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How Next-Generation Connectivity Can Help Hyperscale Data Centers Meet Growing Demand

By Brian Rhoney
Published: June 18, 2021

The enormous growth in demand for bandwidth among both consumers and global enterprises means that data centers need to be constantly expanding to supply more computing, storage and networking capacity.  In addition, there are new applications in machine learning using Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) that increase connectivity demands in the data center.   

Increasingly, more and more of this storage and computation happens at hyperscale data centers – the term used for massive business-critical facilities designed to efficiently support robust, scalable applications. These hyperscale centers, along with edge compute sites, are growing quickly along with market demand, and are expected to have total revenues of $108 billion by 2025. There are now approximately 600 of these hyperscale centers in operation globally, twice the number of five years ago.

The business of hyperscale data centers varies greatly from Cloud Platforms (SAAS, PAAS), to social media, internet search, gaming platforms, and others.  It’s not hard to browse some of these companies’ quarterly reports to see that these are financially lucrative businesses. There is an obvious motive to continue to invest, yet key challenges limit the ability to easily scale.  Of course, capital resources are always a limit, but these companies have healthy cash flows, thus often it is the availability of other resources – land, power availability, construction labor – that is the obstacle.  As a supplier of fiber optical cabling and connectivity solutions, Corning is doing its part in speeding up the installation of these solutions.  

In any fiber optic network, the fastest way to connect two ports is to use a cable that is preterminated with connectors at both ends.  There’s no splicing or field connectorization of cables required, which results in greatly reduced installation time, and no scrambling to hire trained splice technicians in a labor-constrained environment.  For Data Center Interconnect (DCI) applications, where multiple data center buildings need to be connected within a campus, the challenge of using preterminated cables comes down to the number of fibers that need to be run outdoors between buildings, and the available conduit space available to pull the terminated cables through.  Hyperscale centers, as you might imagine, need to run a massive amount of fiber between buildings, meaning that typical preterminated cables would require huge protective pulling grips. So huge, in fact, that they would never fit through the 4” conduits which are standard in the data center environment.  Thus, to make preterminated cables for DCI a reality, creative ideas are required to solve the challenge of running a lot of fiber optic connectors through a small space

What Corning’s EDGE™ Rapid Connect Solution Can Do for Your Hyperscale Data Center 

Corning’s new EDGE Rapid Connect solution can help hyperscale data centers address these challenges both right now, and as data demand grows even faster in the future. Our solution can help your enterprise install more networking capacity in less space, as well as dramatically cut installation time.

Rapid Connect takes an innovation that began with our connectorized Fiber-to-the-Home solution and applies it to this solution optimized for large data center environments. The cable is both fiber-dense and preterminated – meaning that campuses need to reserve less duct or tray space for cables, and that no skilled labor is required for splicing cables for between data center buildings.

Since no splicing is required, you can install new capacity up to 70% faster – and better keep up with future demand. It means faster time-to-deploy, and faster revenue generation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic started and the demand for bandwidth exploded, hyperscale operators realized that the old way of connecting data centers just wouldn’t work in a labor-constrained environment. EDGE Rapid Connect has come along at just the right time to help operators increase network capacity, while taking a cabling install project that used to take six weeks, and reducing it down to approximately two weeks.

Preterminated cable solutions like EDGE Rapid Connect – a major technological advancement over traditional field-terminated cable – give data centers an easy path to extreme fiber density, and a way to quickly and efficiently scale up capacity in the future. For your data center, it means fewer headaches, saved time, and faster revenue, both now and going forward.

To learn more about our Edge Rapid Connect solution for hyperscale data centers, visit our page here.

Brian Rhoney has over 17 years of experience at Corning. He has held positions in product engineering, systems engineering and product line management. He is currently the Director of Data Center Market Development in which the team is responsible for new product innovation. In 2005, Brian received recognition as the Dr. Peter Bark Inventor of the Year, and he also received his professional engineer’s license.

Brian graduated from North Carolina State University with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He also received an MBA from Lenoir-Rhyne University.

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