Impact of Chip Shortage on Datacenter Industry

As the global chip shortage let rip, many chip manufacturers have to slow or even halt semiconductor production. Makers of all kinds of electronics such as switches, PCs, servers are all scrambling to get enough chips in the pipeline to match the surging demand for their products. Every manufacturer, supplier and solution provider in datacenter industry is feeling the impact of the ongoing chip scarcity. However, relief is nowhere in sight yet.

What’s Happening?

Due to the rise of AI and cloud computing, datacenter chips have been a highly charged topic in recent times. As networking switches and modern servers, indispensable equipment in datacenter applications, use more advanced components than an average consumer’s PC, naturally when it comes to chip manufacturers and suppliers, data centers are given the top priority. However, with the demand for data center machines far outstripping supply, chip shortages may continue to be pervasive across the next few years. Coupled with economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic, it further puts stress on datacenter management.

According to a report from the Dell’Oro Group, robust datacenter switch sales over the past year could foretell a looming shortage. As the mismatch in supply and demand keeps growing, enterprises looking to buy datacenter switches face extended lead times and elevated costs over the course of the next year.

“So supply is decreasing and demand is increasing,” said Sameh Boujelbene, leader of the analyst firm’s campus and data-center research team. “There’s a belief that things will get worse in the second half of the year, but no consensus on when it’ll start getting better.”

Back in March, Broadcom said that more than 90% of its total chip output for 2021 had already been ordered by customers, who are pressuring it for chips to meet booming demand for servers used in cloud data centers and consumer electronics such as 5G phones.

“We intend to meet such demand, and in doing so, we will maintain our disciplined process of carefully reviewing our backlog, identifying real end-user demand, and delivering products accordingly,” CEO Hock Tan said on a conference call with investors and analysts.

Major Implications

Extended Lead Times

Arista Networks, one of the largest data center networking switch vendors and a supplier of switches to cloud providers, foretells that switch-silicon lead times will be extended to as long as 52 weeks.

“The supply chain has never been so constrained in Arista history,” the company’s CEO, Jayshree Ullal, said on an earnings call. “To put this in perspective, we now have to plan for many components with 52-week lead time. COVID has resulted in substrate and wafer shortages and reduced assembly capacity. Our contract manufacturers have experienced significant volatility due to country specific COVID orders. Naturally, we’re working more closely with our strategic suppliers to improve planning and delivery.”

Hock Tan, CEO of Broadcom, also acknowledged on an earnings call that the company had “started extending lead times.” He said, “part of the problem was that customers were now ordering more chips and demanding them faster than usual, hoping to buffer against the supply chain issues.”

Elevated Cost

Vertiv, one of the biggest sellers of datacenter power and cooling equipment, mentioned it had to delay previously planned “footprint optimization programs” due to strained supply. The company’s CEO, Robert Johnson, said on an earnings call, “We have decided to delay some of those programs.”

Supply chain constraints combined with inflation would cause “some incremental unexpected costs over the short term,” he said, “To share the cost with our customers where possible may be part of the solution.”

“Prices are definitely going to be higher for a lot of devices that require a semiconductor,” says David Yoffie, a Harvard Business School professor who spent almost three decades serving on the board of Intel.

Conclusion

There is no telling that how the situation will continue playing out and, most importantly, when supply and demand might get back to normal. Opinions vary on when the shortage will end. The CEO of chipmaker STMicro estimated that the shortage will end by early 2023. Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger said it could last two more years.

As a high-tech network solutions and services provider, FS has been actively working with our customers to help them plan for, adapt to, and overcome the supply chain challenges, hoping that we can both ride out this chip shortage crisis. At least, we cannot lose hope, as advised by Bill Wyckoff, vice president at technology equipment provider SHI International, “This is not an ‘all is lost’ situation. There are ways and means to keep your equipment procurement and refresh plans on track if you work with the right partners.”

Article Source: Impact of Chip Shortage on Datacenter Industry

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Data Center White Space and Gray Space

Nowadays, with the advent of the 5G era and the advancement of technology, more and more enterprises rely on IT for almost any choice. Therefore, their demand for better data center services has increased dramatically.

However, due to the higher capital and operating costs caused by the cluttered distribution of equipment in data centers, the space has become one of the biggest factors restricting data centers. In order to solve that problem, it’s necessary to optimize the utilization of existing space, for example, to consolidate white space and gray space in data centers.

What is data center white space?

Data center white space refers to the space where IT equipment and infrastructure are located. It includes servers, storage, network gear, racks, air conditioning units, power distribution systems.

