The expected growth of traffic demand may lead to a dramatic increase in the network energy consumption, which needs to be handled in order to guarantee scalability and sustainability of the infrastructure. There are many efforts to improve energy efficiency in communication networks, ranging from the component technology to the architectural and service-level approaches. Because data centers and content delivery networks are responsible for the majority of the energy consumption in the information and communication technology sector, in this paper we address network energy efficiency at the architectural and service levels and propose a unified network architecture that provides both intra-data-center and inter-data-center connectivity together with interconnection toward legacy IP networks. The architecture is well suited for the carrier cloud model, where both data-center and telecom infrastructure are owned and operated by the same entity. It is based on the hybrid optical switching (HOS) concept for achieving high network performance and energy efficiency. Therefore, we refer to it as an integrated HOS network. The main advantage of the integration of core and intra-data-center networks comes from the possibility to avoid the energy-inefficient electronic interfaces between data centers and telecom networks. Our results have verified that the integrated HOS network introduces a higher number of benefits in terms of energy efficiency and network delays compared to the conventional nonintegrated solution. At the service level, recent studies demonstrated that the use of distributed video cache servers can be beneficial in reducing energy consumption of intra-data-center and core networks. However, these studies only take into consideration conventional network solutions based on IP electronic switching, which are characterized by relatively high energy consumption. When a more energy-efficient switching technology, such as HOS, is employed, the advantage of using distributed video cache servers becomes less obvious. In this paper we evaluate the impact of video servers employed at the edge nodes of the integrated HOS network to understand whether edge caching could have any benefit for carrier cloud operators utilizing a HOS network architecture. We have demonstrated that if the distributed video cache servers are not properly dimensioned they may have a negative impact on the benefit obtained by the integrated HOS network.
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