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The Web-scale Effect and the Future of Networking

By Steve Alexander, Senior VP and CTO at Ciena

As we gear up once again for OFC, I look forward to discussions about how networks must continue to evolve and apply web-scale philosophies in order to improve capacity, reach and support today’s on-demand world.

So how do you scale your network to the size of the web? How do you prepare your network when today’s dynamic and on-demand world means you can no longer predict traffic patterns? And, more importantly, how do you build a network that can support the viral nature of communications where users expect connect, compute and storage services to be available 24/7? It’s a growing challenge for both service provider and enterprise network operators.

I call it the ‘web-scale effect.’ And, it is driving considerable changes to the WAN. It’s clear that the massive growth of data centers, cloud and virtualization are overtaxing today’s network infrastructures and exposing their inflexibility. But these challenges also provide a blueprint for where networks must evolve. The web-scale effect that is transforming data centers and IT is now being applied to WAN networks so they can support applications that require expansive bandwidth, efficiency and agility.

In essence, networks must be built for a world gone viral.

By applying web-scale philosophies, the network can scale to massive numbers of connections and to massive capacity – in real-time. The network will be more agile, programmable and reconfigurable in all dimensions.

This means openness and automation via concepts like SDN and NFV. This means massive scalability via programmable coherent DWDM. This means more efficient networks and simpler network architectures.

Network operators are deploying this network of the future now. And, there are many new innovations that allow all types of providers to build bigger, more agile networks that can gracefully respond to the unforeseen demands and the viral nature of today's web-scale world.

Posted: 19 March 2015 by Steve Alexander, Senior VP and CTO at Ciena | with 0 comments

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC)  or its sponsors.