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BlueKeep blues: More than 800,000 systems still unpatched

More than 800,000 Windows systems worldwide remain vulnerable to BlueKeep, according to new research.

Risk management vendor BitSight Technologies published a report that showed approximately 805,665 systems online — as of July 2 — that remain vulnerable to BlueKeep. That figure represents a decrease of about 17% from BitSight’s previous findings from May 31.

BlueKeep, which was coined by U.K.-based security researcher Kevin Beaumont, is a critical vulnerability that affects the remote desktop protocol (RDP) in older Windows OSes such as Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Server 2008. The vulnerability could allow unauthorized parties to perform remote code execution on vulnerable systems.

BlueKeep was first disclosed and patched by Microsoft on May 14, but in the days and weeks that followed a number of alerts from Microsoft, as well as the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security, warned Windows users that the flaw was “wormable” and urged them to patch immediately. While no BlueKeep attacks have been detected in the wild, several cybersecurity vendors and researchers have demonstrated — but not released — proof-of-concept exploits for the vulnerability.

Two weeks after Microsoft patched BlueKeep, Robert Graham, owner of Errata Security in Portland, Ore., reported that he found “roughly 950,000” vulnerable systems on the public internet using a customized scanning tool. BitSight used Graham’s tool in its own scanning platform and found 972,829 vulnerable Windows systems as of May 31.

The company’s latest research showed that since its initial scans, 167,000 fewer vulnerable systems were found online. Of the total number, BitSight’s report said around 92,000 have “since been observed to be patched;” the remaining systems could have turned off RDP or are frequently changing their IP addresses.

Dan Dahlberg, head of security research at BitSight and author of the report, said the progress is a positive sign but that more work is obviously needed to address the remaining vulnerable systems. “It’s good that we observed some amount of progress rather than having the number remain relatively consistent over that time period,” he said.

The challenge, Dahlberg said, is that organizations that typically use the older Windows OSes “are less likely to be patching this on a much more urgent basis because they probably don’t have the sophistication and technology in terms of patch management or software controls.”

BitSight performed periodic internet scans for BlueKeep-vulnerable systems, but Dahlberg said it’s difficult to associate the activity with discrete points in time regarding the alerts and warnings. “That doesn’t necessarily mean those announcements didn’t have any influence,” he said. “I think they had a significant amount of influence in terms of motivating at least some companies [to patch].”

BlueKeep patching trends

According to the BitSight report, several countries “demonstrated notable reductions” in the number of systems exposed to BlueKeep. For example, China reduced the number of vulnerable systems by 109,670 (a nearly 24% decrease from BitSight’s previous report), while the U.S. saw its number of vulnerable systems drop by 26,787 or approximately 20.3%.

BitSight also broke down patching trends by industry vertical. According to the report, the industries that saw the biggest reductions in vulnerable systems since May 31 were legal (32.9%), nonprofit/NGO (27.1%) and aerospace/defense (24.1%). The industries that saw the smallest drops in vulnerable systems were consumer goods (5.3%), utilities (9.5%), and technology (9.5%).

In addition, BitSight measured the overall exposure of each industry to BlueKeep going forward. Legal, insurance and finance were the least exposed to the vulnerability, while telecommunications and education were the most exposed, followed by technology, utilities and government/politics.

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As public cloud adoption grows, new drawbacks discovered

Public cloud adoption is proving to be more costly for some companies than they expected.

A recent survey conducted by U.K.-based tech research company Vanson Bourne asked 900 IT leaders if the public cloud has delivered on all of their organizations’ expected benefits. Only 32.2% of respondents said all their expectations were met, while 58.1% said some expected benefits came to fruition and 9.6% said only a few of their expected benefits were achieved. The remaining 0.1% said they saw no benefit to public cloud adoption at all.

The study, which was commissioned by enterprise storage and data management company Cohesity, also found that 88% of respondents said they were given mandates from their company’s leadership to use public cloud more. That number is further broken down into 38.3% who said they are using the public cloud efficiently and fully reaping benefits, 40.7% who said they are struggling to effectively benefit from public cloud adoption and 8.7% who are executing public cloud adoption just to appease leadership.

