. At this year’s Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, QLogic introduced new ethernet connectivity products for its telco, enterprise, managed service provider, cloud and storage customers. In the following interview, Greg Scherer, VP & CTO, QLogic, at Mobile World Congress 2016, shares his insights about the company; its new FastLinQ 45000 Series, strengths, challenges and future prospects.

What brings you all the way to Barcelona to showcase at Mobile World Congress?

We used this venue to launch the release of our new ethernet controllers, the FastLinQ 45000 Series. It’s really quite a broad release for us, supporting 10, 25, 40, 50 and even 100 gigabit ethernet capabilities. The reason we chose Mobile World Congress specifically to do the launch is because QLogic historically has been known for its strength in the storage and networking marketplace. What we’re stretching into is really the telecommunications and NFV space (network function virtualization), and since Mobile World Congress is all about telecommunications, we thought this would be a great venue for the announcement.

Tell us about your new QLogic FastLinQ 45000 Series. Why is it such an important introduction, and how does it benefit your customers?

We think these new solutions will benefit our customers on multiple fronts: one is higher bandwidth and lower latency. This is our first 25 gigabit ethernet product, and 25 gigabit ethernet is a pretty new technology to the market; scalable 25 gigabit-per-lane from 4 links of 25 gigabits, all the way up to a single link at 100 gigabits. Bandwidth is obviously very important to our customer base.

In addition to bandwidth and latency improvements, our product is delivering advanced functionality for the new NFV market. We have lots of specific features that are built-in to help us offload features for the NFV marketplace, such as open VSwitch offload, enabling increased efficiency and performance. We think NFV is a wonderful foundation technology that will grow to be as pervasive and transformational as server virtualization has been for the traditional enterprise data center, but it’s really still at the early stages of deployment.

Our products are based on a uniquely programmable architecture which enables our solutions to be very extensible and we plan on adding additional offload features to over time. In the past we have added multiple features post-launch, with firmware and software updates, enabling existing customers to leverage these features in their already deployed QLogic infrastructure and we still see the same thing with these products going forward.

We think NFV is going to be a very strong growth market, but we think it’s going to take several years to fully develop, and we think that predicting all of the features that will eventually be required today is just not possible. So having an extensible architecture that we can add to as these needs as are identified, we think this provides the real value of the product line.

A massive event such as Mobile World Congress is all about showcasing the best innovative technology. What does “innovation” mean to QLogic?

Innovation at a point in time is a useful thing, but innovation means continual improvement. Looking at our architecture, the innovation that we’ve built into the architecture of our products is the ability to seamlessly expand the features and functionality of our shipping products with the changing needs of the market. As the datacenter grows, our customers can evolve with it.

One of the things we support is universal RDMA. There are several companies that either support RoCE or iWARP wire protocols for low latency and overhead, but not both. These companies are forcing customers to make a decision today as to which technology they’re going to implement years from now. With our solution, customers have the flexibility to choose and even change their low latency strategy because we support RoCE v2 and iWARP from a transport standpoint, and the customers can use them concurrently, enabling use in a hybrid environment during migration from one technology to another or in a mixed-use multi-tenant environment. This is just an example of what our architecture is capable of and what innovation means to us – adding value to our products with the ability to provide continuous improvements for our customers.

Can you share more about the following?

Improved server utilization:
We talk a lot about offloads, and today, if you think of the multi-tenant environments, and even the telco-SP environments, they’re all about efficiency. Efficiency can be measured even down to a resource like CPU; you can either bill for CPU cycles or use them as overhead and you pay for them. So it really is a direct trade-off. Any time that we can give back CPU cycles, because we’re offloading the CPU from having to do things like packetize data before it’s sent out, or processed interrupts, they translate into direct cost and efficiency savings. For example, in many virtualized server environments, we can give back as much as 25 percent of the overall CPU, so those CPU cycles can then be used for billing tenants. We expect similar savings to hold true for new NFV environments.

Increased scalability for virtual servers and networks:
Virtual networks are the whole idea of taking one base-level physical network, and then creating a virtual overlay network on top of it. We talk about it sometimes in terms of ‘tunnelling’ like an interoffice note that you put in an envelope and then send to the other side; and the person sitting at the desk has no idea if it came from the floor up or the building over – it doesn’t matter.

