OFC – The Data center show

Alan Weckel

Technology Analyst

It was great to run into old friends at OFC today.  As I walked the floor, had meetings, and ran into people it became clear that this years OFC was once again about the data center and Cloud and how vendors are positioning themselves for that market and for 400 Gbps.

We saw Juniper’s new line card on the QFX10K on the show floor as well as a massive 400Gbps demo at the Ethernet Alliance booth as evidence that the Cloud is moving more towards Ethernet in the transport networks and wants converged platforms that do it.

There is still one open question though, one that I hope we get more color on tomorrow at the OIF session on 100G serial that I’ll be kicking off.  The question is, what will the form factor be for 400 Gbps.  Will it be DDQSFP or OSFP.  We saw most optics vendors showing both in their booths today.  While we believe there is still time for the market to make a decision, we hope that the Cloud providers will ultimately make a decision that is best for the rest of the industry, one that allows vendors in this space to thrive for the long term.  We didn’t get this feeling though when the Cloud providers talked in their session.  Vendors, especially at the component level need to get significant volumes in order to get returns on their investment dollars.  We continue to remain concerned that all the different form factors and variations in speed and distance will make it difficult unless the interim steps to 400 Gbps are stepping stones.