Microsoft Inhpi Partnership Logo

While Microsoft has been a major buyer of dedicated data center interconnect (DCI) systems, the company has decided to rock the market and carve out its own niche in the DCI space.

Redmond has struck a deal with optical component manufacturer and seller, Inphi Corp., to branch out with its own modules which will negate the necessity of a DCI box, instead using a module that plugs directly into data center switches.

Tom Issenhuth, Microsoft’s Optical Network Architect for Azure Networking said at the OSA Executive Forum that the
company is branching out with Inphi to create a more appropriate information transport solution for smaller areas.

The company describes 80km or less as a “sweet spot” for links between data centers, allowing Microsoft to cut costs, consume less power, use less hardware, and save space.

Inphi also gets a good deal as part of the collaboration with Microsoft, tying up one of the biggest customers in the market, which can only be good news for a company searching for growth.

Together the companies will debut a 100-gigabit/s QSFP28 DWDM module that can digitally connect data centers within Microsoft’s sweet spot of 80km. Current dedicated DCI box systems currently offer that 100Gbit speed for cross country networks, not for local data center links, such as in metropolitan areas.

The interesting point regarding the new product is that it is not actually an exclusive to Microsoft, meaning other companies are surely going to be interested. The bottom line from that could mean a changing of the still growing DCI market and even a major disruption to it with a move to Microsoft’s solution for short distance data links.

The partnership between Microsoft and Inphi is based on the Colorz platform and is capable of moving huge quantities of data (the equivalent of the Library of Congress) in just a second. Inphi CEO Ford Tamer, said the collaboration has delivered a product that is unprecedented in terms of scale and cost:

We do not believe there is any other solution that can achieve what we’ve done in the power and cost envelope. For that type of power and that type of performance and that distance, we do believe it’s an industry first.

SOURCE: Light Reading