Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Arbor: DDoS Attacks Regularly Top 100 Gbps

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are now regularly exceeding the 100 Gbps threshold and have been measured at up to 325 Gbps, according to Arbor Networks. There were 72 attacks measured at over 100 Gbps in Q1, however the number dropped to 39 attacks at this level for Q2.

“Following on from the storm of NTP reflection attacks in Q1 volumetric DDoS attacks continued to be a problem well into the second quarter, with an unprecedented 100 attacks over 100GB/sec reported so far this year. We’ve also already seen more than twice the number of attacks over 20GB/sec than we saw in the whole of last year,” said Arbor Networks Director of Solutions Architects Darren Anstee. “The frequency of very large attacks continues to be an issue, and organizations should take an integrated, multi-layered approach to protection. Even organizations with significant amounts of Internet connectivity can now see that capacity exhausted relatively easily by the attacks that are going on out there.”

Some highlights from the Arbor study:

  • 1H 2014 saw the most volumetric DDoS attacks ever, with more than 100 events over 100GB/sec reported so far this year
  • At the mid-point of 2014, 2x the number of events over 20GB/sec have been reported, as compared to all of 2013
  • The largest reported attack in Q2 was 154.69GB/sec, down 101% from Q1 2014. This was an NTP reflection attack targeting a destination in Spain.
  • NTP reflection attacks are still significant, but size and scope is down versus Q1 2014. Average NTP traffic volumes are falling back globally, but still not back to the levels of November 2013 (pre the start of NTP attack proliferation)
  • Q2 2014 saw fewer very large attacks – with average attack size down by 47% compared to Q1 2014

http://www.arbornetworks.com

Fujitsu Develops Multi-layer, Full-mesh Cluster Topology

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a technology that reduces the number of network switches used in a cluster supercomputer by 40%.

Instead of using a conventional, "fat tree" network topology, in which, for example, 6,000 servers would require about 800 switches, or possibly more than 2,000 switches, Fujitsu Labs is using a multi-layer full mesh topology in combination with a newly developed communications algorithm that controls transmission sequences to avoid data collisions.

Fujitsu said its approach can accommodate a large number of servers with relatively few switches by considering what would be an optimized data-exchange process, then connecting the cluster in a new way.  By using scheduling, servers connected to the various apex switches (A through F) will divert to a different apex, and also by avoid collisions within paths that traverse different layers (a1 through d3).

http://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2014/0715-02.html

AWS Offers 10-40% Discounts for Annual Subscriptions

Amazon Web Services introduced annual subscription plans for the 26 categories of infrastructure, developer tools, and business applications currently offered in the AWS Marketplace.

The annual subscription, which offers a single upfront payment at at discount of 10-40% over the hourly rate, enables an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instance type to have unlimited use of the software for the next 12 months. Annual subscriptions are be available for more than 90 software products from ISVs such as Alert Logic, Barracuda, Citrix, Fortinet, MicroStrategy, Progress Software, Riverbed, Sophos, Tenable, and Vormetric.

http://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/

Box Adds Office 365 Integrations, Removes Storage Limits

Box announced two new integrations with Microsoft Office 365 and removed storage limits for all customers of its Business plan.

“The competition for business customers will no longer be about how much information a solution enables them to store, but rather, what it allows them to do with that information,” said Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO, Box. “Our deep integrations into the Office 365 suite expand our commitment of building capabilities that make content stored on our platform more valuable, information more powerful, and companies of all sizes more connected.”

http://www.boxworks2014.com


In June, Microsoft extended its offer of 1 TB of OneDrive storage to all versions of Office 365, including the 5-person home version that costs $9.99 per month and the personal version costing $6.99 per month.

Microsoft said the landscape for online services is quickly changing and that merely providing cloud storage is table stakes.  By providing 1 TB with Office 365, Microsoft effectively supercedes the storage-only providers. 


Google responded by announcing Drive for Work, a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, individual file sizes up to 5TB, advanced audit reporting and new security controls for $10/user/month. Google Drive for Work offers 24x7 phone support and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Fujitsu's E-Band Radio Boasts Rates of 3.0 Gbps

Fujitsu introduced its new BroadOne GX4000 E-Band radio for the North American market.