White space is usually measured in square feet, ranging anywhere from a few hundred to a hundred thousand square feet. It can be either raised floor or hard floor (solid floor). Raised floors are developed to provide locations for power cabling, tracks for data cabling, cold air distribution systems for IT equipment cooling, etc. It can have access to all elements easily. Different from raised floors, cooling and cabling systems for hard floors are installed overhead. Today, there is a trend from raised floors to hard floors.

Typically, the white space area is the only productive area where an enterprise can utilize the data center space. Moreover, online activities like working from home have increased rapidly in recent years, especially due to the impact of COVID-19, which has increased business demand for data center white space. Therefore, the enterprise has to design data center white space with care.data center white space

What is data center gray space?

Different from data center white space, data center gray space refers to the space where back-end equipment is located. This includes switchgear, UPS, transformers, chillers, and generators.

The existence of gray space is to support the white space, therefore the amount of gray space in equipment is determined by the space assigned for data center white space. The more white space is needed, the more backend infrastructure is required to support it.data center gray space

How to improve the efficiency of space?

Building more data centers and consuming more energy is not a good option for IT organizations to make use of data center space. To increase data center sustainability and reduce energy costs, it’s necessary to use some strategies to combine data center white space and gray space, thus optimizing the efficiency of data center space.

White Space Efficiency Strategies

  • Virtualized technology: The technology of virtualization can integrate many virtual machines into physical machines, reducing physical hardware and saving lots of data center space. Virtualization management systems such as VMware and Hyper V can create a virtualized environment.
  • Cloud computing resources: With the help of the public cloud, enterprises can transfer data through the public internet, thus reducing their needs for physical servers and other IT infrastructure.
  • Data center planning: DCIM software, a kind of data center infrastructure management tool, can help estimate current and future power and server needs. It can also help data centers track and manage resources and optimize their size to save more space.
  • Monitor power and cooling capacity: In addition to the capacity planning about space, monitoring power, and cooling capacity is also necessary to properly configure equipment.

Gray Space Efficiency Strategies

  • State-of-art technologies: Technologies like flywheels can increase the power of the machine, reducing the number of batteries required for the power supply. Besides, the use of solar panels can reduce data center electricity bills. And water cooling can also help reduce the costs of cooling solutions.

Compared with white space efficiency techniques, grace space efficiency strategies are pretty less. However, the most efficient plan is to combine data center white space with gray space. By doing so, enterprises can realize the optimal utilization of data center space.

Article Source: Data Center White Space and Gray Space

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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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5 Types of Optical Fibers for 5G Networks

Optical fiber cables have become one of the key points in the 5G competition. It’s known that 5G networks will offer consumers high-speed and low-latency services with more reliable and stronger connections. But to make this happen, more 5G base stations have to be built due to the higher 5G frequency band and limited network coverage. And it’s estimated that by 2025, the total number of global 5G base stations will reach 6.5 million, which puts forward higher requirements for the optical fiber cable performance and production.

Currently, there are still some uncertainties in 5G network architectures and the selection of technical solutions. But in the basic physical layer, the 5G fiber cables should meet both current application and future development needs. The following are five types of optical fiber cables that address problems in 5G networks built to some degree.

1. Bend Insensitive Optical Fiber for Easy 5G Indoor Micro Base Stations

The dense fiber connections between massive 5G new macro base stations and indoor micro base stations are the main challenge in the 5G access network constructions. The complex cabling environments, especially the indoor fiber cabling, and the limited space and bend request high requirements for the fiber bend performance. Optical fiber compliant ITU G.657.A2/B2/B3 has great bend-improved performance, which can be stapled and bent around corners without sacrificing performance.

Many fiber manufacturers have announced bend-insensitive fiber (BIF) cables with low loss to address such problems in 5G indoor applications.

CompanyProduct NameITU StandardsBend Radius
(1 turn around a mandrel)
Induced Attenuation
(dB)
CorningClearCurve LBL fiberG.652.D, G.657.A2/B27.5 mm≤ 0.4
YOFCEasyBand® Ultra BIFG.652.D, G.657.B35 mm≤ 0.15
Prysmian GroupBendBright XS fiberG.652.D, G.657.A2/B27.5 mm≤ 0.5

Note: The induced attenuation is caused due to fiber wrapped around a mandrel of a specific radius.

2. OM5 Multimode Fiber Applied to 5G Core Networks

5G service providers also have to focus on the fiber optic network build of the data centers where the content is stored. At present, the transmission speed of data centers is evolving from 10G/25G, 40G/I00G to 25G/I00G, 200G/400G, which put forward new requirements for the multimode optical fibers used for interconnection inside the data centers. Multimode optical fibers need to compatible with the existing Ethernet standard, cover the future upgrades to higher speed like 400G and 800G, support multi-wavelength multiplexing technologies like SWDM and BiDi, and also need to provide excellent bending resistance to adjust to dense data centers cabling scenarios.

