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Increased demand driving up data centre densities

09 Jan 2019

 Article by Corning Optical Communications technical sales manager Clive Hogg

The data centre market is experiencing significant growth, driven by Big Data, IoT applications, analytics software and growth in mobile data traffic. As an example, according to Frost and Sullivan, by 2021 the Australian data centre market is expected to reach $2.051 billion.

From faster data centre deployments and lower operating costs to meeting higher data speeds and relentless bandwidth demand, data centre operators are constantly challenged to keep up in an industry with no tolerance for downtime or network failure. The ability to quickly meet constantly changing demands and application requirements is critical in successfully servicing data centre customers.

The world is increasingly becoming connected and at the heart of all of this is the data centre. New solutions and concepts around architecture is forcing data centre operators to think differently when it comes to operations and creating competitive advantages. 

In order to drive greater efficiency and profitability, data centre operators need to deploy innovative technology to meet current and future capacity needs.

Design for better network scalability and improved link performance

Pre-terminated optical cabling systems specifically designed for the data centre environment enable high-density and cost-effective 10G deployments and increase asset utilisation due to reduced jumper complexity and elimination of stranded cabling assets.

When talking with major transceiver, switch, server and storage makers, the present, near future, and long-term future is full of transceiver types which are based on either Base-2 or Base-8 connectivity. In other words, for Ethernet transmission ranging up to 400G, all roads lead to two-fibre and eight-fibre connectivity solutions. 

Data centre operators can also maximise per rack density and competitive advantage when scaling – a Base-8 design enables 100 percent fibre utilisation without the need to purchase conversion modules and minimises total cost of ownership (TCO) with port disaggregation. As a result, deploying a future-ready Base-8 design as a data centre connectivity solution can facilitate simple, efficient and cost-effective migration to speeds of 40, 100 and even 400G.

Emerging technology for smarter, faster next-gen architecture

Traditional 3-tier switching model is giving way to 2-tier spine-and-leaf architecture within the data centre industry as it facilitates faster movement of data across physical links in the network, significantly reducing latency when accessing data. While spine-and-leaf architecture offers smarter, faster systems, the migration dramatically increases the number of fibres required to serve interconnection in the data centre campus.

Only a few years ago, 864-fibres cables were standard in campus networks. Today, higher fibre counts of 3,456 fibres are now available, all within standard 2-inch duct systems. These extreme-density cables offer easier installation and faster cable restoration in the event of cuts, thus reducing the cost of downtime.

In this space, extreme-density ribbon cables contain up to 700 percent more fibres than traditional loose tube cables. With such high fibre counts, these ribbon cables offer greater packing density and enable efficient use of limited duct space, subsequently reducing installation time and deployment costs. Spine-and-leaf architecture is increasingly the networking architecture of choice for cloud providers as it is a massively scalable, future-ready infrastructure.

Data centre interconnectivity on the rise

Data centres need to communicate with each other in order to share data and content, as well as provide back-ups. Data centre interconnect technology enables the seamless transfer of critical assets over short, medium and long distances between data centres. As content providers adapt their data centre infrastructure to reduce latency and enhance user experience, this is driving an increase in the number and scale of metro or edge data centres.

With advanced optical fibre that combines both ultra-low-loss (ULL) and larger effective areas, the range of data centre interconnect links can be extended by up to 25 percent, enabling access to approximately 50 percent more data centre locations compared to typical single-mode fibre. This not only enables greater access to suburban customers, but also opens up more options for data centre locations and increased network resilience to power outages.

With a fast and reliable connection in place, by leveraging data centre interconnect technology physically separate data centres can more easily share resources and balance workloads

Future-ready design for competitive advantage and minimised costs

These technologies are enabling data centre operators to optimise connectivity and density, and achieve forward-looking architecture that meets the requirements for current and future data rates – all the way to 400G.

Data centre operators whose objectives are business success and facility longevity need to minimise their total cost of ownership and deliver a seamless migration path to 40/100/400G. With the continued requirement for expansion and scalability in the data centre, cabling infrastructures must provide reliability, manageability, and flexibility for greater data centre efficiency and profitability.

Meeting future capacity requirements starts from designing-in optimised connectivity and cabling for future scalability.  

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