Category Archives: Virtualisation

2023 State of Tech in Biopharma report reveals tech strategies in era of data and AI 

Benchling has launched its inaugural 2023 State of Tech in Biopharma report, which has shed light on the obstacles that biopharma encounter when striving to fully implement and embrace these technologies.  The report surveyed 300 R&D and IT experts from biopharma companies large and small to do a first-ever investigation into biopharma’s use of an… Read more »

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Friction between finance and tech leaders prevents companies from controlling cloud spend

Vertice, an optimisation platform for SaaS and cloud spend, has unveiled the results of its global survey, ‘The State of Cloud Cost Optimisation’, which reveals that organisations are being held back from controlling their cloud spending and gaining ROI because of a lack of alignment between finance and tech leaders. Amidst cloud costs rising by… Read more »

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IT and security pros face increased workload due to hybrid/virtual work adoption

Ivanti, the provider of the Ivanti Neurons automation platform that discovers, manages, secures, and services IT assets from cloud to edge, has announced the results of its 2023 Report: Elevating the Future of Everywhere Work. Ivanti collaborated with ‘Future of Work’ experts and surveyed 8,400 office workers, IT professionals and C-level executives across the globe… Read more »

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BCN cloud coverage moves to Telecoms.com

Erfolg Richtung PfeilAs the cloud and telecoms sectors move ever closer together, thanks to the growing influence of virtualisation in managing networks and the emergence of IoT, the decision has been made to consolidate the coverage of both under one brand – Telecoms.com.

It is already clear that the telecoms business for the foreseeable future will be dominated by three major themes: 5G, IoT and cloud. The eventual 5G standard will lean heavily on the cloud via technologies such as NFV and SDN, while IoT will be entirely dependent on the cloud to assimilate the massive amounts of data generated by billions of IoT devices and then turn it into useful actions.

Business Cloud News has been excellently led by first Jonathan Brandon and more recently Jamie Davies. Jamie is continuing his great work on Telecoms.com as Deputy Editor and cloud specialist. On top of that we will be working closely with our sister title Light Reading, which has also established cloud and virtualisation as a cornerstone  of its coverage.

We would like to thank BCN’s thousands of readers for their loyalty and support over the past few years and hope you continue to enjoy the cloud coverage on Telecoms.com. BCN newsletter subscribers will be transferred to the Telecoms.com mailing list but you are, of course, free to unsubscribe at any time, much as we hope you don’t.

The whole ICT sector is on the cusp of a uniquely exciting era and we aim to ensure Telecoms.com will remain your one-stop-shop for all the latest developments.

Three major run-time performance hurdles to avoid

Network Function VirtualisationEvery investment in major IT transformation arrives with its own set of structural and institutional challenges, not least migrating to a virtualized infrastructure. Get it wrong from the outset and you will be faced with the mother of all headaches. If the issue of performance is not addressed at inception, your data centre and its services – although being able to run – will be increasingly plagued by service problems, poor user satisfaction and inadequate Return on Investment. So, companies looking to transform their virtualised infrastructure should look before they leap and consider three major hurdles.

#1: The heavy lifting of remedial actions

Shift happens. Seasonal traffic spikes, buggy drivers, fluctuating head counts, updated applications, worn out drives and a thousand other factors all contribute to the constantly shifting foundation upon which your infrastructure must stand and thrive. But in any dynamic environment, the unforeseen throttle will inevitably occur and issues will need fixing.

End-user issue remediation actions are exceedingly important, so when a VDI (Virtual Desktop Interface) user calls or files a trouble ticket, IT must have the tools for translating complaints into troubleshooting. Pinpointing problem sources manually can take hours; sometimes even days or weeks, because virtual infrastructure tools tend to be designed for high-level observation, not granular examination of what exactly is, or isn’t, going on. If multiple problems crop up from different sources, the burden of remediation magnifies, potentially risking an organisation’s business continuity.

