Fields of Fiber

    M. H. Raza

    M.H. Raza founded Fiber Mountain, Inc., and as CEO he leads day to day execution of the company’s vision of transforming network infrastructures. Previously, Raza held positions as VP/GM for ADC Telecommunications/TE Connectivity, Sr. Director of Product Management at 3Com, VP/GM for Fujitsu, and Director of Product Management for General DataComm. Raza has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and holds several patents in the networking space.
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    Recent Posts

    OEO vs. OOO: A Breakdown

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Sep 30, 2015 3:08:56 PM
    Fiber Mountain’s Glass Core has been recognized as an innovation in the data center space multiple times since its launch in 2014. The Glass Core is based on the company’s Optical Path Exchange (OPX) product line, which provides a very low latency 5-nanosecond transit time. As we discuss applications for the OPX, many times we look at the merits of Optical-Electrical-Optical (OEO) and Optical-Optical-Optical (OOO) technology. 

    The debate about which technology is better has gone on for more than a decade, and there are good reasons to deploy either solution. However, with advancements in electrical cross-point switching in recent times, there are significant advantages that the OEO architecture offers that were not available a decade ago.
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    Topics: Glass Core

    Highlights From Interop Las Vegas 2015

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Jun 9, 2015 4:05:36 PM

    As you may already know from reading Bill’s recent post, several members of the Fiber Mountain team recently made the cross-country journey from Cheshire, Connecticut, to Interop, taking place in Las Vegas. I was looking forward to this year’s show as much as any I can remember, due in part to our nomination for a Best of Interop Award, and because of the announcements we planned to make.

    Interop was truly a landmark event for us, as we introduced several critical elements of our Glass Core network architecture. We announced the AP-4240 Optical Path Exchange (OPX), an optical cross-connect that provides dense fiber paths, enabling point-to-point or point-to-multipoint connectivity anywhere on the network. OPX creates Connectivity Virtualization, the capability to modify fiber connections via software without any human hands touching equipment in the data center. We also talked in-depth about our Alpine Orchestration System for the first time, the software that makes it possible to change those fiber connections remotely, and at the same time groom packets at the edge of the network to be carried over Programmable Light Paths (PLP)

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    Topics: Virtualization

    What Fiber Mountain’s Interop Recognition Means for Our Industry

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Apr 17, 2015 1:23:53 PM

    When Fiber Mountain™ began its journey with a launch at Interop New York last fall, we certainly believed that we had a solution that would make a significant impact in the data center space. By engineering our Glass Core™ and Alpine Orchestration System to create connectivity virtualization and a simpler and centrally managed data plane, we were confident that we had created a more flexible, cost-effective and powerful network architecture than existed previously. 

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    Topics: Virtualization

    What On-Board Optics Means for Density and Flexibility

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Apr 13, 2015 10:48:21 AM

    This past week I read an article in Lightwave Magazine and another in Network World about the formation of the Consortium for On-board Optics (COBO), a group that seeks to create specifications and increase the faceplate density of data center switches and adapters. The Lightwave article goes on to mention that companies that maintain “mega scale” data centers may soon require greater faceplate density than QSFP28 modules can support.

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    Topics: on-board optics

    SDN can be the "GPS" Data Center Networks Need

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Mar 17, 2015 4:07:00 PM

    Almost 30 years ago, I came to the USA to attend college, and in my early years as a student I spent every winter, spring and summer break traveling to different parts of this beautiful country. I saw the Empire State building, the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street in New York; Harvard, MIT, and the museums in Boston; the River Walk in San Antonio; the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods in San Francisco; the ocean fronts of Santa Barbara and San Diego; and the Grand Canyon. As students we could not afford to fly, so we drove across the country.

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    Topics: Network Architecture, SDN

    How Fiber Mountain Future-Proofs Your Data Center

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Feb 11, 2015 3:06:37 PM
    By now you most likely noticed that one of the topics I focus on continually is the problem data centers face today in meeting bandwidth needs. Until now, data centers were forced to purchase fire-breathing, million-dollar core switches to handle the growing volume of traffic, a solution that is both expensive and inefficient.

    You also likely understand that our Glass Core™ is Fiber Mountain’s™ solution to the problem I mentioned above. Glass Core replaces many of the core and aggregation switches that are currently occupying space, drawing immense power and causing latency inside data center networks with hundreds of intelligent fiber cables that can connect any two devices on the network, creating what we call connectivity virtualization.

    What you may not know, however, is that Fiber Mountain’s solutions can do more than just help you reduce cost and increase capacity right now; they can also prepare you for a future that we believe will look quite different from today. What does that mean?

