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Demystifying SFP and QSFP Ports for Switches

In the modern interconnected era, robust and effective network communication is crucial for the success of businesses. To ensure seamless connectivity, it is vital to grasp the underlying technologies involved. Among these technologies, SFP and QSFP ports on switches play a significant role. This article aims to simplify these concepts by providing clear definitions and highlighting the advantages and applications of SFP and QSFP ports on switches.

What are SFP and QSFP Ports?

SFP and QSFP ports are standardized interfaces used in network switches and other networking devices.

SFP ports are small in size and support a single transceiver module. They are commonly used for transmitting data at speeds of 1Gbps or 10Gbps. SFP ports are versatile and can support both copper and fiber optic connections. They are widely used for short to medium-range transmissions, typically within a few hundred meters. SFP ports offer flexibility as the transceiver modules can be easily replaced or upgraded without changing the entire switch.

QSFP ports are larger than SFP ports and can accommodate multiple transceiver modules. They are designed for higher data transmission rates, ranging from 40Gbps to 400Gbps. QSFP ports primarily support fiber optic connections, including single-mode and multimode fibers. They are commonly used for high-bandwidth applications and long-distance transmissions, ranging from a few meters to several kilometers. QSFP ports provide dense connectivity options, allowing for efficient utilization of network resources.

Differences between SFP and QSFP Ports

  • Physical Features and Specifications: SFP ports are smaller and support a single transceiver, while QSFP ports are larger and can accommodate multiple transceivers.
  • Data Transmission Rates: QSFP ports offer higher data transmission rates, such as 40Gbps or 100Gbps, compared to SFP ports, which typically support lower rates like 1Gbps or 10Gbps.
  • Connection Distances: QSFP ports can transmit data over longer distances, ranging from a few meters to several kilometers, while SFP ports are suitable for shorter distances within a few hundred meters.
  • Supported Fiber Types: QSFP ports can handle a wider range of fiber types, including single-mode and multimode fibers, whereas SFP ports are typically compatible with both fiber and copper cables.

Advantages and Applications of SFP and QSFP Ports

  1. Advantages of SFP Ports:
  • Flexibility: SFP ports allow for easy customization and scalability of network configurations.
  • Interchangeability: SFP modules can be hot-swapped, enabling quick upgrades or replacements.
  • Versatility: SFP ports support various transceiver types, including copper and fiber optics.
  • Cost-effectiveness: SFP ports offer selective deployment, reducing costs for lower-bandwidth connections.
  • Energy Efficiency: SFP ports consume less power, resulting in energy savings.
  1. Applications of SFP Ports:
  • Enterprise Networks: SFP ports connect switches, routers, and servers in flexible network expansions.
  • Data Centers: SFP ports enable high-speed connectivity for efficient data transmission.
  • Telecommunications: SFP ports are used in telecommunications networks for various applications.
  1. Advantages of QSFP Ports:
  • High Data Rates: QSFP ports support higher data transmission rates, ideal for bandwidth-intensive applications.
  • Dense Connectivity: QSFP ports provide multiple channels, allowing for efficient utilization of network resources.
  • Long-Distance Transmission: QSFP ports support long-range transmissions, spanning from meters to kilometers.
  • Fiber Compatibility: QSFP ports are primarily used for fiber optic connections, supporting single-mode and multimode fibers.
  1. Applications of QSFP Ports:
  • Data Centers: QSFP ports are essential for cloud computing, high-performance computing, and storage area networks.
  • High-Bandwidth Applications: QSFP ports are suitable for bandwidth-intensive applications requiring fast data transfer.
  • Long-Distance Connectivity: QSFP ports facilitate communication over extended distances in network infrastructures.

FS Ethernet Switch with SFP Ports: S5810-48FS

Reliable data transmission is essential for enterprises to thrive. In the previous article, we highlighted the benefits of SFP and QSFP ports in achieving high-speed data transmission. Now, we introduce the FS S5810-48FS, a gigabit Ethernet L3 switch recommended as a network solution. It serves as an aggregation switch for large-scale campus networks and a core switch for small to medium-sized enterprise networks, ensuring stable connectivity and efficient data transfer.

  • SFP Port Capability: The S5810-48FS is equipped with multiple SFP ports, providing flexibility for fiber optic connections. These ports allow for easy integration and expansion of network infrastructure while supporting various SFP transceivers.
  • Enhanced Performance: The S5810-48FS offers advanced Layer 2 and Layer 3 features, ensuring efficient and reliable data transmission. It has a high switching capacity, enabling smooth traffic flow in demanding network scenarios.
  • Easy Management: The switch supports various management options, including CLI (Command-Line Interface) and web-based management interfaces, making it user-friendly and easy to configure and monitor.
  • Security Features: The S5810-48FS incorporates enhanced security mechanisms, including Access Control Lists (ACLs), port security, and DHCP snooping, to protect the network from unauthorized access and potential threats.
  • Versatile Applications: The S5810-48FS is suitable for various applications requiring high-performance networking, such as enterprise networks, data centers, and telecommunications environments. With its SFP ports, it provides the flexibility to connect different network devices and accommodate diverse connectivity needs.
FS Ethernet Switch with SFP Ports: S5810-48FS

Conclusion

SFP and QSFP ports are crucial for reliable network communication. SFP ports provide flexibility and versatility, while QSFP ports offer high data rates and long-distance transmission. The FS S5810-48FS Ethernet switch with SFP ports serves as an effective solution for large-scale networks and small to medium-sized enterprises. By utilizing these technologies, businesses can achieve seamless connectivity and efficient data transmission. If you want to learn more, please visit FS.com.


