Polatis CEO Talks SDN-Enabled Optical Switching

Gerald Wesel
Gerald Wesel

Optical switching that enables software-define networking is becoming a strategic solution in the marketplace when designing high-speed network architectures to meet increasing bandwidth demand.

The optical switch maker Polatis and World Wide Technology, No. 12 on the CRN SP 500, formed a partnership in March, which will see WWT integrating Polatis' SDN-enabled optical switching systems into their solutions. 

The first deployment using Polatis optical switches will be in a multi-vendor optical network solution -- with Cisco Systems, Polatis and WWT -- for a Fortune 100 retailer's enterprise network, according to Polatis CEO Gerald Wesel.

Here, Wesel tells CRN about the optical switching market today, the partnership with WWT and the opportunities for solutions providers in the SDN-enabled optical switching space in 2015.

How is SDN playing a bigger role in the optical switching market in 2015 compared a few years ago?

With the continued exponential growth of bandwidth -- streaming HD video as an example -- the management of traffic at the optical layer (wavelengths) has become imperative; the status quo can no longer be sustained.

The network now needs to dynamically differentiate between standard traffic which can be efficiently handled by layer 2/3 devices and flows that are referred to as elephant flows which do not need packet level forwarding decisions.
The more current versions of SDN specifically enhance management of these flows using optical switching. 

How important is optical switches now with the increasing demand for bandwidth and things like 100G and LTE?

Optical switching is a critical piece of current and next generation solutions; the inherit power of all optical switching lies in the fact that its protocol and bit rate independent.

An all-optical switch deployed in a solution today will be ready to switch the traffic/wavelengths of the future irrespective of the protocol or rate – 10G/40G/100G and beyond. There is no better "future proofing" of a design than with the addition of all optical switching.