The sheer volume of data traffic moving across networks daily is mind-boggling almost any way you look at it. During the past decade, global internet traffic grew by approximately 20x, according to the International Energy Agency. One contributing factor to this growth is the popularity of mobile devices and applications: Smartphone users spend an average of 5 hours a day, or nearly 1/3 of their time awake, on their devices, up from three hours just a few years ago. The result is incredible amounts of data in the cloud that need to be processed and moved. Around 70% of data traffic is east-west traffic, or the data traffic inside data centers. Generative AI, and the exponential growth in the size of data sets needed to feed AI, will invariably continue to push the curb upward.
Yet, for more than a decade, total power consumption has stayed relatively flat thanks to innovations in storage, processing, networking and optical technology for data infrastructure. The debut of PAM4 digital signal processors (DSPs) for accelerating traffic inside data centers and coherent DSPs for pluggable modules have played a large, but often quiet, role in paving the way for growth while reducing cost and power per bit.
Marvell at ECOC 2023
At Marvell, we’ve been gratified to see these technologies get more attention. At the recent European Conference on Optical Communication, Dr. Loi Nguyen, EVP and GM of Optical at Marvell, talked with Lightwave editor in chief, Sean Buckley, on how Marvell 800 Gbps and 1.6 Tbps technologies will enable AI to scale.
In the video, Dr. Nguyen highlights the latest Marvell interconnect solutions showcased in the company’s booth: COLORZ® 800, the industry’s first family of 800 Gbps ZR/ZR+ coherent pluggable optical modules for connecting data centers up to 1,200km apart and Nova, the industry’s first 1.6 Tbps PAM4 electro-optics platform for cloud data centers.
Nova was named the winner of the ECOC Industry Awards in the Data Centre Innovation/Best Product category. Following the ceremony, ECOC TV spoke with Xi Wang, VP of Optical DSP at Marvell, about the innovation and what it means to the industry.
AI Will Change the Network Architecture
To delve into how these new technologies are designed to address the need for faster data transmission in order to scale AI, Achyut Shah, SVP and GM of the Connectivity BU at Marvell, sat down with Timothy Prickett Morgan of The Next Platform. During the fireside chat, they discuss the AI bandwidth challenge and what it means for next generation data center architecture.
Shah explains, “The growth of AI bandwidth is significant so when you have such a massive structural shift in the amount of data that you have to process both within the data center and then back down to the user, you have to do something different. That’s what we see at Marvell, AI is going to change the way the network is architected. The quantum of data being processed and the speed at which it needs to be processed is going to have to be significantly more and it’s going to have to accelerate a lot faster than it has been doing in the past.”
Electro Optics magazine has revealed its highly anticipated Photonics100 honoring the industry’s most innovative people. Dr. Radha Nagarajan, SVP and CTO of the Optical and Cloud Connectivity Group at Marvell was named to the list.
Dr. Nagarajan’s work is focused on 2.5D/3D heterogeneous integration of electronics and photonics for compact, low-power optical interconnects for data center and AI infrastructure applications.
He explains the need for low-cost, low-power optical connectivity.
“We are entering an unprecedented era of AI-driven economy. These massive, generative AI infrastructures consume so much power and the communities where they are located are balking at the social and environmental costs of increased energy consumption,” said Dr. Nagarajan.
Dr. Nagarajan also recently wrote about how optical technology will help rearchitect data centers to better balance the need of data centers owners and their surrounding communities in Data Center Knowledge. “An Extreme Makeover for Data Centers” can be found here.
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