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Fiber Mountain Reduces Network Latency by up to 100x, Shattering SDN Barrier

August 12, 2015

When it comes to transforming data center network infrastructures regardless of which pillar—Network, Compute or Storage—the “need for speed” has become paramount. We live in a world where real-time is the only time. This means there is no alternative to processing, storing and making data accessible for interchange inside the data center and with the outside world quickly, reliably and securely as possible. Indeed, this need for speed is  driving innovation in all of the pillars. 

On the networking side of things as the data centers look to software-defined networking (SDN) as their path to a future that can accommodate the tsunami of traffic that is already apparent and whose next waves will be more frequent and bigger, a gating factor has been getting past network latency challenges. There is interesting news on this from Cheshire, Connecticut-based startup Fiber Mountain, Inc., whose Optical Path Exchange (OPX) that is a foundational component of its Glass Core technology has achieved 5 nanosecond data center network latency.  

Image via Shutterstock

The reason this is so impressive is as the headline says, the OPX now offers a potential 100x latency improvement over industry standard SDN switches.

“A key ingredient in our Glass Core architecture, the OPX’s ability to process network traffic at these speeds is a potential game changer,” said Fiber Mountain CEO, M.H. Raza. “Compared to current industry standards, this level of latency reduction can have a huge impact for environments such as high performance computing and high frequency trading – where nanoseconds can correlate directly to dollars.”

Putting the OPX through its paces

Fiber Mountain validated the ability to achieve such speeds following comprehensive testing using Anritsu’s BERTWave MP2100A which is designed specifically for measuring and calibrating the fastest optical networking devices. In the tests, the OPX consistently achieved speeds at or near 5 nanoseconds of latency.  

“Anritsu developed the BERTWave MP2100A to meet the needs of high-speed next-generation product design, such as the Fiber Mountain OPX. It was particularly beneficial in this application because, as an all-in-one BERT and EYE/Pulse Scope solution, it provided the broad set of integrated features required by Fiber Mountain. With a single instrument, they conducted 2-channel BERT analysis, as well as E/O, O/E, custom pattern generation and waveform measurements at 10Gb/s,” said Wade Hulon, President of Anritsu Company.

Source: Fiber Mountain

For those unfamiliar with the OPX, the company’s OPX AP-4240 is the industry’s highest density active optical cross-connect. Capabilities include:

  • SDN controlled point to point, optical TAP and point to multipoint applications for 160 ports in a compact 1RU form factor.
  • The ability to create Programmable Light Paths (PLP) to directly interconnect servers, storage, 4K video and network monitoring/security systems.
  • On-board optics, which reduce the complexity and cost of installing external SFP+ and QSFP+ pluggable transceivers.

Plus it is available for use with the Fiber Mountain AOS SDN controller, third party SDN controllers or in standalone applications. For more information on the product or the latency testing of the OPX, please visit the Fiber Mountain blog.

Along with the need for speed data centers that are transforming their infrastructures based on SDN are also looking for the simplification of their operations. The trick is to achieve both goals of speed and simplification without sacrificing any aspect of performance. In this case the good news is that regarding the critical area of network latency performance is exponentially enhanced as a real barrier has been overcome. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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