#2: Isolated end-user experience metrics

Amazon famously publicised how each 1/10th of a second of added site latency sacrificed 1% in sales. Nothing will persuade a worker not to use a cloud-based software tool, particularly on a new rollout, quite like staring through a login hourglass. Of course, management feels the same pain. Aberdeen Research found that poor application performance can slice up to 9% from corporate revenue.

Citrix proposes that there are five key, measurable metrics that constitute the lion’s share of poor user experiences within virtualised environments:

  • Launch time
  • Logon time
  • Load time
  • Latency
  • Operations such as printing, screen updates, etc.

Clearly, most issues will stem from obstructions in resource flow, but determining the root cause or causes of any decline in these metrics can be arduous.

#3: Inefficient allocation of IT resources

Virtual infrastructure resource utilisation wastes mountains of money when it runs too cold and throws up bottlenecks and failures when it runs too hot. Efficiency is the relationship between performance and resource utilisation and maximum efficiency does not mean maximum utilisation. The physical underpinnings of your virtual infrastructure are a mesh of CPU, memory, storage, network and – particularly in VDI and HPC deployments – GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) assets. The key is to deduce not only utilisation levels but overall efficiency within each resource type, network region and entire organisation.

The solution for companies looking to jump these hurdles is to invest in better predictive analytics-driven strategic levers. They enable the reduction or even elimination of persistent IT problems. To prevent the heavy lifting of remedial actions the tool needs to increase real-time prevention of problems and in cases when prevention is not enough, step in with automated remediation. Either way, the end result is massive savings in resolution time as well as a much improved chance for IT, and thus the whole organisation, to meet its SLAs (Service-Level Agreements). The ability to help pinpoint the problem’s source and whenever possible, cross-silo insights for balancing load optimisation to alleviate bottlenecks is crucial to prevent isolated end-user experience metrics.

In order to combat inefficient allocation of IT resources you must be able to monitor the real-time characteristics of these physical resources and how end-points and applications are using them across the network. Clarity of vision is a strategic lever not only to utilisation levels but overall efficiency within each resource type, network region and entire organisation.

Written by Atchison Frazer, CMO at Xangati

Cisco launches Digital Network Architecture virtualization platform

Network Function VirtualisationCisco has launched a new system which aims to virtualize every conceivable network function possible for clients and take them through the painful process of digital transformation, reports Telecoms.com.

The networking vendor has announced its new Digital Network Architecture (DNA), which it describes as an open, software driven framework. The DNA will complement and extend the policies of its datacentre based Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) technology throughout the entire network, Cisco says.

Whereas ACI software defined the network, DNA will help enterprises to define everything from the campus to the branch, whether the network is wired or wireless, at the core or at the edge, says Cisco. DNA will sit within the Cisco ONE Software family, in order to simplify software licensing and help protect investments by providing continuity.

The Cisco DNA is built on five guiding principles, which can be summarized as virtualize everything, automate management, analyse everything everywhere, one policy for the entire network and keep every layer of networking as open and extensible as possible.

The mission to virtualising everything that can be possibly software defined will maximise the options for telcos and all enterprises. This gives the clients the choice to run any service anywhere, independent of the underlying platform, be it physical or virtual, on premise or in the cloud, says Cisco. Yesterday Cisco announced the acquisition of Leaba Semiconductor, which specialises in networking semi-conductors which could play a central role in the virtualisation of networking functions and maximise the possibilities for embedding virtualised functions.

Automating network management will maximise the speed and efficiency of the virtualised functions of an enterprise, but this may be regulated by the third important DNA principle, the need to have pervasive analytics. Analytics will provide the checks and balances needed to keep the network and IT infrastructure meeting its performance potential. Similarly, a virtualised network can only be an efficient cloud if service management from the cloud can unify policy and orchestration across the network. On Monday BCN reported how Cisco plans to buy cloud orchestration specialist CliQr.

