Windstream installs Infinera's Cloud Xpress inside Chicago data center

Data center interconnect apparently isn't just for the outside plant anymore. Windstream (NASDAQ: WIN) has installed Infinera's Cloud Xpress data center interconnect platform inside the massive Lakeside Technology Center at 350 East Cermak in Chicago.

Data center interconnect apparently isn't just for the outside plant anymore. Windstream (NASDAQ: WIN) has installed Infinera's Cloud Xpress data center interconnect platform inside the massive Lakeside Technology Center at 350 East Cermak in Chicago.

According to Jeff Brown, who runs the product management and product marketing groups at Windstream, the connection runs between floors at the data center, connecting Windstream's presence in the building to a "meet me room" elsewhere within the center. Despite the short distance – a length one might consider overkill for the Cloud Xpress's coherent transmission capabilities – the ability to pre-provision a large amount of capacity between the two points made the deployment appealing, Brown said. The pre-provisioning eliminates many of the manual operational issues that Windstream would encounter with more conventional approaches and plays to the company's ongoing software-defined networking (SDN) roll out strategy.

While this is Windstream's first use of the Cloud Xpress, the company is considering applying the system inside other large data centers, with 60 Hudson and 111 Eighth Street in New York as potential other targets, Brown said. The company sees data center interconnect as a part of its new metro infrastructure deployment strategy. While Infinera is a preferred supplier for Windstream's long-haul network (see, for example, "Windstream, Infinera partner for wavelength transport service expansion"), Brown stopped short of saying that this deployment signals a similar role for the company in the metro portion of Windstream's network.

Brown did allow that Infinera is one of the technology partners with whom Windstream is working on its SDN initiative. Brown declined to reveal the names of other partners.

Jay Gill, principal cloud marketing manager at Infinera, reported that Windstream's use of the Cloud Xpress inside of a data center is unusual, but not unique. At least one customer has also deployed the system in this manner and others have discussed the possibility, he said.

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