Riding the 100G Wave

Jay Gill, Principal Product Marketing Manager

Jay Gill, Principal Product Marketing Manager

By Jay Gill, Principal Product Marketing Manager at Infinera

With the launch of the Cloud Xpress family in 2014, Infinera created a new market for cloud-optimized, hyper-scale datacenter transport. From the beginning, we said that Cloud Xpress would support customers needing to interconnect datacenters with 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), 40 GbE and 100 GbE. Last week, we made good on the promise, announcing the newest Cloud Xpress with 100 GbE to complement the platforms optimized for 10 and 40 GbE, which have been shipping since late 2014.

Some observers asked us, “Does the market really need 100 GbE yet, or is this going to be a niche product for a while?”

Our answer is clear: The time for 100 GbE is now and we plan to sell a lot of it.

I understand where the question is coming from. Though 100 GbE has been hyped for some time, early implementations were expensive, bulky and power-hungry. But as with every prior transition between Ethernet data rates, 100 GbE has clearly reached the tipping point. 100 GbE ports on datacenter switches are now more cost-effective and provide better density than 10 or 40 GbE for anyone who needs the bandwidth. QSFP28 optical modules support 100 GbE in the same form factor as the popular 40 GbE QSFP+, and at a much higher density than alternatives such as CFP or CFP2 modules.

Sources: cfp-msa.org, sffcommittee.com, Infinera analysis

Sources: cfp-msa.org, sffcommittee.com, Infinera analysis

 

As a result, 100 GbE ports using QSFP28 are taking off inside the datacenter. Based on various analyst projections, it looks likely that 100G datacenter switch port shipments will surpass 40G within 2 years and comprise over a third of all new ports by 2018. But those aggregate statistics hide the fact that hyper-scale datacenter operators, such as Internet Content Providers (ICPs) and Internet Exchange (IX) providers, are leading the 100G adoption and moving much faster. They are already telling us that they have an urgent need to extend 100 GbE links between their datacenters this year.

That’s why Cloud Xpress with 100 GbE is perfectly timed for the market.

And, as far as we can tell, Cloud Xpress will also be the first optical transport product of its class shipping 100 GbE ports based on QSFP28.

The density of QSFP28 allowed us to include five 100 GbE ports and still have room for sixteen 10 GbE SFP+ ports on the narrow 2 RU faceplate. This allows customers to fill up the 500 Gb/s line capacity with a flexible mix of 10 and 100 GbE links – without any breakout cables — which can be useful in many growth and migration scenarios.

As we look ahead, we can see even greater 100 GbE densities aligning with increasing optical line capacity provided by Infinera’s unique PIC technology, which will allow the Cloud Xpress family to continue to scale along with our customers’ ever-growing bandwidth demands. Come along and ride the 100G wave!

 

For more information, check out the following links:

 

 

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June 29, 2015 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

Infinera Named Ne Plus Ultra of the Rapidly Growing ICP and DCI Market by IHS

Mark Showalter, Senior Director, Marketing Communications

Mark Showalter, Senior Director, Marketing Communications

By Mark Showalter

While much of the optical industry is enjoying the 17th Annual Next Generation Optical Networking show in Nice this week, I am basking in the light of the recently published 2015 Optical Network Hardware Vendor Scorecard from Andrew Schmitt, research director, Carrier Transport Networking at IHS (formerly Infonetics Research). In the report IHS names Infinera the ‘ne plus ultra of the rapidly growing Internet content provider and datacenter interconnection market’.

Latin is not my strong suit so I referred to the Cloud to look up what this meant and found the following from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of NE PLUS ULTRA

1 :  the highest point capable of being attained

2 :  the most profound degree of a quality or state

Hard to top that! The report further highlights Infinera as leading with ‘outstanding customer perceptions, large market share gains and tight finances.’

Last year, Infonetics Research ranked Infinera the top optical vendor in the 2014 Optical Network Hardware Vendor Scorecard, reporting “Infinera is #1 this year as a result of very high ratings among customers for technology innovation, reliability, and service and support.”

