Autumn 2019 - Optical Connections Magazine


Inside the datacentre, emerging 400 Gigabit Ethernet optics will help alleviate the power and real estate challenges facing hyperscale datacentre operations.

NETWORKING O ne estimate from the Arizton Advisory & Intelligence research company is that the global datacentre market size could reach revenues of around US$174 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of about 4% Datacentres, increasingly powered by optical networking technology, are currently proliferating around the world. In large part this is due to the on-going rise of digital and online economies, and the increasingly PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS

between 2018 and 2023. Meanwhile, over the years Cisco has variously calculated that over 70% of datacentre events/ content stays within the datacentre. Dr Radha Nagarajan, CTO, Interconnect, at high-speed data movement interconnect specialist Inphi, reckons, in some instances, such estimates might be conservative. “In reality this number could be higher in datacentres with heavier artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) type and cloud workloads,” he suggests. As their numbers increase, higher speeds and lower latencies than were previously delivered are expected to become critical in datacentre operations. “Higher Ethernet speeds, cloud computing, smart cities, IoT and autonomous vehicles have upped the ante for datacentre operators,” points out Tony Campbell, senior business development manager, Optics, at interconnection systems supplier Molex. “More connected devices are driving more need for compute and more need for bandwidth and reduced latency.” And latency is not just a concern for the

connected and networked nature of modern life, writes John Williamson.

datacentre compute and communication cycles. “The storage/memory type and access speeds configurations also play a large part in managing the unprecedented amount of data and the speed of access,” reports Dr Nagarajan. According to Helen Xenos, senior director, Portfolio Marketing at networking systems, services and software company Ciena, the biggest challenge global content network providers are currently facing is continuing to meet capacity demands within existing real estate and power constraints. “In the metro, hyperscalers are distributing their metro-regional datacentre fabric across multiple buildings or campuses, resulting in growing requirements for single-span, high capacity optical connectivity,” she

observes. “AI/ML are the latest drivers for

bandwidth,” adds Dr Nagarajan. “Data analytics and big data also drive the need for compute machine-to-machine traffic. These drive east-west traffic.” In this context, though, Dr Nagarajan offers the important rider that there is a whole range of datacentre types: “The cloud datacentres, especially from mega scale datacentre operators such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, drive the higher end of the technology, and face the biggest speed and latency issues.” 400 G-WHIZ? With traffic volume and service performance demands placed on datacentre operations becoming more


| ISSUE 18 | Q3 2019

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