The business case for embedded DWDM over a carrier-managed service
Several methods are available for connecting data center services in an enterprise network. Companies can run the network by themselves in a private network or have an operator run it for them through a managed service. In some cases, if the fiber isn’t available the enterprise has no choice but to contact an ISP or MSO and lease the required data traffic as individual managed services. But if fiber is available, owning and operating an embedded WDM network can bring both commercial and technical benefits.
Owner-managed private network using embedded WDM technology
If dark fiber is available, embedded WDM makes an attractive option for connecting data center services. It gives you the ability to transport up to 80 individual traffic channels over a dark fiber network. It works on the same principle as a simple ELWL circuit except the ELWL transceiver is replaced by a CWDM or DWDM variant connected directly in to the SAN or IP switch. Instead of being connected on to the line fiber, these DWDM signals are connected by an LC patch cable to a passive multiplexer (a 1U fiber termination unit), which gathers them together and transports them over a single dark fiber link.
Carrier-managed wavelength services
With a carrier-managed service, each individual service needs to be leased from the service provider. So, if eight channels are required then eight services need to be purchased. A service contract is normally purchased over a two- or three-year period. The ROI calculation that the service provider uses is based on a return over six months, with the monthly payment usually staying the same for the remainder of the contract.
While a service provider is normally efficient with Ethernet and Sonet/SDH services, they are not so adapted to Fibre Channel traffic. This means that for connecting corporate data center services, the efficiency and latency of the network tend to suffer. A carrier-managed service usually requires the FC switch to be run in R_Ready mode, which tends to limit some of the functions from the switch. And the OEO (optical-electrical-optical) nature of the equipment used impacts latency, which is often key in certain applications.