    Well, I look at it two ways:

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    Topics: Virtualization, Glass Core

    A Look Back on ITEXPO Miami

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Feb 6, 2015 4:42:00 PM

    Last week, the members of the Fiber Mountain™ team who managed to make it out of the northeast before the nasty winter weather hit (apologies to our tradeshow and networking guru, Keith, who was not so fortunate) headed to Miami for Technology Marketing Corporation’s (TMC) business technology event, ITEXPO. As I mentioned on this blog shortly before we left, this conference promised to be markedly different from our trip to ITEXPO Las Vegas last August, before we had emerged from stealth mode. 


    At last week’s conference, I was fortunate enough to engage with TMC CEO Rich Tehrani in a “fireside chat” that served as one of the event’s keynote addresses. Discussing the future of data center networks—and how Fiber Mountain believes our Glass Core™ and Connectivity Virtualization™ will transform the future of network architecture—in front of industry peers at the Miami Beach Convention Center was a thrill. Unlike those of you who have been following this blog regularly, many in the crowd were hearing for the first time Fiber Mountain’s vision of data center networks without fire-breathing, million-dollar core switches. It was certainly exciting to present our concepts to a new and diverse audience.

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    Topics: Virtualization, ITEXPO

    Join Fiber Mountain at ITEXPO for a Special Keynote

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Jan 20, 2015 9:45:43 AM

    Another Fiber Mountain™ milestone is almost upon us, and the excitement is palpable around our Cheshire, CT office.

    At 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 28 at ITEXPO Miami, I will be speaking with Rich Tehrani, CEO of Technology Marketing Corporation—host company for the biannual conference—in a “fireside chat” that will serve as one of the event’s keynotes.

    I’ll be discussing the growth of data centers, the bottlenecks that continued expansion is creating and, of course, the change in network architecture I believe is critical to supporting our ever-expanding bandwidth needs.

    In the past, data centers had only one option to support growing networks—purchase larger and more expensive core switches from incumbent vendors. But today, innovations that provide an alternative to massive core switches—like optical connectivity, for example—can help data centers increase capacity and reduce latency while cutting heat, cooling, power and space costs.

    I am honored to have the chance to share my perspective with so many technological innovators at a conference with such an impressive history and reputation. And I’m looking forward to seeing all of you there! In the meantime, here is a pre-interview Rich and I recorded for you recently:

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    Topics: Network Architecture, ITEXPO

    From Las Vegas to Miami

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Jan 15, 2015 9:23:26 AM

    Last August, a few members of the Fiber Mountain team, me included, flew to Las Vegas to take part in Technology Marketing Corporation’s ITEXPO conference at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. I gave a brief talk at one of the conference’s collocated events, Software Telco Congress—the NFV and SDN event—introducing the tenets of Fiber Mountain’s message for the first time anywhere.  

    Even though we were still technically in stealth mode at the time, after nearly two years of planning, finally bringing our message to light was certainly a little nerve-wracking. In introducing the idea of Connectivity Virtualization—where intelligent fiber cables replace and improve the functionality of unwieldy and expensive core switches—we were putting forth a concept that we believe will transform network architecture and make the incumbent vendors’ fire-breathing hardware obsolete. 

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    Topics: Events, Glass Core, SDN

    Fiber Mountain and Facebook Fabric Networks: Similarities and Differences

    Posted by M. H. Raza on Jan 11, 2015 9:09:00 AM

    If you’ve been keeping up with data center network news—and if you’re reading this blog I assume you have been—you’ve probably read about Facebook’s new data center fabric. The company recently deployed this new architecture in a data center in Iowa with the goal of increasing scalability and flexibility, both of which are critical for an organization that handles a tremendous amount of network traffic.

    Essentially, Facebook’s new architecture was designed to break away from the aggregation cycle (for more on that, click here) to create a more elegant and efficient network. Rather than continuing to rely on clusters of hundreds of server cabinets with top of rack (TOR) switches aggregated to large core switches, Facebook created a distributed network by disseminating core switching functionality to several spine switches that make the company less reliant on massive hardware from incumbent switch vendors.

    The company built this new architecture by creating 48-node pods, each served by spine switches. It also built its own management software that can automatically configure white box switches; so if Facebook wants to scale by adding a new device in the data center, the software recognizes that new machine and configures it to match Facebook specs. (Click here or here if you’re interested in a more in-depth look at Facebook’s new design).

    What Facebook has done with its new topology is demonstrate that you can build a large, scalable architecture using smaller switches to do the same work as larger devices. They’re using more distributed switching and essentially telling us that the world no longer needs the unwieldy core switch hardware at the middle of the network that incumbent vendors have had so much success selling in recent years. In fact, taken a step further, Facebook’s reliance on white box switches also proves that you can build a large, efficient network without using any switches from the large incumbent vendors.

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    Topics: Glass Core, Network Architecture, SDN