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TECHNOLOGY

Mangata Networks to set up space engineering, manufacturing and operations hub in Scotland

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Cloud Computing News

Satellite-enabled cloud services company, Mangata Networks, has chosen Scotland as the location for its research & development activities as well as satellite manufacturing, space systems and core network operations.

Over the coming few years, up to 575 new jobs will be created as part of Mangata’s state-of-the-art engineering and operations hub for satellite manufacturing and operations at the Prestwick International Aerospace Park in Ayrshire.

Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney, said: “The fact that Mangata has chosen to base its new satellite manufacturing facility in Ayrshire is a huge boost for the region, for the space and manufacturing sectors, and for Scotland as a whole.

“As well as the substantial, high-skilled job opportunities, this will open up new pathways for the satellite manufacturing supply chain and help position Scotland as a leading centre for space and manufacturing innovation – while supporting the aims of our space strategy.”

Brian Holz, CEO of Mangata Networks, said: “Scotland, Ayrshire, the local regions, and the UK have expressed a lot of confidence in our system and mission. We are very grateful to be able to locate Mangata’s core product development, satellite manufacturing, and network operations teams in a state-of-the-art facility in Prestwick.

“We will be using this facility to bring our satellite connectivity and intelligent Edge compute solutions to enterprises globally. Today, our customer base has already committed to over 1.5 Tbps pre-launch, nearing full capacity of our initial 32 satellites. As the business grows, Mangata’s network can scale to over 750 satellites. This factory will be a key enabler, allowing us to scale and deliver cost-effective space technology into markets that really need it.”

The hub is supported by an innovative funding and assistance package from public sector partners, totalling over £83.7 million from Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government, UK Government and South Ayrshire Council. This funding comprises £54.5 million from Scottish Enterprise and £29.2 million from the Ayrshire Growth Deal provided on commercial terms (i.e. this is not grant funding) that will see this funding repaid over the next 15 years.

Adrian Gillespie, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “This investment has the potential to be a real game-changer in helping unlock economic opportunities from the global commercial space sector. Mangata’s decision to locate this project in Ayrshire is a strong endorsement of our ability to support and nurture global industries of the future. Not only will it bring hundreds of new quality jobs for the people of Scotland, but it will be a catalyst for a new supply chain, opening up opportunities and partnerships both domestically and internationally.

“We look forward to working closely with Mangata to bring its state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing facility to fruition at Prestwick International Aerospace Park.”

Juliette Neu, chief experience officer at Mangata Networks, said: “All the Scottish organisations involved have been incredibly supportive of our efforts to bridge the gap in global connectivity and access. Mangata is passionate about connecting humanity all around the world, using the systems we will develop in Scotland. We saw this same spirit to serve in the local and global community in our interactions in Scotland. They are so committed to helping each other. That drive is at the core of our shared values and mission.”

Mangata’s new facility will produce and test more than 24 medium class satellites every three months, becoming a significant focal point and asset for the Scottish and UK space sectors as well as a centrepiece for technology and innovation. The facility is capable of qualifying, integrating and testing satellites up to 1500kg in size for the space and launch environments. From this engineering hub, the company will establish an operations centre that will manage its satellite systems and global network.

The majority of the new jobs will be highly paid, highly skilled technical engineering positions in product development, designing and manufacturing satellites, and operating the system end-to-end. Construction will begin in early 2023 with manufacturing and operations teams set to move in from late 2024.

Mangata is building a global satellite telecommunications network with sustainable, cutting-edge technology. It is designed to reach and connect any community, anywhere on Earth, removing barriers and inequalities for the up to four billion people without adequate internet access. It will support the creation of local content and enable sharing on a global basis.

Prestwick is already home to Scotland’s largest and most established aerospace cluster, and, through the £80 million investment from the Ayrshire Growth Deal, is now focussed on taking advantage of the burgeoning global commercial space market to become the leading centre for aerospace and space in the UK.

Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Martin Dowey, said: “We are delighted Mangata has chosen to locate in Prestwick and have great pleasure in welcoming them to South Ayrshire. We very much look forward to working with them and seeing the many benefits they bring to our local communities, beginning with hundreds of jobs.

“This really is fantastic news as Mangata is exactly the kind of company we want to attract to South Ayrshire. The global satellite market is booming, and we aim to be right at the centre of that with a vibrant and thriving space sector. This will create high value jobs and exciting future careers for our young people, particularly in STEM-related opportunities, but also in wider support roles.

“The Council has now secured approval for a significant investment programme to deliver commercial workspace at Prestwick. This comprehensive and bold approach gives companies like Mangata the confidence that we can build Prestwick as a global space cluster.

“We are already anticipating the first satellite launches from Prestwick Spaceport from spring 2024 and, through our highly ambitious space programme, are set to become Europe’s premier space hub.”

Larry Schwartz, COO at Mangata Networks, said: “Our Prestwick facility will include a satellite operations centre to operate our satellites following their launch. Our facility will also feature a network operations centre to operate our end-to-end global communications network as well as an R&D centre to develop our intelligent microEdge data centres. Having all of these operations under one roof makes us extremely efficient across all aspects of our technology development and operational networks. This is key to bringing our customers a cost-effective, state-of-the-art network that includes an intelligent Edge compute and cloud service solutions.

“We are looking forward to working with local universities and companies, creating partnerships and integrating technology into our network and product solutions. We will develop those capabilities in Scotland and help those partners scale globally, using our network.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, said: “The creation of this space manufacturing hub will deliver jobs and investment to Ayrshire and put Scotland at the forefront of an innovative industry.

“The UK Government is investing £10 million towards these cutting-edge facilities as part of our £32 million support for Ayrshire’s space and aerospace programme.”

This technology will be deployed within Scotland where the created network can be tested with customers and used to incubate Scottish startups. These startups will benefit from exposure to Mangata’s investors and will have the opportunity to showcase their own technologies and applications, potentially exporting them on a global basis, through Mangata’s network.


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TECHNOLOGY

Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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TECHNOLOGY

HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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TECHNOLOGY

Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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