Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

163 MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS over the top of Azure technologies to deploy networks in scalable, reliable and expansive ways. This allows users to create new business opportunities with their existing network infrastructure, and multicast and PTP are both critical to enabling such opportunities. Great things happen when CloudSwXtch and Azure come together. As Microsoft’s core networking is robust and welldesigned, Azure technologies will reliably move packets without concern to underlying network performance while CloudSwXtch adds features on top of this core network. That means lower network congestion, higher reliability and simultaneous packet delivery – all key benefits of multicast distribution. The benefit of simultaneous packet delivery is fortified through the timing and synchronisation capabilities of PTP, which has also now enabled within CloudSwXtch through its partnership with Timebeat. CloudSwXtch integrates Timebeat’s PTP+Squared technology, enabling systems that rely on multicast – and by extension, PTP – to achieve the high level of synchronisation required to move to the cloud. When deploying CloudSwXtch, Azure tenants now have access to two valuable benefits for managing networking loads in the cloud – multicast and PTP – that were previously not available in public cloud networks like Azure. CloudSwXtch also solves problems for Azure users new to these technologies. For example, the further that independent workloads are from the grandmaster clock’s time references, the greater the possibility for synchronisation errors. CloudSwXtch goes beyond just bridging PTP to the cloud; it also provides a solution to synchronisation problems for on-cloud workloads. By implementing two methods – straight PTP distribution and Timebeat PTP+Squared – CloudSwXtch ensures that virtual machines or microservices in the cloud can synchronise accurately. This means that whether you're broadcasting a live event, executing high-frequency trades, or managing internet of things devices, you can ensure precise time synchronisation across all your systems and networks. We have been working closely with Azure technologists to test, evaluate and verify that precise time synchronisation is assured. Azure allows applications like CloudSwXtch to access hardware timestamps from their Mellanox network interface controllers (NICs), which provides a higher level of time synchronisation accuracy. This can allow synchronisation of virtual machines running on Azure within a few microseconds of each other – more than sufficient for most applications. With the technology now validated and available, chief financial officers looking to build scalable cloud infrastructure; chief technology officers and chief information officers seeking a broader range of products to deploy their systems; engineers and solutions architects creating solutions; and product teams developing new tools can all benefit from PTP in the cloud. Together, Microsoft Azure and can offer our common customers improved operational efficiency, a seamless user experience and the ability to fully leverage the benefits of cloud technology. Geeter Kyrazis is chief strategy officer at