Seagate and PETRA team up to develop optical interconnects for future data centers

  • Scaling data centers with less energy, less cost


It is an incredibly exciting time for the optical network market. According to Ovum, the rapidly growing demand to interconnect data centers will help the optical network equipment market grow by 3 percent annually to reach $17 billion by 2019. In addition, without naming names, many major tech companies are actively interested in optical interconnect for their future data centers so there is currently a lot of activity taking place to help make it commercially viable.

One such project that Seagate is involved with is a collaboration with the Photonics Electronics Technology Research Association in Japan (PETRA).

PETRAPETRA is developing world-leading photonics devices, packaging and integration technologies. Its main focus at the moment is creating disruptive silicon photonics interconnect technologies to make it commercially viable for large scale deployment in future exascale data centers.

We are one of the first systems companies to work with PETRA in this field and will be deploying some of the prototype technologies as part of the European Nephele and PhoxTrot projects. For these initiatives PETRA will contribute their optical I/O core technology. The optical I/O core technology is developed as a project supported by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), which Seagate will incorporate into data center system prototypes.

So what do the European Nephele and PhoxTrot projects involve?

Scaling data centers with less energy, less costNEPHELE, a European collaborative project, is developing a dynamic optical network infrastructure that aims to overcome current architectural limitations and drastically reduce cost and power consumption, enabling cloud data centers to scale gracefully.

PhoxTrot is a large-scale research European program focusing on high-performance, low-energy and cost as well as small-size optical interconnects across the different hierarchy levels in data center and high-performance computing systems: on-board, board-to-board and rack-to-rack.

The plan is to then have the first proof of concept demo showcasing the PETRA and Seagate technology completed in late 2016.

But, if you can’t wait till then, PETRA will be exhibiting its advanced silicon photonics I/O core optical transceiver in package technology, mounted within a Seagate converged Ethernet storage controller at the 2016 OFC exhibition in March.

Our booth number is 2245 so please do swing by if you’d like to find out more and have a chat with an expert.

*: The optical I/O core technology is developed as project supported by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization).


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