The Roses are Red, but the White Boxes are Blue in California
LightCounting Shares Research Notes from NGON Conference
The 4th annual NGON USA event took place in a great new location this year: Palo Alto, CA. Moving the event from Dallas, TX transformed this telecom centric venue into a broader Cloud networking forum. Experts from Equinix, Facebook, Google and Microsoft enjoyed a prominent presence on stage and beefed up the number of attendees in this still small but informative event.
Telecom topics, including SDN and white boxes, remained at the top of the agenda. Having speakers from Facebook and Orange, sitting next to each other on stage and discussing SDN, highlighted the contrast between the two worlds. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” - a quote from Peter Drucker was brought up by Anuradha Udunuwara of Sri Lanka Telecom to illustrate challenges faced by telecom operators adopting new technologies.
Roderick Dottin representing Orange at the event was also not very optimistic about deploying white boxes in their networks, citing lack of standardization, but was clearly more comfortable using mainstream products. Lumentum displayed a white box linecard at the exhibit, shown in the photo below. It was packaged into a blue enclosure - a clever marketing trick to bring more attention to the product. Despite the camouflage, it is a true white box by design - completely open for customers to configure and integrate into their transport systems with no strings attached.
Google was represented at the event by Lieven Verslegers - a former engineer at Luxtera. His presentation was a sobering reminder of challenges faced by manufacturers of Silicon Photonics (SiP) products. Google does not yet use any SiP based products in their data centers. Intel’s representative commented that it took 16 years to transfer SiP from research to production.
Google is starting deployment of 100GbE today and considers 200GbE to be the next step (consistent with LightCounting’s latest forecast). Facebook and Microsoft confirmed their commitment to deploying 400GbE as soon as possible and skipping 200GbE. Both companies count on SiP to accelerate advances in optical component technologies. Intel shares this view as well, anticipating wide use of SiP connectivity in combination with high speed ACIS.
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