thousands of servers arranged in racks and interconnected together through the
data center network. Current DCN architectures based on electronic devices are
neither scalable to face the massive growth of DCs, nor flexible enough to efficiently
and cost-effectively support highly dynamic application traffic profiles. The FP7
European Project LIGHTNESS foresees extending the capabilities of today’s electrical
DCNs through the introduction of optical packet switching and optical circuit
switching paradigms, realizing together an advanced and highly scalable DCN
architecture for ultra-high-bandwidth and low-latency server-to-server interconnection.
This article reviews the current DC and high-performance computing (HPC)
outlooks, followed by an analysis of the main requirements for future DCs and HPC
platforms. As the key contribution of the article, the LIGHTNESS DCN solution is
presented, deeply elaborating on the envisioned DCN data plane technologies, as
well as on the unified SDN-enabled control plane architectural solution that will
empower OPS and OCS transmission technologies with superior flexibility, manageability, and customizability.