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May 8, 2017

Top Five Lessons Learned from DCI Deployments - Part Two

By Jay Gill
Principal Product Marketing Manager

With the Cloud Xpress 2 heading toward deployment in multiple customer networks, we’re looking back at a few lessons learned from Cloud Xpress deployments over the past two years. Last week in Part One, I covered the first two lessons, learned from enterprise datacenter interconnect (DCI) deployments. Today, let’s look at three more lessons, learned from communication service providers (CSPs) and internet content providers (ICPs).

Lesson #3:  Simple, compact, low-power DCI solutions enable unforeseen, creative applications in communication service providers.

As customers have learned how simple it is to deploy compact DCI with the Cloud Xpress, a few of them have identified creative applications that we hadn’t envisioned. One example is an intra-building DCI application in a large multi-floor data center, shown in Figure 1. The CSP customer typically connects to its customers in a “meet-me room” on another floor by requesting a new fiber pair from the facility operator for each new customer connection, resulting in a waiting period of several days and a new monthly recurring charge. By using the Cloud Xpress, the CSP creates a “virtual point-of-presence” (PoP) with 500 gigabits per second (Gb/s) of pre-deployed capacity in the meet-me room, with a very low space and power footprint, enabling new customer services to be provisioned immediately and creating a competitive advantage while saving on fiber charges.

Cloud Xpress for Intra-building DCI
Figure 1: Cloud Xpress for Intra-building DCI

Another creative application for the Cloud Xpress that we hadn’t anticipated is a simplified optical transport layer for a research and education Internet Protocol (IP) routing backbone, which was detailed in a previous blog post.

In both cases, the key lesson is that a compact, simple optical transport solution can be valuable in many more applications than traditional DCI.

Lesson #4: For ICPs, simple is great, but automated is even better. DCI should fit into customers’ automation frameworks.

While ICPs embraced the simplicity and scalability of the Cloud Xpress from the start, they have also continued to ask for new capabilities that help them meet their goal of automating network deployment and operations as much as possible to enable efficient scaling. Infinera has worked with these customers to make the Cloud Xpress fully open and programmable and implement features that support various automation tasks, from zero-touch provisioning and topology discovery to encryption management and streaming telemetry, as shown in Figure 2.

Integrating DCI Into Management and Automation Systems
Figure 2: Integrating DCI Into Management and Automation Systems

For more about how DCI systems support ICP automation goals, check out our recent contributed article published in Lightwave, Cloud Automation Enhances Optical Data Center Interconnect.

Lesson #5: DCI encryption needs to be built in with high performance and meet the highest security standards.

Since the introduction of the Cloud Xpress, we have heard an increasing number of customers requiring built-in encryption for all their DCI links. Customers have many motivations for DCI encryption, from financial services firms with very high-value, highly sensitive data streams to cloud service providers who need to reassure their customers about the security of the cloud.

DCI encryption requirements include:

  • Line-rate, 100% throughput
  • Minimal added latency
  • Minimal added cost
  • Fits into existing security frameworks
  • Conforms to the highest security standards

To address this growing demand, we added built-in support for encryption that meets all of the above requirements to all new Cloud Xpress models starting in 2015, including the latest Cloud Xpress 2.

We have learned a lot from our customers and their DCI deployments to date, and we know that we will continue to learn from them. Existing customers will continue to evolve and optimize their network architectures and operations processes, and new customers will challenge us with previously unforeseen applications. We’re looking forward to learning alongside our customers and evolving our DCI solutions to meet each new opportunity.


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