FCC Investigates AT&T Wireless 911 Outage

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Today’s topics include the Federal Communications Commission’s demand for an investigation on AT&T’s 911 outage on March 8, Microsoft’s announcement it will use ARM chips in new cloud servers, Microsoft’s developer friendly Visual Studio Team Services and TidalScale’s new server offering 'Inverse Virtualization.'

The FCC is investigating an AT&T 911 service outage which affected wireless customers across wide areas of the United States for several hours on March 8.

AT&T confirmed the 911 outage for some wireless customers in an email reply to an inquiry from eWEEK, but did not release full details of what happened, how many customers or what areas of the country were affected by the outage.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has directed his staff to find out what caused the 911 service outage for AT&T wireless customers and provide a full report. A story by The New York Times reported that the service outage affected AT&T customers in at least 14 states and Washington, D.C.

Microsoft said March 8 that for the first time, it has decided to start using chips based on ARM Holdings designs in the hundreds of thousands of servers that run its cloud services.

This isn't exactly welcome news for Intel, Microsoft’s longtime partner and a leader in the data-center processors market. Because ARM processors use less power than Intel's, Microsoft is seeking to cut costs in its fast-growing Azure cloud business.

Microsoft has more than 100 data centers in 38 regions around the world where it could use the new cloud servers, which are based on a design called Project Olympus and powered by ARM-based chips.

Microsoft previewed some of the upcoming features coming to Visual Studio Team Services, its cloud-based source code management offering.

Visual Studio 2017 reached the long-anticipated general availability milestone March 7, along with the first major update for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2017.

Microsoft is also teasing some of the features coming up in Visual Studio Team Services, the cloud-based component formally known as Visual Studio Online.

Among the new features that Microsoft has in the works for team services are conditional tasks, multi-phase builds and shared variables, according to corporate vice president Brian Harry.

A little-known startup called TidalScale may well have come up with the biggest advance in servers since VMware's virtualization of the Intel IA-32 platform 18 years ago. TidalScale is doing something it calls "inverse virtualization."

Instead of taking a standard server and slicing it up into smaller pieces for individual applications, TidalScale aggregates computing power from various commodity-type boxes from within a system and corrals it all into a single computing ocean of DRAM computing power. TidalScale already has several units in daily production whose owners say it works very well.