We explore a novel, free-space optics based approach for building data center interconnects. Data centers (DCs) are a critical piece of today’s networked applications in both private and public sectors. The key factors that have driven this trend are economies of scale, reduced management costs, better utilization of hardware via statistical multiplexing, and the ability to elastically scale applications in response to changing workload patterns. A robust DC network fabric is fundamental to the success of DCs and to ensure that the network does not become a bottleneck for high-performance applications. In this context, DC network design must satisfy several goals: high performance (e.g., high throughput and low latency), low equipment and management cost, robustness to dynamic traffic patterns, incremental expandability to add new servers or racks, and other practical concerns such as cabling complexity, and power and cooling costs. Current DC network architectures do not seem to provide a satisfactory solution, with respect to the above requirements. In particular, traditional static (wired) networks are either overprovisioned or oversubscribed. Recent works have tried to overcome the above limitations by augmenting a static (wired) “core” with some flexible links (RF-wireless or optical). These augmented architectures show promise, but offer only incremental improvement in performance. Specifically, RFwireless based augmented solutions also offer only limited performance improvement, due to inherent interference and range constraints of RF links. This paper explores an alternative design point—a fully flexible and all-wireless DC interrack network based on free-space optical (FSO) links. We call this FireFly as in; Free-space optical Inter-Rack nEtwork with high FLexibilitY. We will present our designs and tests using various configurations that can help the performance and reliability of the FSO links.
Mohsen Kavehrad, Peng Deng, H. Gupta, J. Longtin, S. R. Das, and V. Sekar, "Reconfigurable optical wireless applications in data centers," Proc. SPIE 10128, Broadband Access Communication Technologies XI, 1012804 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 31, 2017; Published: 28 January 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2250637.
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