The BroadOne GX4000 Series, which operates in the 70/80 GHz or E-band, features a patented Impulse Radio Technology boasting 3 Gbps (uncompressed) transmission rates and ultra-low latency. Latency is rated at under 20 microseconds per 1 link in CPRI mode. A compact form factor makes the GX4000 ideally suited for applications requiring ultra-high capacity, short spans, where fiber is not available.

It can be used in the following modes:

  • Gigabit Ethernet transport, typically applied for backhauling mobile/fixed networks: An E-band link is an ideal complement to wired backhaul technology, as it provides enough transmission capacity to support radically increased data traffic demands within a short timeframe.
  • CPRI (Common Public Radio Interface) transport, for fronthaul in mobile networks: The expansion of LTE and LTE-Advanced introduces the distributed radio access network architecture, or Cloud-RAN. The new challenge for mobile network operators will be fronthaul, i.e., securing many connections between a centralized-baseband unit (BBU) and remote radio head (RRH) in the most reliable, cost efficient method. The GX4000 provides an industry-leading solution to address the fronthaul challenge, while at the same time reducing OPEX, with a flexible, easy to deploy solution.
  • Portable networks for disaster recovery and low-latency transport: Wireless transport solutions are extremely important if a communications network is heavily damaged and infrastructure must be quickly restored. The GX4000 is an ideal solution for getting emergency data traffic back up and running in a short amount of time.

“As one of the world’s leading microwave providers, Fujitsu is pleased to introduce our patented Impulse Radio Technology to the North American market,” said Tetsuya Takase, Head of the Wireless Business Unit. “This breakthrough technology provides real advantages over traditional carrier-based transmission, making the BroadOne GX4000 platform a perfect fit for delivering ultra-high capacity communications in a variety of settings, including hospitals, campuses, and residential areas, ultimately helping to improve the customer experience.”

http://us.fujitsu.com/telecom

Coriant and Allied Fiber Test 1 Terabit Super-Channel

Coriant and Allied Fiber successfully transmitted a 1 Terabit-per-second (Tbps) super-channel over a 1,700 km fiber optic ring connecting West Palm Beach to Jacksonville, Florida.

The terabit field trial was conducted on Allied Fiber’s Southeast Florida segment using the commercially available Coriant hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport Platform and pre-commercial software, over Allied Fiber's new Corning fiber. The trial demonstrated 1 Tbps super-channel transmission in a 368.7 gigahertz (GHz) grid over 1,700 km. In addition, it showed a greater than 35 percent improvement in spectral efficiency which significantly increases the capacity of the system compared to conventional fixed grid technology.


The trial also demonstrated the flexible allocation of the 1 Tbps super-channel by placing it in three separate locations within the C-band, thus maximizing the usability of existing fiber resources.

Coriant said this capability comes with an improved spectral efficiency of 3.4 bits per second per Hertz (b/s/Hz) and provides a maximum fiber capacity of 13 Tbps over a distance of 1,700 km on field-installed fiber while using commercial-grade equipment.

"We are pleased to team with Allied Fiber to demonstrate the value that next-generation optical networking technologies can bring to broadband users," said Pat DiPietro, CEO, Coriant. "We are committed to helping our partners like Allied Fiber meet the capacity requirements of residential and business end-user services with systems capable of seamless and efficient scalability to 1 Terabit per channel and beyond."

"We are excited with the results of the trial with Coriant on our network-neutral infrastructure," said Hunter Newby, CEO of Allied Fiber. "It highlights how our new Corning SMF 28e+ fiber has performed carrying 1 Terabit transmission which should be encouraging news for all network operators looking to light their own transport route both for the capabilities of the technology and for the availability of the long-haul dark fiber to run it on."

Allied Fiber, which was founded in 2008, offers a combination of long-haul and multi-access point, short-haul fiber coupled with its own colocation facilities that provide control of the underlying physical assets to its network operator customers.

http://www.coriant.com
http://www.alliedfiber.com

AT&T Delivers Global MPLS VPN for K+S

K+S, an international commodities company, has awarded a five-year contract to AT&T move K+S's current network infrastructure to AT&T's single global private network. This will enable K+S to connect its operations, comprising 200 locations in Europe, North and South America and Asia. AT&T will provide a primary MPLS-based VPN, complemented by a secondary Internet connection.