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Boost Network with Advanced Switches for Cloud Management

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, cloud computing and effective cloud management have become crucial for businesses. This article aims to explore how advanced switching solutions can enhance network cloud management capabilities, enabling organizations to optimize their cloud environments.

What is Cloud Management?

Cloud management refers to the exercise of control over public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructure resources and services. This involves both manual and automated oversight of the entire cloud lifecycle, from provisioning cloud resources and services, through workload deployment and monitoring, to resource and performance optimizations, and finally to workload and resource retirement or reallocation.

A well-designed cloud management strategy can help IT pros control those dynamic and scalable cloud computing environments. Cloud management enables organizations to maximize the benefits of cloud computing, including scalability, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and agility. It ensures efficient resource utilization, high performance, greater security, and alignment with business goals and regulations.

Challenges in Cloud Management

Cloud management can be a complex undertaking, with challenges in important areas including security, cost management, governance and compliance, automation, provisioning and monitoring.

  • Resource Management: Efficiently allocating and optimizing cloud resources can be complex, especially in dynamic environments with fluctuating workloads. Organizations need to ensure proper resource provisioning to avoid underutilization or overprovisioning.
  • Security: Protecting sensitive data and ensuring compliance with regulations is a top concern in cloud environments. Organizations must implement robust security measures, including access controls, encryption, and vulnerability management, to safeguard data and prevent unauthorized access or breaches.
  • Scalability: As businesses grow, their cloud infrastructure must be scalable to accommodate increased demand without compromising performance. Ensuring the ability to scale resources up or down dynamically is crucial for maintaining optimal operations.

To address these challenges, organizations rely on cloud management tools and advanced switches. Cloud management tools provide centralized control, monitoring, and automation capabilities, enabling efficient management and optimization of cloud resources. They offer features such as resource provisioning, performance monitoring, cost optimization, and security management.Advanced switches play a vital role in ensuring network performance and scalability. They provide high-speed connectivity, traffic management, and advanced features like Quality of Service (QoS) and load balancing. These switches help organizations achieve reliable and efficient network connectivity within their cloud infrastructure.

Advantages of FS Advanced Switches in Cloud Management

Selecting a switch with cloud management capabilities is crucial for ensuring smooth operations. FS S5810 series switches seamlessly integrate with cloud management tools, enabling comprehensive network management and optimization. These enterprise switches come with the superior FS Airware to deliver managed cloud services.

FS S5810 Series Switches for the Cloud-managed Network

FS Airware introduces a cloud-based network deployment and management model. The network hardware is still deployed locally, while the management functions are migrated to the cloud (usually referred to as public cloud). This approach allows administrators to centrally manage the network from any location using user-friendly graphical interfaces accessible through web pages or mobile applications. With FS S5810 series switches and FS Airware, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Centralized Visibility and Control: With FS Airware, enterprises can centrally monitor and manage network resources, applications, and services. This provides continuous oversight and control, enhancing operational efficiency and ensuring peace of mind.
  2. IT Agility and Efficiency: FS Airware enables remote management, remote operations and maintenance (O&M), and mobile O&M across the internet. This reduces costs and offers AI-driven troubleshooting and optimization capabilities, leading to increased operational efficiency and a competitive edge.
  3. Data and Privacy Security: FS S5810 switches support various security features such as hardware-based IPv6 ACLs, hardware CPU protection mechanisms, DHCP snooping, Secure Shell (SSH), SNMPv3, and Network Foundation Protection Policy (NFPP). These functions and protection mechanisms ensure reliable and secure data forwarding and management, meeting the needs of enterprise networks.
  4. Easy Switch Management: FS Airware simplifies the deployment and management of switches across individual branches. It enables remote centralized deployment and management, significantly enhancing management efficiency.

By combining the FS S5810 Series switches with FS Airware, organizations can achieve centralized visibility and control, enhance agility and efficiency, increase data and privacy security, and simplify switch management across cloud network infrastructure.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as cloud computing continues to dominate the digital landscape, efficient cloud management is critical for enterprises to remain competitive and agile. Advanced switching solutions, such as the FS S5810 Series with FS Airware, enable enterprises to overcome resource allocation, security and scalability challenges. Advanced network hardware and cloud-based management tools work together to create an optimized cloud environment. If you want to learn more about FS S5810 enterprise switches and the network platform Airware, please visit FS.com.


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How 400G Ethernet Influences Enterprise Networks?

Since the approval of its relevant 802.3bs standard from the IEEE in 2017, 400GbE Ethernet has become the talk of the town. The main reason behind it is the ability of this technology to beat the existing solutions by a mile. With its implementation, the current data transfer speeds will simply see a fourfold increase. Vigorous efforts are being made by the cloud service providers and network infrastructure vendors to pace up the deployment. However, there are a number of challenges that can hamper its effective implementation and hence, the adoption.

In this article, we will have a detailed look into the opportunities and the challenges linked to the successful implementation of 400G Ethernet enterprise network. This will provide a clear picture of the impact this technology will have on large-scale organizations.

Opportunities for 400G Ethernet Enterprise Networks

  • Better management of the traffic over video streaming services
  • Facilitates IoT device requirements
  • Improved data transmission density

How can 400G Ethernet assist enterprise networks in handling growing traffic demands?

