What Will Happen When Optical Network and Cloud Computing Get Married

In the past year, you may be familiar with words like FTTH, SDN, Virtualization and cloud computing, or saw news with title of Vodafone targets Ireland, Portugal for new gigabit FTTH and the like, which reveals how popular optical network and cloud computing are.


We now live in an era of optical network and cloud computing at which information is so large in volume, complex and important. As the increasing demand for data capacity and higher bandwidth, the existing network and conventional approach of processing data cannot catch up with the change. Then cloud computing emerged as a Internet-based computing, shares resources, data and information with computers and other devices on-demand, giving a great solution to the problem. And with more mature optical network technology, optical network featured with large volume, high speed, low-cost and high flexibility become the best network for cloud computing.

When optical network and cloud computing get married, although their future are definitely promising, their way to it can be tough. Imaging cloud computing are enabled over optical network, a large volume of optical network resources (including optical switching device, optical component, fiber cable,wavelength, bandwidth, optical interface, optical time-slot resources and so on) and IT resources (which refer to computing resources and storage resources) are combined together to support data transmission. There will be challenges in the combination. Once these problems are solved, optical network technology will make significant progress.

Following is a list of challenges that optical network need to face in cloud computing era:

  • 1.Enable ubiquitous access to huge bandwidth: Nowadays, the users or applications that require the bandwidth of more than 1 Gbps are very common, especially with a growing tendency towards applications requiring a 10 Gbps or even 100 Gbps connectivity. Examples including networked data storage, high-definition (HD) and ultra-HD multimedia-content distribution, large remote instrumentation applications are quite close to our daily life. But today, these applications cannot use the Internet because of the fair-sharing principle and the basic routing approach. As TCP, referred to as the one-size-fits-all protocol, has reached its limits in controlling, which cannot enable ubiquitous access to huge bandwidth. So we need a new mechanisms to improve its flexibility.
  • 2.Coordinate IT and network service provisioning: Cloud computing carries large amount of dynamical resources which are based on well network controlling. it is important to have control over the quality of the network connections used, which is a challenge in today’s best-effort Internet. The interconnection of IT resources over networks requires well-managed, dynamically invoked, consistent services. IT and network should be provisioned in a coordinated way in the future Internet.
  • 3.Deal with the unpredictability and burstiness of traffic: Application of cloud computing raise unexpected traffic and emergence in network. It need a brand new system to support the dynamic behavior of the services and applications. Additionally, another important issue is that the growth of content and applications on the Internet will be more and more sporadic. Therefore, the future Internet should be able to deal with sporadic, seasonal or unpredictable demands.
  • 4.Make the network energy-aware: It is reported that ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is responsible for around 4 % of the worldwide energy consumption today, and this percentage is expected to rapidly grow over the next few years following the growth of the Internet. Therefore, overall energy consumption should be considered as a significant factor when build our network. And a energy-saving and sustainable network is one direction in future development.

Although there are many problems in the way, the future must be promising after all these problems are solved.

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