Optical networking solutions and technologies in the big data era

We are witnessing an ever-increasing demand for cloud computing services, IoT, M2Mcommunications and advanced telecom applications. In addition, other applications like commerce, medical care, education, entertainment, as well as scientific meteorological simulations, genomics, computational physics, financial transactions and social network services generate a vast amount of data (Big Data). As a result it is estimated that digital data, which need to be processed and stored in data centres, will reach the zettabyte level before 2020. Time-sensitive Big data analysis and processing at high-performance computing infrastructures and by huge inter/intra data exchanges on data centres, becomes crucial and is a topic that attracts significant attention lately. The size of data-sets feasible to be processed in a reasonable amount of time is not only determined by the available processing capability but also by the bandwidth and the latency of the interconnecting network.

These new requirements, pose a serious challenge on the data-center and network operators who have to come up with a flexible and reliable solution, while considering the operational benefits that can result potentially for them. Novel photonic/plasmonic technologies as well as advanced optical networking approaches, may offer the capability of transmitting and processing of such big data with low power consumption, low latency and high level of flexibility, at relatively low costs. This tutorial discusses the impact of big data on the underlying network infrastructure with a particular focus on how novel photonic technologies and optical networking approaches in the high-performance computing (HPC), datacentre networks (DCN) and telecommunication networks can (TCN) be utilized to face the new requirements. The new infrastructure requirements in the big data era will be outlined. Then a brief presentation on the roadmap of new optical technologies that will be introduced in HPC, DCNs and TCNs in order – o improve their performance will be made. Finally in the third part of the tutorial, which will be the main focus, we will shift the discussion towards advanced networking solutions that enable flexibility, virtualization, application awareness and QoS support, thus making the network infrastructure more suitable for the new requirements.