By Cindy Ryborz, Marketing Manager DC EMEA, Corning Optical Communications and Carlos Mora, Market Development Manager, Corning Optical Communications
First published in Inside Networks, UK (December 2020)
The data center industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and innovation as new players, new business models and new technologies converge. Despite a slowdown in 2020, Gartner projects that spending on global data center infrastructure will reach $200 billion in 2021 and grow year-on-year through 2024.
Driving this growth is a need to support ever more rapid and seamless transition of data, with technologies like 5G, and the applications it supports, requiring huge volumes of data to be processed, analysed and stored. This will see a need to not only invest in faster transceiver technology, future-ready physical infrastructure, cabling and connectivity but also simplify network architectures which have become more and more complex over time.
Fiber optic connectors will play an important role in this transition and the past few decades have seen the arrival of a diverse range of connector types, some developed to support the scalability of data centers as they have grown to reach 40G and 100G. From the range of connectors released to the market within the last 30 years, there are two interfaces, the LC duplex and MPO/MTP® which have made their way into the standards for data centers.
However, what is fit for purpose today can quickly change as the industry moves forward and new architectures emerge. As data center operators search for modern ways to achieve faster, greater, and more powerful data rates like 400G, we they must look at even higher density connectivity and ways to simplify network design with breakout options.
Beyond the readily available form factors, the market is meeting this need by introducing new connectors categorised as ‘Very Small Form Factor Connectors’ (VSFFC) such as the Senko Nano (SN) and US Conec Mini-Duplex Connector (MDC). As of yet, equipment manufacturers have not released transceivers for these connector interfaces, but they are expected to announce their availability within the next couple of years.