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Energy-efficient Data Centers In Bordeaux: Strategies For Reducing Operating Costs
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Sustainability Concepts Driving The Data Center Of The Future
Received: 18 October 2021 / Revised: 9 December 2021 / Accepted: 14 December 2021 / Published: 31 January 2022
In this article, we look at the main technological milestones in the field of embedded optical connections in data center systems, which have been achieved between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of major European Union research and development projects. This includes the development of proprietary optically enabled data storage and switching systems and optically enabled data storage and computing subsystems. We review four optically enabled data center system demonstrators: LightningValley, ThunderValley2, Pegasus, and Aurora, which incorporate advanced optical circuits based on polymer waveguides and fibers and proprietary electro-optical connectors. We also report on optically supported subsystems, including Ethernet-connected hard disk drives and microservers. Both are designed with the same pluggable carrier shape and built-in optical transceiver and connector interfaces, enabling both compute and storage nodes to optically switch and interconnect over long distances for the first time. Finally, we present the Nexus platform, which enables the connection of various optically supported data center test systems and subsystems and their comparative characterization in the data center test environment.
Data centers; integrated photonics; silicon photonics; fiber optics; polymer waveguides; packaged optics; high performance computers; optical connections; optical communication
An example of the last decade is the explosive growth in the collection, processing, storage and transfer of digital information. This data explosion has been driven in large part by the widespread adoption of mobile data devices – mainly smartphones and tablets – and is pushing modern information and communication systems beyond their intended limits and towards a debilitating data cliff.
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With the introduction of smaller portable mobile data devices, a major consequence of larger static computer terminals (PCs), a dramatic shift is now taking place in where customers need to store their information. Although it was sufficient to store data locally (for example, on the user’s local laptop or on the hard drive of a desktop computer), the average size of generated data objects (for example, high-definition images or short videos) has grown to such an extent that the available storage space on mobile devices quickly becomes insufficient for long-term data collection and storage. This has led to the emergence of cloud services, where customers outsource their data storage and increased data processing requirements to very large and secure data centers, typically containing at least 100,000 servers and associated data storage and networking. These “hyperscale” data centers are operated by Internet Content Providers (ICPs) such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, and provide the specialized computing, storage, and server equipment necessary to meet the remote and diverse computing and storage requirements of cloud environments. However, to cope with rapidly changing customer demand, the underlying architectures of data centers must evolve, and a critical part of this evolution is the deployment of optical connections at all levels of the data center environment.
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are at the heart of all modern information and communication technology (ICT) systems. The increase in data rates affects ICT systems such as servers and switches when higher frequency electronic signals are transmitted along the metal channels used in conventional PCBs. As the frequencies of these electronic signals increase, dielectric absorption, skin effect, and other resistive loss mechanisms attenuate them more, while signal reflections, signal biases, and interference from other electronic channels distort their integrity. Additionally, environmental effects of system operation, such as temperature and humidity, cause changes in the printed circuit board substrate, thus altering the carefully balanced properties of the electronic channels. However, many of these limitations can be mitigated to some extent by increasing overall system design and increasing power.
Embedded optical interconnect technologies, whether used at the cable, circuit board, or chip level, offer significant performance and power advantages over conventional electronic interconnects. Performance gains include higher data rates, lower electromagnetic interference, lower power consumption, higher channel density, and a corresponding reduction in cable or PCB materials. Therefore, in order to cope with the exponential increase in power, processing power and bandwidth density of information communication systems, the trend in the last decade has been to move optical channels from higher-level fiber optic networks down to the data communication system. the body itself. One area where this is particularly evident is in modern data centers, where migrating optical connections to top-of-rack (TOR) or other network switch enclosures can significantly alleviate communication bottlenecks due to both data rate and internal rate increases. lengths of connecting links. As discussed at the end of the article, there is currently a lot of research going on for cave-driven optics (CPO) in data center switch ASICs, with bandwidths expected to exceed 100 Tb/s by 2026. Intel has been in the lead. efforts to develop silicon photonic microtransceivers or “chips” connected to switch ASICs on common media [1, 2, 3] to accommodate these astronomical bandwidths in data center switch ASICs. But the vast majority of data center systems, which we call sub-TOR systems, are servers and data storage arrays, numbering in the hundreds of thousands in hyperscale data centers.
To assess the viability of embedding optical links in today’s TOR sub-data center architectures, three generations of data center systems based on current storage switch enclosure form factors were developed over the past 5 years. In this article, we examine the evolution of system embedded optical link technologies in three major data center demonstration prototype platforms produced by Seagate Systems in the UK: LightningValley, ThunderValley2 and Pegasus, which were adapted from different data storage switch enclosures to enable selected internal high-speed electronic transmission lines to be converted into optical links.
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LightningValley is a partially optically coupled data storage system. It was developed based on Seagate Technology’s modified 4U24 OneStor enclosure, in which 12 Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) traffic was optically transmitted between two SAS protocol switches on the internal controller card along 24 PCB-embedded polymer optical waveguide channels. Showing for the first time how intra-system optical channels can be successfully implemented in a 12G SAS architecture .
ThunderValley2 is a fully optically enabled data storage array developed from Seagate Technology’s 2U24 OneStor enclosure, in which all internal high-speed links were implemented optically. This required the introduction of commercial midplane optical transceivers, an electro-optical midplane, and proprietary pluggable optical connectors for hard disk drives .
Pegasus is a fully optically enabled 24-drive Ethernet data storage, switching and computing platform that was developed with replaceable optical transceiver mezzanine cards and a proprietary electro-optical drive connector.
Aurora is a test and measurement platform developed for the comparative characterization of different types of advanced optical interconnect technologies, including embedded and discrete polymer and glass waveguide circuits, optical PCB connectors, and transceiver and switching technologies, including advanced silicon photonics .
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A converged data center test rack, Nexus, was developed to enable various optically enabled platforms
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