This year, IHS (formerly Infonetics Research) refined their scoring system and ranked each of the top ten optical hardware vendors into one of three categories: Leader, Established or Challenger, depending on overall score. We are thrilled to see Infinera named as one of three to make up the top category – Leader.

Andrew Schmitt offered further insight into the ranking: “Infinera has excellent scores across the board and as such it is no surprise that Infinera is ranked as a leader. Infinera has market presence with excellent scores from customers for product reliability, service and support. The company also had excellent momentum as a result of big market share gains in 2014 and is the top perceived vendor when it comes to technology innovation.”

While all of us at Infinera are delighted by this award, I think our CEO Tom Fallon says it best:

“The IHS Optical Network Hardware Vendor scorecard shows that Infinera’s focus on customer satisfaction, quality and market leading innovation continues to resonate with global network operators. We are honored to receive the highest recognition from IHS for the second year running based on our success deploying Intelligent Transport Networks around the world.”

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June 24, 2015 at 8:18 AM Leave a comment

Reflecting on Our Image in the Glassdoor – Taking an Honest Look at Our Position in the Employment Market

Jessy Kirkwood, Sr. Manager, Internal Communications & Training

Jessy Kirkwood, Sr. Manager, Internal Communications & Training

By Jessamyn Kirkwood, Senior Manager, Internal Communications and Training

Since 2008, Glassdoor has offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it’s like to work for the top US companies. This information can be extremely valuable to potential employees in determining whether an organization is a good fit for their career objectives. However, the same data can also provide helpful insights for corporations looking to understand themselves and their industry better. At Infinera, we see it not only as an opportunity for others to preview our culture and values, but for us to reflect upon the image looking back at us in the glass.

Unlike engagement surveys or exit interviews, which limit responses to only current or departing employees (and those who take the time to share their feedback), Glassdoor includes former employees, expanding the pool and introducing different perspectives. The most recent summary of Infinera and its competitors offers a fascinating view on where our industry stands in the employment market.

Ratings_1

As a whole, the optical networking business appears to raise up strong senior leaders. The CEO approval rating for three out of four of the companies below is well above average for Glassdoor. Organizations, like Infinera that have a larger concentration of engineers, tend to be more objective and analytical about the performance of their executives and less ‘sentimental’. As a result, to see high marks in this category is somewhat surprising and encouraging. Our industry as a whole is doing something right, grooming leaders who are authentic, believable, capable and smart, and who have the support of their employees behind them.

 

Ratings_3

 

Infinera Review: “Our founders and execs are real leaders who could have retired decades ago but love to compete, win, make more money and provide opportunities for others to do the same.”

Review of Company in same Telecom Space: “The executive team has a good strategy.”

Infinera Review: “Upper management does an outstanding job of communicating the objectives and goals of the company. This is a special place to work. Keep doing what you’re doing!”

However, it wouldn’t be fair to focus only on what we are doing right. One area where the industry seems to be underperforming is career opportunities. While these numbers were notably higher for Infinera, we still see this as a substantial area for growth as a company and as a player in our market. There’s a number of potential factors that we might point to as influencing this reality.

 

Ratings_2

 

First off, most people who find themselves in the optical space are highly specialized in what they do. So the chance to move into an entirely different department and apply their hard earned skills and education to a less relevant area can seem unproductive. A non-linear career path has proven to open doors, but can sometimes feel like a step back rather than forward for those accustomed to a traditional progression of skills and responsibilities. While we did not see this factor reflected heavily in our Glassdoor reviews, the sentiments about the caliber of our employees and the level of talent could be interpreted as a potential by-product. If everyone assumes that their coworker’s job can only be performed by a seasoned expert, they are less likely to assert themselves if that job were to become available.

Infinera Review: “The biggest challenge at Infinera is that 98% of the employees are highly motivated and super talented, so standing out as a top level employee isn’t easy but I’d rather work with super talented people…”

Infinera Review: “Challenging problems to solve, working with a lot of smart people you can learn from.”

