Maximizing Link Performance
As the demand for more bandwidth continues to increase, it is more critical than ever for your data center infrastructure to facilitate upgrades in data rates. Most enterprise data center operators are just beginning the shift to 10G servers. However, the push is on for 25G servers in web-scale facilities, and this change in line rate is fueling the momentum towards 400Gb and 1.6Tb switch connections. As economies of scale take hold, increased line rates will eventually migrate into enterprise data centers.
At the cabling level, line rate is the limiting factor when trying to maximize reach and performance. As line rate increases, reach decreases because of additional limits on the power budget. So what can you do to maximize link performance?
- Cable Optimization: Link performance is never just about the optical fiber, but it is a very significant component. Changing the fiber can improve the performance of the entire link. Years ago, the engineers in the TEK Center at Berk-Tek discovered that by creating a better fiber specification, additional power budget could be made available.
To leverage this discovery, in 2003, Berk-Tek created GIGAlite-10XB (see specifications below), the highest bandwidth 50 micron fiber available on the market. GIGAlite-10XB became known OM4+. Although it was launched well ahead of when the industry agreed upon OM4 in 2009, it earned the “+” because it had a higher modal bandwidth than OM4 (4900 MHz.km versus 4700 MHz.km) and was able to provide 600m link distance for 10 GB/s. Berk-Tek customers are still reaping the benefit of the additional margin provided by this product.
- The Transceiver-Cable Connection: Optical transceivers are key building blocks for all network connectivity both inside and outside the data center. A transceiver is a small pluggable form factor opto-electronic device, which plugs into a server or a switch. The optical cable is then connected to it. Various properties of the transceiver, in conjunction with the properties of the medium used, will ultimately determine the link performance. So in essence, the choice of transceiver affects the cabling infrastructure and physical design of a data center as much as, if not more than, its networking and architecture.
Understanding how the optical transceiver interacts with the optical fiber can help you plan for future growth through thoughtful product selections. This means looking at options for next generation optical fibers in conjunction with next generation transceiver technologies. Selecting the best fiber and transceiver combination will provide your data center with maximum link performance both now and in the future.
- Coordinated Planning: Now more than ever, it is important for the network engineering and facilities management disciplines to work together to determine the best plan for future growth. Once the physical plan is set, it is difficult to change. Maximizing link performance to meet future demand will allow your organization to cost effectively move to higher data rates when needed. This benefits all departments and all stakeholders.
As you can see in the chart above, GIGAlite-10XB optical fiber provides you with two times the distance of OM3 and OM4 standards.