Data Center Innovations

From fiber optics to broadband lines and Ethernet transport, new products and technologies promise to solve real data center problems or make enterprise operations run more smoothly. This PC World report discusses six cool innovations for the data center.

“1. Fiber optics with a twist: The success of the HDMI cable in consumer electronics has proved that having a common cable that works with Blu-ray players, HDTV sets and just about any set-top box helps remove clutter and confusion. Intel has developed Light Peak following this same approach. It’s fiber-optic cable that will first be used with laptop and desktop computers to reduce clutter and to speed transmission, but it could also make its way to the data center as a way to connect servers and switches.

“The 3.2mm cable, which is about as thin as a USB cable, can be up to 100 feet long. Intel has designed a controller that will sit inside a computer, and cables are currently in production. Third parties, including Hewlett-Packard and Dell, will start making computers with Light Peak fiber-optic cables in them by 2011, according to Intel.

“For data centers, Light Peak presents a few interesting possibilities. Fiber optics have been in the data center since the early 1990s, when IBM introduced its Escon (Enterprise Systems Connection) product line; it connects mainframes at 200Mbit/sec. Light Peak differs in that it runs at 10GB/sec., and Intel claims that the components will be less expensive and lighter-weight than existing fiber-optic products.”

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