One of the conclusions of the study is that there is a disconnect between senior management and IT. The expectations of public cloud adoption included lowering costs, simplifying IT operations, increasing business agility and providing insight into the organization’s data.

“The mandates may have come from people who aren’t IT, but on the business management side of things,” said Peter Linkin, senior director of enterprise marketing at Cohesity. “There’s a command to move there without fully understanding the implications.”

George Crump, founder of storage analyst firm Storage Switzerland, has seen this story play out in his consulting experience. He said companies start off by adopting the public cloud for workloads like backup and disaster recovery (DR) and successfully saving money. The problems begin when there is a long-term vision to shrink the data center or remove it entirely. These organizations are often motivated by a belief that removing the physical footprint would lower costs, free IT staff from mundane maintenance tasks or lead to other benefits. Crump said it’s not that simple.

“The cloud at scale becomes expensive and more complicated,” Crump said.

Crump said the public cloud’s No. 1 expense is egress fees, where organizations are charged to pull data back off the cloud. I/O processing fees also make up part of the costs, along with long lists of line items that cloud service providers (CSPs) might charge. Crump said modern day CSP bills are complex and hard to decipher.

Fred Moore, president of storage consultant Horison Information Strategies in Boulder, Colo., said organizations are frequently blindsided by those costs. He said there is little awareness of things like storage fees, access fees and charges for higher response times and geographic redundancy zones.

The cloud providers don’t go out of their way to help you learn these things. They don’t like to talk about their pricing models.
Fred Moore President, Horison Information Strategies

“The cloud providers don’t go out of their way to help you learn these things,” Moore said. “They don’t like to talk about their pricing models.”

Palmaz Vineyards CEO Christian Gastón Palmaz had to pull his proprietary algorithmic fermentation control system off of the cloud due to egress charges and latency issues. He initially thought public cloud adoption was going to save him more money than storing everything on premises until he received his first bill.

“To put a petabyte on the cloud is one thing, but pulling that data off the cloud was expensive,” Palmaz said.

Palmaz Vineyards currently stores most of its data on premises, including backup data. It only uses the cloud for cold storage, with 280 TB of archived data on Amazon Glacier.

“When people come back in from the cloud, that’s a real headache,” Moore said. “It could take a month to download everything back into the data center. That’s when you just want to roll up a truck full of tapes — it’s actually faster.”

Aside from egress charges, public cloud adoption can add complexity to an organization’s IT infrastructure and lead to lower productivity. In the Vanson Bourne study, 75% of respondents said they had to spend considerable time and effort integrating data center and public cloud environments for effective data management. The survey also found that 45% of respondents believe their IT teams are spending between 30% and 70% of their time managing secondary data across public clouds.

Move to the public cloud

The biggest concern with public cloud adoption was compliance risks, with 48.9% of respondents citing that. Egress charges were actually third on the list, with 42.3% of respondents saying they were concerned about them. However, Crump and Moore said they’ve seen organizations scale back their public cloud operations as a direct result of the latter.

Crump did pointed out he’s not seeing companies leaving the public cloud in droves. Even if they aren’t completely happy with their cloud journey, some companies would rather eat the costs than go through the hassle of returning to the data center. This is why it’s important for organizations to assess and truly understand what they should and shouldn’t put on cloud in order to avoid increasing their overall costs rather than lowering them.

Crump said organizations need to be smarter about differentiating which applications and data sets should go to the cloud rather than assuming the cloud is always the right choice. He said legacy applications that weren’t designed to work in cloud environments and workloads that are performance-intensive, either in terms of storage or CPU-usage, usually should likely stay on premises. Backup and DR are ideal workloads for cloud because it is data that isn’t accessed frequently.

