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The role of the optical module in the data center

In the data center, optical modules exist everywhere, but few mention them. In fact, optical modules are already the most widely used products in the data center. Today‘s data centers are basically fiber-optic interconnections, and the number of cable interconnections has become less and less, so there is no optical module, and there is no way for the data center to operate. The optical module converts the electrical signal into an optical signal at the transmitting end through photoelectric conversion, and then converts the optical signal into an electrical signal at the receiving end after transmitting through the optical fiber, that is, any optical module has two parts for transmitting and receiving. Function, do photoelectric conversion and electro-optical conversion, so that devices at both ends of the network
The optical modules are inseparable from the top. There are thousands of devices in a medium-sized data center, and at least thousands of optical modules are required to achieve full interconnection of these devices. Although the price of a single optical module is not high, it is very large. In this way, the overall cost of data center procurement optical modules is not low, and sometimes even exceeds the purchase amount of general network equipment, becoming a market segment in the data center.
The optical module is small in size, but its effect is not small. It can‘t be played without any data center. With the continuous expansion of the data center market, the optical module market has been directly driven. In the past five years, the global optical module market has grown rapidly. As early as 2010, the global optical module market sales revenue was only 2.8 billion US dollars. By 2014, the global optical module market has exceeded US$4.1 billion, and the optical module market is expected to be sold by 2019. Revenue will increase to $6.6 billion. The optical module is developing towards ultra-high frequency, ultra-high speed and large capacity. It is estimated that by 2017, the global 10G/40G/100G optical module revenue will reach 3.1 billion US dollars, accounting for more than 55% of the total optical module market. Among them, the annual compound growth rate of 40G optical modules and 100G optical modules will be as high as 17% and 36% respectively, and huge market demand has led many manufacturers to invest in them. It is also to see the huge profits of the optical module market, many people take risks and do business like counterfeit modules. For example, optical modules are purchased directly from optical module manufacturers and then sold to other vendors or data center customers. There are also some modules that simply pretend to be regular optical module manufacturers, shoddy, and exchange high prices for low profits. Once this inferior light module is used, the risk may come at any time. Some inferior optical modules generate a large amount of heat, some optical modules have a lot of wrong packages, some optical modules are unstable, some optical modules have internal information errors, etc. There are already a large number of inferior optical modules on the market, which has disrupted this market. . However, this also reflects the fact that the optical module market is relatively hot.
In fact, opening the inside of the optical module, you can see that the structure is relatively simple, and does not involve complicated circuits. The only point is that the production process is relatively high, and the poor process production will greatly affect the optical path quality, which may be related to the opposite light. Modules cannot be docked, or some link errors are often generated, which affects data forwarding. Especially today, high-speed optical modules such as 40G and 100G often require more requirements for the production process of optical modules, so that not all optical module manufacturers can produce such 100G optical modules, which also makes 100G optical modules. Prices have remained at a high level. The optical module is actually a product with high technical requirements. The technical content is high. The cost of the optical module itself is not high, but the added value of the technology is high. Because an optical module is to be developed, optical, circuit technology and network are often needed. Researchers in many fields have to invest a lot of scientific research. The manpower input in this area is huge, and it must be counted in the cost of making optical modules. This keeps the price of optical modules at a high level. Of course, compared with servers and network equipment, the profit of optical modules is even higher. Unlike the market segments such as servers, networks, and storage, the competition in the market segments is relatively full. The competition in the optical module market is mixed. Several foreign optical module manufacturers occupy the market. The status of mainstream suppliers, several domestic optical module manufacturers can also get a lot of market, in general, optical module manufacturers have been much better in recent years. Especially with the increasing demand for 40G/100G optical modules in the data center, the market has brought enough opportunities to optical module manufacturers, and these high-speed modules have higher profits.
It is not easy to provide optical modules that are reliable and meet the requirements of data center usage. In the past few years, other technologies in the data center have been continuously improved, and the requirements for optical modules are also increasing. The first is that the rate is high. Currently, the interface of the server is from 1G to 10G, and the aggregation switch from 10G to 40G/100G, 25G and 400G standards are also being formulated. Once the standard is formed, the specific optical module design and development will also begin. Will further enhance the network bandwidth capabilities of the data center. The second is to be green and low in power consumption. The power consumption of the data center is very large, and the power consumption for calculating the heat is a great waste. If the working power consumption of a 10G optical module is 3W, then the power consumption of an optical module of a 48 megabit switch board will be reached. 144W, if a network device with 16 boards is plugged in, it will be 2300W, which is equivalent to 23 LED wheels at the same time, which is very power-hungry. The third is high density and saves space. Although the speed of the optical module is getting higher and higher, it can be designed to be smaller and smaller. The previous GBIC optical module only has a Gigabit rate, and the size is larger than the current 10G. The previous 100G optical module port was nearly 10CM long, but now the 100G optical module and 10G size are no different. 48 100G port densities can be made on one board. The fourth is low-cost, and the high price of 100G optical modules has also suppressed some market demands to a certain extent. Many data centers are discouraged from the high price of 100G optical modules. Because not only the optical module but also the equipment that is matched with it, it needs to be reinvested, so that it is not a small expense. If the 100G optical module can be greatly reduced in cost, it will soon become popular in the data center. Currently, the data center capable of deploying 100G interconnection is rare. Therefore, it is not an easy task to provide high-quality optical modules. It is necessary to conduct continuous research and improve the production level of optical modules.
Although the optical module is small, its role in the data center cannot be ignored. Especially in today‘s data center where bandwidth requirements are getting higher and higher, optical modules have even restricted the development of data centers to a certain extent, so I hope that there will be more and more The more companies join the market for optical modules, the faster development of the optical module market. It is no exaggeration to use the phrase "small pieces have a big effect" to describe the role of optical modules in the data center.