Global analyst firm Ovum this morning unveiled new numbers on the rapidly growing market for data center interconnect (DCI), and sitting atop the list of equipment providers serving this market is Ciena.

Ovum’s newest study is one of the first to take such a detailed look at the size, growth, and top equipment vendors for the DCI market. According to the report, overall global DCI revenues grew more than 16% in 2014, reaching $2.5 billion, a figure expected to climb to $4.2 billion by 2019.

That strong growth makes data center interconnect one of the most hotly contested markets among today’s communication equipment vendors – a battle that Ciena is winning according to Ovum’s numbers, highlighting Ciena as “the global market share leader for the total DCI market.”

Report: DCI Market Insights

“Ciena has long been successful in targeting high-growth markets,” said Ron Kline, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networks at Ovum. “Their global market share leadership position in DCI is a demonstration of the company’s ability to penetrate this key customer segment as it continues to diversify its customer base.”

Indeed, 2015 is seen by many in the industry as a tipping point year for metro networks; due in large part to the massive growth of data center, cloud and virtualization service offerings that are overtaxing today’s network infrastructures and exposing their inflexibility. Ciena calls this the Web-scale Effect, and its powerful influence is quickly transforming the metro and DCI market. This change is powered in part by the large Internet Content Providers (ICPs) like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, and Carrier Neutral (CN) Providers  like Equinix, and Digital Realty Trust, who are bringing web-scale IT principles from the data center into the network, acting as the driving force behind new metro-optimized hardware and even new 100G metro architectures being introduced for the metro space.

Ron Kline and quote


In fact, ICP/CNs already account for a full one-third of Ciena 100G port shipments globally (fiscal Q1’15).  Ciena now counts two of the top five web-scale providers as customers, and in our two most recent fiscal quarters, our second largest customer in revenues was a major web-scale player.

Interestingly, however, Ovum’s study finds that communications service providers (CSPs) still account for the lion’s share of DCI spending – almost half of the $2.5 billion market  – and will continue as the largest spender into the future.

This is a reflection of the fact that the web-scale players are not just building their own networks for data center interconnect, but also consuming massive network capacity from CSP networks as well.

Ciena CEO addressed this trend in Ciena’s recent FYQ1’15 financial results conference call, highlighting how today’s data center and cloud-centric world “requires a leading position with both the web-scale players and the global Tier 1 service providers, as their roles are becoming increasingly interdependent.”

For more on Ovum’s latest study on the data center interconnect market, see their press release.