Infinera aims to unite telco, web networks with “cloud scale” architecture

Infinera has unveiled several new products and upgrades for its DTN-X portfolio designed to enable “cloud scale” network architectures – which is to say, architectures that can handle the scale requirements of both data center networks and telco networks as they increasingly blend together.

The new line-up, billed as an enhancement of Infinera’s “Intelligent Transport Network” architecture offering, includes two new platforms – the XT-3300 and the XT-3600 “meshponders” – as well as upgrades to the XTC-4 and XTC-10 Packet Optical Transport Node (P-OTN) platforms, all based on Infinera’s recently announced Infinite Capacity Engine. Infinera also announced the MTC-6 FlexILS chassis and 20-port super-channel Flexible Grid Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (FlexROADM), a key element within its flexible grid open line system.

The general problem that “cloud-scale” is trying to address is how network operators can upgrade their architectures to deal with the escalating bandwidth usage across subsea, long-haul, metro and data center interconnect (DCI) networks driven by emerging cloud-based apps such as the IoT, NFV, XaaS, video and virtual reality, says Geoff Bennett, Infinera’s director of solutions and technology.

The first thing to understand, Bennett told Disruptive.Asia, is that data center operators and telcos see the problem in different ways because their legacy topologies are different. “For the web-scale operators who run these big data centers, all they think about every day is scale. With these kinds of networks, the flows are very linear, from data center to data center. Those flows also tend to occupy the entire channel, and they can’t be divided up – you can’t do traffic engineering on them like you can in telco networks.”

By contrast, he continues, “the traffic flows in telco networks come from many different users and go to many different places, so they’re more meshed and sliceable and able to cope with surges in demand.”

The challenge, says Bennett, is that these networks are no longer the separate worlds they used to be a few years ago.

“The web-scale networks are evolving to become much more carrier-like in terms of scale and reliability. Meanwhile, telcos are adopting cloud-like architectures to the point where you see things like cloud RAN,” he explains. “Consequently, they are inheriting each other’s problems. So you need an architecture that can bring these together so you can have the best of both worlds.”

The new DTN-X products promise to do just that, helping service providers build networks that are (1) scalable and sliceable (multi-carrier super-channel technology delivering massive bandwidth per optical engine along with the ability to use SDN control to independently tune, modulate and route each wavelength), integrated and disaggregated (integrated DWDM and switching platforms working in harmony with disaggregated server-like platforms to build the most cost effective networks possible) and secure and open (i.e. completely open and programmable solutions while featuring in-flight line-rate encryption and other critical security features).

Infinera says its cloud-scale solutions can yield over 50% better total cost of ownership (TCO) over conventional networks.

Some product details from the press release:

The new server-like DTN-X XT-3300 and XT-3600 are the industry’s first meshponder platforms, which combine sliceable photonics and muxponder functionality to deliver hyper-scalability up to 2.4 Tbps along with fine-grained granularity for optical mesh networks. The server-like small form factor meshponder platforms, developed from experiences in the web scale market, seamlessly interoperate with the chassis-based DTN-X XTC switching platforms.

The Infinera DTN-X XTC-4 and XTC-10 platforms have been upgraded to support 1.2 Tbps per slot and more than double the switching and transmission capacity through non-disruptive, in-service upgrades. The new DWDM modules, powered by the Infinera Infinite Capacity Engine, co-exist with the deployed modules thereby offering complete investment protection. The DTN-X XTC now offers up to 12 Tbps of non-blocking switching capacity and unlike competitive systems, have no tradeoffs between client side tributary capacity and line side capacity.

For readers wondering what the heck a “meshponder” is, Bennett admits it’s a “markety” term, but explains that it’s “Infinera to Infinera customer shorthand notation” to distinguish the XT-3300 and XT-3600 from transponders and muxponders.

“A transponder transmits at a set rate – say, 100G in and 100G out. With a muxsponder, you can fill that 100G with multiplex 10G or 10GE, for example, but it all still goes to the same endpoint. A meshponder allows you to break apart the constituent light wavelengths in the super channel that comes out of that line card and send them in different directions,” he says. “So you’re creating a mesh of optical wavelengths but you’re muxponding into that mesh. That’s why we call it a meshponder – we wanted to be able to differentiate boxes that have sliceable capability from previous generations that didn’t have it.”

The MTC-6 FlexILS open line system chassis is shipping now. The XT-3300 platform is planned for availability in the first quarter of 2017 with the other platforms to follow starting in the second quarter of 2017.

Be the first to comment

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.