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Ciena unveils DCI for metro data centers

Ciena unveils an interconnect for the metro data centers of enterprises and Internet content providers.

Telecom networking supplier Ciena introduced a data center interconnect aimed at the growing number of Internet content providers with multiple facilities in metropolitan areas.

Unveiled this week, Waveserver is 1-RU hardware that can be added to any server rack. The compact data center interconnect (DCI) can be used for high-speed data transfers, virtual machine migration and disaster recovery and backup.

Each device transfers over an optical fiber link up to 400 gigabits of data taken from 10, 40 or 100 GbE routers or switches. Companies increase capacity by adding Waveservers to a rack.

Waveserver aimed at growing ICP market

Waveserver and competing products from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and Ericsson reflect a growing demand for technology that connects metro data centers, analysts say. Internet content providers (ICPs) like Amazon and Google build multiple centers in densely populated areas in order to provide better service.

ICPs tend to build virtualized data centers that scale quickly by replicating and moving application-hosting virtual machines between centers. In addition, the facilities are used to run backups of critical software.

This type of activity requires a DCI that provides "high availability and extremely, extremely low latency," ACG Research analyst Ray Mota said.

Over the next four years, DCI use among ICPs will increase 12% annually, according to market researcher Ovum. The overall DCI market will grow 10.5% annually to top $4.2 billion in 2019.

Waveserver is designed for the sole purpose of transferring large amounts of bits between data centers that are up to 90 miles apart. "It's like a dragster," Rick Dodd, senior vice president of marketing for Ciena, said of the new product. "It does one thing really fast."

Besides ICPs, data center providers like Equinix and Continuum are also potential customers for Waveserver. The DCI is scheduled for general availability this year.

The Waveserver announcement came about two weeks after Ciena said it would acquire networking software maker Cyan for $400 million. The acquisition will add software-defined networking and network functions virtualization technology to Ciena's product portfolio. The deal is scheduled to close by the end of October.

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