Rise of 5G connectivity

Rising traffic and bandwidth demands are compelling the CSPs for rapid adoption of 5G both at the business as well as the customer end. A successful implementation requires a massive increase in bandwidth to cater for the 5G backhaul. In addition, 400G can provide CSPs with a greater density in small cells development. 5G deployment requires the cloud data centers to be brought closer to the users as well as the devices. This streamlines the edge computing (handling time-sensitive data) part, which is another game-changer in this area.5G

Data Centers Handling Video Streaming Services Traffic

The introduction of 400GbE Ethernet has brought a great opportunity for the data centers working behind the video streaming services as Content Delivery Networks. This is because the growing demand for bandwidth is going out of hand using the current technology. As the number of users increased, the introduction of better quality streams like HD and 4K has put additional pressure on the data consumption. Therefore, the successful implementation of 400GbE would come as a sigh of relief for the data centers. Apart from rapid data transferability, issues like jitter will also be brought down. Furthermore, large amounts of data transfer over a single wavelength will also bring down the maintenance cost.

High-Performance Computing (HPC)

The application of high-performance computing is in every industry sub-vertical whether it is healthcare, retail, oil & gas or weather forecasting. Real-time analysis of data is required in each of these fields and it is going to be a driver for the 400G growth. The combined power of HPC and 400G will bring out every bit of performance from the infrastructure leading to financial and operational efficiency.400G Ethernet

Addressing the Internet of Things (IoT) Traffic Demands

Another opportunity that resides in this solution is for the data centers to manage IoT needs. Data generated by the IoT devices is not large; it is the aggregation of the connections that actually hurts. Working together, these devices open new pathways over internet and Ethernet networks which leads to an exponential increase in the traffic. A fourfold increase in the data transfer speed will make it considerably convenient for the relevant data centers to gain the upper hand in this race.

Greater Density for Hyperscale Data Centers

In order to meet the increasing data needs, the number of data centers is also seeing a considerable increase. A look at the relevant stats reveals that 111 new Hyperscale data centers were set up during the last two years, and 52 out of them were initiated during peak COVID times when the logistical issues were also seeing an unprecedented increase. In view of this fact, every data center coming to the fore is looking to setup 400GbE. Provision of greater density in fiber, racks, and switches via 400GbE would help them incorporate huge and complex computing and networking requirements while minimizing the ESG footprint at the same time.

Easier Said Than Done: What Are the Challenges In 400G Ethernet technology

Below are some of the challenges enterprise data centers are facing in 400G implementation.

Cost and Power Consumption

Today’s ecosystem of 400G transceivers and DSP are power-intensive. Currently, some transceivers don’t support the latest MSA. They are developed uniquely by different vendors using their proprietary technology.

Overall, the aim is to reduce $/gigabit and watts/gigabit.

The Need for Real-World Networking Plugfests

Despite the standard being approved by IEEE, a number of modifications still need to be made in various areas like specifications, manufacturing, and design. Although the conducted tests have shown promising results, the interoperability needs to be tested in real-world networking environments. This would outline how this technology is actually going to perform in enterprise networks. In addition, any issues faced at any layer of the network will be highlighted.

Transceiver Reliability

Secondly, transceiver reliability also comes as a major challenge in this regard. Currently, the relevant manufacturers are finding it hard to meet the device power budget. The main reason behind that is the use of a relatively older design of QSFP transceiver form factor as it was originally designed for 40GbE. Problems in meeting the device power budget lead to issues like heating, optical distortions, and packet loss.

The Transition from NRZ to PAM-4

Furthermore, the shift from binary non-return to zero to pulse amplitude modulation with the introduction of 400GbE also poses a challenge for encoding and decoding. This is because NRZ was a familiar set of optical coding whereas PAM-4 requires involvement of extensive hardware and an enhanced level of sophistication. Mastering this form of coding would require time, even for a single manufacturer.from NRZ to PAM-4

Greater Risk of Link Flaps

Enterprise use of 400GbE also increases the risk of link flaps. Link flaps are defined as the phenomenon involving rapid disconnection in an optical connection. Whenever such a scenario occurs, auto-negotiation and link-training are performed before the data is allowed to flow again. While using 400GbE, link flaps can occur due to a number of additional reasons like problems with the switch, design problems with the -transceiver, or heat.

Inference

The true deployment of 400GbE Ethernet enterprise network is undoubtedly going to ease management for cloud service providers and networking vendors. However, it is still a bumpy road. With the modernization and rapid advancements in technology, scalability is going to become a lot easier for the data centers. Still, we are still a long way from the destination of a successful implementation. With higher data transfer rates easing traffic management, a lot of risks to the fiber alignment and packet loss still need to be tackled.

Article Source: How 400G Ethernet Influences Enterprise Networks?

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How Is 5G Pushing the 400G Network Transformation?

With the rapid technological disruption and the wholesale shift to digital, several organizations are now adopting 5G networks, thanks to the fast data transfer speeds and improved network reliability. The improved connectivity also means businesses can expand on their service delivery and even enhance user experiences, increasing market competitiveness and revenue generated.

Before we look at how 5G is driving the adoption of 400G transformation, let’s first understand what 5G and 400G are and how the two are related.

What is 5G?

5G is the latest wireless technology that delivers multi-Gbps peak data speeds and ultra-low latency. This technology marks a massive shift in communication with the potential to greatly transform how data is received and transferred. The increased reliability and a more consistent user experience also enable an array of new applications and use cases extending beyond network computing to include distributed computing.

And while the future of 5G is still being written, it’s already creating a wealth of opportunities for growth & innovation across industries. The fact that tech is constantly evolving and that no one knows exactly what will happen next is perhaps the fascinating aspect of 5G and its use cases. Whatever the future holds, one is likely certain: 5G will provide far more than just a speedier internet connection. It has the potential to disrupt businesses and change how customers engage and interact with products and services.

What is 400G?

400G or 400G Ethernet is the next generation of cloud infrastructure that offers a four-fold jump in max data-transfer speed from the standard maximum of 100G. This technology addresses the tremendous bandwidth demands on network infrastructure providers, partly due to the massive adoption of digital transformation initiatives.

