Cyan Targets DCI With 34 Terabit Platform

Cyan is launching an ambitious play for the burgeoning data center interconnect (DCI) market Wednesday, targeting the largest Internet content providers with a new hyperscale transport platform and Linux-based software management tools.

The Cyan Inc. N-Series Open Hyperscale Transport Platform is a new family of high-density, high-capacity optical transport boxes that compete immediately with Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN)'s CloudExpress -- launched last September -- and a host of other metro optical company products expected in the months ahead. (See Cyan Launches Hyperscale Transport Platform.)

Cyan is touting two specific advantages -- fully loaded with 200-gig line interfaces, it can support 34 terabits per second per rack at a 30% energy savings for the lowest cost per gigabit, and the system is built on best-of-breed open hardware versus proprietary hardware for greater flexibility and faster upgrades. (See {doc710946}.)

That maximum 34 Tbit/s compares with the CloudExpress max of 21 Tbit/s, says Cyan CMO Joe Cumello. The savings gained from that advantage matter greatly to Internet content providers operating at massive scale to deliver the rapidly growing volume of content over data networks, he says.

"The N-Series offers the lowest cost per gig when moving traffic between data centers, which is what the hyperscale ICPs care about," Cumello says. It also operates in a single rack unit, versus Infinera's two rack units, with 800 Gbit/s per RU.

Cyan is already selling into this market, which includes the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Facebook and Rackspace , and has one large customer, who refuses to be named, Cumello says.

Sterling Perrin, Heavy Reading analyst on all things packet-optical transport, says Cyan's N-Series does have the advantage over Infinera in terms of capacity and density "if they run with their 200-gig channels, which is what they talk about."

"By using 16 QAM [modulation], they are able to crank up to 200-gig on what would otherwise be a 100-gig card," Perrin adds.

That could help Cyan play well in the metro market where the distance limitations on 200-gig of about 600km aren't a problem. In ultra-long-haul applications, Infinera running 100-gig channels has the advantage, because of the distances involved, Perrin notes.

"Infinera's CloudExpress is based on PIC [photonic integrated circuit] technology giving significant density and power consumption versus discrete components that were out there," he says. "Cyan is at least matching and in some cases exceeding in terms of what can be done with discrete components. It is interesting how fast the components technology has progressed and what can be done with it."

Stay up-to-date on data center strategies including connectivity on the dedicated data center connectivity channel here on Light Reading.

Cyan also maintains it can increase density and capacity at a 2X pace every 12-to-18 months, in a COTS-based system, which would be much faster than is possible in a PIC-based approach, given the time cycles on PICs.

By using COTS hardware, Cyan is building an infrastructure for interconnecting data centers that models the existing data center infrastructure, Cumello notes. "They have adopted white boxes and bare metal systems for their servers and top-of-rack systems; now they are looking to apply those same concepts to data center interconnection," he says. Proprietary network operating systems and Ethernet switches have given way to Linux-based operating systems and COTS-based Ethernet switches.

"Cyan is basing N-series on best-in-breed COTS hardware combined with what is called Cyan Linux and Linux-based apps that sit on top of the hardware that allow the Internet content provider or cloud provider to operate this device in the same way that they operate their data center infrastructure," Cumello says. "This is all based on feedback from our customers and we think Cyan is the first to innovate in this area."

Traditional management of data center interconnection is based on more closed telecom operating systems whereas the Linux-based approach will enable Internet content providers to develop their own Linux-based apps for greater flexibility and faster innovation, according to Cyan.

"We are doing things the way data centers want to operate," says Abel Tong, director of solutions marketing for Cyan. "For data configuration and control in their networks, they are using tools like Ansible and Puppet -- maybe Chef also -- and the idea here is, because we are Linux and we are open, we allow data center operators to use these tools to manage their end-series devices: their servers, their switches, their storage infrastructure and their network infrastructure all the same way with the same set of automation tools they are used to."

As part of that approach, Cyan is supporting the Open Computing Project's Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) specification for managing devices in an open disaggregated network.

Perrin credits Cyan with building the N-Series from the ground up as a product specifically designed for the DCI market -- an area where he expects to see many more product announcements in coming months, given its rapid growth.

"Our Metro 100G forecast shows that market growing at a 72% compound annual growth rate over the next few years and a big part of that is data center interconnection," Perrin says.

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

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brooks7 2/27/2015 | 12:47:46 PM
Re: could you clarify? Actually on the cc what they said was that they don't expect significant revenue until next year.  I am not clear on the ship date and of course they have to go through the Sales and Qualification cycle.  For all any of us non-Cyan employees know, you could get prototypes now.


rgrutza600 2/26/2015 | 9:00:17 PM
Re: could you clarify? The significant thing about Cyan's N series right now is that it won't ship until the end of the year, according to Cyan on their CC.  So we won't know how much the market accepts it until some time in 2016.
freak0815 2/18/2015 | 4:27:52 PM
Re: could you clarify? It is a remarkable DCI win - no doubt, congrats on that. However it's most remarkable because it will be realized with LH and even ULH capable equipment
tojofay 2/18/2015 | 4:18:06 PM
Re: could you clarify? but it sure means a LARGE DCI win!! "Scale has been a big order of business for Equinix. Today, Equinix operates its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers in 32 markets across 15 countries in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions"

Very curious as to why announcemnent not reported in Lightreading, New IP??

freak0815 2/18/2015 | 4:14:21 PM
Re: could you clarify? Equinix wouldn't necessarily mean a new Cloud Xpress customer. From the press release it appears this might be a DTN-X based installation - even if this is metro and DCI.
tojofay 2/18/2015 | 1:52:35 PM
Re: could you clarify? EQUINIX-



pohn 2/17/2015 | 12:02:36 PM
Re: could you clarify? Thanks Mr. Light 'Infinera' Sabre ;-)
tojofay 2/17/2015 | 11:24:04 AM
Re: could you clarify? Cheers Pohnie!
pohn 2/17/2015 | 1:43:21 AM
Re: could you clarify?  

"Heavier than air flying machines are impossible."

– Lord Kelvin, 1895, president of the Royal Society of England, made this statement only eight years before the Wright Brothers' first flight.


"Cloud Express will rule the world"

– Lord DCI, made this statement only a few months before the Cyan's N series announcement.


Jokes apart; Stu Elby's statement was spot on... until 2/11. The BTI's salesman move was spot on... until 2/11. Lord Kelvin's statement was spot on... until the Wright Brother's first flight. Every technology related statement has an expiry date.



In any case, we are all speculating... The market will tell. Now the real and practical decision to take is about keeping or selling your Infinera shares... That's the real challenge... My advice is: 'sell', now is the right moment.


Good night and good luck.



tojofay 2/17/2015 | 1:02:39 AM
Re: could you clarify? Maybe Stu Elby will be the guru- he knows a thing or 2 about DCI 

"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." Lightreading

Or maybe the new sales guy that left BTI and joined Infinera recently- he's got game!
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