That demo was of the SDN-powered hybrid packet-optical circuit switch networks for data centers. In a further effort to get the word out about hybrid data center networks, Data Center Knowledge recently published an article that we wrote describing the architecture.
The article starts out describing how some university researchers predicted this network model almost 10 years ago and then describes benefits and components of a hybrid packet-optical circuit switch network. It also talks about the role of SDN.
I encourage you to read the entire article, but if you just have time for a summary, here it is:
“(Key)…factors generate persistent, dynamically changing traffic patterns, especially in large cloud datacenters where a relatively small number of applications can consume vast amounts of server resources. They also result in very large east-west data flows and the need for very low levels of oversubscription. The net result is that traditional packet-based aggregation networks can suffer from bandwidth constriction resulting in increased latency and degraded server and application performance….In the hybrid packet-optical circuit switch network, optical circuit switches (or photonic switches) are installed in a data center to augment packet-based switching to create a hybrid solution. Network management scripts or software-defined networking (SDN) are used to redirect data flows from one network to another. The flow detection and redirection can be based on a number of factors including scheduled events such as virtual machine or data migrations, or real time events such as a network analytic requesting more bandwidth.“