Additionally, exponential data traffic growth driven by cloud storage, AI, and Machine Learning use cases has seen 400G become a key competitive advantage in the networking and communication world. Major data centers are also shifting to quicker, more scalable infrastructures to keep up with the ever-growing number of users, devices, and applications. Hence high-capacity connection is becoming quite critical.

How are 5G and 400G Related?

The 5G wireless technology, by default, offers greater speeds, reduced latencies, and increased data connection density. This makes it an attractive option for highly-demanding applications such as industrial IoT, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, VR, and AR. And while the 5G standard is theoretically powerful, its real-world use cases are only as good as the network architecture this wireless technology relies on.

The low-latency connections required between devices, data centers, and the cloud demands a reliable and scalable implementation of the edge-computing paradigms. This extends further to demand greater fiber densification at the edge and substantially higher data rates on the existing fiber networks. Luckily, 400G fills these networking gaps, allowing carriers, multiple-system operators (MSOs), and data center operators to streamline their operations to meet most of the 5G demands.

5G Use Cases Accelerating 400G transformation

As the demand for data-intensive services increases, organizations are beginning to see some business sense in investing in 5G and 400G technologies. Here are some of the major 5G applications driving 400G transformation.

High-Speed Video Streaming

The rapid adoption of 5G technology is expected to take the over-the-top viewing experience to a whole new level as demand for buffer-free video streaming, and high-quality content grows. Because video consumes the majority of mobile internet capacity today, the improved connectivity will give new opportunities for digital streaming companies. Video-on-demand (VOD) enthusiasts will also bid farewell to video buffering, thanks to the 5G network’s ultra-fast download speeds and super-low latency. Still, 400G Ethernet is required to ensure reliable power, efficiency, and density to support these applications.

Virtual Gaming

5G promises a more captivating future for gamers. The network’s speed enhances high-definition live streaming, and thanks to ultra-low latency, 5G gaming won’t be limited to high-end devices with a lot of processing power. In other words, high-graphics games can be displayed and controlled by a mobile device; however, processing, retrieval, and storage can all be done in the cloud.

Use cases such as low-latency Virtual Reality (VR) apps, which rely on fast feedback and near-real-time response times to give a more realistic experience, also benefit greatly from 5G. And as this wireless network becomes the standard, the quantity and sophistication of these applications are expected to peak. That is where 400G data centers and capabilities will play a critical role.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Over the years, IoT has grown and become widely adopted across industries, from manufacturing and production to security and smart home deployments. Today, 5G and IoT are poised to allow applications that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. And while this ultra-fast wireless technology promises low latency and high network capacity to overcome the most significant barriers to IoT proliferation, the network infrastructure these applications rely on is a key determining factor. Taking 5G and IoT to the next level means solving the massive bandwidth demands while delivering high-end flexibility that gives devices near real-time ability to sense and respond.

400G Network

400G Ethernet as a Gateway to High-end Optical Networks

Continuous technological improvements and the increasing amount of data generated call for solid network infrastructures that support fast, reliable, and efficient data transfer and communication. Not long ago, 100G and 200G were considered sophisticated network upgrades, and things are getting even better.

Today, operators and service providers that were among the first to deploy 400G are already reaping big from their investments. Perhaps one of the most compelling features of 400G isn’t what it offers at the moment but rather its ability to accommodate further upgrades to 800G and beyond. What’s your take on 5G and 400G, or your progress in deploying these novel technologies?

Article Source: How Is 5G Pushing the 400G Network Transformation?

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400G Optics in Hyperscale Data Centers

Since their advent, data centers have been striving hard to address the rising bandwidth requirements. A look at the stats reveals that 3.04 Exabytes of data is being generated on a daily basis. Whenever a hyperscale data center is taken into consideration, the bandwidth requirements are massive as the relevant applications require a preemptive approach due to their scalable nature. As the introduction of 400G data centers has taken the data transfer speed to a whole new level, it has brought significant convenience in addressing various areas of concern. In this article, we will dig a little deeper and try to answer the following questions:

  • What are the driving factors of 400G development?
  • What are the reasons behind the use of 400G optics in hyperscale data centers?
  • What are the trends in 400G devices in large-scale data centers?

What Are the Driving Factors For 400G Development?

The driving factors for 400G development are segregated into video streaming services and video conferencing services. These services require pretty high data transfer speeds in order to function smoothly across the globe.

Video Streaming Services

Video streaming services were already taking a toll on the bandwidth requirements. That, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, forced a large population to stay and work from home. This automatically increased the usage of video streaming platforms. A look at the stats reveals that a medium-quality stream on Netflix consumes 0.8 GB per hour. See that in relation to over 209 million subscribers. As the traveling costs came down, the savings went to improved quality streams on Netflix like HD and 4K. What stood at 0.8 GB per hour rose to 3 and 7 GB per hour. This evolved the need for 400G development.

Video Conferencing Services

As COVID-19 made working from home the new norm, video conferencing services also saw a major boost. Till 2021, 20.56 million people have been reported to be working from home in the US alone. As video conferencing took center stage, Zoom, which consumes 500 MB per hour, saw a huge increase in its user base. This also puts great pressure on the data transfer needs.

What Makes 400G Optics the Ideal Choice For Hyperscale Data Centers?

Significant Decrease in Energy and Carbon Footprint

To put it simply, 400G raises the data transfer speed four times. 400G reduces the cost of 100G ports as breakouts when comparing a 4 x 100G solution to facilitate 400GbE with a single 400G solution to do the same. A single node at the output minimizes the risk of failures as well as lower the energy requirement. This brings down the ESG footprint that has become a KPI for the organizations going forward.