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Watch Communications and Microsoft announce partnership to bring broadband internet to Indiana, Ohio and Illinois – Stories

Deployment of technologies, including TV white spaces, is expected to cover more than four million people in the region, including 815,000 people in rural areas currently without access to broadband

REDMOND, Wash. — July 9, 2019 — On Tuesday, Watch Communications and Microsoft Corp. announced an agreement aimed at closing the broadband gap, and the rural digital divide in particular, in the states of Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. The partnership is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which is focused on extending broadband access to three million people in rural America by July 2022.

The FCC reports that more than 21 million Americans lack broadband access. According to Microsoft data, 162 million people across the United States are not using the internet at broadband speeds, including approximately 17 million people in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Watch Communications will deploy a variety of broadband connectivity technologies to bring these areas under coverage, with an emphasis on wireless technologies leveraging TV white spaces (e.g., unused TV frequencies) in lower population density or terrain-challenged areas to achieve improved coverage. The areas expected to benefit include 50 counties in Indiana, 22 counties in Illinois, and most counties in Ohio.

“Every person deserves the same opportunity. But too often and in too many places, these opportunities are limited by where people live and their access to reliable and affordable broadband access,” said Shelley McKinley, general manager, Technology and Corporate Responsibility, Microsoft. “Microsoft is working across the country to close this gap. We’re partnering with Watch Communications to improve broadband access in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio and build on the incredible work being done by state and local leaders on this issue on behalf of their citizens.”

“Public-private partnerships, collaboration and understanding local initiatives are key to enabling connectivity success. Providing rural broadband can be difficult, so working as a team to solve the digital divide requires partners. We are excited to partner with Microsoft on this initiative,” said Greg Jarman, chief operating officer, Watch Communications.

Improved connectivity will bolster economic, educational and telehealth opportunities for everyone in the region, and could be particularly impactful for this region’s farmers. Together, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio account for more than $38.5 billion in agricultural value, with all three ranking in the top 16 states by agricultural output, according to the USDA. With broadband access, farmers can take advantage of advanced technologies such as precision agriculture which can help better monitor crops and increase yields.

In addition, Watch Communications and Microsoft will work together to ensure that once connectivity is available, people know how to use it and can get the training needed to fully participate in the digital economy, access educational opportunities and access telemedicine.

***

State by State View

Indiana

This is Microsoft’s first Airband Initiative deployment in Indiana. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 673,000 people in Indiana do not have access to broadband, and Microsoft data suggests that more than 4.3 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover more than 1 million Hoosiers, more than 440,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

Watch Communications was a recent award winner of funds from the FCC to extend broadband services in Indiana. As a result, Watch Communications has been working with Indiana counties to develop the deployment approach that best meets the needs of the local communities. In addition to broadband, Watch Communications has been working to use its network to design an IoT network to serve Indiana businesses.

This also builds on Microsoft’s presence in Indiana. Last October, Microsoft and the Markle Foundation announced the launch of Skillful Indiana, focused on bringing investment, training, tools, and innovative methods to support workforce development in the state. In addition, the Hope FFA chapter in Indiana was recently awarded Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits, which will help FFA students develop essential digital skills for precision agriculture and IoT technologies.

Ohio

Watch Communications was a recent award winner of funds from the FCC to extend broadband services in Ohio. As a result, Watch Communications has been working with Ohio counties to develop the deployment approach that best meets the needs of the local communities.

“You can’t be a part of the modern economy or education system without access to high-speed internet, and we are taking steps in Ohio to extend broadband to those who are underserved across the state,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Thank you to Microsoft for being among the leaders on this and for being willing to consider innovative solutions to help extend opportunity to people in Ohio who need it.”

This is Microsoft’s second Airband Initiative deployment in Ohio, following an August 2018 agreement between Microsoft and Agile Networks. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 621,000 people in Ohio do not have access to broadband, while Microsoft data suggests that more than 6.9 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover approximately 2.5 million people, more than 288,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

This also builds on Microsoft’s presence in Ohio. Microsoft’s TEALS program is helping to deliver computer science education to Ohio students. In addition, the Arcadia FFA chapter and Triad-OHP FFA chapter in Ohio were recently awarded Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits, which will help FFA students develop essential digital skills for precision agriculture and IoT technologies.

