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Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Volume 2014, Article ID 139213, 13 pages
Research Article

Hybrid Optical Switching for Data Center Networks

1Department of Engineering “Enzo Ferrari”, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Vignolese 905, 41125 Modena, Italy
2Institute of Telecommunications, Vienna University of Technology, Favoritenstraße 9-11/E389, 1040 Vienna, Austria

Received 24 October 2013; Accepted 3 January 2014; Published 27 February 2014

Academic Editor: Vincenzo Eramo

Copyright © 2014 Matteo Fiorani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Current data centers networks rely on electronic switching and point-to-point interconnects. When considering future data center requirements, these solutions will raise issues in terms of flexibility, scalability, performance, and energy consumption. For this reason several optical switched interconnects, which make use of optical switches and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), have been recently proposed. However, the solutions proposed so far suffer from low flexibility and are not able to provide service differentiation. In this paper we introduce a novel data center network based on hybrid optical switching (HOS). HOS combines optical circuit, burst, and packet switching on the same network. In this way different data center applications can be mapped to the optical transport mechanism that best suits their traffic characteristics. Furthermore, the proposed HOS network achieves high transmission efficiency and reduced energy consumption by using two parallel optical switches. We consider the architectures of both a traditional data center network and the proposed HOS network and present a combined analytical and simulation approach for their performance and energy consumption evaluation. We demonstrate that the proposed HOS data center network achieves high performance and flexibility while considerably reducing the energy consumption of current solutions.