5g optical fiber cables.jpg

Figure 1: OM5 fiber in 100G BiDi and 100G SWDM applications

Under such conditions, the new broadband OM5 multimode fiber becomes the hotspot option for data center constructions. OM5 fiber allows multiple wavelengths to be transmitted simultaneously in the vicinity of 850 nm to 950 nm. By adopting the PAM4 modulation and WDM technology, OM5 optical fiber is able to support 150 meters in 100Gb/s, 200Gb/s, and 400Gb/s transmission systems, and ensure the ability of future short-distance and high-speed transmission networks, making it the optimal choice for intra-data center connections under the 5G environment.

Fiber TypeEffective Bandwidth (MHz.km)Full injection Bandwidth (MHz.km)
Fiber Type850nm953nm850nm953nm1310nm
OM3>2000/>1500/>500
OM4>4700/>3500/>500
OM5>4700/>35001850>500

Here is a comparison of the link length of OM5 and other multimode fiber over 850nm wavelength.

Link Length (M) @850nm wavelength
Fiber Type10GBASE-SR25GBASE-SR40GBASE-SR4100GBASE-SR4400GBASE-SR16400GBASE-SR8400GBASE-SR4.2
OM330070100701007070
OM4550100150100150100100
OM5550100150100150100150

3. Micron Diameter Optical Fibers Enable Higher Fiber Density

Due to the complex deployment environments of the access layer or aggregation layer of 5G bearer networks, it’s easy to encounter problems like the limited existing cable pipeline resources. To ensure the limited space can hold more optical fibers, cable manufacturers are working hard to reduce the size and diameter of cable bundles. For example, recently the Prysmian Group has introduced the BendBright XS 180µm single-mode fiber to meet the 5G technology demands. This innovative optical fiber enables cable designers to offer strongly reduced cable dimensions while still keeping the 125µm glass diameter.

5G fiber cable.jpg

Figure 2: Prysmian’s BendBright XS 180µm fiber

Similarly, with the same principles, Corning has introduced the SMF-28 Ultra 200 fiber that allows fiber cable manufacturers to shave 45 microns off previous cable coating thicknesses, going from 245 microns down to 200 microns, to achieve a smaller overall outer diameter. And YOFC, another optical fiber manufacturer, also provides EasyBand plus-Mini 200μm reduced diameter bending insensitive fiber for 5G networks, which can reduce the cable diameter by 50% and significantly increase the fiber density in pipelines when compared with common optical fibers.

4. ULL Fiber with Large Effective Area Can Extend 5G Link Length

5G fiber manufacturers are actively exploring ultra low-loss (ULL) optical fiber technologies to extend the fiber reach as long as possible. The G.654.E optical fiber is such a type of innovative 5G fiber. Different from the common G.652.D fiber often used in 10G, 25G, and 100G, the G.652.E fiber comes with a larger effective area and ultra-low loss features, which can significantly reduce the nonlinear effect of optical fiber and improve the OSNR that are easily affected by higher signal modulation format in 200G and 400G connections.

Speed (bps)40G100G400G400G
Fiber Typecommon G.652low-loss G.652low-loss G.652innovative G.654.E
Maximum Capacity (Tbs)3.282020
Limit Relay Distance (km)60003200<800<2000
Typical Link Attenuation (dB/km)0.210.200.200.18
Fiber Effective Area (µm²)808080130

With the continuous increase of the transmission speed and capacity of the 5G core network and the clouded data center, fiber optic cables like this will be needed more. It’s said that the latest Corning’s TXF fiber, a type of G.654.E fiber, comes with high-data-rate capabilities and exceptional reach, able to help network operators deal with growing bandwidth demands while lowering their overall network costs. Recently, Infinera and Corning have achieved 800G across 800km using this TXF fiber, which shows this fiber is expected to offer excellent long-haul transmission solutions for 5G network deployment.

5. Optical Fiber Cable for Faster 5G Network Installation

5G network deployment covers both indoor and outdoor scenarios, the installation speed is a factor needed to consider. Full-dry optical cable using dry water-blocking technology is able to improve fiber splicing speed during cable installation. Air-blown micro cables are compact and lightweight and contain high fiber density to maximize the fiber count. This type of cable is easy to be installed in longer ducts with multiple bends and undulations, and it can save in manpower & installation time and improved installation efficiency via the blowing installation methods. For the outdoor fiber cable deployment, some anti-rodent and anti-bird optical cables also need to be used.