Another factor, particularly in our Silicon Valley headquarters, is the history and legacy of our industry. Optical networking is hardly synonymous with sexy start-ups and limitless breakthroughs. In the past, our customer-base was comprised of heavily regulated companies with deep roots, long-held traditions of doing business a certain way and, in some cases, a resistance to change. Fortunately, that is no longer the landscape and our industry truly has embraced a new approach to telecommunication solutions. Infinera’s technology is broadly recognized as cutting edge and something that the world has never seen before—we are on the precipice of a new networking reality. Now, the onus is on us and our competitors to continue to champion that change; to invite people to view us as leading innovators, not just in optical but overall and to appreciate the transformative influence we exercise over the growth and future of global communications. Our reviews on Glassdoor are affirming in this respect but, again, we don’t see this as a reason to sit back but rather an invitation to challenge ourselves even more.

Infinera Review: “Very committed group of people. A lot of passion on the technology and networking solutions. I love coming to work every day. Reminds you that the start-up vibe persists. Kudos to the senior management team for holding the fort and expanding the technology.”

Infinera Review: “Cool technology. Innovative optical system, original software and architecture excellence.”

Infinera Review: “Strong team, smart people, still has the start-up / can-do mentality.”

Infinera Review: “Very good and open culture, good visibility, opportunity to work with newer technology.”

 Click here to see more reviews.

On a personal note, I have experienced the opportunities for career growth at Infinera, having worked in a number of different areas (Operations, PIC, Office of the CEO and BOD, Internal Communications and Leadership Training) in my 6 plus years with the company. I’ve seen how doors can open when you press on them long enough and are willing to do things that might originally feel like a step backward. But, as any career advisor will confirm, you must be willing to press, go outside your comfort zone and be supported by a culture where you see others doing the same. Not every door is glass: you can’t always see what’s on the other side. Still, it’s important that we as a company and as individuals continue to push on those doors and take those risks to find out what’s possible.

Infinera’s overall standings according to Glassdoor:

glassdoorgraph

 *All content pulled from Glassdoor in May, 2015

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June 22, 2015 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

Accelerating SDN into the Carrier Space

Scott Silverstein, Principal Product Marketing Manager

Scott Silverstein, Principal Product Marketing Manager

By Scott Silverstein, Principal Product Marketing Manager

I recently attended the Light Reading event, “Accelerating SDN in the Carrier WAN” hosted in Denver, Colorado on May 12th. The event was well attended – over 150 people with a great mix of end users and suppliers. Both the Telco and MSO space were represented. Lots of jargon, new three-letter-acronyms, new standards and a lot of great, if not contentious, dialogue.

The question being asked by many of these carriers was an interesting one: if carriers were to build their own SDN network today, how should they pursue it? Presenters spoke at length on the possibility of virtualizing network functions in the Cloud, a concept known as NFV (Network Function Virtualization), rather than utilizing dedicated hardware appliances. Many of the panelists talked at length about OpenFlow, OpenDalylight, NetConf & Yang and the use of an SDN ‘Orchestrator’, a central point of contact in the network where all of this communication happens.

From the arguments I heard, the most interesting was about where and how SDN would play across the different layers of the network. The concept of breaking up the network into a Cloud Services Layer (Layer C) and a Transport Layer (Layer T) started to sink in. ‘What if’ the most expensive portion of my network (Layer 3-7 – routers, switches, firewalls) all moved into the Cloud? What if central offices and cable head ends turned into mini data centers? And what if, the “transport” layer could be based on highly scalable optics and deliver on-demand transport services to the Cloud Services Layer to support the delivery of the higher layer services? The “glue” between these two layers would be SDN, enabling Layer C to request bandwidth from Layer T. The concept has potential to simplify networks and create a new network paradigm that dramatically lowers costs and increases network agility, something that representatives from the carriers in the room seemed excited about. In fact, heads in the room started to nod when Mike Capuano, Vice President of Marketing at Infinera, discussed the emergence of this new model and Layer T and Layer C during the panel discussion entitled “The Path to Transport SDN and IP + Optical Integration.”

LayerC_LayerT_A4_Flyer v. 2_Page_1

 

After a full day of intense discussions, I was able to learn that NFV, SDN and a new Layer C and Layer T network model have some pretty significant promise for carriers, enabling them to maximize their network resources while delivering new services faster and with the quality we expect and demand. And for the carriers’ customers, the promise is to be able to get the services they need, on demand, at a lower cost and more easily than ever before.

