Seagate Will Test Optical Interconnect Technologies For The World’s Hungriest Data Centres

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Seagate has partnered with Japanese scientists PETRA to test optical interconnect solutions for exascale data centres looking to boost bandwidth and reduce power consumption

Storage specialist Seagate will investigate using optical interconnect technology in its Kinetic Ethernet disk drives for future data centres, the company announced this week.

Partnering up with PETRA, the Photonics Electronics Technology Research Association in Japan, Seagate wants to help make optical interconnect technologies commercially viable for large scale data centre deployments in the near future.

Seagate said it would deploy some prototypes as part of the European Nephele and PhoxTrot projects, with PETRA contributing its optical I/O core technology for the test runs.

Bandwidth benefits

Using optical interconnect technology, where data transfer takes place via optical cables rather than their traditional brethren, can dramatically boost bandwidth capabilities and reduce power consumption.

storageSeagate’s first proof of concept demos won’t be completed until later this year, but such technology aims to cut cost and power consumption – major concerns in exascale data centres.

Alex Worrall, senior engineering director at Seagate, reckons that optical interconnect technology will be not only empowering for data centres but disruptive, too.

He told TechWeekEurope: “Photonic interconnect technologies are a key enabling technology for future exascale cloud data centre environments. Seagate is pleased to be working with PETRA, a leading international technology disrupter in this space.”

With increasing Internet traffic thanks to cloud computing, data centre racks are bearing the brunt of the world’s computing needs, so new research into interconnect technologies is not only potentially massively profitable but necessary.

Hardware makers are looking for high throughput, low latency solutions that can offer bandwidths of up to 100 Gbit/s and also reduce power consumption, therefore saving money.

Project NEPHELE is a European collaborative project that wants to develop “a dynamic optical network infrastructure that aims to overcome current architectural limitations and drastically reduce cost and power consumption, enabling cloud data centres to scale gracefully”.

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