OSA: An optical switching architecture for data center networks with unprecedented flexibility

Kai Chen, Ankit Singla, Atul Singh, Kishore Ramachandran, Lei Xu, Yueping Zhang, Xitao Wen, Yan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

290 Scopus citations


A detailed examination of evolving traffic characteristics, operator requirements, and network technology trends suggests a move away from nonblocking interconnects in data center networks (DCNs). As a result, recent efforts have advocated oversubscribed networks with the capability to adapt to traffic requirements on-demand. In this paper, we present the design, implementation, and evaluation of OSA, a novel Optical Switching Architecture for DCNs. Leveraging runtime reconfigurable optical devices, OSA dynamically changes its topology and link capacities, thereby achieving unprecedented flexibility to adapt to dynamic traffic patterns. Extensive analytical simulations using both real and synthetic traffic patterns demonstrate that OSA can deliver high bisection bandwidth (60%-100% of the nonblocking architecture). Implementation and evaluation of a small-scale functional prototype further demonstrate the feasibility of OSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6490069
Pages (from-to)498-511
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Data center networks (DCNs)
  • optical networking technology
  • switching architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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