How Important is the SFP Optical Module in Data Center ?
In the data center interconnection, the optical module works everywhere, but very few people mention it. In fact, optical module has been the most widely used product in the data center. Today's data centers are basically optical fiber interconnection, the interconnection of the cable has become less and less. We can say if there is no optical module, there is no data center. The optical module is to convert electrical signal to optical signal and then convert optical signals into electrical signals through the optical fiber. This means every optical module has two functions: one is to transmit and another is to receive, to make the transmission of signal smoothly. This means every equipment need transceivers to receive and transmit signals. There would be thousands of devices in a medium-sized data center, to achieve all the interconnection of these devices, at least need to spend thousands of optical modules. Although the price of one optical module is not high, but the quantity is quite large. So the overall cost of the data center procurement of optical module is not low after calculated, and sometimes even more than the amount of network devices. Optical modules marketing is becoming a segment market in the data center.
Module size is small, but the role is not small. With the continuous expansion of the data center market, led directly to the development of the optical module market. The global optical module market rapid growth in recent five years, as early as in 2010 the global optical module market sales revenue of only $2 billion 800 million, and by 2014, the global optical module market size has exceeded $4 billion 100 million in 2019 is expected to optical module market sales income will increase to $6 billion 600 million. Optical modules toward ultra high frequency, ultra high speed and large capacity development, is expected by 2017, the global 10G/40G/100G optical module revenue will reach $3 billion 100 million, accounting for the overall optical module market will exceed 55%. Among them, the annual compound growth rate of 40G optical module and 100G optical module will be as high as 17% and 36% respectively, and the huge market demand makes a lot of companies put into it. It also saw the huge profit optical module market, a lot of people rush into danger, do counterfeit optical module business. For example, a large number of direct from the optical module manufacturers to purchase a large number of optical modules, and then wholesale to other vendors or data center customers. There are some simply posing as a regular optical module module manufacturers, shoddy, with low prices for high profits. Once the use of such inferior optical module, the risk may come at any time. Some poor quality optical module heat, some optical module wrong package very much, some optical module unstable operation, some optical module internal information recording errors and so on, the market has a lot of poor optical module, disrupted the market. But this also reflects the light from the side of the market comparison of the fact that the fire.
In fact, open the internal optical module, you can see the relatively simple structure, the circuit is not so complex, only one point is the production process requirements are relatively high. The production process will not greatly affect the optical quality of light and may end the module cannot docking, or often have some wrong link packet, data forwarding. Especially now, this kind of 40G 100G high-speed optical module, often put forward more requirements on the production process of the optical module, so that not all optical module manufacturers can produce the 100G optical module, which makes the 100G optical module has been maintained at a high price. The optical module is in fact a very high technical requirements for products, high technology content, the optical module itself the material cost is not high, but the technology and high added value, due to the development of a light module, often need optical, circuit technology, network etc. the scientific research personnel, to a large number of scientific research investment, this the human input is huge, is considered the cost of optical module, which makes the light module prices remain high. Of course, compared with the server, network equipment, optical module profits even higher, unlike the server, network, storage and other segments of the market competition has been more fully, the optical module market competition is uneven in quality, several foreign manufacturers of optical module suppliers occupy the mainstream position, several domestic manufacturers of optical modules can also share many of the market in general light the module manufacturers in recent years much better. In particular, with the increasing demand for 40G/100G optical module in the data center, the market has brought more opportunities to the optical module manufacturers, and the high speed modules are relatively high profits.
It is not easy to provide a light module that is reliable and meets the requirements of the data center. Other aspects of the data center in recent years, the technology is constantly improving, the requirements of the optical module is also getting higher and higher. The first is to high speed, the server interface is from 1G to 10G, and the aggregation switch from 10G to 40G/100G, 25G and 400G standards are developed, once formed, the design and development of specific optical modules will expand, network bandwidth capacity will likely further enhance the data center. Second is to green environmental protection, low power consumption. The power consumption of the data center is very large, the heating power calculation is a great waste, a 10G light module power if it is 3W, then the exchange board a 480000 trillion only light module power consumption will reach 144W, if one is inserted with 16 boards network equipment, then to 2300W, the the equivalent of 23 100W light bulbs, very low power consumption. Previous 100G optical module mouth to near 10CM long, and now the 100G light module and 10G size no difference. You can do 48 100G port density on a board. Fourth to low cost, 100G optical module price is too high to a certain extent, inhibit some of the market demand, a lot of data centers on the high price of 100G optical module prohibitive. Because not only to consider the optical module, and its ancillary equipment, the need to re invest, so that together is not a small expenditure. 100G optical module if the cost can be greatly reduced, will soon spread in the data center, is currently able to deploy the 100G Internet data center is very rare. So it is not an easy thing to provide high quality optical module, which needs to be studied continuously to improve the production level of the optical module.
Optical module is small, but its role in data center cannot be ignored, especially today the bandwidth requirements are getting higher and higher in the data center. To a certain extent, optical module has even restricted the development of the data center. So I hope to have more companies to join in this industry. The more companies to join the market of optical modules, the faster the market will develop. You can use "small head has a big role" phrase to describe the light module in the role of the data center, this is not an exaggeration.