Fields of Fiber

    CrossCage Plus - Automated Cross Connects for Colocation Data Centers

    Posted by Jonathan Reeves on Jan 26, 2016 9:05:00 AM
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    dreamstime_20705139_edit.jpgCross connect in seconds instead of days or weeks:

    The cost and time involved in provisioning cross connects within multi-tenant colocation data centers is one of the biggest frustrations for the businesses they serve. The standard process requires manual provisioning by on-site technicians, and takes days or even weeks to complete even when everything goes smoothly.

    Fiber Mountain is revolutionizing the cross-connection process for multi-tenant and carrier-neutral colocation data centers and their customers. Continuing our trend of changing the way physical layer data center networks are built, our new CrossCage Plus solution enables customers of colocation providers or service providers to provision new cross connects on demand.

    Why does the current process need to change?

    Colocation data centers are structured to maintain the security of all parties, from customers to facility owners to telecommunications providers. Customer equipment is located in their own locked “cages,” which may be as small as a cabinet or as large as many rows of racks. The customer cages are connected to a main distribution area (sometimes called a spine or node) where the colocation facility owner’s equipment resides, which includes provisions for cross-connecting between cages or handing off to the entrance facility or Meet-Me-Room, where services from multiple telecommunications providers enter the data center. 

    While customers can access their own cages, they can’t access other parts of the data center in order to make cross connections independently. 

    Instead, when customers need changes to a cross connect or establish a new connection, they place a request to the colocation provider. The provider eventually dispatches technicians to make those connections and run cables or fiber between locations. The technicians then have to find the right ports on the passive patch panels that support the various physical media that may need to be cross-connected, plug in the correct cables in the correct orientations and document it all manually for future maintenance or change requests. The process is time-consuming and costly, and there are many opportunities for human error to introduce more expense and delay.

    Glass Core infrastructure enables automated Meet-Me-Room cross connect:

    Fiber Mountain’s Glass Core implements an intelligent and dynamic Layer 1 software defined infrastructure within the data center to deliver connectivity in a fluid and dynamic manner, with the ability to re-provision both connections and bandwidth within a fraction of a second. Our new CrossCage Plus solution combines the unique capabilities of this infrastructure with an intuitive web-based portal to deliver a whole new level of flexibility and automation, which can be managed by colocation providers or individual customers.

    How does it work?

    CrossCage Plus makes use of Fiber Mountain’s ultra-low latency Optical Path Exchange (OPX) with AllPath Connect fiber port aggregators and intelligent cables, controlled by the AllPath Director SDN orchestration system. 


    This infrastructure provides a software defined Layer 1 switching capability that allows the cross connect management process to be automated. The colocation provider or the individual tenant can manage all changes via a web-based portal service with point-and-click provisioning to manage the cross connects. The customer’s operations team can request configuration changes from the pool of available resources, while automatically creating an audit trail of all changes that are made. 

    Beyond automated cross-connects:

    Not only does CrossCage Plus enable service providers and data center owners to provision electronically documented intra-data center cross connects more quickly than ever before, it opens up the potential to deliver a new suite of high value differentiated services. Both bandwidth and connectivity can be adjusted dynamically without sending human hands into the data center; on demand or according to application-driven automation policies. 

    CrossCage Plus is available today. Use the blue “Contact Fiber Mountain” button below to find out more.


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    Topics: layer 1 SDN, software defined infrastructure, colocation data center, automated cross connects