Reduced Operational Cost

As mentioned earlier, a 400G solution requires a single 400G port, whereas addressing the same requirement via a 100G solution requires four 100G ports. On a router, four ports cost way more than a single port that can facilitate rapid data transfer. The same is the case with power. Combined together, these two bring the operational cost down to a considerable extent.400G Optics

Trends of 400G Optics in Large-Scale Data Centers—Quick Adoption

The introduction of 400G solution in large-scale data centers has reshaped the entire sector. This is due to a humongous increase in the data transfer speeds. According to research, 400G is expected to replace 100G and 200G deployments way faster than its predecessors. Since its introduction, more and more vendors are upgrading to network devices that support 400G. The following image truly depicts the technology adoption rate.Trends of 400G Optics

Challenges Ahead

Lack of Advancement in the 400G Optical Transceivers sector

Although the shift towards such network devices is rapid, there are a number of implementation challenges. This is because it is not only the devices that need to be upgraded but also the infrastructure. Vendors are trying to upgrade them in order to stay ahead of the curve but the cost of the development and maturity of optical transceivers is not at the expected benchmark. The same is the case with their cost and reliability. As optical transceivers are a critical element, this comes as a major challenge in the deployment of 400G solutions.

Latency Measurement

In addition, the introduction of this solution has also made network testing and monitoring more important than ever. Latency measurement has always been a key indicator when evaluating performance. Data throughput combined with jitter and frame loss also comes as a major concern in this regard.

Investment in Network Layers

Lastly, the creation of a plug-and-play environment for this solution also needs to be more realistic. This will require a greater investment in the physical, higher level, and network-IP components layers.

Conclusion

Rapid technological advancements have led to concepts like the Internet of Things. These implementations require greater data transfer speeds. That, combined with the world going to remote work, has exponentially increased the traffic. Hyperscale data centers were already feeling the pressure and the introduction of 400G data centers is a step in the right direction. It is a preemptive approach to address the growing global population and the increasing number of internet users.

Article Source: 400G Optics in Hyperscale Data Centers

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100G NIC: An Irresistible Trend in Next-Generation 400G Data Center

NIC, short for network interface card, which can be called network interface controller, network adapter or LAN adapter, allows a networking device to communicate with other networking devices. Without NIC, networking can hardly be done. There are NICs with different types and speeds, such as wireless and wired NIC, from 10G to 100G. Among them, 100G NIC, as a product appearing in recent years, hasn’t taken a large market share yet. This post gives a description of 100G NIC and the trends in NIC as follows.

What Is 100G NIC?

NIC is installed on a computer and used for communicating over a network with another computer, server or other network devices. It comes in many different forms but there are two main different types of NIC: wired NIC and wireless NIC. Wireless NICs use wireless technologies to access the network, while wired NICs use DAC cable or transceiver and fiber patch cable. The most popular wired LAN technology is Ethernet. In terms of its application field, it can be divided into computer NIC card and server NIC card. For client computers, one NIC is needed in most cases. However, for servers, it makes sense to use more than one NIC to meet the demand for handling more network traffic. Generally, one NIC has one network interface, but there are still some server NICs that have two or more interfaces built in a single card.

100G NIC

Figure 1: FS 100G NIC

With the expanding of data center from 10G to 100G, 25G server NIC has gained a firm foothold in the NIC market. In the meantime, the growth in demand for bandwidth is driving data center to higher bandwidth, 200G/400G and 100G transceivers have been widespread, which paves the way for 100G server.

How to Select 100G NIC?

How to choose the best 100G NIC from all the vendors? If you are stuck in this puzzle, see the following section listing recommendations and considerations to consider.

Connector

Connector types like RJ45, LC, FC, SC are commonly used connectors on NIC. You should check the connector type supported by NIC. Today many networks are only using RJ45, so it may be not that hard to choose the NIC for the right connector type as it has been in the past. Even so, some network may utilize a different interface such as coax. Therefore, check if the card you are planning to buy supports this connection before purchasing.

Bus Type

PCI is a hardware bus used for adding internal components to the computer. There are three main PCI bus types used by servers and workstations now: PCI, PCI-X and PCI-E. Among them, PCI is the most conventional one. It has a fixed width of 32 bits and can handle only 5 devices at a time. PCI-X is a higher upgraded version, providing more bandwidth. With the emergence of PCI-E, PCI-X cards are gradually replaced. PCI-E is a serial connection so that devices no longer share bandwidth like they do on a normal bus. Besides, there are different physical sizes of PCI-E card in the market: x16, x8, x4, and x1. Before purchasing a 100G NIC, it is necessary to make sure which PCI version and slot width can be compatible with your current equipment and network environment.

Hot swappable

There are some NICs that can be installed and removed without shutting down the system, which helps minimize downtime by allowing faulty devices to be replaced immediately. While you are choosing your 100G NIC, be sure to check if it supports hot swapping.

Trends in NIC

NICs were commonly used in desktop computers in the 1990s and early 2000s. Up to now, it has been widely used in servers and workstations with different types and rates. With the popularization of wireless networking and WiFi, wireless NICs gradually grows in popularity. However, wired cards are still popular for relatively immobile network devices owing to the reliable connections.NICs have been upgrading for years. As data centers are expanding at an unprecedented pace and driving the need for higher bandwidth between the server and switches, networking is moving from 10G to 25G and even 100G. Companies like Intel and Mellanox have launched their 100G NIC in succession.

