Last week, we attended a webcast on “Data Center Interconnect Evolution,” as hosted by Lightwave Online. Here are some of our key takeaways from the session on this critical application.

  • A Perfect Storm of Market Forces

From a global perspective, there isn’t merely a single driver for increased capacity requirements between data centers. In fact, this demand is currently driven by a combination edge computing, 5G, high-quality video streaming, and increased IoT usage. This all adds up to an average of 30% annual growth in transmission capacity deployed worldwide, and may increase even faster as 5G deployments ramp up.

  • Networks Are Opening

Data center operators must balance adding additional bandwidth with maintaining a sustainable total cost of ownership, particularly as measured in cost-per-bit. This has led to further adoption of disaggregated (open) architecture and interfaces, which provides network flexibility and natively accommodates software-defined network (SDN) applications for network planning, provisioning, and monitoring. The rise of network automation will further assist with these tasks, with the ultimate goal of reducing manual human intervention in the network to zero.

  • Coherent: The Best Transceiver Option?

Coherent pluggable transceivers are a viable option for 100G or 200G transmission in ultra-long haul applications (up to several thousand km) due to their multiple soft-selected higher-order modulation schemes. Development continues for coherent 400G and 800G as well.
However, in our experience, coherent isn’t an ideal solution for all use cases. Their high cost and operational complexity can present challenges for metro DCI applications in particular. These applications may be better served by a PAM4-based solution like our new open line system.

  • Developments in Fiber

The technological evolution supporting data center interconnects extends to the actual fiber cables themselves. Fiber manufacturers like Corning are increasing their fiber count per ribbon up to twice the density of legacy ribbon cables. Using higher-fiber count cables can increase bandwidth between locations can lengthen the lifespan of lower-speed network equipment, but installing this fiber may not lower your total cost of ownership overall.

Want to learn more about data center interconnect solutions? Contact us today.

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