The key to preventing network sclerosis is keeping everything open and accessible, which is why Cisco’s fifth guiding principle for DNA is to keep everything open, extensible and programmable at every layer, so that Cisco and third party technology can be integrated.

OPNFV announces second major release – Brahmaputra

Digital illustration of Cloud computing devicesThe Linux Foundation-inspired OPNFV Project has taken a new step closer to its ideal of network liberalisation with a new release of its software.

Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), the telecoms industry’s answer to the Stock Market’s Big Bang, aims to open the market for creating software that runs the multitude of functions within any network. The OPNFV Project aims to create a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform that uses NFV to create telecoms networks that are infinitely more flexible and adaptable than the traditional proprietary systems that locked the software within the rigid backbone of telecoms hardware.

The Project has announced the availability of new improved version of its original offering, code-named Arno, which Telecoms.com reported on in June 2015. The new release, Brahmaputra, offers a more comprehensive standard of tools for testing NFV functionality and use cases. Brahmaputra is OPNFV’s first full experience with a massively parallel simultaneous release process and helps developers to collaborate with upstream communities. By encouraging group collaboration on feature development and addressing multiple technology components across the ecosystem, the Project aims to improve the stability, performance and automation of the system, and to consolidate its features.

The extent of collaboration is ambitious, since OPNFV aims to bring together at least 165 developers from network operators, solution providers and vendors. The focus of their joint efforts will be on integration, deployment and the testing of upstream components to meet NFV’s needs. During the integration process to create the Brahmaputra release, code was contributed by programme writers in the OpenStack, OpenDaylight, OpenContrail ONOS and ETSI developer communities. Meanwhile, there were 30 different projects accepted which created new powers, specifications and community resources to the system.

Among the improvements are Layer 3 VPN instantiation and configuration, initial support for IPv6 deployment and testing in IPv6 environments, better fault detection and recovery, performance boosts through data plane acceleration and much fuller infrastructure testing.

“The strength of any open source project depends on the community developing it,” said OPNFV director Heather Kirksey, “with an entire industry involved in the development of NFV, we’re seeing more collaboration and the strides we made in Brahmaputra create a framework for even more developers to come together.”

HPE scoops two telco client wins for cloud service projects

HPE office logoHewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced partnerships with telcos Swisscom and Telecom Italia subsidiary Telecom Personal to share its cloud service expertise and boost its presence in the comms industry.

In the Swisscom project HPE’s brief is to impose a network function virtualization (NFV) discipline on the IT and telecoms infrastructure, using its OpenNFV systems. Swisscom claims it is one of the world’s first communication service providers (CSPs) to pioneer the use of NFV to offer virtual customer premise equipment (vCPE) to its business customers.

In January BCN reported that HPE has launched an initiative to simplify hybrid cloud management for telcos using a new Service Director offering. Among the productivity benefits mooted for HPE Service Director 1.0 was options for pre-configured systems to address specific use cases as extensions to the base product, starting with HPE Service Director for vCPE 1.0.

In the Swisscom project HPE will use its HPE Virtual Services Router and HPE Technology Services in tandem with Service Director to create Swisscom’s new vCPE model. The objective is to allow Swisscom to manage its customers’ network infrastructure from a centralised location and provide networking services on-demand. This will cut costs for the telco, speed up service provision and boost the availability of services. It could also, claims CPE, make it easier to create new services in future.

Argentina based Telecom Personal has asked HPE to modernise its network in order to use 4G/LTE technologies to cater for an increasing appetite for data services among subscribers. HPE has been appointed to re-engineer the infrastructure and expand and upgrade part its network core. The success of the project will be judged on whether HPE can give a measurable improvement in service experience, network speeds and capacity, according to Paolo Perfetti, Telecom Personal’s CTO.

Yesterday BCN reported that HPE has launched AppPulse Trace, a service that developer clients can use to monitor their cloud app performances.

