Technologies shaping the future of DCI networks

Azz-Eddine Mansouri, general manager at Ciena Middle East highlights the new technologies that are shaping the future of DCI networks

Ciena, Data centre, Data Centre Interconnect, Cloud computing, Cloud

The Data Centre Interconnect (DCI) market is growing to support the increasing number of data centres in the Middle East, where it is projected to grow at a CAGR of around seven percent between 2018 and 2024, backed by government and private sector initiatives. Smart city advancements in countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia and the increasing adoption of cloud computing services have led to a high up-take of co-location spaces across existing and upcoming data centres.

The increased government support for the digital economy in the Middle East, the growth in cloud adoption, and migration from on-premise infrastructure to co-location and managed services are also expected to drive the data centre investment in the region. Large global players such as IBM, Amazon, Oracle and Microsoft have all recently opened data centres across the GCC to provide cloud services to businesses and help accelerate their journey to the hybrid cloud.  At the same time, the Internet of Things and 5G, connected cars, telemedicine and e-learning are all poised to add more demand on the network. All the content and information generated by these applications, as well as by end-users, are stored in data centres and transported across the networks that interconnect them. 

But how can network operators keep up with growing demand?  Here are a few examples of new technologies that are shaping the future of DCI networks.

DCI operators that incorporate these new technologies while updating their network architecture will have an easier experience facilitating DCI modernisation without risk.

Application optimised platforms

Purpose-built, small form-factor devices that are optimised for DCI can reduce the cost/bit for transporting interconnect traffic.  These devices are built for data centre environments, with front-to-back airflow and greater chassis depth up to 600mm.  They enable high-capacity services while reducing footprint and ongoing power consumption, and they are integrating more and more features to give customers added flexibility to address more applications.

Programmable coherent optics

DCI operators can overcome capacity limitations at any distance with advanced coherent optical chipsets and high-speed electro-optics that integrate selectable baud and higher-order modulation to open the DCI application space to include any distance from metro to long-haul and subsea.  New technologies include probabilistic constellation shaping, non-linear compensation, and advanced soft-decision forward error correction (FEC). These enable a greater degree of bandwidth programmability and reach performance, giving operators finer granularity in capacity increments to choose from and the performance to push that capacity farther.

Advanced software and network automation

Automation is needed to accelerate time to service, enable scalability, and optimise network resource utilisation. New tools and capabilities can eliminate tedious, time-consuming manual steps required to design the network for DCI services. Furthermore, multi-domain service orchestration (MDSO) automates service provisioning across layers and domains. It simplifies management complexity and service activation in complex networks, and improves the end-customer experience.

Through advanced telemetry and analytics, real-time network health information can be extracted from the network, and analytics apps can provide the intelligence to optimise capacity, increase network visibility, and improve process automation.

Advancements in DCI hardware, software and network automation have set new benchmarks for operational simplicity, scalability and virtualisation to accelerate the pace of deployment and time to market. In addition, openness and programmability speed up and simplify integration with existing back-office tools and applications. DCI operators that incorporate these new technologies while updating their network architecture will have an easier experience facilitating DCI modernisation without risk.

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