PLX, FCI team to demo PCIe data center connectivity over optical cabling

Sept. 23, 2013
Live demonstration is being held at this week's ECOC Event in London.

PLX Technology (NASDAQ: PLXT), a specialist in PCI Express (PCIe) silicon and software connectivity for enabling emerging data center architectures, and FCI, a manufacturer of connectors and interconnect systems, are collaborating on a live demonstration of PCIe over optical cabling, showcased at the 39th European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) event in London (September 23-25). PLX and FCI are demonstrating the use of FCI’s new mini-SAS high-density (MSHD) active optical cable (AOC) to provide 32Gbps (PCIe Gen3, x4) optical connectivity in a small-form-factor solution.

The demonstration highlights how a PLX PCIe switch card connects to a PLX five-bay PCIe expansion card through the use of a standard MSHD connector and FCI’s new MSHD AOC. The expansion card allows any devices connected (such as PCIe adaptors, solid-state drives and NIC cards) to interact with the main motherboard/server as if it were a device installed inside the chassis. The demonstration platform can be used by those interested in developing system solutions for PCIe over non-standard PCIe cabling.

Related: PLX demo shows PCIe over fiber as data center clustering interconnect

The demonstration featuring FCI MSHD cables and PLX PCIe switch technology will also give engineers an opportunity to see the performance benefits that can be realized in high-performance computing, communications and networking applications. FCI’s new MSHD AOC is the next-generation SAS-based storage I/O system that allows for the signal transmission of both SAS 2.1 (6Gb/s per channel) and the proposed SAS 3.0 (12Gb/s per channel) industry standard protocols. This increases linear board density while doubling the maximum per-port aggregate bandwidth. These attributes enable accelerated access and transfer of data within systems.

“We have seen a significant number of customers coming to PLX and asking for high-density, high-performance, low-cost connectivity solutions to expand PCI Express outside the box,” comments Reginald Conley, vice president, applications engineering, PLX. “To be effective and meet the needs of a wide range of PCI Express users, these solutions must possess what we call the ‘triple threat’ connectivity option -- copper, optical and AOC. In doing so, the widest range of performance and cost metrics can be met, and Mini-SAS HD has the potential to be one such solution.”

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with PLX and explore how we can deliver unprecedented power, range and versatility in computing communications and networking applications,” adds Jim David, portfolio director for FCI’s High Speed IO product lines. “This demonstration is an excellent platform for the community to understand how FCI’s MSHD AOC solutions can support its latest designs and optimize data transfer speed and signal integrity within their system.”

Related: FCI expands fiber-optic connector, cable assembly lines for telecom, datacom

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