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TOPOLOGICALLY DYNAMIC SCALED OUT DATA CENTRE NETWORKS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND MANAGEMENT

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - A-STREAM (TOPOLOGICALLY DYNAMIC SCALED OUT DATA CENTRE NETWORKS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND MANAGEMENT)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-09-30

“Networking is at an inflection point” and “the end of Moore’s law” are two statements that have resonated through the recent Open Networking Summit 2015. The fundamental acknowledgement is that the definition of distributed computing has to change, due to the scale and burden being place on infrastructure. The ever-incessant bandwidth demands and the increased need for data and policy protection and enforcement, demands approaches to be developed for such computing challenges. Aperilink is in business to look at the networking portion of this quest and how optical switching can help alleviate these scale out problems in the short to medium term through cross layer optimisation technologies.
To tangibly frame the scale of the network problem that is being faced – and which is constantly growing – it is worth stating the problems faced by the Hyperscale Cloud providers, who are setting the economies and technical challenges for much of the industry today. 50k severs supporting 100G interfaces require a 500Tb/s switch fabric to support any-to-any connectivity between them. How can such a switch fabric be economically delivered?
The current feasibility study has found that (a) there is a macro market trend of increased Data Centre scale in order to reach economies of scale, through the need to host more infrastructure at lower PUEs per unit of cloud, and that network switching is proportionately becoming a larger part of this; (b) network architectures actually deployed into SMEs, Enterprises, Multitenant DCs, Cloud providers and those being supported through industry innovation thrusts, such as OpenStack, are highly variable and pivot on the Layer 2/Layer 3, scale versus flexibility question; (c) Value and supply chain analysis across these segments have revealed that attractive business opportunities exist for Aperilink and (d) that although this is a very active and innovative ICT area, there are no impediments to operate for the IP that Aperilink holds or wishes to patent.
In conclusion, it is the opinion of the promoters that there IS a market opportunity sweet spot in the large enterprise Data Centre market (virtual and physical) for AperiTM. It is the intent to continue with investor roadshow activities, that have been pre-emptively started, and to drive these commitments to invest forward, adjacent with a successful SME Phase II application.
Four specific blocks of work have been performed during this reporting period, namely:
• A review has been performed of the evolution of port speeds, feeds and the cross over from electronic to optical switching
• A review of the main incumbent reference designs for Data Centre/IT network fabrics have been performed and a set of general optically enabled fabrics have been identified as part of this study. The latter form of a set of 3rd generation IT reference designs candidates incorporating optical switching, that Aperilink can bring to market
• An analysis of the Go-to-market (GTM) strategy and value, margin and pricing analysis across the main verticals has been executed and the pathways available to Aperilink have been identified.
• A review of the patent landscape, the IP patent strategy, freedom to operate has been performed, including identified and prioritised opportunities for further protection.

In each of the above, the main results that have resulted are:
- a review of all market analysts statistics in the Data Centre fabric market has allowed the size of the market available to Aperilink to be assessed. Some level of success has been made in validation of this market opportunity, through analyst, lead customer and though leader interviews. Further analysis is needed in Aperilink's specific chosen vertical and the next steps required have been outlined on the report.
- the strengthens and weaknesses, plus the types of architectures employed by different enterprises (categorised by the size of the organisation), of their IT/Data Centre infrastructure has been analysed. This, when analysed across Layer 1 to layer 4 of the OSI model, has allowed a number of optically enabled, cross layer interworked, reference blue print designs to be arrived at. These are outlined in the body of the main report.
- the GTM strategy is a critical element of the commercial success of this demanding market space. The current supply/value chains have been pulled part and analysed and a number of different margin and partnering models and innovations have been highlighted as being required for a successful market entry. Aperilink has identified a number of core partner relationships to make this happen and have already formed such relationships.
- a rigorous set of actionable outputs from the patent analysis exercise has exposed a number of core gaps and areas of protection that Aperilink can pursue and which will be instrumental in ensuring that the GTM strategy can be delivered. This, and the GTM strategy itself, are two of the main results from the current feasibility study.
"As a result of this action, Aperilink continues to escalate its efforts in the areas and outputs from this economic feasibility assessment. It has been validated that when implemented in an optimal way, the Data Centre fabric can significantly reduce the IT budget of an organisation to meet present and future computing requirements of enterprises, of all sizes, both in terms of CAPEX and OPEX spends. Data Centre fabrics are currently imperative amongst cloud-based organizations because it improves the flexibility, agility, scale and efficiency of their business critical scaled IT-related operations, as well as allowing break neck speed of innovation in product and service delivery. The main result of the current study is that through the software enabled augmentation of such fabrics, through innovative combinations of optical switching and electronic switching in the fabric, both for resource utilisation efficiencies at job deployment time, as well as ongoing traffic level optimisations, a compelling CAPEX and OPEX benefit results. All of this is delivered in a more manageable and energy efficient fashion.
A critical element of this study has been the GoToMarket strategy to adopt - how IT infrastructure will be bought and sold going forward. What is clear is that there is a need for ""trusted"" integrators in this new disaggregated world and that this needs to be supported, reinforced and driven forward by all vendors supplying into this space. Aperilink intends to support such business model and delivery mechanism innovations, as they are a key element driving this change agenda.
In terms of impact, a significant market opportunity has been identified and quantified as part of this exercise, which is global in its extent and would require significant capital (financial and human talent) to deliver - all of which the Aperilink promoters are confident can be sourced within Ireland/UK and mainland Europe, creating a sustainable employment base in Ireland for next generation IT ""creators"". In order to aggressively move in and make/pursue this market, a high level set of strategic objectives have been set out for the Aperilink business, including key Proof of Concept trials which expose management ease and energy efficiency traits of the proposed architectures.
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