CALIENT LightConnect Fabric Manager enables virtualization of data center pods

CALIENT Technologies, Inc. has found another data center application for its optical switches. Through the use of the company's LightConnect Fabric Manager interconnect orchestration software, data center network operators can leverage the company's S-Series of optical circuit switches (OCSs) to create virtual "pods" that enable more efficient use of server resources.

CALIENT Technologies, Inc. has found another data center application for its optical switches. Through the use of the company's LightConnect Fabric Manager interconnect orchestration software, data center network operators can leverage the company's S-Series of optical circuit switches (OCSs) to create virtual "pods" that enable more efficient use of server resources.

According to CALIENT, mega-scale data center operators have begun to group compute, storage, and networking hardware into pods that can be easily installed, removed, and maintained. However, while such pods offer an efficient packaging strategy, sharing resources among pods as requirements peak or otherwise change has been a problem. Limited pod interaction has led some data center operators to provision pod resources to run at 40% average capacity to leave room to handle demand peaks, wasting resources, CALIENT says.

Enter the OCSs and the software-defined networking (SDN) friendly LightConnect Fabric Manager. The software platform enables use of the OCSs to create an optical "LightConnect Fabric" that can support virtual pods that combine resources from multiple physical pods. Use of the V-Pod approach, as CALIENT calls it, enables data center operators to run individual pods at a higher average use rates because peak demands in a particular pod can be met by tapping unused capacity in another.

The Fabric Manager operates as a topology manager and a cross-connect manager. The topology management function maintains a database of the data center network topology, including which Layer 2/3 switches and ports are connected to which optical ports within the optical LightConnect Fabric. As a cross-connect manager, the platform maintains a database of all optical cross connects in the optical fabric. Thus the Fabric Manager can keep tabs on the overall topology and optical connectivity in the data center.

The Fabric Manager also maintains a consolidated dashboard summary that reports the operational status of all optical circuit switches, including alarms, events, and port use. The Fabric Manager is a CentOS-based Linux application that can run on off-the-shelf hardware or any virtual machine, CALIENT asserts. Operators can deploy the manager as a standalone platform, which enables data center operators change the fabric as needed, or as an integrated element to existing data center resource management systems via a variety of open interfaces. These interfaces include TL1, REST, SNMP, and RPC.

CALIENT expects to make the LightConnect Fabric Manager generally available in the second quarter of this year. Company sources at OFC last month said that at least one proof-of-concept demonstration would be conducted with an unidentified cloud services company.

For more information on optical switches and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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