NFV Strategies

DartPoints' Micro Data Centers Use ADVA NFV

Micro data center operator DartPoints is using ADVA optical gear in its national network of distributed colocation points to offer new services more easily and efficiently. It's the latest indication of how virtualization is developing more rapidly at the edge of the network and how some non-traditional operators will use NFV to compete.

DartPoints operates about 25 sites in the Dallas/DFW area alone -- the company is based there -- and is putting its micro data centers right next to business locations, giving businesses a choice between having to build their own private data centers or colocate in a large data operation. The company is now deploying what it deems to be "pure-play" NFV on white boxes in its micro data centers to mix and match virtualized functions depending on the services required by customers at each location.

The company is using ADVA Optical Networking 's Ensemble NFV products including its Ensemble Connector, which combines virtual switching, flow control and Carrier Ethernet 2.0 functions as software deployable on an open platform, deployed on the ADVA FSP 150vSE, an Intel-based service in carrier-based hardware. In addition, DartPoints uses the Ensemble Orchestrator to spin up and provision virtual network functions (VNFs) from vendors of its choosing.

Its earliest deployments are typical services such as virtualized security, notes DartPoints CTO Satya Baddipudi, but the intent is to let its micro data center be provisioned to support its specific set of customers.

"Basically, we look at network as a service -- like power and water -- where you can use what you need," he tells Light Reading in an interview. "When we looked at NFV, there was a sense that for the services we want to offer, this is the right way of looking at the future. We don't have to stack up hardware; we can do service-chaining in way that makes sense for our customers; and we can turn services up and take them down when we don't need them. That's how we are looking at NFV -- it creates the opportunity to do network as a service."

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Prayson Pate, CTO of ADVA's Ensemble unit, believes what DartPoints is doing at the edge of the network is the sign of things to come from a broader range of companies, including traditional communications service providers.

"Micro data centers are interesting because I think you are going to see more of that," he says. "You will see continued growth of mega data centers but also see micro data centers distributed in the network either for end users or for [network operators] because compute at the edge will facilitate applications like Virtual EPC, virtual CDN or IoT applications."

DartPoints is ADVA's first announced commercial deployment of a micro data center but he is expecting more, once this proof point is established.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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