Illinois

This is Microsoft’s second Airband Initiative deployment in Illinois, the first being a September 2018 agreement between Microsoft and Network Business Systems to bring broadband internet to people in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 680,000 people in Illinois do not have access to broadband, while Microsoft data suggests that more than 6.6 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover more than 275,000 people, more than 80,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

About Watch Communications

Founded in 1992, Watch Communications is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) using a combination of fixed wireless and fiber technologies to serve residential and business customers throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Watch Communications began as a wireless cable TV provider and expanded service offerings in 1998 to include Internet. Since its creation, Watch Communications has focused on unserved and underserved small and rural markets.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Lindsey Gardner, Watch Communications Media Requests, (419) 999-2824, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – Gtx 1080ti gigabyte aorus graphics card

Open air cooling solutions are generally cooler and quieter than blower style cards. Having multiple fans means cooling can be improved with fans spinning at lower rpm; thus, creating less noise. With this extra cooling and quiter operation, you can generally get higher overclocks as you have greater headroom before you reach temperature limits or an overly intrusive noise profile.

The downside of open air coolers however is that they expel the air back into the case, so you need a decently ventilated case to remove this heat from the case effectively. Blower cards generally expel all the air out of the back of the graphics card so won’t inadvertently warm up other components if your case has poor ventilation. Blower cards also tend to be smaller; thus, can fit into smaller cases, such as mini itx.

There is no real winner as such, it just depends on your system and needs. If you have a case that’s well ventilated and can house larger gpus, definitely go with an open air solution. If you’re tight on space and ventilation is poor, a blower cooling solution is your best bet.

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For Sale – HP ENVY x360 15.6″ for sale or trade

Hi,

Model No: 15-aq100na

I have a HP Envy X360 laptop which is less than a year old. It is the 15.6″ screen version which is too bulky for me. I’m looking to sell or trade for a portable type 13.3″ laptop of a similar spec such as the smaller HP Envy or Surface or something similar but still powerful enough for multi-tasking, slim line, SSD, Windows 10 etc.

I don’t have the box anymore unfortunately so it will only come with a charge cable. I will make use of another laptop box for delivery though. The outer case has a few marks from use which I can take a photo of if there is interest. The inside, including the screen is in excellent condition. It’s a really nice laptop with a great touch screen and speakers but unfortunately I’m after something I can use for work which is portable.

Laptop specs,

  • Folds all the way back on itself for tablet mode;
  • Touchscreen;
  • 15.6 inch
  • 240gb SSD Drive (I’ve changed the 1tb HD/128gb SSD to a new SSD drive)
  • Intel Core i5 2.5 GHZ processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • HDMI Port
  • 2 x USB
  • 1 x USC
  • SD Card Reader
  • Aluminium body, silver
  • backlit keyboard (very nice!)
  • Bang and Olufsen Speakers
  • Windows 10 installed
  • HP Charger

Let me know if you have a portable laptop and you are after something with a bigger screen.

Price and currency: £450
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal
Location: Chepstow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Microsoft Hackathon 2018 winning team: ‘Think bigger – and believe you can change the world’ – Stories

The Hackathon, a company-wide event in its fifth year, had more than 23,500 global participants this year – twice the number from the first Hackathon in 2014. Hackers teamed up on more than 5,850 projects this year, up from 4,760 projects last year.

Winning projects have led to successes, including Seeing AI, the Xbox Adaptive Controller and Learning Tools, just a sampling of the projects initially driven by a team’s spark of passion. Motivation to participate in what is now the world’s largest private hackathon often comes from employees with family members or friends who are coping with various physical hardships, and who can be helped by technology.

The Hackathon began – and has continued – as a way to engage employees worldwide in both a learning culture and in a growth mindset, and to encourage great ideas from people in all roles  across the company.

