CALIENT Technologies, Inc. and Packetcounter Inc. have announced a partnership to deliver a hybrid packet-optical data center network architecture that will allow data center operators to deploy 40 Gbps network capacity at up to seven-times lower cost than current packet-based solutions.  

The solution consists of a new hybrid packet-circuit controller currently in development by Packetcounter, together with CALIENT’s flagship S320 Optical Circuit Switch. Not only does this new approach offload traffic from packet-based networks very efficiently and cost effectively, it also offers ultra-low path latency of less than 50ns.

How the Solution Works

The new Packetcounter OCS Controller monitors network traffic between racks in a data center cluster.  If a rack is sending a significant amount of traffic to another rack, the controller creates a physical optical circuit from the sender rack through the CALIENT S320 Optical Circuit Switch to the receiver rack, and modifies the routing tables in the sender top-of-rack switch to route traffic over the dedicated circuit.

This is done reactively and transparently so that the servers are unaffected by the change, yet are able to take full advantage of the increased network capacity. Network traffic is not disrupted during the changeover because routes using old circuits are removed before taking down the old circuits, and new circuits are setup before new routes are added.

“We’re very excited about our partnership with Packetcounter,” said Daniel Tardent, CALIENT’s vice president of marketing. “The hybrid packet-optical network offers huge economic advantages for data centers but until now it has only been realistic to deploy for the very largest cloud data centers with significant internal development capabilities. The new Packetcounter OCS Controller will support new “out-of-box” solutions that will allow these economic advantages to be enjoyed by a much larger range of data centers.”

“The Packetcounter founders have dedicated a number of years to demonstrating the benefits of hybrid packet-optical networks in research projects,” said Nathan Farrington, CEO of Packetcounter. “The explosion of 40 Gbps traffic in data centers was the signal to us that the market is ready for a commercial solution. CALIENT has the highest port-count optical circuit switch in the data center industry so choosing to partner with them was a clear win-win for both companies.”