It’s Here – The Infinera Cloud Xpress and Simplified Packet Transport for the DTN-X

Pravin Mahajan - headshotBy Pravin Mahajan

Director, Corporate Marketing

Today Infinera announced a radically new way to build metro cloud networks with the Infinera Cloud Xpress. This is the industry’s first super-channel transport platform purpose-built for metro data-center interconnects. Growth in data-center infrastructure has been staggering and at this point I see no end in sight. According to ISI Research, the capex of the top seven Internet content providers (ICPs) will exceed the capex of AT&T and Verizon combined by 2017. This is because ICPs are building data centers in both urban and rural areas on a massive scale, not only for their own B2C services but also to create capacity to offer IaaS, PaaS and hybrid cloud services. According to Synergy Research the embryonic market for cloud services will grow 10x from about $3B in 2009 to $35B in 2018.

Synergy Chart

For example, one rural data center (DC) being built in Iowa consists of three buildings with a cumulative area of 1.4 million square feet. With the rise in distributed compute, which stretches transactions across servers sitting in different buildings, the industry is seeing a dramatic increase in DC-to-DC bandwidth. The three buildings in this example must be connected together at the metro level, which in turn must be connected to the global network. If one does a simple calculation assuming 250K servers with 10G NICs per building, and only 10% of traffic exiting the buildings, we see the need for 2,500 100G ports per building.

DC operators need a new form factor and operational model for optical DWDM connectivity to manage this sort of scale. Storage and server technologies have already been adapted for the Cloud with a rack-and-stack model. Cloud Xpress is the first optical platform to deliver 1Tb/s of input and output capacity in two rack units in a data center rack-and-stack form. It takes up only 1/3 the space and 1/2 the power of the competition, and it provides a simple server-like provisioning experience.


I’m excited about Cloud Xpress. This video below describes it visually, and you can learn even more by going to

At the same time, Infinera introduced Simplified Packet for Transport. This uses the new Packet Switching Module (PXM) for the award-winning DTN-X platform. It offers MPLS and Ethernet functions and just the right amount of packet for providers to build a highly scalable, converged transport infrastructure. These functions are managed by the Infinera NMS platform or any industry-standard SDN controller. In fact we provisioned EVPL services on the PXM from the OpenDayLight controller (Hydrogen release) to the attendees at the live event.

stratus launch blog


September 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM Leave a comment

From 5Tb/s to 12Tb/s – Just Like That!

Infinera Geoff BennettBy Geoff Bennett

Infinera Product Evangelist

I think that Infinera’s DTN-X is the most powerful, scalable and configurable transport platform in the world today, and I was also fortunate enough to get first-hand experience of how robust this platform is during our Guinness World Record attempt last year.

The thing that struck me at the time was that the process of turning up fiber capacity as rapidly as possible is totally outside of the operational requirements of a transport network, so why would you expect the DTN-X to tolerate people like me slamming line cards into the chassis as fast as we could so we could beat the clock?

But it worked – and what’s more it worked three times in succession, which was a requirement of the Guinness World Records procedure for reproducibility.  Even more amazing is that all three record attempts completed within one minute of each other (the fastest time was 19 minutes and 1 second), which is astonishingly consistent.

The Guinness World Record was established on the GÉANT network – operated by DANTE.  You can read my other blog about our recent field trial, also on the GÉANT network, of a terabit super-channel line card and a comprehensive showcase of Infinera’s FlexCoherent Modulation technology.

As part of the scaling to terabit class cards, the DTN-X will have to scale also, because it has an integrated, non-blocking OTN switch that provides the deterministic switching and client service grooming that’s a fundamental advantage of the Intelligent Transport NetworkTM.

Integrated OTN switching is now practically a mandatory part of the service provider core architecture, and it’s interesting to see how long it’s taken for some vendors to fully support even 100Gb/s slot capacities in their switching platforms.  With the DTN-X engineered to be able to upgrade capable to 1.2Tb/s per slot in the future, Infinera customers are  well placed for investment protection and future network growth.