"It's clear that K+S wanted better visibility of its communications around the world.  And that's just what our strategic network services are designed to give them, providing them with a platform for supporting their future success," said Vice President, Germany and Central Europe, AT&T, Joachim Kathmann.

http://www.att.com

Cisco and Microsoft Ink 3-Year Data Center Deal

Cisco and Microsoft announced a three-year marketing deal for transforming data centers through the delivery of integrated solutions for enterprise customers and service providers. The program focuses on the migration of Windows 2003 customers to Windows 2012 R2 on the Cisco UCS platform.

In year one, the companies will target six countries — the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia—with expansion to additional countries in the following years. The companies will align partner incentive programs to accelerate solutions selling via mutual channel partners.

http://www.cisco.com
http://www.microsoft.com

ADTRAN Reports Strong Q2, Rising International Sales

 ADTRAN reported Q2 revenue of $176,129,000 compared to $162,233,000 for the second quarter of 2013. Operating income was $19,339,000 compared to $14,053,000 for the second quarter of 2013. Net income was $14,395,000 compared to $9,859,000 for the second quarter of 2013. Earnings per share, assuming dilution, were $0.26 compared to $0.17 for the second quarter of 2013.

ADTRAN Chief Executive Officer Tom Stanton stated, “Our long stated goal of geographic diversification continued to pay dividends in the second quarter as international revenues reached a record $79 million. This strength drove our Broadband Access category to achieve record revenues, growing 33% over the same period last year. Operating income increased 38% over the same period last year.”

ADTRAN's Board of Directors declared a cash dividend for Q2 2014 of $0.09 per common share to be paid to holders of record at the close of business on July 31, 2014.

http://www.adtran.com

Narus and Politecnico di Torino Open Cyber Innovation Center

Narus and the Politecnico di Torino have opened a new Cyber Innovation Center on the campus of this prestigious engineering university.

The new center will focus on advanced cybersecurity research projects and prototyping of technologies that help identify and resolve cyber threats. Leveraging the expertise of local talent, the new center will also foster advanced science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education while generating new technologies that will be integrated into Narus products.

“Narus has a long history innovating in the area of cybersecurity through its fellows program, which has included leading global universities like the Politecnico di Torino for five years. These partnerships have resulted in a number of joint patents and technologies that are incorporated into Narus products,” said John Trobough, president, Narus. "Expanding the program by funding research effort in Europe opens up a large pool of talented people here as we enhance collaboration between nations on both sides of the Atlantic.”

http://www.narus.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

IBM Chalks up Gains from Softlayer Acquisition

One year after acquiring Softlayer for $2 billion, IBM reported continued gains in its cloud leadership positions in terms of new enterprise customers and the launch of differentiated services.

IBM said the hybrid cloud model is catching on with new enterprise customers such as Macy’s, Whirlpool, Daimler subsidiary moovel Gmbh, Sicoss Group and others. Clients can maintain on-premise control of key applications and data while moving other workloads – so-called systems of engagement with customers and partners -- to the cloud for quick access to data, expansion of new services and cost reductions. The company says nearly half of its top 100 strategic outsourcing clients,  who are among the world's largest enterprises, are already implementing cloud solutions with IBM as they transition to a hybrid cloud model.

IBM now has over 1,000 business partners signed on to offer their services on SoftLayer, ranging from leading global players such as Avnet, Arrow Electronics and Ingram Micro, to cloud-based services and solution providers like Mirantis, Assimil8, Silverstring, Clipcard, SilverSky, and Cnetric Enterprise Solutions.

SoftLayer is expected to play a pivotal role in delivering IBM's rich data and analytics portfolio.  Already more than 300 services within the IBM cloud marketplace are is based on SoftLayer. This includes data and analytics and SoftLayer offerings such as the IBM multi-enterprise Relationship Management SaaS that connects and manages shared business processes across a variety of communities, Time Series Database that connects applications to the Internet of Things and Analytics Warehouse which provides an agile platform for data warehousing and analytics.

