The challenges associated with DCI installation, activation, and monitoring require the best available fiber test solutions working collectively to ensure ongoing service quality. The rapid evolution of hyperscale technology combined with the high utilization factor of DCI pathways leaves little margin for error.
Fiber is the lifeblood of data center connectivity solutions. Versatile fiber inspection solutions are an important element of data center interconnect verification and can prevent defects or contamination introduced during installation from degrading performance. VIAVI inspection solutions with automated routines, compact form factors, and available multi-fiber connectivity establish a firm foundation for DCI fiber connection assurance.
High-Speed Transport of 400G and 800G
The bandwidth demands placed on data center networks ripple down to interconnects as they carry voluminous data over vast distances. Terabit Ethernet in the 400G and 800G categories is now among the transport technologies employed for data center interconnect that demand a more sophisticated level of BER testing and PAM-4 modulation support. Test solutions incorporating these cutting-edge technologies are invaluable during the development, deployment, and maintenance phases of the network lifecycle.
Metro 100G and 200G
DCI in the metro category typically falls between 5km and 80km and links data centers in nearby cities or mid-sized geographical areas. Metro interconnects often utilize 100G or 200G networking topology requiring fiber link qualification, characterization, and performance testing to ensure optimal performance. All-in-one network and fiber testing solutions utilizing automated test scripts add the requisite efficiency to turn-up, throughput, and high-accuracy latency test requirements.
Fiber Monitoring and Remote Fiber Test On Demand
Data center interconnects require consistent protection from intrusions, accidental outages, cuts, and breaks to ensure maximum uptime and minimal latency. Even a minor degradation in fiber quality can significantly reduce throughput and increase bit error rates.
With DCI capacity stretched to the limit, there is no allowance for compromised performance. The OTU-5000 or OTU-8000 rack-mounted OTDR test unit works in conjunction with the ONMSi remote fiber test system to form a proactive, automated solution for continuous data center interconnect monitoring. Fiber defects are located with pinpoint accuracy, triggering instant assessments, and alerts. Using a wavelength ranging between 1625-1650nm, the data center can be tested on demand while in service after a repair or routinely monitored with a very low scan time per fiber. Remote, automatic fiber monitoring discovers and located fiber faults, allowing them to be tracked over time for the degradation that can cause latency and bit error rates.
Preventative maintenance can prevent 20% of data center outages caused by the fiber plant. In the case of leased fiber, both parties have access to objective data that allows both to demarcate the fiber fault, repair it with the right team and to manage MTTR (Mean Time to Restoration/Resolution) key performance indicators. This technique is critical to managing SLA contract terms for uptime as one-third of data center outages are caused by fiber plant problems on the DCI.
Typical data center interconnects will have two or three redundant, geographically unique fiber paths to provide resiliency and high availability. Both SmartOTU and ONMSi products can ensure visibility into the health of the data center interconnect, providing rapid notification when there is a threat from a break, bend, bad connector, and a dislodged/disconnected patch cord disrupting transmission.
Finally, using the high powered, modular OTU-8000, in high-sensitivity mode, one can automatically identify security threats from optical hackers who seek to take a copy of data center traffic. This is done by adding an optical coupler to the line and bending the fiber to capture a small amount of light. It is a low-cost way to access millions of dollars of data center traffic without detection. A fiber monitoring solution designed just for this use case with an ultra-high performance OTDR, and patented calculations is required to protect against this intrusion. Most data center interconnects carry regulated sensitive personal information data that must be protected against data theft and automated monitoring is the first line of defense. Even if the data in encrypted, codes can be broken or stolen over time, so eliminating data theft is critical.
Virtual Test and Activation
Metro and core network mesh testing is greatly simplified through virtualized test agents. The software-based Fusion platform can be used to facilitate virtual service activation and performance monitoring via a combination of virtual test agents and hardware embedded in a DCI network. With the proliferation of data center interconnect across the data center landscape, these tools minimize technician dispatches and further enable rapid deployment, verification, and support SLA-protection.
Fiber Test and Certification
As bandwidth continues to expand, meeting customer requirements means multiplying fiber capacity. This translates to a higher volume and diversity of services, more end points/users and countless monetization opportunities. Fiber networks are an obvious solution to addressing bandwidth constraints.
OTDR/Fiber Characterization and OSA test support the commissioning, construction, and in-service test of today’s high-capacity fiber optic interconnects. VIAVI offers the most comprehensive range of fiber testers for essential fiber optic test for this phase of install, maintenance, and troubleshooting with built-in automation for the full range of basic to detailed testing needs.
The compact footprint and fiber density inherent to Multi-fiber Push On (MPO) connectors are another option for exceedingly crowded hyperscale data centers and interconnects. Inspection and test tools providing a convergence of native MPO connectivity, automated workflows, and fast and reliable reporting allow the scalability and efficiency of multi-fiber connectors to be fully leveraged.