Lightness Low latency and high throughput dynamic network infrastructures for high performance datacentre interconnects

November 2012 – October 2015

The main objective of the LIGHTNESS project is the design, implementation and experimental evaluation of a high-performance network infrastructure for data centres, where innovative photonic switching and transmission solutions are deployed. Harnessing the power of optics will enable data centres to effectively cope with the unprecedented demand growth to be faced in the near future, which will be driven by the increasing popularity of computing and storage server-side applications in the society. Indeed, the deployment of optical transmission systems leveraging Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) allows the transmission of more than a hundred of wavelength channels operating at 10, 40, 100 Gb/s and beyond. This effectively results in “unlimited” bandwidth capacities of multiple Terabit/s per fibre link, which can be efficiently utilized through next-generation all-optical switching paradigms like Optical Circuit Switching (OCS) or Optical Packet Switching (OPS). In this context, LIGHTNESS will join efforts towards the demonstration of a high-performance all-optical hybrid data plane for data centre networks, combining both OCS and OPS equipment to implement transport services tailored to the specific applications’ throughput and latency requirements. To this goal, an OPS node suitable for intra- data centre connectivity services will be developed and prototyped during the project, together with an enhanced Top of the Rack (TOR) switch seamlessly connecting servers in each rack to the hybrid OCS/OPS inter-cluster network. As an additional achievement of LIGHTNESS, the OCS/OPS inter-cluster network will be empowered with a network control plane able to dynamically provision flexible connectivity services in the hybrid OCS/OPS data centre network. Such a control plane will also be developed and prototyped for integration in the final LIGHTNESS demo throughout the project.

Sunset SUNSET: Sustainable Network Infrastructure Enabling the Future Digital Society

January 2015 – December 2017

The Project SUNSET has the key objective to overcome the bottlenecks of current transport networks, providing effective network solutions for the future Digital Society and paving the way toward innovative ICT services “on the cloud”. These services will favor their sustainable utilization by nowadays’ major economic sectors, leveraging their competitiveness through next‐generation cloud services. More specifically, SUNSET proposes a novel network architecture including access/metro network segments, as well as the intra‐data center network, thanks to the deployment of advanced optical technologies governed and orchestrated from Software‐Defined Network(SDN)‐enabled control/management planes. SUNSET targets the seamless integration of the aforementioned optical transport and control/management technologies to improve the end‐to‐end network performance, while achieving the joint management and automation of network and IT (data center) resources in a scalable way. In the SUNSET multi-technology network scenario, an effective and dynamic allocation of traffic loads will be performed, always ensuring a high utilization of the underlying network and IT resources.

Enhanced opticaL networks featuring Adaptable and highly Scalable multi-granular Transport servICes (ELASTIC)

January 2012 – December 2014

The ELASTIC project will pursuit the design and assessment of novel network architectures offering multi-service provisioning features as well as to effectively respond to a variety of upper layer application requirements. As the starting point, multi-layer Internet Protocol / Multi-Protocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) over Wavelength Switched Optical Network (WSON) networks will be firstly analyzed as a cost-effective solution to provide high utilization of the optical layer bandwidth by means of electrical grooming. Cost reduction here will be maximized through the proposal of multi-layer optimization methods to achieve optimal network performance using the minimum number of resources. Moreover, multi-layer protection and restoration mechanisms will also be designed in such networks, upgrading them with the reliability needed to support future transport services under a cost-effective and low-energy-consumption policy. In fact, the omnipresence of Internet around the Globe will force network operators to interconnect with each other following the mission to successfully provide universal connectivity to their customers. In such scenario, operators will likely deploy their switching technologies of choice, opening new challenges on the efficient provisioning of end-to-end services across multiple heterogeneous domains. This problem will be addressed in the ELASTIC project as well, proposing solutions for improved inter-domain path computation in both single-layer (i.e., all domains implement the same switching technology) and multi-layer multi-domain scenarios. Such proposed solutions will be particularly defined to properly fit the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Path Computation Element (PCE) framework, thus maximizing its options of being adopted in future multi-domain networks. It is widely accepted that optical transmission rates will go far beyond 100 Gbps along the next decade. In this context, the ELASTIC project will deepen on the analysis of advanced modulation formats, like Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), to determine the candidates for enabling the next 400 Gb/s or 1 Tb/s standards. Furthermore, digital signal processing, in the context of digital optical coherent receivers, will be a key stone to be addressed. In any case, this migration will not happen overnight but most likely in a gradual fashion. Therefore, mixed transmission bit-rates will have to seamlessly coexist in the mid-term optical networks. An enabling technology for these variable bit-rate communications is the Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OOFDM), which provides the potentiality of dynamically adapting the transmission speeds according to current network conditions. In this regard, the ELASTIC project will focus on the cost-effective operation of OOFDM networks by proposing novel Routing and Spectrum Allocation (RSA) and survivability mechanisms. Furthermore, innovative multi-granular node architectures capable of switching at different granularities (packet, burst, circuit, etc.) and at different bit-rates, will be designed. These advanced multi-granular nodes will also be equipped with an interoperable GMPLS-based common control plane solution, able to seamlessly drive all switching layers in a unified way, while providing at the same time the interoperability to fit in heterogeneous multi-domain network environments. The ELASTIC project will also address network virtualization, which enables breaking a physical network into multiple isolated and personalized virtual networks matching specific service needs. In particular, the study will concentrate on the management of both physical and virtualized layers from a GMPLS-enabled common control plane. Finally, inside the ELASTIC project the available multi-degree Reconfigurable Optical Add-and-Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) will be enhanced with monitor devices (i.e., Optical Signal to Noise Ratio (OSNR) and bit error rate (BER) monitors). These monitors will inform the GMPLS control plane with the current optical layer measurements towards a fully compliant Impairment Aware (IA) GMPLS-based optical network.