It’s the same thing with the virtual network: our network adapters do that virtual encapsulation on behalf of the host and can offload the processing from the CPU. So from a scalability standpoint, we can scale to tens of thousands of virtual networks and handle that load independently offloading that work from the host, allowing the workloads to scale without being limited by the amount of CPU or memory that is available.

Reflecting on 2015, what were some of the major challenges that QLogic faced? Where would you like to see QLogic in a year from now?

Certainly one of the major challenges has been the 25 gigabit ecosystem and creating it. We’ve had a 10 gigabit ecosystem that has been developing nicely the last several years, to the point where we’re exiting 2015 and we’ve seen the enterprise datacenter go from five years ago about seven or eight percent penetration of 10 gigabit adapters to nearly 40 percent penetration by the end of 2015. One of the big challenges moving forward is to migrate that 10 gigabit momentum into 25 gigabit, since long term it is an even more cost effective and efficient connectivity solutions.

I think the ecosystem is there. There’s a number of switch partners that are deploying switch silicon that will be used by the likes of Cisco and Juniper for example – all of the major switch players, white-box switches from Quanta that will be 25 gigabit ready and capable. As a CTO I get to put on my ‘future hat’ and live in the future, and now it’s time for the future to meet the present. We want to make sure our customers can as seamlessly as possible migrate their use-cases from 10 to 25 gigabit and reap all of the cost saving and scalability benefits that these solutions have to offer.

Published in Interviews

Huawei @ Mobile World Congress 2016

Written on Sunday, 17 April 2016 06:35

Huawei has redefined quality ICT services and products, catering to a loyal international customer base, particularly prevalent in the Middle East. Never missing a chance to impress, the leading Chinese ICT solutions provider was one of the most prominent names at Mobile World Congress 2016 held in Barcelona, Spain, in late February. Huawei consistently announced a range of exciting developments throughout the Congress, ranging from multiple MoU signings, 5G predictions, insights about smart cities, to the official launch of the hotly-anticipated MateBook device.

The road to 5G

Ahead of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), Huawei unveiled its five ‘Big Initiatives’ for the telecom industry to accelerate its digital transformation. The Big Initiatives and the resulting solutions represented the company’s long-term commitment to building a better connected world through extensive collaboration across the industry.

The initiatives represent new opportunities for telecom operators in the Middle East and worldwide, foreseeing a potential $100 billion video industry market, a $1 trillion enterprise cloud market and the number of IoT connections expected to grow 10-fold.

Huawei also announced a new wave of solutions for 4.5G mobile broadband, internet of things (IoT), 2K/4K video and safe cities - endorsing open platforms to enable collaboration so that shared success can be achieved in the telecom industry.

MWC officially commenced on February 22, but on the eve of the Congress, an opening ceremony for strategic cooperation on 4.5G was held between Huawei and the world’s leading telecom operators. The ceremony took place at the 4.5G Industry Summit, a part of the Digital Transformation Summit for MWC. This strategic cooperation unfolded a new chapter for massive 4.5G commercial use in 2016.

The summit provided an open platform for all participants to share their wealth of experience and aspirations for 4.5G – a technology that Huawei has been actively involved with. These in-depth discussions included hopes, visions, strategies, pre-commercialized deployment experiences and the latest 4.5G progress.

Ryan Ding, Huawei executive director, president of products and solutions, proposed the three core concepts of 4.5G: Gbps, Experience 4.0 and Connection+. He also elaborated how 4.5G increases data rates for better user experience and wider service rollout and facilitates operators in the creation of new entrepreneurial business opportunities and gaining a winning competitive edge.

“4.5G takes potential new terminals, services and experience in the next five years into consideration and aims to support larger bandwidths, reduced latencies and massive connections,” said Ding at the ceremony. “This has laid a solid foundation for 5G commercialization. 4.5G is the only way to 5G along the LTE evolution path. 4G and 5G are expected to coexist for a long period of time. Telecom operators should never cease their innovative efforts during the evolution to 5G if they want to occupy a prominent position in the market.”

According to Ding, 4.5G will deliver mobile broadband data rates of up to 1,000 Mbit/s, enabling HD voice, 2K/4K HD video and virtual reality experiences to be available anywhere. 4.5G will also make possible the IoT, which will make our lives smarter and help telecom operators expand into industry markets.

GigaRadio, one of Huawei’s key products launched at this year’s MWC, is a crucial technology for 4.5G. GigaRadio will be deployed commercially on a large scale in 2016, and will help to accelerate the global adoption of 4.5G.

