New challenges arise for cabling complexity, serviceability, and rack power
Today’s data center networks are primarily serviced by 25G/lane Ethernet technology; however, these networks are quickly moving to 50G and 100G/lane to allow hyperscalers to add additional servers and switches to their Clos Network topologies and support data-intensive workloads such as AI and Machine Learning. This rapid growth in Ethernet port speed is causing a new set of challenges for design complexity and serviceability of hyperscale architectures. In the past, passive Direct Attached Copper (DAC) cables have been sufficient for 25G/lane; however, as we move to 50G/lane or even 100G/lane Ethernet, this will be insufficient to meet the 3-meter reach needed for typical data center interconnects between top-of-rack (ToR) switches and servers or between spine and exit-leaf switches.
Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and OEMs alike require cost-effective, reliable interconnects which are thin, bendable, and enable 3 meters in length or more (outlined here in Data Center Resource Disaggregation Drives Need for Cost-Effective 400/800-GbE Interconnects). While passive DAC cables are no longer an option, attempts to address these bottlenecks have been made by using active optical cables (AOCs) and copper-based, general-purpose active electrical cables (AECs). These solutions may be able to address some of the reach and speed requirements of hyperscale data centers, however, they come with their own set of limitations. AOCs can be expensive and power hungry while AECs do not have the system-wide visibility and management features needed to maintain a data center fleet running intelligent applications.
Taurus Smart Cable Modules™ (Taurus SCM™) are hardware modules (Figure 1) that make a general-purpose AEC smart. The Taurus SCM portfolio delivers advanced fleet management and deep diagnostic abilities that are critical to ensuring high reliability and up-time in data centers. Taurus SCMs enable a flexible supply chain of Smart Electrical Cables (SECs) that are compatible in leading cable vendor’s assemblies. Taurus SCMs support 800G/400G/200G Ethernet port speeds (100G/50G/25G line rates) with the added capability of resolving rate mismatch between Network Interface Cards (NICs) and switches through aggregation and disaggregation gearbox capabilities. Taurus SCM enables these architectures using thin-gauge (30/32/34 AWG) copper cables up to 3-meters.
Unlike general-purpose AECs on the market, Taurus SCMs are a robust, easy-to-design solution with unmatched fleet management capabilities (see Table 1).
Taurus SCMs are purpose-built connectivity solutions for CSPs and OEMs to enable up to 100G/Lane Ethernet interconnects between servers, ToR switches, and spine switches. Figure 2 shows the two main use case categories for Taurus SCM:
There are three cable types that are commonly adopted in the network architecture to achieve full bandwidth utilization and redundancy: Straight, Y, and X cables as seen in Figure 3. Taurus SCMs can support any of these cable configurations for switch-to-switch and switch-to-server connectivity.
To overcome rate mismatch and fully utilize switch bandwidth during the transition from 200G ports to 400G and 800G ports, different cable configurations supporting various speeds at the two ends are needed. Qualified with leading cable vendors in both QSFP-DD and OSFP form factors, Taurus SCMs allow CSPs to apply a modular approach in designing and selecting the connectivity solutions within their rack.
Data center networks are quickly moving to 50G and 100G/lane to allow hyperscalers to add additional servers and switches to their Clos Network topologies and support data-intensive workloads such as AI and Machine Learning. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and OEMs alike require cost-effective, reliable interconnects which are thin, bendable, and enable 3 meters in length or more. Taurus SCMs are purpose-built connectivity solutions for CSPs and OEMs to enable up to 100G/Lane Ethernet interconnects between servers, ToR switches, and spine switches.
For more information on Taurus SCMs, visit asteralabs.com/TaurusSCM.