INFN: Stu Elby Interviewed by Frost & Sullivan

Cross posted on the Infinera boards…for those that follow

Found the below in my search today. Long read but definitely worth it. Stu Elby is so well spoken.…

Some highlights:

Ronald Gruia: What about the datacenter optical – i.e., the interconnection of web-scale datacenters at 40/100G throughputs? Is that opportunity beginning to be realized now? Are those Web 2.0/Cloud/SaaS datacenters running ~100k servers per data center beginning to deploy optical interconnects between datacenters?

Dr. Stu Elby: Earlier this year, we launched a 100G optical platform for datacenter and carrier network interconnects, part of our Cloud Xpress datacenter interconnect family of products. We’re very pleased with our early traction and we believe we’re still the only company with a purpose-built solution that is on the market today. We’re still at the early stages but in a great position to succeed as ICPs continue to deploy new datacenters and built their DC infrastructures in a way that will require state of the art DC interconnect solutions to handle traffic demands.

Ramp-ups in 100G metro, long haul, and datacenter interconnect will continue to be the story in 2016, with an inflection point happening. Our datacenter business unit at Infinera is seeing that, and the web-scale players are going to push the envelope – companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft - it’s a pretty broad category in which we have strong customer traction.

Ronald Gruia: Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) technology – can you explain it in a bit more detail? How is Infinera positioned in this particular area with its 500G PIC-based optical systems?

Dr. Stu Elby: We already are on our third generation, and our first one went commercial back in 2005. Some people get hung up on the name. ICs allow multiple functions to be integrated onto a small form factor, and Moore’s Law says you will get a big jump in performance every 18 months, so we applied that to photonics. The latest generation is from 2012.

We have the DTN-X, our multi-terabit optical transport platform, which leverages the 500G super-channel PIC on a line card. The same PIC is used in the Cloud Xpress. The advantage of ICs: power, reliability… you control the solution out of the box – the system is incredibly reliable… the Cloud Xpress draws 1W per Gig – that’s the entire box – the chassis, the power supply, the interfaces to the routers, etc. That cannot happen without photonic integrated circuits.

By producing our own PICs, we are able to reduce our cost per wafer as demand grows. That’s a true differentiator that is evident from our increasing gross margins. As I said, we have the third generation chip and have been using it since 2012. We also have a roadmap where we will be going to terabit and multiple terabits and we have that sustainable roadmap thanks to integrated circuits. Going forward, PIC technology is the key building block for the scaling of bandwidth. And PICs will be a must have in order to get the cost points and the densities that carriers like a Verizon are after.