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Three years after its first SD-WAN shipments, Silver Peak announced today that it now has more than 1,000 customers across 80 countries. Today’s SD-WAN milestone included Silver Peak's enterprise customers that are served by its channel partner ecosystem and service provider end customers that work with Silver Peak. - FierceTelecom is tracking the companies that are having the biggest impact in the telecommunications space as technology continues to evolve at a rapid clip. Here are the top telecom tech disrupters for 2018. - Microsoft announced today that its Azure Stack, which was designed to work with hybrid clouds, is now available for its Azure Government customers. Back in March, Microsoft announced its plan to integrate Azure Stack with a government-only cloud offering for governmental agencies as well as access to Azure Marketplace. - When it comes to virtualization, CenturyLink is blazing its own trail by using software and tools that were developed in-house. Anil Simlot, vice president of virtual services development and support, spoke to FierceTelecom about how CenturyLink took pieces of the Open Network Automation Platform to build its own tool, which is called "Victor," for network functions virtualization infrastructure. - Cox Business strengthened its managed services hand with the purchase of hybrid cloud service provider RapidScale. RapidScale's managed cloud offerings were designed for businesses of all sizes and include solutions such as SD-WAN, backup, recovery, security, mail services and desktop services. - Megaport CEO Vincent English made quite the impression as a keynote speaker during a conference earlier this week, according to an analyst report. English spoke during a keynote fireside chat at the Fourth Annual Cowen Communications Infrastructure Summit in Boulder, Colorado. - VMware announced a definitive agreement Thursday afternoon to buy the technology and engineering team of Dell EMC Service Assurance. Once the deal closes, VMware will move Dell EMC Service Assurance into its Telco NFV portfolio. - CenturyLink is starting to reap the rewards of its $34 billion deal to buy Level 3 Communications, which were outlined in its second-quarter earnings results. While large telecommunications deals almost always include the use of the word "synergy," CenturyLink provided some concrete examples of how it has cashed in on the acquisition. - The Linux Foundation's LF Deep Learning Foundation announced it has added Ciena, DiDi, Intel, Orange and Red Hat to its membership roster. With the recent additions, Deep Learning now has 15 members since it was first formed earlier this year. - There's been a shakeup in Cisco's service provider division with the expected departure of top executive Yvette Kanouff. Kanouff currently serves as senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's service provider business, but she'll be leaving Cisco of her own accord. - A report from Accenture Strategy counsels communications service providers to drastically adjust and deepen their cost-reduction strategies. Doing so will free up money for new services that are keys to survival in a competitive and rapidly transforming landscape. - Telefónica's "Internet para Todos" (Internet for All) program is using machine learning and AI to connect 100 million users in Latin America who lack reliable services. As VP of Network Operations Patrick Lopez notes, connectivity "is not only a rural problem, it is necessary to increase efficiency and optimize deployment and operations to keep decreasing the costs." - Telecom Italia has put the final touches on the deployment of an LTE Advanced virtual radio access network (vRAN) in the city of Turin. With the Turin deployment, Telecom Italia laid claim to having the largest vRAN LTE deployment in a major city. - Cisco has added Viptela's SD-WAN technology into its enterprise routers. Cisco has combined its IOS XE software with Viptela's SD-WAN technology in order to simplify WAN optimization, deploy SD-WAN services at a faster rate and provide better visibility into SD-WAN services on customers' existing Cisco router deployments. - It wasn't exactly the Hatfields versus the McCoys, but Arista and Cisco reached an agreement on their long-standing patent court battle. In a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arista agreed to pay Cisco $400 million in order to dismiss all pending district court and patent litigation. - CenturyLink's Anil Simlot has a lot on his plate now that he's the new leader of the telco's virtualization organization. Simlot, vice president of virtual services development and support, is now in charge of CenturyLink's virtualization efforts after the recent departure of James Feger. - Spirent is moving its testing and assurances capabilities into service provider and enterprise networks with its new business initiative. With the new project, which is called "Promise. Assured," Spirent is seeking to march in step with customers by offering testing solutions for 5G, lifecycle service assurance, analytics and cybersecurity. - Casa Systems and Intraway will be showing off multilevel orchestration of virtual CCAP at next week's CableLabs Summer Conference. Like other vendors in the cable operator industry, Casa Systems and Intraway have been looking for a way to help cable crack open network infrastructures in order to enable new virtualization capabilities such as automation and elasticity. - For Mazin Gilbert, vice president of advanced technology and systems at AT&T Labs, edge networking is just a piece of the larger networking puzzle that involves mobile applications, autonomous cars, CDNs and more. In this Q&A, he provides the details on the carrier's blueprint for its next-generation network. - Cisco has broadened the reach and depth of its security portfolio with today's news that it's buying Duo Security. Duo's security is based on two-factor authorization across any network, device or application. - APIs are playing key roles in carriers' network services and interactions with customers, according to Orange Business Services' John Isch. He talked to FierceTelecom about whether SD-WAN services could be provisioned across separate carriers' SDN networks by using an API-to-API interface. - Last Friday was Travis Ewert's last day as CenturyLink's vice president of software defined network services and big data. Neither CenturyLink nor Ewert has said why he left, but Ewert said in a LinkedIn message that he was "absolutely staying in the industry." - With a projected market of more than $7 billion by 2024, automation is becoming a big business for telcos, vendors and enterprises. A report by Global Market Insights said that the growing adoption of SDN and NFV, the commercialization of 5G networking technologies and government projects were driving the adoption of automation across several verticals. - Following up on the launch of a new strategic plan in March, the Open Networking Foundation is now taking a hard look at edge cloud and 5G initiatives. ONF Chair Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer, outlined several hot topic projects that the ONF is pursuing in a newsletter to ONF's members. - Amazon Web Services' robust second-quarter earnings helped keep it on top of the cloud provider standings, according to a report by Synergy Research Group. AWS recently reported second-quarter revenues of $6.1 billion, increasing its market share to 34%, the report said. -