Core network power reduction will take holistic change

Date: March 22, 2010
Pages: 31
US$ 2,495.00
Publisher: Ovum
Report type: Strategic Report
Delivery: E-mail Delivery (PDF)
ID: C4661EEC847EN

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Core network power reduction will take holistic change
For our second annual network power research project, we delved into near-term improvements that can be made at the sub–network element (NE), NE, and network (super-NE) level. Our initial network modeling, which focused on reducing power through more efficient gear and limiting IP transit traffic in the core, shows that power savings up to perhaps 50% of the present method of operation (PMO) are possible through architectural changes that are straightforward but still challenging to implement. Industry convergence on an “Energy Star”–like power metric and improvements in sub-wavelength grooming efficiency are critical. However, ultimately, just keeping power consumption flat given traffic growth projections will require more radical approaches.
Executive summary
In a nutshell
Ovum view
Power metrics and claims are hard to verify and compare
Three levels of reduction are needed in infrastructure
Still early days for changing architecture to save power
Significant power reduction in the face of bandwidth growth will require radical change and vision
Overview and background
Phase I findings
Phase II goals
Who cares?
Modeling and survey highlights
Our modeling choice
Power consumption is a function of the whole network
Good comparative network element power data is still much too hard to obtain
The difficulty of validating power reduction claims
Comparison/contrast of power consumption across product classes/network layers
Comparison of power consumption within a product class/network layer
Comparison of IP router power consumption
Comparison of long-haul/multi-reach backbone DWDM network element power consumption
Comparison of metro/regional WDM network element power consumption
What about converged packet-optical (CPO) hub products?
Network-level software: assessing its impact
Baseline architecture
Introduction and explanation of baseline architecture model and the present method of operation (PMO)
Opportunities/challenges related to the PMO
Alternative approaches to the PMO
Alternative one: newer-vintage network elements, but no major architecture changes
Alternative two: adopt a more aggressive architecture change
Adopt an IP router bypass architecture for transit traffic, leveraging integrated packet-optical capabilities
Network power consumption modeling results
True improvements in network power use will come through changes in topology and architecture
Other architectural approaches not modeled by Ovum
Ciena’s modeling of a subwavelength switching layer
Implications of the “muxponder tax” modeled by Infinera
Organic networks and Juniper’s modeling of router virtualization
Holistic packet-optical approaches: Alcatel-Lucent’s CBT and Huawei’s IPTime
Qualitative survey results
Progress over the past year is clear, but much more needed
Gathering and using real-time NE data is still rudimentary
Relative importance of power as a product spec and selling point
What technologies and techniques did vendors list as critical to lowering power?
Impacts of packet-optical integration in the core
Special features and capabilities different vendors bring
Changes vendors are making to their products now to improve power stats
Future directions in product development
Importance of a separate switching layer?
Looking ahead: speculative architecture(s) and other more radical approaches
More drastic changes needed: traffic growth set to outrun incremental power improvements
Initial thoughts
“Clean slate” versus evolving networks and other challenges
Green Touch’s 1,000-fold target
Technologies further out, possible next steps in Ovum’s research


Figure 1: Industry levers to reduce network power consumption
Figure 2: Power consumption (W/Gbps) comparison across network layers/product classes as a function of utilization
Figure 3: Comparison of power consumption for core IP routers at 100% utilization
Figure 4: Comparison of power consumption for LH DWDM platforms at 100% utilization
Figure 5: Comparison of power consumption for metro/regional WDM platforms at 100% utilization
Figure 6: Reference network architecture
Figure 7: Next-generation architecture with IP router bypass and converged packet optical
Figure 8: Metro/regional core network power consumption comparison
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