Inter-Data Center Network
In today’s networks, data centers are hubs for the information superhighways. Just as in our transportation highways, the electronically switched on-ramps often form a bottleneck and make it difficult for data centers to share processing loads or replicated large volumes of data. In some cases, large corporations have built dedicated networks to connect their data centers to
circumvent these bottlenecks, while the problem remains for the broader Internet. Metropolitan data centers in particular are often constrained in size due to limited space and move data through highly congested metro networks. A CIAN team at Columbia University has created a new network architecture that creates high capacity optical network lanes that can express directly into the internal data center networks. Virtual machines, the workhorses of cloud computing, were migrated across optical links set up on demand with a maximum latency of 361 ms using the micro-electro-mechanical-system (MEMS) optical switch developed by CIAN industry affiliate Calient.
Creating converged inter- and intra- data center networks at the optical layer provides a pathway to higher capacity and lower latency for many applications, such as cloud computing and big data processing that move large volumes of data between data centers. With optical capacities measured in 100’s of gigabits per second, this capability is a potential pathway to scaling applications to handle more data across data centers or in the cloud. It also has the potential to level the playing field so that enterprises without the resources to build a dedicated high capacity network between their data centers can reach these capacities on an affordable on demand basis.