The thing is…how can the 46 DTN-X customers, who among  them are running  more than a petabit per second of super-channel capacity to feed the global internet, perform a chassis upgrade to more than double the capacity without bringing down the whole node?

Any of you reading this who work in Transport Networks will be scratching your head at that last statement.  Surely, you say, that kind of upgrade capability is table stakes in the Transport Network world.

You would be correct – in fact the need for zero-disruption for in-service upgrades is just one of the things that sets the requirements of a Transport Network apart from the somewhat less “predictable” way that IP networks  operate.  Note that this is not a criticism of the IP equipment, but it’s an inevitable consequence of this equipment being dependent on a forty year old protocol architecture whereby (for example) an accidentally misconfigured BGP entry in one service provider can effectively knock out internet services in completely different parts of the world [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Part way through the upgrade process.  Cards that have been swapped are marked with a yellow post-it.  Note the Ethernet test set showed “green” throughout the whole procedure.

Part way through the upgrade process.  Cards that have been swapped are marked with a yellow post-it.  Note the Ethernet test set showed “green” throughout the whole procedure.

To illustrate the “carrier grade” characteristics of upgrading the DTN-X switch fabric I headed off to Infinera’s London training facility and set up my camera.  The entire process took about an hour, but in the video that I created I’ve fast-forwarded through the individual boot sequences for the switching modules.  However, I kept my phone stopwatch running and in the frame so you can see the total elapsed time.

So what makes this process “carrier grade”?


September 15, 2014 at 1:10 PM Leave a comment

And One More Thing…It’s Time to Break Free on September 18

Pravin Mahajan - headshotBy Pravin Mahajan

Director, Corporate Marketing

It’s the season of new product announcements. Some, like Apple’s Watch, have made a huge splash—even the fashion industry is involved. At Infinera we’re quietly and steadily building the next generation of transport solutions, one of which we’ve designed to address growing opportunities in the cloud.

Many enterprises (including us and very likely you) use the cloud for business functions like sales, operations, marketing and more. All these applications place new demands on the technology infrastructure, and providers are briskly building new data centers. Storage and server technologies have already been adapted for the cloud; now it’s time for networks to deliver.

Break free of constraints that prevent you from leveraging the expanding Cloud opportunity. Join us for Insight Infinera 2014 on September 18. Our solution is built on the same principles that have earned us top honors among customers for technology innovation, reliability, and service and support, as ranked by Infonetics Research earlier this year.

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September 11, 2014 at 11:07 AM Leave a comment

Contributing Deep Expertise to the OpenDaylight Project in the Areas of Enabling Abstraction and Programmability of Optical Transport Networks

Mike_Capuano_VP-Corporate-MarketingBy Mike Capuano

Vice President, Corporate Marketing

On September 4, 2014 it was announced that Infinera joined the OpenDaylight Project in order to lend our expertise in the areas of enabling abstraction and programmability of optical transport networks.  Our goal is to help shape how Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are designed and implemented across optical transport networks and ensure that our Intelligent Transport Network solutions easily integrate with any OpenDaylight based controllers.

The Infinera engineering team has participated in OpenDaylight sponsored events, including multiple hackfests, and meetings since the Linux Foundation formed the organization to accelerate the adoption, foster new innovation and create a more open and transparent approach to SDN.  We view joining the OpenDaylight Project as Silver Members and formalizing our participation in this organization as an important step in the evolution of Infinera’s open SDN framework, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the other members of this community going forward.

Network operators are looking for open, programmable solutions to enable them to speed the delivery of new innovative services.  In addition, they want to simplify the provisioning of multi-layer, multi-vendor networks through an open, standards-based Application Programming Interface (API).  One of the most important reasons contributing to the success of Infinera’s DTN-X Multi-Terabit Packet Optical Network Platform is that it is highly software controllable and as a result is SDN-ready today.  In combination with the DTN-X platform, our Open Transport Switch (OTS) can serve as an integral piece of a truly open SDN framework.  It is a modern, lightweight Web 2.0 software construct that offers simple abstractions presented through a northbound REST API that can be integrated into the overall control layer to enable application and cloud-driven networking.  OTS is designed to provide full virtualization of optical transport resources facilitating true automation and the programming of bandwidth services at the Ethernet layer, the OTN layer and the DWDM optical layer.  Our approach to SDN is intended to allow any provider’s SDN controller solution, including those based upon OpenDaylight, to be easily integrated with Infinera’s Intelligent Transport Network solutions.