During the upgrading from 10G to 100G in data centers, 25G server connectivity popularized for 100G migration can be realized by 4 strands of 25G. 25G NIC is still the mainstream. However, considering the fact that the overall bandwidth for data centers grows quickly and hardware upgrade cycles for data centers occur every two years, the ethernet speed can be faster than we expect. 400G data center is just on the horizon. It stands a good chance that 100G NIC will play an integral role in next-generation 400G networking.

Meanwhile, the need of 100G NIC will drive the demand for other network devices as well. For instance, 100G transceiver, the device between NIC and network, is bound to pervade. Now 100G transceivers are provided by many brands with different types such as CXP, CFP, QSFP28 transceivers,etc. FS supplies a full series of compatible 100G QSFP28 and CFP transceivers that can be matched with the major brand of 100G Ethernet NIC, such as Mellanox and Intel.

Conclusion

Nowadays with the hyping of the next generation cellular technology, 5G, the higher bandwidth is needed for data flow, which paves the way for 100G NIC. On the occasion, 100G transceivers and 400G network switches will be in great need. We believe that the new era of 5G networks will see the popularization of 100G NIC and change towards a new era of network performance.

Article Source: 100G NIC: An Irresistible Trend in Next-Generation 400G Data Center

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Data Center Containment: Types, Benefits & Challenges

Over the past decade, data center containment has experienced a high rate of implementation by many data centers. It can greatly improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. This article will elaborate on what data center containment is, common types of it, and their benefits and challenges.

What Is Data Center Containment?

Data center containment is the separation of cold supply air from the hot exhaust air from IT equipment so as to reduce operating cost, optimize power usage effectiveness, and increase cooling capacity. Containment systems enable uniform and stable supply air temperature to the intake of IT equipment and a warmer, drier return air to cooling infrastructure.

Types of Data Center Containment

There are mainly two types of data center containment, hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment.

Hot aisle containment encloses warm exhaust air from IT equipment in data center racks and returns it back to cooling infrastructure. The air from the enclosed hot aisle is returned to cooling equipment via a ceiling plenum or duct work, and then the conditioned air enters the data center via raised floor, computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units, or duct work.

Hot aisle containment

Cold aisle containment encloses cold aisles where cold supply air is delivered to cool IT equipment. So the rest of the data center becomes a hot-air return plenum where the temperature can be high. Physical barriers such as solid metal panels, plastic curtains, or glass are used to allow for proper airflow through cold aisles.

Cold aisle containment

Hot Aisle vs. Cold Aisle

There are mixed views on whether it’s better to contain the hot aisle or the cold aisle. Both containment strategies have their own benefits as well as challenges.

Hot aisle containment benefits

  • The open areas of the data center are cool, so that visitors to the room will not think the IT equipment is not being cooled sufficiently. In addition, it allows for some low density areas to be un-contained if desired.
  • It is generally considered to be more effective. Any leakages that come from raised floor openings in the larger part of the room go into the cold space.
  • With hot aisle containment, low-density network racks and stand-alone equipment like storage cabinets can be situated outside the containment system, and they will not get too hot, because they are able to stay in the lower temperature open areas of the data center.
  • Hot aisle containment typically adjoins the ceiling where fire suppression is installed. With a well-designed space, it will not affect normal operation of a standard grid fire suppression system.

Hot aisle containment challenges

  • It is generally more expensive. A contained path is needed for air to flow from the hot aisle all the way to cooling units. Often a drop ceiling is used as return air plenum.
  • High temperatures in the hot aisle can be undesirable for data center technicians. When they need to access IT equipment and infrastructure, a contained hot aisle can be a very uncomfortable place to work. But this problem can be mitigated using temporary local cooling.

Cold aisle containment benefits

  • It is easy to implement without the need for additional architecture to contain and return exhaust air such as a drop ceiling or air plenum.
  • Cold aisle containment is less expensive to install as it only requires doors at ends of aisles and baffles or roof over the aisle.
  • Cold aisle containment is typically easier to retrofit in an existing data center. This is particularly true for data centers that have overhead obstructions such as existing duct work, lighting and power, and network distribution.

Cold aisle containment challenges

  • When utilizing a cold aisle system, the rest of the data center becomes hot, resulting in high return air temperatures. It also may create operational issues if any non-contained equipment such as low-density storage is installed in the general data center space.
  • The conditioned air that leaks from the openings under equipment like PDUs and raised floor tend to enter air paths that return to cooling units. This reduces the efficiency of the system.
  • In many cases, cold aisles have intermediate ceilings over the aisle. This may affect the overall fire protection and lighting design, especially when added to an existing data center.

How to Choose the Best Containment Option?

Every data center is unique. To find the most suitable option, you have to take into account a number of aspects. The first thing is to evaluate your site and calculate the Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF) of the computer room. Then observe the unique layout and architecture of each computer room to discover conditions that make hot aisle or cold aisle containment preferable. With adequate information and careful consideration, you will be able to choose the best containment option for your data center.

Article Source: Data Center Containment: Types, Benefits & Challenges

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The Chip Shortage: Current Challenges, Predictions, and Potential Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic caused several companies to shut down, and the implications were reduced production and altered supply chains. In the tech world, where silicon microchips are the heart of everything electronic, raw material shortage became a barrier to new product creation and development.

During the lockdown periods, some essential workers were required to stay home, which meant chip manufacturing was unavailable for several months. By the time lockdown was lifted and the world embraced the new normal, the rising demand for consumer and business electronics was enough to ripple up the supply chain.

Below, we’ve discussed the challenges associated with the current chip shortage, what to expect moving forward, and the possible interventions necessary to overcome the supply chain constraints.