Speaking about 5G, Huawei deputy chairman and rotating CEO, Guo Ping, gave a keynote speech at MWC about the technology expected to be introduced in 2020. In his keynote speech “What should we do before 5G?”, Guo commented that it will be a long time before 5G is deployed on a large scale and industry players must ensure they do not miss out on opportunities.

He also said that three things should be done before 5G arrives: increase connectivity, enable verticals and redefine network capabilities. These initiatives will help address the uncertainties brought about by new technologies and new business models.

According to Guo, by 2025, there will be 100 billion connections globally, and the connections among the 7 billion people on earth will only account for 10 percent of the total. The majority of connections will be between people and things, and between things and things.

Guo highlighted a case from the manufacturing sector, pointing out that 99 percent of equipment with sensors has yet to be connected to the internet. Therefore, the first thing to do before 5G arrives is to increase connectivity, the second thing is to enable verticals, and the third thing Guo recommended before 5G arrives is to redefine network capabilities.

Highlights & announcements

On Sunday, February 21, Huawei made an announcement that had been curiously anticipated by techies around the globe. Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, announced its first tablet-laptop hybrid product to enter the market: the MateBook. This daring venture by Huawei has opened the door to a vast competitive consumer-electronics sector, previously untouched by the company.

The device comes with a high resolution 12-inch display, plus a keyboard and stylus pen accessory. It will sell for about USD $700, plus an additional $129 for the keyboard. Whatever you think of the price, the device is still roughly 13 percent less than Microsoft’s entry-level Surface Book, which is a similar hybrid device. The MateBook shows Huawei’s desire to penetrate the market of everyday people by offering competitive prices for premium innovative devices.

Huawei as a brand is growing in regions such as Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The company also sells products such as smartwatches powered by Google’s Android Wear software. It’s unclear how Huawei will compete in the market of laptop-hybrid devices, since China’s Lenovo Group has already expanded into this area with its Yoga tablet-laptop convertibles.

But the 640 gram MateBook is sleek, light, stylish and full of potential. It can be unlocked via a fingerprint scanner and comes with a 6th generation Intel Core processor. It’s an impressive device with a battery that can last for up to ten hours at regular usage. Only time will tell if Huawei’s new venture into the realm of laptop-tablet hybrids pays off.

Speaking on the company’s strategy, Joy Tan, from Huawei’s public affairs department, spoke about the company’s core business structure which consists of three main areas: carrier business, enterprise business and the device business.

“For our carrier business, Huawei has been a leader for quite some time,” Tan told Active Telecoms. “In this segment, we want to continue to be the strategic partner for operators. A lot of operators, especially European operators, are facing a lot of challenges in this digital transformation era. How can we help these operators reach the next level, generate new revenue and lower their operating costs? Huawei has a unique advantage to help them reach their full potential.”

Tan further explained how enterprise business is a new realm for Huawei, but at the same is growing very fast. She also indicated that Huawei’s consumer business has been growing rapidly in 2015, growing over 70 percent. According to Tan, Huawei shipped over 100 million smartphones in 2015.

“Four years ago, our brand was about 10 percent globally, and now we’re over 70 percent global awareness,” Tan expressed fervently. “We’ve come a long way to build our brand, build our distribution channels and expand Research & Development (R&D). Every year we invest at least 10 percent of revenue in R&D, and some of that investment goes into products and solutions, and also long-term research; for example, material like grapheme, mathematic research, algorithms and heat dissipation.

“This long-term research will not necessarily benefit us immediately, but will benefit us in the long-term giving us a competitive advantage,” Tan added. “We’ve been very committed to R&D since the beginning of Huawei.”

The company is also well-protected, according to Tan, who said that over the last 20 years, Huawei has filed over 40,000 patents. In terms of patent filing and approval, the company is at the top, whether in China, the US or the rest of the world. From 2004-2014, Huawei went up 200 places on the EU Industry Investment scoreboard which is a major achievement.

“Make things better together”

Through its strong product range and international recognition, Huawei has positioned itself as a leading technology label, able to command a high level of interest at Mobile World Congress by means of multiple announcements.

For example, on Monday, February 22, Ooredoo and Huawei announced a MoU to open a next generation Innovations Lab in Qatar. The agreement was signed by Waleed Al Sayed, chief executive officer, Ooredoo Qatar, and Eric Xu, rotating CEO of Huawei. The MoU was part of a series of major agreements and initiatives supported by Ooredoo to bring cutting-edge technology to Qatar, and to boost research and innovation within the country.