September 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM Leave a comment

Fire Up the Flux Capacitor and Crank It Up to Terabit Scale!

Infinera Geoff BennettBy Geoff Bennett

Infinera Product Evangelist

Wait a minute…a terabit super-channel?  Haven’t we seen that somewhere before?  Of course we have – as we all know optical hero experiments tend to lead real products by many years, and in some cases (like all-optical regeneration or the DeLorean Time Machine) the technology never seems to make it past the “concept car” status.

In fact I saw a recent terabit super-channel press release that claimed, “1Tb/s with production hardware, with prototype software.”  When I checked the details it turned out that the demonstration actually used ten standard 100G line cards, and the “prototype software” simply allowed them to be tuned much closer than the classic 50GHz fixed grid in order to create the super-channel.

That one made me chuckle because the whole point of a super-channel is to implement all the optical circuits on a single line card and a single fiber, which means that it can be brought into service in a single operational cycle and dramatically reduce fiber management, and thus allow the service provider to scale operational effort and keep OpEx low.

The terabit super-channel trial I was involved in recently was on the GÉANT network, operated by DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe), and it ran from Budapest in Hungary to Bratislava in the Slovak Republic.

Field trials can be a hoot – especially as we’re often at the mercy of logistics and import procedures, and operating against tight deadlines.

That’s where working with our customer DANTE is like a breath of fresh air.  As soon as I brought up the idea with Mark Johnston, DANTE’s Chief Network Operations Officer, he was keen to test out the resilience built into the GÉANT network.

“We trust your reliability and engineering prowess, so we’ll let you test on a production link, but you have only four days,” he told me at the Global Telecom Business Awards, where Infinera and DANTE were honored for last year’s Guinness World Records achievement.

Four days…easy, I thought.  There were five of us in the team, and four of us could fly into the beautiful city of Budapest, while one of us would head to Bratislava and set up the loopback before joining us for the actual data measurements.

On the Thursday before I flew, when the freight forwarder told me that, instead of arriving a week before us, the gear would arrive the same day as we did, even then I wasn’t worried.  Four whole days – that was plenty of time!

For the first day in the NIIF Institute in Budapest we made friends with some of the folks there, rerouted the existing connections, and drew up a few whiteboard diagrams of what we planned to do.  Since NIIF hosts the Budapest Supercomputing Center that processes the data from the Large Hadron Collider, they were quite interested in high capacity network link technologies.

In between explanations to our hosts and fetching cups of coffee for our engineering lead Rene to stave off the hypothermia from sitting in a chilled comms room for hours on end, I spent quite a bit of time chatting to logistics people asking the same question – where’s our gear?

Meanwhile my colleague, Jeff Rahn, whose team actually designed the line card, was sitting in the PoP in Bucharest waiting for his gear to arrive also.  He claimed he was trapped inside there, but photos he sent me clearly show he managed to escape and do some sightseeing in the beautiful mediaeval city!As it turns out, the logistics company was not able to deliver the gear on the same day we arrived but was able to get it to us the next afternoon, shortening our timeframe to 2.5 days.

Picture of the 8 QAM modulation constellation showing successful transmission

Picture of the 8 QAM modulation constellation showing successful transmission

The gear is delivered by the freight forwarder to our location

The gear is delivered by the freight forwarder to our location

You mean this little card can transmit 1 Tb/s?  Note the Terabit card has been pulled out of the chassis to highlight which card it is, while a production 500G line card is seen to its right.