New capabilities the company plans to launch via its Bluemix developer platform include:

  • Watson Engagement Advisor on SoftLayer, which allows organizations to gain timely and actionable insights from big data, transforming the client experience through natural conversational interactions with system that get smarter with use. Running on IBM's POWER8 processor, IBM Power Systems integrated into SoftLayer's infrastructure will handle big data, analytics and cognitive requirements in the cloud.
  • Watson Developer Cloud on Softlayer, which allows access for third party developers, entrepreneurs, academics, and system integrators looking to harness Watson's cognitive capabilities in the products and services they bring to market.
  • Aspera high-speed transfer technology, which lets users to move large unstructured and structured data with maximum speed and security, regardless of data size, distance or network conditions.
  • Elastic Storage, which is a new software-defined storage-as-a-service offering built on SoftLayer that provides organizations with high-speed access to large volumes of data and seamless data management between their on-premises infrastructure and the cloud.
  • Hourly billing for bare-metal servers 
  • IBM Cloud modular management, which is a fully automated service management system for cloud application environments. 
  • Jumpgate, which allows for interoperability between clouds by providing compatibility between the OpenStack API and a provider's proprietary API.

"In its first year, SoftLayer has proven to be a pivotal acquisition for IBM Cloud," said Erich Clementi, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services. "SoftLayer has quickly become the foundation of IBM's cloud portfolio anchoring our infrastructure, platform andsoftware-as-a-service offerings and transforming the fortunes of many industry companies from Web start ups to established enterprises looking for the speed, flexibility and security that hybrid cloud environments provide. Of all the options for public or private clouds in the market, IBM Cloud with all of its resources, assets and expertise is the logical choice for a world where the volume and complexity of data-rich workloads grows exponentially every day. "

http://www.ibm.com/cloud

Last month, IBM opened the first of two new Softlayer Cloud Services data centers designed and dedicated for U.S. government workloads and compliant with Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements.

The first of the new data centers is located in Dallas, Texas  Later this year, IBM anticipates activating a companion center in Ashburn, Virginia.  Each of the high-security data centers will have initial capacity for 30,000 servers.  They will be connected by an isolated, robust private network with 2 Tbps of capacity.


In May 2014, IBM unveiled its Elastic Storage” technology which it claims offers "unprecedented performance, infinite scale, and is capable of reducing storage costs up to 90 percent by automatically moving data onto the most economical storage device."

The patented storage software is aimed the most data-intensive applications, such as seismic data processing, risk management and financial analysis, weather modeling, and scientific research. The software automatically manages data locally and globally, providing breakthrough speed in data access, easier administration and the ability to scale technology infrastructures quickly and more cost-effectively as data volumes expand. In addition, these advances can work with any company’s storage systems to provide automated and virtualized storage.

IBM said the architectural limits of its Elastic Storage stretch into the thousands of “yottabytes.” A yottabyte is one billion petabytes, or the equivalent of a data center the size of one million city blocks, which would fill the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. IBM Research has demonstrated that Elastic Storage can successfully scan 10 billion files on a single cluster in just 43 minutes. Elastic Storage builds on IBM’s global file system software.  It exploits server-side Flash for up to six times increase in performance than with standard SAS disks. Elastic Storage virtualizes the storage allowing multiple systems and applications to share common pools of storage.  It also automatically and intelligently moves data to the most strategic and economic storage system available.

In January 2014, IBM announced plans to invest $1.2 billion to expand its cloud business and build on its acquisition of Softlayer data centers last year. The plans call for 15 new data centers worldwide, including new Softlayer facilities in Washington D.C., Mexico City, Dallas, China, Hong Kong, London, Japan, India and Canada. The expansion will bring the number of IBM cloud data centers to about 40 worldwide.

http://www.ibm.com
http://www.softlayer.com

Whirlpool's Hybrid Cloud Integrates IBM Softlayer Servers with AT&T NetBound

Whirlpool is transitioning from an on-premise hosting environment to a globally integrated cloud model that combines IBM's Softlayer infrastructure with AT&T Netbond private network access.

Whirlpool chose to deploy a SoftLayer Infrastructure on bare metal servers. IBM Cloud Managed Services and AT&T NetBond are foundational elements for the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) environment

"As a global organization that operates in almost every country in the world, we needed to find a way to grow our capacity to store and track business-critical data and address compliance activities to respond to market dynamics more quickly," said Whirlpool Vice President of IT Operations and Security Alan Douville. "Based on our longstanding relationship with IBM, IBM Cloud and SoftLayer Infrastructure served as an opportunity to continue to drive transformation within our business and migrate mission-critical workloads securely to a cloud environment and provide us with the flexibility to respond faster to issues that impact our business."

