Infinera has built upon its Instant Bandwidth capability to create Instant Network, which makes the capacity additions enabled via Instant Bandwidth faster and easier to implement across multiple network routes. The company also unveiled Automated Capacity Engineering, which enables such capacity deployments in an automated fashion.
Infinera announced Instant Bandwidth in 2012 as way for network operators to use the full capacity of its 500-Gbps photonic integrated circuits (PICs) on a pay-as-you-grow basis (see "Infinera offers Instant Bandwidth on DTN-X packet optical transport platform"). Operators using the 500G PIC-enabled DTN-X platforms could deploy 100-Gbps tranches of that 500-Gbps capacity by buying licenses from Infinera. The purchase process was quick compared to adding 100G line cards at each end of a link, but forced operators to endure the 100G license process before they could enable the capacity, make it available to its customer(s), and bill accordingly.
Instant Network offers even greater capacity pools and software-defined capacity capabilities via Infinera's Infinite Capacity Engine as well as a pair of new license options that make the capacity deployment quicker and more flexible. The Bandwidth License Pool option enables operators to deploy capacity as soon as they submit a tranche order online to Infinera. Network operators therefore can deploy and bill capacity in minutes rather than hours, according to Mark Showalter, senior director, software and SDN product marketing and senior director, corporate marketing at Infinera. Meanwhile, the Movable License capability enables operators to move a purchased tranche from one route to another via software. Such a capability can prove useful in dealing with network outages; a license enabled on a malfunctioning route can be moved to a backup route for restoration and resiliency purposes, for example.
As its name implies, the Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE) capability performs such capacity adjustments automatically in response to changing customer demands or in reaction to network outages. The feature leverages Infinera's Xceed and Digital Node Administrator (DNA) software platforms. ACE leverages a microservices-based path computation element (PCE) and route parameter information to compute optimal Layer 0 routes between nodes across multiple paths, according to Infinera. ACE can enable automatic routing and wavelength assignment with such path constraints as traffic engineering cost, distance, and latency in mind.
Analysts briefed on Instant Network appear impressed. "Capacity engineering is now a major challenge for network operators as demands for more agile connectivity increase," said Andrew Schmitt, founder at Cignal AI, via an Infinera press release. "Infinera's Instant Network evolves its existing solutions to automate capacity engineering in a way that no other architecture can match by combining high capacity integrated photonics and unique software approach."
"Many vendors are trialing new software licensing models in the router/switch world, and my observation is that they have seen only limited success," added Michael Howard, senior research analyst and advisor, carrier networks, at IHS Markit in the same release. "In the optical transport world, Infinera seems to be the one vendor that has been quite successful in implementing software-based licensing and delivering on-demand, software-defined capacity, with a large number of their customers actively deploying it today."
In fact, more than 70 customers use the Instant Bandwidth capability, which Showalter points out gives the company a ready customer pool for Instant Network. The company has already enabled the Bandwidth License Pool and Moveable Licenses capabilities. Infinera plans to make ACE available in 2018.
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