About Jim Theodoras

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Jim Theodoras is vice president of global business development at ADVA Optical Networking, advising data center operators, content providers, and enterprises how to best interconnect their data centers. He has over 30 years of industry experience in electronics and optics, spanning a wide range of diverse topics. He holds 20 patents in the field of telecommunications and is a frequent contributor to industry publications.

Today the network operator industry descends on San Diego for NANOG 66. Carriers, vendors and other industry players will convene to share insights with one another on how to run a massive global IP network, as well as get a much needed shot of Vitamin D from some early Spring California sunshine. Standing here at NANOG reminds me of the last time I was in America’s Finest City when I got to pay another visit to San Diego’s world-renowned zoo. I’m sure that carriers and business customers attending the conference looking for DCI solutions will find it’s every bit as noisy and colourful as a wildlife exhibit ...
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2015 was a seminal year for data center interconnect (DCI) technology. It was the year that ever increasing spending by big data center operators and Internet content providers finally made the communications industry take note. No longer second fiddle to large Tier 1 Service Providers, large data centers were finally heard when they said “we need something different”. And the optical communications industry responded in a big way, not just tweaking existing products, but launching entirely new product lines to serve their big needs (and big spend). But if DCI hype reigned supreme for 2015, what does 2016 have in store for us all? Well, with the disclaimer that one predicts the future at his own peril, there are 5 major trends that I think show signs of being huge for DCI in 2016: 1. Power Efficiency Will Continue to Dominate - Power efficiency has always been important to DCI and it will stay on the agenda in 2016. Data center operators have plenty of money and space, just not power. They are literally building underfilled warehouses in the hopes that future power efficiency gains will allow them to fill them to capacity ...

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Some of the hottest web startups have been child-shuttling services such as Shuddle and HopSkipDrive. It's very inefficient for each parent to drive every single child to each activity. It usually doesn't take very long for new parents to start working with others on carpooling, especially when there are conflicting activities in different places all at the same time. A similar problem/solution exists in the online world as well. If an individual subscriber has an account for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, etc., it's very inefficient for each cloud service provider to go through their network to an Internet exchange point, through a point of presence, and sometimes across a national or even global backbone and back again, all to serve that single user. It makes much more sense for Internet content and cloud services providers to directly connect to one another for subscriber sharing. Yes, they're competitors, and yes, their subscriber information is proprietary and not for sharing, but when two servers are near each other in San Francisco, it makes no sense to have their packets travel the world to connect together. This direct connection between competing service providers for subscriber sharing is called "peering", and it's nothing new. Early train stations housed competing railroad companies so that passengers could be swapped over. Before the digitalization of voice calls ...
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In the last few years, Data Center Operators and Internet Content Providers (ICPs) have grown from being just footnotes on analysts' charts to dominating transport bandwidth consumption. A pervasive question in the press this year has been how much bandwidth do the new kings of consumption really need? One prognosticator will claim they need as much as they can get, and would buy a Petabit if made available today, while another industry sage proffers a single Terabit will suffice for the foreseeable future. So who's right? It turns out, both. To illustrate the point, let's look at two ICPs in the exact same line of business, similar in size, global reach, and number of subscribers. Both have hundreds of thousands of servers running in leaf and spine configurations. Computing clusters are formed by groupings of these servers and switches between them. These clusters used to be ...

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Am I the only one shocked, mouth agape at the valuation that music streaming companies are receiving? Isn’t that called a radio station, and weren’t they meant to be dead by now? The sheer madness of it forced me to pause and ponder it all for at least a moment or two. And, if you think about it enough, it all sort of makes sense … sort of. The epiphany came with the realization that business models, especially in the music business, have become very dependent on the average bandwidth consumers have access to. The iPod revolution was really about being able to buy just the song you want, when you want, and having the ability to build your own customized library of tunes to take with you anywhere. Finally, after decades of being a slave to the whims of record labels, the average consumer was back in the driver’s seat ...
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