You mean this little card can transmit 1 Tb/s? Note the terabit card has been pulled out of the chassis to highlight which card it is, while a production 500G line card is seen to its right.

Once the gear arrived we installed the equipment at both ends. Most impressive in my book is the prototype terabit super-channel line card that is the size of our standard 500G line card, part of the forward-scale design of the Infinera DTN-X.  Using this technology we can more than double the capacity of a DTN-X chassis from 5 Tb/s to 12 Tb/s, allowing Infinera customers to scale their networks to keep ahead of internet demand without hiring an army of extra network engineers.


September 9, 2014 at 5:10 AM 1 comment

Henrique Rodrigues Wins Best Student Paper at IEEE Hot Interconnects for Infinera/Brocade/ESnet Multi-layer SDN Demo


By Mike Capuano

Vice President, Corporate Marketing

This year at the 22nd Annual IEEE Hot Interconnect Symposium (HOTI), Henrique Rodrigues, a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) was presented the “H.B. Best Student Paper Award” by awards chair Ada Gavrilovska for his contributions to a research paper entitled, “”Traffic Optimization in Multi-Layered WANs using SDN”.

IEEE High Performance Interconnects is one of the premier international forums for researchers and developers of state-of-the-art hardware and software architectures and implementations for interconnection networks of all scales, ranging from multi-core on-chip interconnects to those within systems, clusters, and data centers. Leaders in industry and academia attend the conference to interact with individuals at the forefront of their field.  Each year there are two days of technical sessions and a day of tutorials designed to keep participants abreast of the latest developments in the industry and academia.

Last year Infinera, Brocade and ESnet collaborated on a demonstration to show how provisioning and optimization of bandwidth services can be automated across the multi-layer WAN network leveraging Infinera’s DTN-X platform equipped with an Open Transport Switch (OTS) software, OpenFlow capable router/switch elements from Brocade, and an open source SDN controller running applications developed by ESnet using northbound APIs. Infinera’s SDN approach includes OTS, a modern lightweight Web 2.0 software construct that offers simple abstractions presented through REST and OpenFlow APIs and is easily integrated into Service Provider control and orchestration software enabling application and cloud-driven networking.

Henrique and his co-authors, Inder Monga (ESnet), Abhinava Sadasivarao (Infinera), Sharfuddin Syed (Infinera), Chin Guok (ESnet), Eric Pouyoul (ESnet), Chris Liou (Infinera) and Tajana Rosing (UCSD) used this demonstration test bed to quantifiably prove that multi-layer traffic optimization improves network performance and utilization.  Their testing showed that inefficiencies in inter-data center WAN links over a mix of packet and optical data planes comprised of a variety of devices from different vendors can be caused by TCP congestion control. In addition they verified that an intelligent multi-layered SDN control plane overcomes this TCP congestion to enable practical bandwidth virtualization and predictable application performance.

The research paper can be found at the following URL:


September 5, 2014 at 10:28 AM Leave a comment

Extending Our Open Approach to SDN through the OpenDaylight Project


By Mike Capuano

Vice President, Corporate Marketing

Today it was announced that Infinera joined the OpenDaylight Project, a community-led and industry-supported open source platform to advance SDN and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).   By joining the OpenDaylight Project we can lend our expertise in the areas of enabling abstraction and programmability in order to help shape how SDN and NFV are designed and implemented across optical transport networks and ensure that the Infinera Intelligent Transport Network integrates easily with an OpenDaylight based controller.

Open Daylight

With packet optical transport becoming an increasingly important part of the overall network architecture, it is natural for network providers to extend their SDN vision to encompass this portion of the network.  Enabling programmability of a flexible transport layer and leveraging its increasing ability to adapt to the real-time needs of the higher networking layers and applications facilitates an environment in which transport bandwidth can be dynamically commissioned, switched,  groomed and decommissioned, rather than having to rely on a static, over-provisioned infrastructure.  SDN for transport networks promises to enable capabilities network operators are seeking, including:


September 4, 2014 at 10:50 AM Leave a comment

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