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Cisco Helps Iceland’s Farice Play a Key Role in Green Cloud Computing

One of the topics we covered this week at the Cisco Packet Optical Networking Conference was cloud computing. A benefit of cloud computing is that the physical infrastructure – the storage and compute resources – can be located almost anywhere as long as there is reliable network access. Several countries are leveraging their low cost green power to grow their economies with new data center facilities. A publicly announced example of this is Facebook which has built an enormous facility in northern Sweden. Iceland with its cooler temperatures and green geothermal power, plus ideal location between North America and Europe has seen a significant growth in its data center industry. However, being an island nation it faces a challenge to ensure that sufficient cost-effective network capacity is available to connect off-island users with its storage and compute resources.

Farice, the primary provider of networking services to and from Iceland and operator of two submarine cable links to Europe has sought to address this issue by evaluating solutions which can increase the capacity on its underwater fiber links yet not actually lay new fiber. New underwater infrastructure can often cost over €20K per km, so they sought solutions which didn’t require ships laying cable across the Atlantic.

Recently they completed a successful trial of Cisco’s 100 Gigabit (100G) coherent dense wavelength division multiplexing solution between Iceland and Denmark using the Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Transport Platform (MSTP) system.  The test involved 100G single carrier optical interfaces connected to Farice’s existing 10G undersea optical infrastructure at a distance of over 2,300 km.  Although we’d lab tested the solution to 3000 km by the European Advanced Network Test Center (EANTC), what really counts is when it works in a challenging real-world environment. This evaluation proved that Farice can use its existing undersea network while supporting new 100G services and ensuring that there will be no data bottleneck hampering the growth of cloud computing resources in Iceland.

Örn Orrason, vice president sales and business development for Farice notes that:

This is an exciting time for the Icelandic networking community. With our nation’s low cost and reliable hydro and geothermal power we’re seeing a lot of interest in data center deployments here, and this is going to drive significantly increased bandwidth demands. This test proves to our customers and investors that we can meet these needs without a costly upgrade to our undersea fiber plant. With up to 20 Terabits per second achievable on just one route Farice will be able to meet the needs of this emerging industry for a very long time.”

The ability to easily upgrade its international links also supports Farice’s recently announced IPv4 and IPv6 transit services, which target demanding data center customers and telecommunications service providers that require high-capacity and highly resilient Internet access within Iceland.  The IP transit services are delivered via a network comprised of Cisco Aggregation Services Router 9000 Series (ASR 9000) and is available from two diverse locations in Iceland for maximum security.

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