"Coupling our integrated approach and industry-specific expertise with solutions like IBM Cloud Managed Services and SoftLayer provide our clients with the means to quickly differentiate themselves in crowded and increasingly competitive markets," said IBM Cloud Services General Manger James Comfort. "Our ongoing work with Whirlpool is providing the company with robust scalability and enterprise-grade cloud capabilities that are best suited for its long-term requirements.

http://www.ibm.com/cloud

https://www.synaptic.att.com/clouduser/html/productdetail/ATT_NetBond.htm

  • AT&T NetBond uses a software-defined and virtual connection that runs over AT&T’s MPLS core backbone. On its website, AT&T says NetBond will be able to provide coordinated, on-demand provisioning of private network connectivity and cloud compute resources for accommodating dynamic workload distribution across a customer’s hybrid cloud.  It features a pay-as-you-go pricing model with a minimum commitment.

Spain's IslaLink Deploys Infinera's DTN-X on Submarine Network

Spain's IslaLink S.A. has deployed the Infinera DTN-X packet optical transport networking platform across its submarine network connecting the Balearic Islands and the Spanish mainland.

The Infinera Intelligent Transport Network enables IslaLink to rapidly deliver 10 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet services to other network operators.

"This submarine cable connection is a critical route for us requiring high capacity 100G technology with OTN switching and extensive Raman technology," said Ross Mullins, IslaLink COO. "The Infinera Intelligent Transport Network was an ideal solution for this network based on its super-channel technology, terabit switching capability, ease of operation and high reliability."

The DTN-X platform fetaures the only commercially available single-card 500 Gbps FlexCoherent super-channel solution, which is based on Infinera's widely deployed photonic integrated circuits. These 500 Gb/s super-channels are engineered to enable IslaLink to scale to terabits of transmission capacity, integrating DWDM optical transmission in a single platform that are designed to be capable of supporting up to 12 terabits per second of non-blocking OTN switching as their traffic requirements grow in the future.

http://www.infinera.com
http://www.islalink.com/

T-Mobile's VoLTE is Powered by Mavenir's IMS Core

Mavenir Systems confirmed that T-Mobile US' recent VoLTE launch was enabled using Mavenir’s converged IMS voice solution, which was first deployed to launch Wi-Fi Calling in 2011. T-Mobile leveraged those early investments in Wi-Fi Calling to accelerate network readiness and launch VoLTE service.

Mavenir provides the end-to-end IMS solution including key IMS components such as the CSCF (Call Session Control Function), Session Border Controller (SBC), Telephony Application Server (TAS), as well as professional services to perform verification and integration testing to ensure successful end-to-end service interworking.

“Mavenir continues to lead in the deployment of Voice over LTE in key markets,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mavenir Systems. “We are working with tier one operators globally to transform their networks to 4G LTE and introduce new and innovative services.”

http://www.mavenir.com

In June, T-Mobile confirmed its expansion of 15+15MHz Wideband LTE to 16 total markets and VoLTE to 15 total markets reaching over 100 million people.  The carrier's overall LTE footprint will exceed 230 million pops by the end this month.

Wideband LTE enables peak network download speeds up to nearly 150 Mbps.

T-Mobile was the first major provider to launch VoLTE. It now supports VoLTE on four devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S 5. In addition to expanding the number of markets served by VoLTE, the company is nearly doubling the amount of data dedicated to voice calls for highest fidelity HD Voice and faster call setup times. For HD Voice, T-Mobile US uses a 23.85 Kbps voice codec rate.  In addition, the company confirmed that it now expects to have VoLTE nationwide by the end of the year.

“The old telecoms designed their networks for a time when your phone’s only app was a phone call—and they haven’t shaken that dial-tone mind-set,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile. “Our 4G LTE network was built in the last year and a half, so naturally we built it differently.  We built it for the way people use smartphones and tablets today, and we built it with a mobile Internet architecture, so we could roll out new technologies faster.”

Verizon Sees Continued Strong Adoption of Smartphones and Tablets

Verizon Wireless continued to see strong smartphone additions, company-record tablet additions and net additions for handsets during Q2 2014.

Lowell McAdam told the Allen & Company conference in Sun Valley, Idaho that Verizon Wireless expects to report a net of more than 1.4 million retail postpaid additions in second-quarter 2014. McAdam said Verizon also continues to see Wireless margins consistent with the last several quarters, with second-quarter 2014 Wireline margin improving compared with first-quarter 2014.

