Why the data centre needs a 400G upgrade
Fri 11 Nov 2016
As demand continues to grow for storage capacity and zero latency, today’s data centres are not equipped to guarantee performance in terms of bandwidth. While more fibre is being deployed than ever before, it is pertinent that the data centre industry looks into ways to further bolster connectivity.
Considering that the amount of information moving between virtual machines in the data centre is over four times greater than the amount of data actually being stored, we need to turn our focus to improving M2M communication.
100G is at the top of the agenda for data centre managers looking to the future, but we cannot sit in a comfort zone and need to be pushing to reach 400G to be able to meet the requirements of the data centre in our digital age.
The days of 1 and 10G are slowly fading, replaced by 25 – 40G networks, but these specifications are falling far behind market pressures. To facilitate greater bandwidth capacity, we need to shift our focus into the data centre itself, as opposed to worrying about the external cables feeding into it.
With new digital trends, such as IoT, Big Data and streaming, placing additional load on the data centre, we are not necessarily dealing with fresh data, but rather we are moving the same data to many different places. Our current infrastructure is just not designed to shift these quantities of information.
The recent launch of Pokémon Go highlights the urgency of advancing M2M within the data centre. The mobile gaming app stores data and constantly streams information on location and user activity. Earlier this year, the app appeared to shut down some of the U.S.-based mega data centres, including a Google facility. Connectivity was lost because there was an unprecedented 25% increase in load coming through to the data centres. Even these state-of-the-art facilities, offering the largest capacities, were unable to handle the sudden surge as they did not anticipate the time it would take to move the data.
According to recent research from Cisco, 76% of internet traffic travels from ‘East-West’, or from machine-to-machine, inside the data centre. Conversely, ‘North-South’ traffic moving between the data centre and the end-user, or between data centres, equates to only 17% of the total volume.
Advancing cabling standards
To manage this growing traffic within the data centre, we must enable a migration to 400G through fibre innovation. Multimode fibre, while around half the capital expense of single-mode, used to be restricted to certain bandwidths and could not deliver in terms of growth capacity. However, new developments in cabling standards and multimode fibre OM5 have ensured that the technology’s growth path will now support increasing traffic and the journey to 400G. This is an important milestone for the data centre industry in promoting the importance of future-proofing bandwidth.