Autumn 2019 - Optical Connections Magazine


Sophie Legault, Director, Transport & Datacom Business Unit at EXFO, looks at how in today’s hyperconnected world, data centres are truly at the heart of the network supporting exponential growth in optical speeds and feeds. She also looks at how other factors driving demand, such as the consolidation of Internet Content Providers (ICPs) – including search engines, streaming providers and social media companies that have created their own networks and interconnections, have impacted server to server (S2S) interactions and data centre interconnect requirements.

B urgeoning optical capacity coupled with increased automation has shifted emphasis to data centre operations where trac within data centres and between them will represent 86 percent of total data centre trac by 2020, according to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index 2015-2020. Rapid service activation and deployment for data centre interconnections are emerging as important factors for service providers and data centre operators striving to support increased demand while maintaining a competitive edge. THE ROLE OF TRANSCEIVERS IN THE DATA CENTRE Ideally, providers would access and implement high-capacity, low cost and energy ecient optical network elements that can be quickly and easily

to newer 400G QSFP-DD and OSFP. The technology used in each of these pluggables is complex and constantly evolving. With many new entrants to the market, reliability and performance can be problematic. Many transceivers responding questionably during installation are discarded when in fact they prove to have no fault found if properly tested – which translates directly to increased equipment costs. Some operators proceed with transceiver installation without testing. That approach can be expensive because devices may appear to be functioning, but without adequate validation they fail at some future point. And with higher- cost, high-speed transceivers needed to support up to 400G operations, it’s increasingly dicult for operators to keep spare units on hand. Faced with higher bandwidth demands, increased transceiver costs, and variable

tested and deployed within an operating environment. Among those elements are transceivers which are essential to supporting increased demand for storage, replication, and authentication processes between servers. However, with a plethora of transceivers in the marketplace, it has become increasingly challenging for service providers to cost-eectively select, test, and deploy transceivers as well as maintain the many thousands of these devices already installed in today’s networks. The type and density of transceivers used for connections inside and between data centres, also referred to as pluggables, are variable according to data rates and desired reach, with cost of transceivers also varying. Optical transceivers have quickly progressed from low-rate SFP to SFP+, and higher rates such as CFP, CFP2, CFP4, QSFP28,


| ISSUE 18 | Q3 2019

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