Developments in Data Centre Cables and Transceivers
The recent boom of data centre growth and expansion has been fuelled by increases in machine-to-machine traffic caused by an expansion of server virtualisation, in-cloud computing, and software defined networks (SDNs). All of this has led to an increase in demand for high capacity data centre infrastructures. A key aspect of these technologies is high-speed interconnects.
The massive surge in data consumption via internet, mobile, and video media relies on data centre server and storage capacity using links with AOC and DAC cables and optics based on single-mode and multi-mode transceivers.
Hyperscale data centres are proving to be a game changer as they stimulate the development of products in speed and form-factors while also stimulating price reductions through their buying practices.
Modern data centres are built with 25G line rates in single and four channel versions – known as 100G. A change in signalling is on the horizon as NRZ is set to change to PAM4 to offer two data bits per clock rather than just one. Transceiver packages will include 9 channels, and single-mode optics that span from data centres to servers are becoming more popular. The jump to 200G and 400G will spawn 20 different kinds of optical transceivers in development for each reach, speed, configuration, and price point there is.
As advances in CPU speed are slowing down and becoming more expensive, scaling up becomes the only choice. This means building a standard rack configuration design with storage, servers, GP-GPUs switches, and then replicating this thousands of times to create a mega data centre. Everything is then connected together using optical cables, optical transceivers, and copper. This has led to a massive increase in demand for cables and all different kinds of transceivers.
To make things simpler, modern data centre builders established two standards of main form factors or transceiver cells – the single-channel SFP and the quad-channel QSFP, as well as four kinds of interconnects schemes: AOC and DAC cables and optical single-mode and multi-mode transceivers. The legacy 1G and 10GBASE-T interconnect of the past has been left, well, in the past; replaced by modern high speed data centres.