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This paper investigates the characteristics and performance of different optical grooming switches, i.e., optical cross-connects (OXCs) capable of traffic grooming, under a dynamic traffic environment. We present four optical grooming-OXC architectures, namely, single-hop grooming OXC, multihop partial-grooming OXC, multihop full-grooming OXC, and light-tree-based source-node grooming OXC. After exploring their grooming capabilities, we propose three grooming schemes and two corresponding algorithms, grooming using auxiliary graph and grooming using light-tree. Through the algorithms, we evaluate the performance of different optical grooming OXCs in a dynamic traffic environment under different connection bandwidth-granularity distributions. Our investigation uncovers the following results: (1) the multihop full-grooming OXC can achieve the best network performance, but it may encounter cost and scalability constraints; (2) by using significantly less low-granularity electronic processing and intelligent traffic-grooming algorithms, the multihop partial-grooming OXC shows reasonable network performance and, hence, can be viewed as a cost-effective alternative when a network node does not require full-grooming capability; (3) the single-hop grooming OXC may cause a large amount of capacity waste and lead to poor network performance; and (4) through its multicast capability, a light-tree-based source-node grooming OXC can significantly out-perform the performance of a single-hop grooming OXC in terms of network throughput and network resource efficiency. From our results, we also observe that the connection bandwidth-granularity distribution has a large impact on network throughput and network resource efficiency and, therefore, should be carefully considered for network design and traffic provisioning.