Full results are expected on July 22.

http://newscenter.verizon.com/corporate/news-articles/2014/07-10-vz-comments-on-strong-2q-results/

ZTE Raises its Financial Outlook

Citing strong momentum in its 4G infrastructure operations, ZTE raised its forecast for first-half profit to between RMB 1 billion and RMB 1.15 billion, an increase of between 223% and 271% from a year earlier.  This compared with earlier guidance of between RMB 800 million to RMB 1 billion.

The company said it continues to improve its cost controls and operational management.  It also noted improved profitability in international contracts.

Some highlights:

  • 4G infrastructure accounted for an increased proportion of revenue.
  •  ZTE retained its position as the leading vendor of 4G infrastructure to China Mobile, achieving increased market share in the tender this year. 
  • ZTE consolidated its position as the leading vendor of 4G infrastructure to China Telecom and China Unicom.
  • 4G devices are now expected to account for 40% of total terminals shipments in 2014. ZTE achieved strong performance in the United States, especially in the prepay handset market, benefiting from the availability of new innovative products and cooperation with partners.
  • The Enterprise Business division continues to see fast growth. The company’s information technology applications and solutions are used by customers including Tencent, Bank of China, China FAW, PetroChina, and China Eastern Airlines.
  • ZTE expects its business will benefit from the the award of FDD-LTE licenses in China, and the investment in 4G networks in markets such as Japan and India. 


http://wwwen.zte.com.cn/en/press_center/news/201407/t20140714_425705.html

Riverbed Issues Q2 Warning

Riverbed Technology trimmed its financial guidance for Q2 citing longer than expected sales cycles in North America.

Riverbed now expects non-GAAP revenue for Q2’14 to be in the range of $264 million to $265 million, compared to the company’s previous guidance of $274 million to $280 million.  Q2’14 non-GAAP earnings are expected to be at the low end of the company’s previous guidance of $0.26 to $0.28 per diluted share.

“Second quarter sales were below our expectations, principally in North America as we experienced longer sales cycles on some of our larger and more complex deals.  We have carefully reviewed our opportunities and prospects for the remainder of the year and continue to have confidence in our ability to grow the business and deliver targeted earnings performance,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, chairman and CEO, Riverbed.  “During the quarter, we continued to prudently manage expenses and focus on achieving operating leverage, as demonstrated by our solid EPS performance within our guided range.”

Full results are expected on July 24, 2014.

http://www.riverbed.com/investors

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blueprint: Distributed and Virtualized Data Center Architecture

by Vinay Rathore
Sr. Director Solutions Marketing, Infinera

While there has been a strong trend toward creating bigger and more powerful centralized data centers to meet end user needs, there has been another less notable trend toward pushing the data center closer to the end users for the same reasons.  Large data centers create efficiency through a centralized location that accommodates equipment that shares centralized resources (UPS, generators, HVAC, other networks, etc.).  The goal is to minimize cost and maximize functionality and reliability of the data center itself.  However, many end users find that they prefer certain mission critical elements of their IT infrastructure to be physically closer to their offices, rather than in a central data center that could be far away. This has given rise to the need for a data center solution physically closer to the customer (aka virtualized data center), which essentially comprise a network extension of the centralized data center into space that is physically closer to the end user, while still offering many of the traditional data center services.  For some locations, such as a remote business park, building a full service, but smaller scale data center may be justified; for others a virtual data center is the next best option.

Why centralized data centers don’t work for some enterprises

Today, enterprises are more dependent upon their IT infrastructure than ever before. Further, they no longer want the burden of managing IT complexity, a function typically far from their core competency. Instead, they simply prefer to move IT resources into a location where space, power and network access is abundant and can be managed remotely. For some enterprises, this model creates a dilemma. The question that arises is, “How should I treat certain mission critical applications in a data center that is 30 kilometers away, shared and in some case not easily accessible (physically, that is)?’ Some business applications don’t care about such parameters, like HR or CRM applications, but others, such as proprietary algorithmic trading or transaction-oriented processes, may suffer due to latency and need for control. The alternative is to keep an IT facility onsite, but ideally there is a preference for someone else to manage it.

Do enterprise users prefer virtualized data centers?

