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Infinera Targets Data Center Connectivity Market With Metro Platform

After years of speculation, Infinera finally unveils its market-ready PIC-based metro platform, and adds packet capabilities to its DTN-X platform too.

September 18, 2014

4 Min Read
Infinera Targets Data Center Connectivity Market With Metro Platform

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After years of speculation about Infinera's plans for the 100G metro market, the transport infrastructure vendor has finally revealed the Cloud Xpress, its first product designed specifically for the metro market that's based on its photonic integrated chip (PIC) technology. (See Infinera Hints At Metro 100G Launch .)

And at an unveiling ceremony here Thursday, the vendor also announced the addition of a packet transport module for its increasingly popular DTN-X long-haul platform.

The Cloud Xpress
As the name suggests, the Cloud Xpress is targeted at the cloud traffic transport market, and is specifically designed to provide high-speed connectivity between data centers, so Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) is going after the major Internet content providers, which are spending billions of dollars (and rising) on optical transport infrastructure, with this platform.

The new product, which was introduced by Stu Elby, the vendor's new Senior Vice President of Data Center Technology, is a 2RU (3.5" high) box with 1 Tbit/s of capacity, with up to 500 Gbit/s of line-side capacity and the same capacity on the client side, with a mix of 10GigE, 40GigE and 100GigE interfaces. (See Verizon's Elby to Head Infinera's Cloud Team.)

It has low power consumption -- 130W per 100G, which Infinera claims is 50% more efficient than its nearest rival -- and is designed to enable simple, data center-type provisioning in three simple steps. It can be managed using Infinera's own OSS, or even software-defined networking tools, such as an OpenDaylight SDN controller.

The unit can be stacked to work as a cluster, with up to 30 units able to be clustered using a single IP address. According to Infinera, this product can be racked, stacked and provisioned like servers in a data center.

It is in trials now, with commercial availability expected in December this year. And customers are keen: Steve Orchard, SVP and General Manager, Data Center and Network Services, at Internap Network Services Corp. (Nasdaq: INAP), stated here during a customer Q&A session that he'd like the Cloud Xpress earlier than December to help him deal with the ramp in traffic he is seeing on his network.

Want to know more about 100G? Check out Light Reading's dedicated 100G content channel.

Infinera CEO Tom Fallon told customers, analysts and the press that the company sees two very distinct metro market opportunities, "and we intend to access both." The Cloud Xpress has been designed specifically for the near-term opportunity in data center interconnectivity -- "very high bandwidth and lots of Ethernet traffic" -- that is emerging right now.

The other, metro aggregation, will come in late 2015 and 2016, believes Infinera. "We'll be taking the full functionality of the [100G] DTN-X and putting it into metro form factor," noted Fallon.

So after the long wait, is Infinera doing the right thing? Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Sterling Perrin believes so, and calls Cloud Xpress "the right product for them."

"This is a good move -- and it's not just a roadmap, it's a product that is imminent, and it's PIC-based, which is important," Perrin states. "And it's not just going after the whole market, it's targeting a high-growth market that is ripe for an insurgent supplier."

And which other transport vendors might suffer if Infinera is successful with this launch? Perrin believes ADVA Optical Networking , BTI Systems Inc. , Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) are the companies that will feel the competitive heat the most from this launch. (See Ciena Stirs Up the Metro Market.)

Packet Push for the DTN-X
Infinera's other near-term launch is the Packet Switching Module (PXM) for its DTN-X platform, which is already deployed by 46 customers.

The PXM adds 10GigE and 100GigE ports to the optical platform, turning it into a packet-optical product. According to Infinera president and founder Dave Welch, this plays to the increasing demand for transport systems that offer "highly scalable optical and simplified packet" capabilities. "This is something the data center operators have opted for, and we believe [telcos] will follow."

The PXM will be commercially available in the first quarter of 2015.

Infinera has had a good year: The vendor, which was awarded the Public Company of the Year gong at this year's Leading Lights awards, has been reporting improving financials and adding notable new customers. Its share price ended Thursday up 4.4% at $11.56. (See Infinera Reports Q2, Infinera Earnings & Metro Expectations on Tap, Leading Lights 2014 Winners Video and Infinera Confirms Level 3 Deal.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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