Wind River launches vCPE NFV platform

Network Function VirtualisationIntel subsidiary Wind River has added to its NFV portfolio with the announcement of a new product which focuses on the virtualization of customer premises equipment (vCPE). The vendor claims it has strengthened its VNF offering to bring initiatives like vCPE management closer to reality.

Wind River’s new Titanium Server CPE software adds to the vendor’s existing NFV portfolio. vCPE is one of the primary NFV use cases mooted by the telecoms industry; the improvements to Wind River’s software could mean all functions traditionally configured on each piece of hardware at the customer’s premises can now be handled centrally and instantly replicated across the cloud.

According to Wind River, the improvements to the Titanium Server portfolio (Titanium Server and Titanium Server CPE) will create faster network performance, allow networks to ramp up in size instantly and simplify the commissioning of new additions to any network. The vendor also claims the Titanium Server portfolio’s new software stands up to the carrier grade needed for telecom networks.

The cost of administering moves and changes, which is often time consuming and labour intensive, is one of the areas that telcos view as ripe for efficiency improvements. However, the virtualization of CPE functions has proved a challenging ambition to fulfil. The replacement of a system which individually configures each physical appliance (such as a switch or handset) with a centrally managed one could slash operating expenditure (OPEX). The savings would come by substituting the work of multiple physical configurations, requiring a site visit, with a single software change that can be published to all devices on all points of the telecoms cloud, using the new Titanium Server CPE platform, according to Wind River.

Among the new features added to Titanium Server are dynamic CPU scaling, greater system scalability, a virtual switch packet trace tool and the capacity for bulk provisioning and automated deployment. The new release also now supports QinQ tunnelling, IPv6 support for all interfaces and has updated support for all the latest high-performance network interface cards (NICs). It also supports VNF access to hardware acceleration devices, such as the Intel Communications Chipset 8925 to 8955 Series.

The new incarnation of Titanium Server CPE launch follows collaboration with NFV software partners Brocade, Check Point, InfoVista and Riverbed.

Titanium Server and Titanium Server CPE will be showcased at Mobile World Congress 2016.

Openstack targets telcos with NFV push

Digital illustration of Cloud computing devicesA new report indicates that there could be a boom in network function virtualisation projects this year, with NFV the second most popular subject of research after containers, reports Telecoms.com.

According to a report from the OpenStack Foundation, only container technology is under closer scrutiny than NFV by technology buyers and decision makers in the world’s enterprises and service providers.

The paper, Accelerating NFV Delivery with OpenStack, reports on the findings of the foundation’s most recent user survey, in which 76 per cent of those questioned identified an important telecoms function that had to be addressed through virtualisation. Of the OpenStack user base 12% were traditional telcos and another 64% were companies that now include telecoms as part of their roster of services, such as the categories of cable TV and ISP companies, telco and networking and data centre/co-location companies.

By comparison, an OpenStack user survey in 2014 suggested its user base of telcos was much smaller, the Foundation says, and only an elite of global telcos, such as NTT and Deutsche Telekom, were investigating NFV use. Since then there has been a surge in interest, it reports, with

increasing numbers of telecom-specific NFV features, such as support for multiple IPv6 prefixes, being requested or submitted by OpenStack users.

Container technology information is even more sought after than NFV, according to OpenStack, but the two issues are not mutually exclusive. Sources have speculated that the technologies may be used in tandem as OpenStack is the foundation of rationalising the hybrid nature of most telco’s infrastructure.

According to the paper’s executive summary OpenStack could provide cost effective route to the creation of private clouds without vendor lock-in, since proprietary hardware is becoming associated with NFV.

“While the interoperability between NFV infrastructure platforms that use OpenStack is still a work in progress, the majority of configurations surpass expectations,” concluded the paper co-authored by Kathy Cacciatore, the OpenStack Foundation’s Consulting Marketing Manager.