As more enterprise users move toward cloud-based applications, performance and speed of innovation (aka speed of change) become important.  This has driven the desire to have some portion of infrastructure be located in a high performance, controlled IT facility, while other portions can be operated over a public infrastructure, creating a hybrid cloud network.  This concept of a hybrid cloud is defined as having some portion of cloud infrastructure operating in a public cloud facility, and another portion operating in a private facility, usually to meet specific end user demands, such as security, location, accessibility, reliability, etc.. Many large enterprises, including financial and retail enterprises, can address this with a private infrastructure they build themselves,  or outsource it to a data center operator/integrator, who would own and maintain the space and connect it back to the main data center, where a rich set of other cloud services may be available.


Why would data center operators do this?

The concept of the virtual data center is about both revenue and opportunity.  By addressing a specific large enterprise, perhaps through a customized virtual data center solution, data center operators also create opportunity to attract larger, more profitable end users while establishing a footprint in a new market segment.  In fact, many Fortune 500 companies have already started to engage in such strategies by building their own private networks using leased space and contracting companies to manage the network.  This concept of the virtual data center has been shown to be popular in large metropolitan locations, where customers are spread out across larger distances.

Overcoming the network challenge

The key challenge is how to extend the central data center to a virtual location efficiently. In fact, there are several ways to overcome this network challenge, including technology, operational simplicity and ultra-high performance. All of the key operational challenges concern space utilization, power consumption and the need for a high performance network.  In this case, two key technological innovations that enable such solutions to become reality: photonic integration and optical super-channels.

The value of photonic integration lies in replacing multiple discrete components with a single highly integrated optical integrated circuit, also known as the photonic integrated circuit (PIC). A key value of the PIC is that it reduces space and power while ultimately providing higher performance network capacity.  It follows the same philosophy of integrated circuits in our laptops replacing discrete transistors that were much larger and consumed much more power. Ultimately the real value of photonic integration is that it takes the highest power consuming components (e.g., network side lasers) and integrates them into a small compact device that consumes significantly less power and space.

Optical super-channels

Optical superchannels are defined as a group of smaller, more granular optical channels that are bundled into a single, larger optical group that provides equivalent high performance, but also adds the simplicity of managing fewer circuits. For example, would you rather manage 50 x 10G fiber circuits or manage 5 x 100G fiber circuits?

If we agree that PIC based optical superchannels are the simplest and most cost effective way of deploying network capacity, the next question is one of reliability. Fortunately, PIC technology is so reliable that it features an expected Failure in Time (FIT) of more than 1 Billion hours (Source: Infinera).  This solution results in increased reliability with photonic integration and simplification with superchannels that deliver performance.

Conclusion

As the data center market continues to evolve, large centralized data centers and smaller virtual data centers that are closer to the end users will co-exist.  The concept of the hybrid cloud plays a role in that it addresses the need for large enterprises to keep certain mission critical resources close to them while locating other assets in large, more economical and centralized facilities.  This solution also creates opportunity for data center operators to offer value-added services, from the basic virtual storage and computing services to the fully outsourced IT solutions that make the operators more indispensable to the enterprise.  The critical element in this solution remains the network, which must be simple and efficient. From the technology angle, technologies such as photonic integration and optical super-channels will be critical to ensuring the deployment of simple, efficient and high performance virtual data center solutions.

About the Author

Vinay Rathore is Sr. Director Solutions Marketing at Infinera.

Mr. Rathore brings over 20 years of telecom experience across a broad array of technology. He has helped some of the world’s largest operators and suppliers including Sprint, Global One, MCI, Alcatel and Ciena build & market their newest solutions. His areas of expertise include network engineering, operations, sales & marketing in both wire-line and wireless systems as well as leading edge network solutions spanning Layer 0 to Layer 3. Mr. Rathore holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute as well as an MBA from the University of Texas.

About Infinera

Infinera provides Intelligent Transport Networks to help carriers exploit the increasing demand for cloud-based services and data center connectivity as they advance into the Terabit Era. Infinera is unique in its use of breakthrough semiconductor technology to deliver large scale PICs and the application of PICs to vertically integrated optical networking solutions that deliver the industry’s only commercially available 500 Gb/s FlexCoherent super-channels. Infinera Intelligent Transport Network solutions include the DTN-X, DTN and ATN platforms. Find more at www.infinera.com.

See also