The Importance of Photonic Integrated Circuits for the Data Center Interconnect Market

The Data Center Interconnect market is exploding due to the rise of cloud and the tremendous growth of East-West (server-server) traffic between data centers – a market particularly driven by large Internet content providers with massive data center footprints.

Infinera CEO Tom Fallon and President Dave Welch talked about this phenomenon in detail when we launched the Cloud Xpress platform, our 2 rack unit, 1 Tb/s (I/O) rack and stack Metro Cloud DWDM solution at Insight Infinera, in September 2014. We started shipping the platform in December 2014 and already have multiple customers in production including three internet content providers and a number of other cloud and content operators that have deployed or are testing the platform. This solution supports not only massive capacity with industry leading density, but it also claims impressive power efficiency of 1G/W in typical operating configuration.

Infinera Cloud Xpress – 2RU, 1 Tb/s (I/O), shipping since Dec 2014
While others are still building or talking about platforms that will deliver 200G or 400G of line side capacity in a small server-like form factor, Infinera is the only company shipping 500G of line side capacity in 2RU today. Our ability to deliver 1 Tb/s in a 2RU rack and stack form factor and with this sort of power efficiency is based on Infinera’s unique advantage of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). In the Cloud Xpress we use the oPIC-500, a PIC optimized for metro reach and power efficiency that integrates hundreds of optical functions into two small Indium Phosphide chips. Infinera not only designs our PICs, but we also manufacture them in our own fab, providing truly unique differentiation. Other than Infinera, DWDM vendors are at the mercy of merchant optics vendors and what they can deliver in terms of density, power and timelines.  Power is a particularly critical issue. Some vendors may claim a particular capacity per RU, but what really matters is how many of the platforms can be placed in a standard data center rack. Read more…


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