The elastic optical networks paradigm offers a competitive solution in terms of resource utilization to cope with the ever-increasing traffic demand. Specifically, the ability to make a number of previously fixed transmission parameters tunable, for example the data rate or channel spacing, requires an evolution of the node architecture. To fully benefit from elasticity, the data plane should evolve towards a software-defined architecture. In this paper, we report the work carried out in the ICT IDEALIST project and in particular the data plane solutions towards 1Tb/s optical networks with flexgrid and flex-rate technology. Flexibility requires changes in optical cross-connect, transponder as well as in the digital layer. The consortium builds pre-commercial experimental testbeds to validate the proposed building blocks and to analyze candidate applications.