Computer Communication Review

Rethinking the physical layer of data center networks of the next decade: Using optics to enable efficient ∗-cast connectivity


Not only do big data applications impose heavy bandwidth demands, they also have diverse communication patterns (denoted as ∗-cast) that mix together unicast, multicast, incast, and all-to-all-cast. Effectively supporting such traffic demands remains an open problem in data center networking. We propose an unconventional approach that leverages physical layer photonic technologies to build custom communication devices for accelerating each ∗-cast pattern, and integrates such devices into an application-driven, dynamically configurable photonics accelerated data center network. We present preliminary results from a multicast case study to highlight the potential benefits of this approach.