Speaking about the MoU signing, Eric Xu said: “Advances in network technology are delivering faster speeds and a better online experience, but more than that, they are helping to transform our digital lifestyles and supporting the growth of the internet of things. We are proud that Huawei is making a significant contribution in Qatar through our joint work with Ooredoo.”

The MoU outlines the companies’ joint intent to open an advanced facility that will contribute to Qatar’s knowledge-based economy and help train and develop the next generation of technology leaders. As part of the agreement, Huawei will provide full technical support for Ooredoo’s research in the Innovations Lab, including offering training courses and supporting knowledge transfer between the two companies.

On another note, Huawei signed a MoU with Zain Group; an understanding that will “make things better together” according to Hisham Mustafa Allam, group chief technical officer at Zain Kuwait. According to Hisham, Zain Kuwait was one of the first to launch 4.5G on a commercial network, which was achieved with a lot of commitment from both Zain and Huawei, a partnership he defines as “a governance of our joint ambition.”

“There is no commercial obligation to one another, but the MoU means we will utilize our latest technology wherever available,” Hisham told Active Telecoms. “Since we don’t have very good fixed network capabilities in Kuwait, because there is no infrastructure when it comes to fixed networks, mobile is a substitute for that. We need to make sure that we have the right capacity, and the right services, because our network is growing like crazy. It’s not a deal with Huawei, but more an understanding that we will make things better together.”

Additionally, on Tuesday, February 23, together with its industry partners, Huawei unveiled its Safe City Solution Experience Center at MWC. Under the theme “Leading New ICT, Making Cities Safer”, the experience center showcased leading new information and communications technologies, including the internet of things, mobile broadband, video and big data, which are reshaping traditional urban safety management.

The center also included safe city solutions that enable cities to build multidimensional and intelligent security systems featuring awareness, visualization and collaboration, helping governments improve crisis prevention and emergency handling capabilities while reducing crime rates.

“As you may be aware, ‘smart cities’ is a big concept; a theme particularly of interest in the Middle East region in different countries who have different types of approaches,” Safder Nazir, regional vice president of Huawei Middle East told Active Telecoms. “I would say there is not one monolithic single way of approaching smart cities, as every country and city has its own priorities and needs, approaching the concept differently.”

Nazir spoke about a vast range of technologies and capabilities that Huawei has to offer within the smart city space, across three business lines: consumer, enterprise and carrier. For example, in some countries, the starting point is to expand the connectivity from the fixed network side and expand the mobile network, giving people the basic connectivity speeds that they need. Nazir used Saudi Arabia as an example, where 10 years ago, many of its people were still using a dial-up connection. That has significantly changed in recent years, thanks to Huawei.

“We define smart city implementation in three waves: the first wave focuses on infrastructure,” Nazir explained. “The second focuses on vertical solutions, such as our safe city solutions, something very significant for the Middle East region where safety is a prime concern. For example, in some countries it’s becoming a requirement in public areas to have CCTV cameras to ensure safety, and Huawei can offer a key set of technologies to enable that.”

The third wave is innovation and application,” Nazir added. “You can look at cities like Dubai, for example, focused on innovation and application. Even though the city is still involved with infrastructure and services, the theme of the smart city program is more about innovation and application, and bringing data together, which is the reason the Dubai Smart City committee was set up. Huawei is able to support all of these aspects.”

With a wide range of announcements, enticing developments and an impressive product launch, Huawei shone bright at the 2016 Mobile World Congress. The company continues to establish milestones and expand into the hotly anticipated world of IoT, thanks to its innovative leadership, international reach and quality product lineup.

Published in Reports

Nan Chen shared CENX insights at MWC 2016

Written on Monday, 07 March 2016 08:22

Nan Chen is the charismatic co-founder and Executive Vice-Chairman of CENX, one of the leading names in Lifecycle Service Orchestration solutions for Software-Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Nan spoke to Active Telecoms at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, to discuss the history of CENX and where it currently stands as a leader of orchestrated service management and assurance solutions for physical and virtualized networks.

Nan Chen is an accomplished man in his industry. He founded the MEF Forum, an open standards/certifications organization with aggregated member market capitalization of $2+ trillion. He has been recognized with many awards and accolades, including the Leader of the Year and one of the 100 Most Influential People in the Industry. He was nominated as a finalist of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, as his work at CENX helps to drive the transformation to SDN and NFV.

