WDM-enhanced fiber-optic networks – delivering protocol-agnostic, robust connectivity and reliable service – have emerged as the standard medium for CDP and other types of synchronous, business-continuity and disaster-recovery services. The rollout of Dense WDM (DWDM), Coarse WDM (CWDM) and hybrid CWDM/DWDM platforms has made it cost-effective for more enterprises to implement sophisticated storage capabilities. These innovations allow the enterprise to deploy only the precise amount of capabilities they require for their Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives (RTOs and RPOs) of the given moment – and affordably add traffic channels and bandwidth as new needs arise.
Similarly, there are important innovations taking place in the area of optical-network amplification. Again, the technological developments are simultaneously reducing enterprise costs and delivering enhanced service benefits.
Achieving Longer Amplifier Spacing
Optical networks support data transmission over thousands of kilometers, but amplification is necessary along the fiber path. Enterprises have typically deployed in-line Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers in their networks for this job. But locating Erbium-doped amplifiers along an optical link introduces security concerns; plus, there are CAPEX, EFI&T and OAM expenses incurred with each hut that must be located to house an amplifier.
Eliminating – or, at least, reducing the number of – amplifier sites needed to drive application traffic across an optical link would not only cut an enterprise’s costs, it also would greatly enhance the enterprise’s disaster-recovery and business-continuity capabilities (Figure 1). By enabling longer fiber spans, the enterprise would be able to locate primary and backup data centers farther apart and still support bandwidth-intensive, real-time services such as synchronous data mirroring. The survivability of the data mirror in the event of a business-threatening event would be increased.
Figure 1: Hybrid Raman/Erbium Amplification. Increasing span lengths allows network owners to minimize or even entirely eliminate in-line amplifiers and the facilities that house them.
The supportable distances have gradually expanded, delivering increasingly greater protection against more severe events.
A New Role for a Proven Technology
Service providers have relied on all-optical Raman amplification for years, especially in submarine systems. Today, the technology has matured to the point that enterprises, too, can cost-effectively employ Raman amplification. And the benefits are particularly compelling in the context of synchronous storage applications.
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