The business case for intelligent embedded DWDM over active DWDM
Several methods are available for data center connectivity in enterprise networks. Companies can run the network by themselves in a private network or have an operator run it for them through a managed service. Building a private network requires access to dark fiber, either owned or leased, between the sites. Various technology choices are possible depending on the total amount of traffic required throughout the lifetime of the network and the distance between sites. This article focuses on comparing two of them: intelligent distance-extending DWDM and active transponder-based DWDM.
Active telecom-grade DWDM systems
An active DWDM system, commonly referred to as a transponder-based system, is an alternative for data center connectivity that allows large amounts of data to be transported between sites. The transponder takes the output of the SAN or IP switch— usually in a short wave 850nm or long wave 1310nm format — and converts it through an optical-electrical-optical (OEO) DWDM conversion.
There is a clear demarcation point between the optical DWDM layer and the data layer (Ethernet of Fibre Channel protocols). This is important for two reasons. First, a DWDM signal can travel farther than a short-range signal, making it suitable for data center connectivity between geographically separated data centers. Second, many DWDM signals can be connected through a multiplexer and simultaneously transmitted over a dark fiber.
Intelligent distance-extending DWDM
Smartoptics has developed M-Series, a distance-extending DWDM multiplexer that combines the simplicity and cost effectiveness of an embedded DWDM approach with the long distance and management functionality of the traditional telecom-grade active DWDM systems. The result: a 1U platform that can simultaneously handle multiple traffic channels up to a distance of 200km. This is a blessing for campus and corporate data center connectivity, eliminating the usual amplification and signal conditioning user-tuning requirements and leaving the user with a plug-and-play solution for all current and future traffic protocols.