Nan established CENX back in 2009. He told Active Telecoms that he started the company with the idea of: "Developing software on top interconnected carriers to deliver automated services provisioning and service management. About a year or so into the development, we decided to primarily focus on pure software development."

CENX has a vision to revolutionize the way that service providers build and manage their advanced data networking services by fusing big data analytics, deep networking expertise, and leading-edge computing technologies. The company started as a Carrier Ethernet Neutral Exchange. In order to serve its Exchange customers, CENX developed software to automate the manual and time-consuming processes of ordering, provisioning, monitoring, and assuring data connectivity services.

"Today at CENX, we have customers around the world, mostly tier 1 customers, and we manage mostly the mobile networks and ensure the delivery of the mobile data and voice to the quality according to what the operators have set out to do," said Nan, discussing the current status of his company. "Our software today is doing end-to-end focusing on what we call Lifecycle Services Orchestration (LSO). What it does is provisioning and testing and turned-up services, and then eventually service management, capacity planning, as well as service assurance."

Nan further added to this, saying: "We do provide consulting services helping people to get started, but our model is really focusing on the software. Mobile operators use our software to either deliver the services to their customers, or they use that as a management tool to make sure their networks run smoothly. That's the focus of our business.

"Our software is also used to manage the Internet of Things. We call it Internet of Things, but it's not really on the Internet, but on the private mobile networks which are delivered to enterprise customers such as alarm or trucking companies. These companies want to make sure that ‘things' get connected together, and we make sure it happens."

CENX has developed into a global organization. The company has a presence in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore. Privately held, CENX's customers include tier 1 service providers and leading cloud data centers, including two of the top four U.S. mobile operators, Ericsson and PCCW Global.

"At CENX we have over 200 people working for us, mostly developers," said Chen. "Our revenue over the last two years has grown five times. We're financially backed by tier 1 VCs like DCM and also some of the PEs such as Mesirow Financial. Strategic investors also come into it, like VMware, Ericsson and Verizon. We have a pretty wide range of financial supporters and investors to really help us to succeed.

"Today the majority of our revenue comes from the United States, but we have made waves in Asia as well as in Europe, but we're still in the process of expansion. We have CENX offices located all over the place, but our main operations office is based in Ottawa, Canada - this is where most of our developers are based."

Like any up-and-coming company, CENX isn't without its challenges. The major challenge CENX faced in 2015 was meeting customer demand. "There is so much opportunity. We're trying to overcome the challenges by hiring enough people to deliver our products to our customers," said Chen.

"It's a challenge because of the speed at which the company is growing. If you have a product and try to look for a market, it can be difficult. But also with a fast-growing market and growing customer demand, it can also be difficult. One of the good things about it is that you have your own destiny. A lot of times with startup companies, most of the challenges come with trying to find a market. For us, it's all about execution, which is a good challenge in the sense that we have that in our hands and we should be able to overcome it."

According to CENX, service providers today are dealing with massive increases in the volume and velocity of data and demands for higher quality always-on services. The only way to meet those challenges is to radically change their network operations. CENX is able to drive service agility, assure service quality to its customers, and reduce operational costs thanks to its LSO solutions, mobile, wireline, and cloud data center service providers worldwide.

"I think we have a state-of-the-art solution in terms of being able to deliver services end-to-end from provision all the way to service management," said Chen, addressing what he believes makes CENX standout from other competitors in the market. But another key thing aspect of CENX is that it addresses big data.

"We take a lot of input from different network elements, as well as the network management systems, and what we do is summarize the data and conduct big data analytics to figure out what needs to be done," Chen explained. "For example, for service assurance, that means finding where a problem has occurred and where it's going to occur. For capacity planning, we can figure out where you potentially need a capacity, and doing a projection in that fashion. Then you can automate the delivery of the services and manage the network."

Chen has big plans for CENX as the company continues to grow. He hopes to win more tier 1 operators, and do more on virtualization in terms of being able to manage the virtualized world as well as the physical world.

"We also plan on being able to work with our partners to expand our scope in terms of coverage," said Chen. "The key thing is being able to scale the company in two ways: one is in terms of internal development in order to deliver the product, and the second scalability is the ability to be able to sign up major partners to help us cover the globe."

Published in Interviews