“We’re getting better at hacking as a company, and we’re seeing a higher percentage of the projects that come out of the Hackathon that have potential business value to our company, which is exciting,” Ramos says.

While many people think hackathons are “just for dreaming up flying cars or smart toasters,” he says, many of the hackers say having fun is the No. 1 reason why they participate.

The winning team’s project “is a product that is a natural for Microsoft,” Ramos says. “It leverages our commitment as a platform and productivity company, and it capitalizes on something that we feel is unique to us.”

It’s “also an idea that this team has a passion for,” he says. “There are a lot of great ideas in the Hackathon – and so, when a great idea also meets up with a great team of people, that’s a nice combination as well.”

For Trade – HP ENVY x360 15-aq100na 15.6″ for portable type laptop such as the 13.3″ Envy

Hi,

I have a HP Envy X360 laptop which is less than a year old. It is the 15.6″ screen version which is too bulky for me. I’m looking into trading it for a portable type 13.3″ laptop of a similar spec such as the smaller HP Envy or Surface or something similar but still powerful enough for multi-tasking, slim line, SSD, Windows 10 etc.

I don’t have the box anymore unfortunately so it will only come with a charge cable. I will make use of another laptop box for delivery though. The outer case has a few marks from use which I can take a photo of if there is interest. The inside, including the screen is in excellent condition. It’s a really nice laptop with a great touch screen and speakers but unfortunately I’m after something I can use for work which is portable.

Laptop specs,

  • Folds all the way back on itself for tablet mode;
  • Touchscreen;
  • 15.6 inch
  • 240gb SSD Drive (I’ve changed the 1tb HD/128gb SSD to a new SSD drive)
  • Intel Core i5 2.5 GHZ processor
  • HDMI Port
  • 2 x USB
  • 1 x USC
  • SD Card Reader
  • Aluminium body, silver
  • backlit keyboard (very nice!)
  • Bang and Olufsen Speakers
  • Windows 10 installed
  • HP Charger

Let me know if you have a portable laptop and you are after something with a bigger screen.

Price and currency: £450
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal
Location: Chepstow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Trade – HP ENVY x360 15-aq100na 15.6″ for portable type laptop such as the 13.3″ Envy

Hi,

I have a HP Envy X360 laptop which is less than a year old. It is the 15.6″ screen version which is too bulky for me. I’m looking into trading it for a portable type 13.3″ laptop of a similar spec such as the smaller HP Envy or Surface or something similar but still powerful enough for multi-tasking, slim line, SSD, Windows 10 etc.

Laptop specs,

  • Folds all the way back on itself for tablet mode;
  • Touchscreen;
  • 15.6 inch
  • 240gb SSD Drive (I’ve changed the 1tb HD/128gb SSD to a new SSD drive)
  • Intel Core i5 2.5 GHZ processor
  • HDMI Port
  • 2 x USB
  • 1 x USC
  • SD Card Reader
  • Aluminium body, silver
  • backlit keyboard (very nice!)
  • Bang and Olufsen Speakers
  • Windows 10 installed
  • HP Charger

Let me know if you have a portable laptop and you are after something with a bigger screen.

Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal
Location: Chepstow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Trade – HP ENVY x360 15-aq100na 15.6″ for portable type laptop such as the 13.3″ Envy

Hi,

I have a HP Envy X360 laptop which is less than a year old. It is the 15.6″ screen version which is too bulky for me. I’m looking into trading it for a portable type 13.3″ laptop of a similar spec such as the smaller HP Envy or Surface or something similar but still powerful enough for multi-tasking, slim line, SSD, Windows 10 etc.

Laptop specs,

  • Folds all the way back on itself for tablet mode;
  • Touchscreen;
  • 15.6 inch
  • 240gb SSD Drive (I’ve changed the 1tb HD/128gb SSD to a new SSD drive)
  • Intel Core i5 2.5 GHZ processor
  • HDMI Port
  • 2 x USB
  • 1 x USC
  • SD Card Reader
  • Aluminium body, silver
  • backlit keyboard (very nice!)
  • Bang and Olufsen Speakers
  • Windows 10 installed
  • HP Charger

Let me know if you have a portable laptop and you are after something with a bigger screen.

Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Paypal
Location: Chepstow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

AT&T Spark highlights big changes in networking market

SAN FRANCISCO — AT&T is revamping more than its massive network to deliver high-speed, low-latency 5G services to businesses and consumers. The company is also remaking its relationship with networking vendors.

At the heart of the change is an open-source-first policy that has redefined the role of tech vendors that historically supplied the service provider with proprietary hardware and software. Now, AT&T is telling its suppliers, which include Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, they have to become software developers and system integrators.

“There is a place for all of those hardware vendors in this new ecosystem to become integrators, to become hardeners,” Amy Wheelus, vice president of AT&T’s Network Cloud, said this week during an interview at the service provider’s 5G AT&T Spark conference.

A hardener, which is a word Wheelus takes credit for, is a tech company that bolts features onto open source software, such as security and the management applications necessary to troubleshoot and fix network problems. Open source technology, such as OpenStack and Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), is the foundation of AT&T’s Network Cloud, a cloud computing platform under construction to support future 5G applications.

Work like AT&T’s, which is also underway in other service providers’ data centers, is changing the relationship between carriers and networking suppliers, said Rajesh Ghai, an analyst at IDC.

“There’s a big architectural change that is happening in telcos today,” he said. “[And] there will be a huge systems integration and services component to it.”

The wish list from AT&T Spark

What AT&T and other service providers want matters to networking vendors. That’s because the suppliers’ largest customer base — enterprises — is gradually trading their on-premises software for applications running in the cloud. The trend is shrinking the enterprise market, while increasing the buying clout of cloud providers — such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft — and service providers preparing for massive 5G rollouts.

As a result, AT&T, Vodafone, Verizon and other large service providers “are going to be much more prescriptive in how we want [technology] to evolve,” Wheelus said.

For AT&T, that means commodity x86 hardware for running all Layer 4-7 network services, such as routing, load balancing and firewalls. AT&T is using ONAP to turn those services into virtualized network functions. Under the VNFs is the OpenStack cloud computing platform.

AT&T also wants makers of Layer 4-7 software to rethink the design of their products. For example, rather than selling load balancers for specific purposes, AT&T wants one product that it can configure for multiple tasks using open source orchestration tools, like Ansible and YAML.

“We don’t need eight different load balancers from eight different companies,” Wheelus said. “I need one load balancer, and then I fine-tune it.”

5G hype vs. reality

Is [there] a hype cycle? Yeah, maybe it’s a hype cycle.
Amy Wheelusvice president of AT&T’s Network Cloud

While revamping its network for 5G, AT&T is rolling out 5G radios and other infrastructure in U.S. cities. By early next year, AT&T plans to have 19 cities wired for 5G, including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

What’s missing, however, are the applications that will deliver services that take advantage of 5G’s unique capabilities. At Spark, AT&T and its partners showed marketing videos touting the potential for better home gaming and entertainment and innovation in medicine and manufacturing. But none of the services exist, and it’s not clear how they will become a reality.

“Is [there] a hype cycle? Yeah, maybe it’s a hype cycle,” Wheelus said at AT&T Spark.

Nevertheless, AT&T claimed it is making progress on future products at its 5G development centers in Atlanta, Palo Alto, Calif., and Plano, Texas. The 5G infrastructure rolling out in the 19 cities is where AT&T will eventually test the services under development.

“We’re just getting standards-based equipment [for the cities],” Wheelus said.

With so much experimentation underway, no one can predict whether the billions of dollars AT&T and the rest of the tech industry are spending on 5G will generate a healthy return on investment. One of the first indicators will be the success of mobile services built for 5G-enabled smartphones, which analysts predict will arrive in 2021.

The potentially more lucrative services for businesses — the kind that is shown today in slick videos at 5G conferences — will take longer to hit the market. Those products are unlikely to be widely available until 2025, analysts said.