 

Learn more about Infinera’s Transport SDN:

Technology Brief: Pacnet Extends NaaS to the Optical Layer

White Paper: An SDN Architecture for Transport Networks

Brochure: Introducing the Infinera Open Transport Switch

 

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June 17, 2015 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

Leading Lights Company of the Year (Public) – For the 2nd Consecutive Year!

Mark Showalter, Senior Director, Marketing Communications

Mark Showalter, Senior Director, Marketing Communications

By Mark Showalter

What an exciting week in Chicago at the Light Reading Big Telecom Event! The festivities began Monday evening at the Chicago Field Museum, where Light Reading hosted their Leading Lights Awards ceremony for 2015. Now in the eleventh year, the Leading Lights awards highlight the cream of the telecom crop – bestowing awards in categories such as SDN, NFV, IoT and recognizing companies demonstrating innovation at its best in the telecom industry.

This year Infinera enjoyed the honor of being named finalist in three award categories – Company of the Year (Public), Best New Product (Telecom) category for the Cloud Xpress and Most Innovative SDN Product Strategy (Vendor) category with the Infinera Open Transport Switch.

leadinglights

The Chicago Field Museum was a great setting for the event, providing Steve Saunders a great opportunity to crack jokes about dinosaurs in the industry while in the presence of Sue – the T-Rex on display at the museum.

We were thrilled to win the Leading Lights award for Company of the Year (Public) for the second consecutive year! As far as we can tell no other company has won this award twice, much less two years in a row! Prior winners include:

2015: Infinera

2014: Infinera

2013: Amdocs Inc.

2012: TW Telecom

2011: Qualcomm

2010: Finisar

The last two years at Infinera proved to be an exciting ride! A few of the achievements include:

  • Revenue grown at twice the rate of the optical market with 20+% revenue growth in each of the last two years.
  • Long-haul leadership in the 100G market with the Infinera Intelligent Transport Network featuring the DTN-X platform, now deployed in 62 customer networks across the globe.
  • The introduction of the Cloud Xpress – the first platform optimized for connecting data centers across the metro Cloud while reducing space and power footprint.
  • The introduction of the Infinera Open Transport Switch and the deployment of the first commercially available Transport-SDN service by Pacnet based on the Open Transport Switch. Telstra acquired Pacnet this year.
  • The introduction of new photonic integrated circuits for the metro – sliceable enhanced ePIC-500 and the applications-optimized oPIC-100.
  • Facebook’s deployment of the DTN-X for data center interconnection in Europe.

Thanks to everyone at Infinera for their hard work in making this possible! And a big shout out to Ray LeMaistre, Steve Saunders and the crew at Light Reading for recognizing Infinera’s achievements and honoring us with this award for the second year in a row. I look forward to BTE 2016 in Austin. Until then, back to work on earning our shot at the award next year!

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June 11, 2015 at 3:30 AM Leave a comment

Momentum Building for Collapsing Networks into Layer C and Layer T

Jay Gill, Principal Product Marketing Manager

Jay Gill, Principal Product Marketing Manager

By Jay Gill, Principal Product Marketing Manager

The sign posts for a revolution in network architecture keep accumulating. Not only are service providers making bold statements about how fast they plan to transform their networks, some of them are already leveraging network innovation to deliver new services to the market.

A May 28 webinar hosted by Infonetics Research, now part of IHS, highlighted a few points to reinforce this trend.

Michael Howard, Senior Research Director at IHS, revealed data from recent research that virtually all carriers now plan to deploy Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) in some form and well over 80% plan to apply SDN to the transport layer, aka “Transport SDN.”

SurveyOperatorsWillDeploy

Clearly, the question is no longer “IF” service providers will transform, it’s “WHEN.”

To answer that, Stu Elby, Infinera’s SVP, Cloud Network Strategy & Technology, highlighted two real-world examples that illustrate how fast things are changing.

