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Introducing optical cabling can set companies on path to efficiency

By Donna Donnawitz
September 12, 2013

You've probably heard so many conversations about data center efficiency in recent years that you may just want to curl up in your data center and pretend that nothing is changing. Let's face it, most legacy data centers are not designed for efficiency. If you are stuck managing one such monolithic facility, sustainability strategies may matter to you, but in the back of your mind you know that you can only change so much. Aisle containment may be an option, but you can't go near any kind of sophisticated cooling options. There are, however, relatively painless sustainable strategies that can alleviate some of the stress you may be facing.

Introducing more optical cables into the network is one such strategy. You only really need a few media converters to make the transition simple, and the end result is an efficiency gain that just about any type of data center can sustain.

The efficiency benefits of optics
The core problem with copper, as you've probably noticed, is that it isn't really capable of handling a significant amount of bandwidth. Sure, you can get high-performance network setups through copper, but that is only accomplished by combining a large number of copper cables that function as a single network link. What you can do with ten copper cables you can often pull off with just one or two fiber-optic wires.

This density makes a huge difference in the data center because managing airflow is among the most important components of controlling energy use. If you are running a legacy data center, this issue is especially prevalent, as airflow issues can be especially pronounced when alternative cooling methods are not an option. Imagine being able to take many of the large clusters of copper cables spread throughout the data center and replace them with optical links. The airflow advantage can be substantial, leading to major efficiency gains.

Establishing fiber in the data center
Deploying fiber is becoming easier as fiber to Ethernet media converters are able to ease interoperability gaps without adversely impacting performance. In fact, some media conversion solutions actually offer features that improve network functionality. Using media converters allows IT managers to establish fiber in the most effective parts of the data center, but still use copper where it makes sense. As a result, organizations can more easily maximize efficiency in their cabling setup.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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