Software defined networking (SDN) has become the focus in the current information and communication technology area because of its flexibility and programmability. It has been introduced into various network scenarios, such as datacenter networks, carrier networks, and wireless networks. Optical transport network is also regarded as an important application scenario for SDN, which is adopted as the enabling technology of data communication networks (DCN) instead of general multi-protocol label switching (GMPLS). However, the practical performance of SDN based DCN for large scale optical networks, which is very important for the technology selection in the future optical network deployment, has not been evaluated up to now. In this paper we have built a large scale flexi-grid optical network testbed with 1000 virtual optical transport nodes to evaluate the performance of SDN based DCN, including network scalability, DCN bandwidth limitation, and restoration time. A series of network performance parameters including blocking probability, bandwidth utilization, average lightpath provisioning time, and failure restoration time have been demonstrated under various network environments, such as with different traffic loads and different DCN bandwidths. The demonstration in this work can be taken as a proof for the future network deployment.
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