Pacnet deploys optical layer SDN and NFV with Infinera

Pacnet, which provides fiber-optic network services throughout the Asia-Pacific region, says it has extended its software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities to the optical layer. The operator will leverage the Open Transport Switch (OTS) platform from Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ: INFN) to enable SDN/NFV provisioning and control of the DTN-X packet-optical transport systems in its Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN).

Pacnet, which provides fiber-optic network services throughout the Asia-Pacific region, says it has extended its software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities to the optical layer. The operator will leverage the Open Transport Switch (OTS) platform from Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ: INFN) to enable SDN/NFV provisioning and control of the DTN-X packet-optical transport systems in its Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN).

Pacnet already provides a variety of SDN-enabled network as a service (NaaS) offerings via PEN (see, for example, "Pacnet launches SDN-enabled network"). According to Infinera Vice President of Marketing Mike Capuano, the new Release 3 of PEN will use the OTS SDN software platform to enable dynamic optical layer provisioning of 10-Gbps services through Pacnet DTN-X systems, with 100-Gbps capabilities on the carrier's road map. The capability will enable Pacnet to provide on-demand provisioning of optical layer bandwidth across its submarine network and terrestrial routes, including multinational implementations.

The service provider adds that the new capability extends to automated connectivity to external private and public cloud providers.

The PEN deployment is a first for Infinera and its OTS, which enables virtualization of the optical layer by providing an abstraction of the network to the PEN SDN control layer. It supports SDN control of traffic directly through the optical network elements, rather than via hypervisors at the end points of the network. Capuano says this "underlay" approach offers greater efficiency, path control, and visibility than the "overlay" approach of enabling SDN at the network end points. The OTS also support "hybrid" operation, in which SDN-controlled services can run alongside traffic supported via more conventional means.

The company has conducted several demonstrations of the OTS (see, for example, "Infinera, ESnet demo Transport SDN via Open Transport Switch" and "Telefonica I+D, Infinera demo SDN-based Network-as-a-Service capabilities"), and Capuano says that Infinera has other customer engagements focused on the platform. Revision 1.0 of the OTS is currently available, with Revision 2.0 scheduled for this May. The OTS is designed to work exclusively within an Infinera Intelligent Transport Network environment. Capuano said there are no plans to give it the ability to control optical transport systems from other vendors.

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