Example 1: Elby started off the presentation with a powerful slide from AT&T showing that the company intends to have 75% of its network virtualized by 2020. 75%! That’s starting from a current level of only 5% virtualization. To accomplish this radical transformation, AT&T will deploy distributed “Cloud capabilities” – that means virtualized compute, storage and networking – into 4600 central offices (CO).

That’s right: the old telco exchange is rapidly becoming the new Cloud Edge, or what Michael Howard called the “Cloud CO.”

OneViewOfFuture

 

While Elby noted that “it’s stunning how aggressive” AT&T’s goal looks, he also pointed out that other service providers, such as Deutsche Telekom, are pursuing similar radical transformations. Webinar participants echoed this in a real-time poll, with the most common opinion being that they expect to virtualize 30-60% of their own networks by 2020.

Example 2: Elby also highlighted a real-world application, pioneered by Pacnet. While some service providers and transport equipment suppliers are still figuring out what Transport SDN is all about, Pacnet worked with Infinera’s Open Transport Switch (OTS) to deliver on-demand Layer 1 services as part of their commercial service called PEN. Chris Liou discussed this in a blog post in March. Since then, Telstra has completed its acquisition of Pacnet and integrated the PEN service into its portfolio, increasing the strength of this proof point.

The end-game for all of this rapid transformation is the collapse of the network layers into Layer T (Transport) and Layer C (Cloud), as explained by Stu Elby in the webinar and in a previous blog post. And based on the accumulating evidence, it’s happening faster than many people would have ever expected.

To see a replay of the webinar, visit IHS Infonetics at https://www.infonetics.com/infonetics-events/ and click “View on Demand” or follow this direct link.

 

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June 5, 2015 at 7:46 AM Leave a comment

Light Reading Names Infinera Finalist For Three Award Categories

Mark Showalter, Senior Director, Marketing Communications

by Mark Showalter, Sr. Director, Marketing Communications

Light Reading announced the finalists for the 2015 Leading Lights Awards, and we were thrilled to see Infinera named as a finalist   for three of the 23 award categories for this prestigious award. Now in its 11th year, the Leading Lights Awards recognize innovation at its best in the telecom industry.

leadinglights

“The entries were numerous (hundreds) and of a very high standard, making the judging process more difficult than ever,” said Ray LeMaistre, Editor in Chief for Light Reading, in the article that announced the 2015 finalists.

Listed as a finalist in the Best New Product (Telecom) category, the Infinera Cloud Xpress is a Cloud optimized metro transport platform offering hyperscale density, simplified operations and low power. We believe Cloud Xpress is the first to offer a combination of operational simplicity, massive transmission capacity and low power consumption, enabling Cloud operators to grow seamlessly while reducing space and power footprint.

 

CX

In addition, Infinera was selected as a finalist in the Most Innovative SDN Product Strategy (Vendor) category. Infinera’s Transport SDN solution is designed to exploit maximum value from the network while keeping costs to a minimum. It offers the ability to deliver intelligent next-generation services and helps service providers transform to an on-demand pay-per use revenue model, simplifying customer experience.

Pacnet, now Telstra, was the first to launch network virtualization for the optical layer with the Infinera Open Transport Switch (OTS) and the Intelligent Transport Network. To learn more, check out the video with Telstra’s Jim Fagan and Infinera’s Stu Elby discussing the PEN’s on-demand Ethernet Network-as-a-Service offering using the Infinera OTS.

 

SDN_OpticalLayer_Video

Video: SDN on the Optical Layer – A video with Telstra’s Jim Fagan and Infinera’s Stu Elby

 

Of course, the biggest honor is to be shortlisted for the second year running in the Company of the Year (Public) category. With 20+% revenue growth in each of the last two years Infinera’s revenues have grown at twice the rate of the optical market. Infinera Intelligent Transport Networks featuring DTN-X platforms enable network operators to quickly and efficiently deploy vast amounts of bandwidth that enable new services and provide rich end-user experiences.

The Leading Lights Awards winners will be announced as part of the second annual Big Telecom Event in Chicago, June 9 and 10. Based on the featured keynotes speakers, it should be quite a gathering of the Who’s Who in the telecom industry. I hope to see you there!

 

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June 2, 2015 at 9:09 AM Leave a comment

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