Challenges Caused by the Current Chip Shortage

As technology and rapid innovation sweeps across industries, semiconductor chips have become an essential part of manufacturing – from devices like switches, wireless routers, computers, and automobiles to basic home appliances.

devices

To understand and quantify the impact this chip shortage has caused spanning the industry, we’ll need to look at some of the most affected sectors. Here’s a quick breakdown of how things have unfolded over the last eighteen months.

Automobile Industry

in North America and Europe had slowed or stopped production due to a lack of computer chips. Major automakers like Tesla, Ford, BMW, and General Motors have all been affected. The major implication is that the global automobile industry will manufacture 4 million fewer cars by the end of 2021 than earlier planned, and it will forfeit an average of $110 billion in revenue.

Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronics such as desktop PCs and smartphones rose in demand throughout the pandemic, thanks to the shift to virtual learning among students and the rise in remote working. At the start of the pandemic, several automakers slashed their vehicle production forecasts before abandoning open semiconductor chip orders. And while the consumer electronics industry stepped in and scooped most of those microchips, the supply couldn’t catch up with the demand.

Data Centers

Most chip fabrication companies like Samsung Foundries, Global Foundries, and TSMC prioritized high-margin orders from PC and data center customers during the pandemic. And while this has given data centers a competitive edge, it isn’t to say that data centers haven’t been affected by the global chip shortage.

data center

Some of the components data centers have struggled to source include those needed to put together their data center switching systems. These include BMC chips, capacitors, resistors, circuit boards, etc. Another challenge is the extended lead times due to wafer and substrate shortages, as well as reduced assembly capacity.

LED Lighting

LED backlights common in most display screens are powered by hard-to-find semiconductor chips. The prices of gadgets with LED lighting features are now highly-priced due to the shortage of raw materials and increased market demand. This is expected to continue up to the beginning of 2022.

Renewable Energy- Solar and Turbines

Renewable energy systems, particularly solar and turbines, rely on semiconductors and sensors to operate. The global supply chain constraints have hurt the industry and even forced some energy solutions manufacturers like Enphase Energy to

Semiconductor Trends: What to Expect Moving Forward

In response to the global chip shortage, several component manufacturers have ramped up production to help mitigate the shortages. However, top electronics and semiconductor manufacturers say the crunch will only worsen before it gets better. Most of these industry leaders speculate that the semiconductor shortage could persist into 2023.

Based on the ongoing disruption and supply chain volatility, various analysts in a recent CNBC article and Bloomberg interview echoed their views, and many are convinced that the coming year will be challenging. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel Corp., noted in April 2021 that the chip shortage would recover after a couple of years.

DigiTimes Report found that Intel and AMD server ICs and data centers have seen their lead times extend to 45 to 66 weeks.

The world’s third-largest EMS and OEM provider, Flex Ltd., expects the global semiconductor shortage to proceed into 2023.

In May 2021, Global Foundries, the fourth-largest contract semiconductor manufacturer, signed a $1.6 billion, 3-year silicon supply deal with AMD, and in late June, it launched its new $4 billion, 300mm-wafer facility in Singapore. Yet, the company says its production capacity will only increase component production earliest in 2023.

TMSC, one of the leading pure-play foundries in the industry, says it won’t meaningfully increase the component output until 2023. However, it’s optimistic that the company will ramp up the fabrication of automotive micro-controllers by 60% by the end of 2021.

From the industry insights above, it’s evident that despite the many efforts that major players put into resolving the global chip shortage, the bottlenecks will probably persist throughout 2022.

Additionally, some industry observers believe that the move by big tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google to design their own chips for cloud and data center business could worsen the chip shortage crisis and other problems facing the semiconductor industry.

article, the authors hint that the entry of Microsoft, Amazon, and Google into the chip design market will be a turning point in the industry. These tech giants have the resources to design superior and cost-effective chips of their own, something most chip designers like Intel have in limited proportions.

Since these tech giants will become independent, each will be looking to create component stockpiles to endure long waits and meet production demands between inventory refreshes. Again, this will further worsen the existing chip shortage.

Possible Solutions

To stay ahead of the game, major industry players such as chip designers and manufacturers and the many affected industries have taken several steps to mitigate the impacts of the chip shortage.

For many chip makers, expanding their production capacity has been an obvious response. Other suppliers in certain regions decided to stockpile and limit exports to better respond to market volatility and political pressures.

Similarly, improving the yields or increasing the number of chips manufactured from a silicon wafer is an area that many manufacturers have invested in to boost chip supply by some given margin.

chip manufacturing

Here are the other possible solutions that companies have had to adopt:

Embracing flexibility to accommodate older chip technologies that may not be “state of the art” but are still better than nothing.

Leveraging software solutions such as smart compression and compilation to build efficient AI models to help unlock hardware capabilities.

LED Lighting

The latest global chip shortage has led to severe shocks in the semiconductor supply chain, affecting several industries from automobile, consumer electronics, data centers, LED, and renewables.

Industry thought leaders believe that shortages will persist into 2023 despite the current build-up in mitigation measures. And while full recovery will not be witnessed any time soon, some chip makers are optimistic that they will ramp up fabrication to contain the demand among their automotive customers.

That said, staying ahead of the game is an all-time struggle considering this is an issue affecting every industry player, regardless of size or market position. Expanding production capacity, accommodating older chip technologies, and leveraging software solutions to unlock hardware capabilities are some of the promising solutions.

Added

This article is being updated continuously. If you want to share any comments on FS switches, or if you are inclined to test and review our switches, please email us via media@fs.com or inform us on social media platforms. We cannot wait to hear more about your ideas on FS switches.

