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Data centre infrastructure will 'need new approaches' to cope with new tech

21 Sep 2017

Data centre infrastructure will need new approaches to better cope with the large increases in traffic generated by new innovative technologies.

That’s according to the President of Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO), Brad Booth who highlighted technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT) on the opening day of ECOC 2017 – Europe’s largest global optical communications exhibition.

Booth asserts on-board optics are to be a major part of handling this extra traffic.

“Consumers are getting used to having certain things in their lives and as these new technologies are deployed, we need to ensure the infrastructure is in place to allow the seamless transition to occur,” says Booth.

“As more data is generated, the existing infrastructure will find difficulties in handling the data and keeping up with the bandwidth demand. We can produce critical mass data but to use it effectively and enable users to exploit this data to better their lives, we must be able to manipulate data and that requires the infrastructure to continuously innovate and evolve. This is inevitable.”

Booth asserts the data produced by the aforementioned technologies (among others) needs to be moved efficiently and rapidly between devices, and copper interconnects will simply find this difficult to deliver.

Booth’s call-to-action was for the industry to come together to collaborate on advancing the adoption of board-mounted optical modules via a global standardisation effort through COBO, that currently has more than 70 active member companies.

COBO is working to overcome limitations of current infrastructure by developing industry specifications to advance bandwidth growth beyond 400G, enabling optical modules to be placed over the current infrastructure.

“If you look at trends in the industry and technology advancements over the last 20 years and project where technology is going to go in the future, you cannot help but feel that some of the things we do now have to evolve,” Booth says.

“We are facing a situation where the full capabilities of these technologies will experience a bottleneck limited by its physical infrastructure.”

COBO is currently in the process of addressing this industry-wide requirement by developing specifications for the next-generation of optical models, bringing together all of the ecosystem’s players including high-performance switch manufacturers, operators, sub-system builders, component makers, and system integrators.

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