Get Ready for 5G Networks

Currently, optical fiber is the optimal medium capable of scaling to the 5G demands. 5G networks’ enhanced bandwidth capacity, lower latency requirements and complicated outdoor deployments bring challenges as well as unlimited possibilities for optical fiber manufacturers, but our optical networks must quickly adapt to meet such new demands. Except for the optical fiber mentioned above, it remains to be seen if the 5G fiber manufacturers will put forward other innovative fiber for the market as quickly as possible.

Article source: 5 Types of Optical Fibers for 5G Networks

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Why Data Center Location Matters?

When it comes to data center design, location is a crucial aspect that no business can overlook. Where your data center is located matters a lot more than you might realize. In this article, we will walk you through the importance of data center location and factors you should keep in mind when choosing one.

The Importance of Data Center Location

Though data centers can be located anywhere with power and connectivity, the site selection can have a great impact on a wide range of aspects such as business uptime and cost control. Overall, a good data center location can better secure your data center and extend the life of data centers. Specifically, it means lower TCO, faster internet speed, higher productivity, and so on. Here we will discuss two typical aspects that are the major concerns of businesses.

Greater physical security

Data centers have extremely high security requirements, and once problems occur, normal operation will be affected. Of course, security and reliability can be improved by various means, such as building redundant systems, etc. However, reasonable planning of the physical location of a data center can also effectively avoid harm caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, fires and so on. If a data center is located in a risk zone that is prone to natural disasters, that would lead to longer downtime and more potential damages to infrastructure.

Higher speed and better performance

Where your data center is located can also affect your website’s speed and business performance. When a user visits a page on your website, their computer has to communicate with servers in your data center to access data or information they need. That data is then transferred from servers to their computer. If your data center is located far away from your users who initiate certain requests, information and data will have to travel longer distances. That will be a lengthy process for your users who could probably get frustrated with slow speeds and latency. The result is lost users leaving your site with no plans to come back. In a sense, a good location can make high speed and impressive business performance possible.

Choosing a Data Center Location — Key Factors

Choosing where to locate your data center requires balancing many different priorities. Here are some major considerations to help you get started.

key factors of choosing a data center location

Business Needs

First and foremost, the decision has to be made based on your business needs and market demands. Where are your users? Is the market promising in the location you are considering? You should always build your data center as close as possible to users you serve. It can shorten the time for users to obtain files and data and make for happy customers. For smaller companies that only operate in a specific region or country, it’s best to choose a nearby data center location. For companies that have much more complicated businesses, they may want to consider more locations or resort to third-party providers for more informed decisions.

Natural Disasters

Damages and losses caused by natural disasters are not something any data center can afford. These include big weather and geographical events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, lightning and thunder, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, hail, fires, and landslides. If your data center is in a risk zone, it is almost a matter of time before it falls victim to one. Conversely, a good location less susceptible to various disasters means a higher possibility of less downtime and better operation.

It is also necessary to analyze the climatic conditions of a data center location in order to select the most suitable cooling measures, thus reducing the TCO of running a data center. At the same time, you might want to set up a disaster recovery site that is far enough from the main site, so that it is almost impossible for any natural disaster to affect them at the same time.

Power Supply

The nature of data centers and requirements for quality and capacity determine that the power supply in a data center must be sufficient and stable. As power is the biggest cost of operating a data center, it is very important to choose a place where electricity is relatively cheap.

The factors we need to consider include:

Availability — You have to know the local power supply situation. At the same time, you need to check whether there are multiple mature power grids in alternative locations.

Cost — As we’ve mentioned, power costs a lot. So it is necessary to compare various power costs. That is to say, the amount of power should be viable and the cost of it should be low enough.

Alternative energy sources — You might also want to consider whether there are renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy and air in alternative locations, which will help enterprises to build a greener corporate image.

It is necessary to make clear the local power supply reliability, electricity price, and policies concerning the trend of the power supply and market demand in the next few years.

Other Factors

There are a number of additional factors to consider. These include local data protection laws, tax structures, land policy, availability of suitable networking solutions, local infrastructure, the accessibility of a skilled labor pool, and other aspects. All these things combined can have a great impact on the TCO of your data center and your business performance. This means you will have to do enough research before making an informed decision.

There is no one right answer for the best place to build a data center. A lot of factors come into play, and you may have to weigh different priorities. But one thing is for sure: A good data center location is crucial to data center success.

Article Source: Why Data Center Location Matters?

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