Article Source: The Chip Shortage: Current Challenges, Predictions, and Potential Solutions

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The Most Common Data Center Design Missteps

Introduction

Data center design is to provide IT equipment with a high-quality, standard, safe, and reliable operating environment, fully meeting the environmental requirements for stable and reliable operation of IT devices and prolonging the service life of computer systems. Data center design is the most important part of data center construction directly relating to the success or failure of data center long term planning, so its design should be professional, advanced, integral, flexible, safe, reliable, and practical.

9 Missteps in Data Center Design

Data center design is one of the effective solutions to overcrowded or outdated data centers, while inappropriate design results in obstacles for growing enterprises. Poor planning can lead to a waste of valuable funds and more issues, increasing operating expenses. Here are 9 mistakes to be aware of when designing a data center.

Miscalculation of Total Cost

Data center operation expense is made up of two key components: maintenance costs and operating costs. Maintenance costs refer to the costs associated with maintaining all critical facility support infrastructure, such as OEM equipment maintenance contracts, data center cleaning fees, etc. Operating costs refer to costs associated with day-to-day operations and field personnel, such as the creation of site-specific operational documentation, capacity management, and QA/QC policies and procedures. If you plan to build or expand a business-critical data center, the best approach is to focus on three basic parameters: capital expenditures, operating and maintenance expenses, and energy costs. Taking any component out of the equation, you might face the case that the model does not properly align an organization’s risk profile and business spending profile.

Unspecified Planning and Infrastructure Assessment

Infrastructure assessment and clear planning are essential processes for data center construction. For example, every construction project needs to have a chain of command that clearly defines areas of responsibility and who is responsible for aspects of data center design. Those who are involved need to evaluate the potential applications of the data center infrastructure and what types of connectivity requirements they need. In general, planning involves a rack-by-rack blueprint, including network connectivity and mobile devices, power requirements, system topology, cooling facilities, virtual local and on-premises networks, third-party applications, and operational systems. For the importance of data center design, you should have a thorough understanding of the functionality before it begins. Otherwise, you’ll fall short and cost more money to maintain.

data center

Inappropriate Design Criteria

Two missteps can send enterprises into an overspending death spiral. First of all, everyone has different design ideas, but not everyone is right. Second, the actual business is mismatched with the desired vision and does not support the setting of kilowatts per square foot or rack. Over planning in design is a waste of capital. Higher-level facilities also result in higher operational and energy costs. A data center designer establishes the proper design criteria and performance characteristics and then builds capital expenditure and operating expenses around it.

Unsuitable Data Center Site

Enterprises often need to find a perfect building location when designing a data center. If you don’t get some site-critical information, it will lead to some cases. Large users are well aware of the data center and have concerns about power availability and cost, fiber optics, and irresistible factors. Baseline users often have business model shells in their core business areas that decide whether they need to build or refurbish. Hence, premature site selection or unreasonable geographic location will fail to meet the design requirements.

Pre-design Space Planning

It is also very important to plan the space capacity inside the data center. The raised floor to support ratio can be as high as 1 to 1, while the mechanical and electrical equipment needs enough space to accommodate. In addition, the planning of office and IT equipment storage areas also needed to be considered. Therefore, it is very critical to estimate and plan the space capacity during data center design. Estimation errors can make the design of a data center unsuitable for the site space, which means suspending project re-evaluation and possibly repurchasing components.

Mismatched Business Goals

Enterprises need to clearly understand their business goals when debugging a data center so that they can complete the data center design. After meeting the business goals, something should be considered, such as which specific applications the data center supports, additional computing power, and later business expansion. Additionally, enterprises need to communicate these goals to data center architects, engineers, and builders to ensure that the overall design meets business needs.

Design Limitations

The importance of modular design is well-publicized in the data center industry. Although the modular approach refers to adding extra infrastructure in an immediate mode to preserve capital, it doesn’t guarantee complete success. Modular and flexible design is the key to long-term stable operation, also meets your data center plans. On the power system, you have to take note of adding UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) capacity to existing modules without system disruption. Input and output distribution system design shouldn’t be overlooked, it can allow the data center to adapt to any future changes in the underlying construction standards.

Improper Data Center Power Equipment

To design a data center to maximize equipment uptime and reduce power consumption, you must choose the right power equipment based on the projected capacity. Typically, you might use redundant computing to predict triple server usage to ensure adequate power, which is a waste. Long-term power consumption trends are what you need to consider. Install automatic power-on generators and backup power sources, and choose equipment that can provide enough power to support the data center without waste.

Over-complicated Design

In many cases, redundant targets introduce some complexity. If you add multiple ways to build a modular system, things can quickly get complicated. The over-complexity of data center design means more equipment and components, and these components are the source of failure, which can cause problems such as:

  • Human error. Data statistics errors lead to system data vulnerability and increase operational risks.
  • Expensive. In addition to equipment and components, the maintenance of components failure also incurs more charges.
  • Design concept. If maintainability wasn’t considered by the data center design when the IT team has the requirements of operating or servicing, system operational normality even human security get impacts.

Conclusion

Avoid the nine missteps above to find design solutions for data center IT infrastructure and build a data center that suits your business. Data center design missteps have some impacts on enterprises, such as business expansion, infrastructure maintenance, and security risks. Hence, all infrastructure facilities and data center standards must be rigorously estimated during data center design to ensure long-term stable operation within a reasonable budget.

Article Source: The Most Common Data Center Design Missteps

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Infographic – What Is a Data Center?

The Internet is where we store and receive a huge amount of information. Where is all the information stored? The answer is data centers. At its simplest, a data center is a dedicated place that organizations use to house their critical applications and data. Here is a short look into the basics of data centers. You will get to know the data center layout, the data pathway, and common types of data centers.

what is a data center

To know more about data centers, click here.

Article Source: Infographic – What Is a Data Center?

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