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Data Centers Trial CALIENT S320 Optical Circuit Switch as High-Speed, Low-Latency Bus for Disaggregated Data Center Architecture
[March 20, 2017]

Data Centers Trial CALIENT S320 Optical Circuit Switch as High-Speed, Low-Latency Bus for Disaggregated Data Center Architecture

CALIENT Technologies, Inc., the global leader for optical switching technology, today announced its S320 Optical Circuit Switch is in customer trials with government and commercial data centers as an optical interconnect for cutting-edge disaggregated data center and high-performance computing center designs.

Data center disaggregation involves separating compute, storage and network resources into resource pools that provide applications with more fluid access to these resources. It is a growing trend as data center operators seek to extend maturing virtualization technology to the physical layer to boost efficiencies and scale the data center. With the advent of 40Gbps and 100Gbps optical networks, it now is technically possible to dynamically connect these resource pools.

Low Latency Optical Bus for Data Centers

In the customer trials, the CALIENT S320 provides a low-latency optical bus capable of interconnecting physically separate data center resources across rack boundaries. The S320 features 320 protocol agnostic optical ports that can support data throughput up to 400 Gbps and beyond.

CALIENT's proprietary microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switching module switches the light pulses using tiny mirrors, creating an all-optical switch with none of the latency involved in converting an optical signal into an electrical signal for backplane transport.

One key outcome of the trials is to determine the atual compute cluster size supported by the S320. Cluster size is determined both by the port count of the OCS and by the latency of the optical bus.

The trials also let data center operators experiment with connectivity options, which include the 640 single mode fiber connectors on the face of the switch, or integrating the CALIENT MEMS Switch Module (MSM) with a rack's horizontal cable management system to provide connectivity via a bulk connector. This allows each rack to have cabling pre-installed with only one connector required for interconnection to the rest of the network.

"The disaggregated data center is a brand-new compute node architecture and what is required is not a networking solution, but really an interconnect that operates at layer one with the highest throughput and lowest latency," said David Alstaetter, vice president of product marketing for CALIENT. "Speed of light latency is a critical advantage of the S320 in this application since the distance between resource pools impacts the response times and thus limits compute cluster size."

About CALIENT Technologies

CALIENT Technologies is the global leader in pure photonic Optical Circuit Switching with systems that enable dynamic optical layer optimization in next generation data centers and software defined networks. CALIENT's 3D MEMS switches allow data center operators to dramatically improve utilization rates of expensive compute resources which typically account for 75% to 90% of investment. Data center operators and metro service providers also deploy CALIENT switches at the edges of their networks to facilitate multi-layer network optimization for maximum efficiency and flexibility. In this application, the optical circuit switches support network-wide implementation of SD-WAN regardless of the vendor or vintage of the optical transport system. The company designs and manufactures its systems using the state of art MEMS fabrication equipment at its corporate headquarters in Santa Barbara, California.

For more information, visit CALIENT at, on Twitter and LinkedIn, or contact us at:

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