The explosion in data is making optical networks not only feasible for datacenters, but a necessity. And the development of a photonic system on a chip makes optical networks for datacenters economically feasible.
Does this mean that datacenters should use only optical networks? No, not really.
Packet switches are still better for smaller bursts of data that require processing at the bit level, such as transmitting smaller loads into a multitude of destinations. Optical switching is faster and more efficient, best for large loads going to fewer destinations.
Is it that simple? Of course not. The trick is knowing when to use packet switching and when to use optical switching. It's quite an art, involving a thorough analysis of your traffic patterns not only between multiple locations, but across different time periods. And comparing that to the needs of your business.
The good news is that sophisticated computer networks can figure all this out for you, not only by analyzing traffic the way you normally would, but also by adding sophisticated analytics to optimize traffic, security, and reliability.
To find out more, read the full article: Combining packet and optical switching
About the photograph
I took the photograph of a very small grocer's display of goods in an alley in Florence in June of 2016.