Inphi Corp. (NYSE: IPHI) says the ColorZ pluggable optical transceiver for data center interconnect (DCI) applications it co-developed with Microsoft is now commercially available. The company says the production of the QSFP28 optical module, announced at OFC 2016, has begun to ramp.
Announcement of the ColorZ reference design, based on Inphi's InphiNity Core DSP Engine, caused a sensation at last year's OFC (see "Inphi offers 100G PAM4 QSFP28 for 80-km data center interconnect"). The device supports 100-Gbps optical transmission using PAM4 modulation for data center interconnect applications up to 80 km. The fact that data center operators such as Microsoft could plug the device directly into routers to meet their needs, thus avoiding the use of purpose-built data center interconnect platforms, led some analysts to question whether such an approach would significantly dampen the demand for purpose-built systems.
That hasn't been the case so far. Yet the appeal of an option such as the ColorZ could have significant appeal. "The ability to provide high-bandwidth connectivity in a small, cost-effective form factor expands metro DCI options for the benefit of geo-distributed applications and workloads," said Timothy Doiron, principal analyst, Intelligent Networking practice at ACG Research, via an Inphi press release. "In a recent study, we concluded that ColorZ lowered DCI total cost of ownership by up to 67% while also reducing rack space and power consumption."
At OFC 2017 last week, Inphi showed ColorZ QSFP28s driving 3.6 Tbps of bi-directional East-West traffic over 80 km of fiber between two Arista 7500R platform and 100G line cards connected via AVDA Optical Networking's new direct detect Open Line System (OLS) with SmartAmp technology (see "ADVA Optical Networking supports PAM4 data center interconnect").
ACG Research predicts sales of optical data center interconnect equipment will grow from $1.03 billion in 2015 to $4.15 billion in 2020.
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