Luxtera introduces low-power 40G AOC

Nov. 17, 2009
According to Luxtera, the new Blazar active optical cable utilizes more than 30% less energy than competing products, improving overall data center power consumption and thermal efficiency.

November 17, 2009 --Luxtera, a developer of silicon CMOS photonics, has announced at SC09 (Supercomputing '09) the debut of its low-power, 40G active optical cable (AOC), Blazar.

As the lowest power AOC on the market, according to Luxtera, the new Blazar utilizes more than 30% less energy than competing products, improving overall data center power consumption and thermal efficiency. The AOC also incorporates intrusion detection and protection (IDP) features, which provide data centers with the security necessary to maintain data integrity. Underscoring its new offerings, Blazar was selected to serve as the cabling backbone for SCinet, the world's fastest network, at this year's SC09 conference.

Low-power Blazar transceivers operate at less than 20 mW/Gbps, well below power consumption of traditional multimode VCSEL optics, thus significantly reducing heat dissipation, operating expenses, and the carbon footprint of data centers. By combining CMOS photonics technology and singlemode fiber, the AOC maintains a low price point while simultaneously supporting long-reach connectivity of more than 4,000 m. The company says the cable's high level of reliability and design flexibility make it suitable for high-performance computing (HPC) clusters and high-density applications such as blade servers.

"Our highly-integrated 40-Gbps switch systems and switch blades are providing data centers with the computing power and density required for HPC and scaled data center applications, but with density come distance, power consumption, and thermal design challenges," says Shai Rephaeli, vice president of product engineering at Mellanox Technologies. "Low-power optical solutions, such as Luxtera's low power Blazar, solve these challenges by minimizing power consumption while providing benefits in distance, weight, and flexibility.”

With the addition of patent-pending IDP features, Blazar is reportedly the first secure optical cable available for HPC deployments. To deliver this feature, the new Blazar takes advantage of silicon photonics' optoelectronic integration capability as it utilizes embedded germanium photodetectors with associated receiver logic to detect cable intrusion attempts. Additionally, low-power Blazar uses high-performance singlemode, bend-insensitive fiber to achieve a fiber bend radius of 5 mm with no light escaping, significantly reducing the possibility of cable intrusions.

The new Blazar is tested and qualified for interoperability with the market's first IPD-feature enabled switch, Voltaire's Quad Data Rate (QDR) InfiniBand Grid Director and Unified Fabric Manager software. Luxtera and Voltaire will demonstrate this feature at the SC09 conference, Nov. 16-19, in Portland, OR.

"When it comes to sensitive information and trade secrets, security breaches are a major concern for data centers," says Asaf Somekh, vice president of marketing for Voltaire. "Government research facilities, the financial industry, and corporations look to leaders in HPC systems to support their infrastructure and maintain information security. With our Grid Director switches and Unified Fabric Manager software we can take advantage of low-power Blazar's unique IDP features to be the first company to deliver a secure, reliable, as well as energy-efficient InfiniBand solution for data centers."

Marek Tlalka, vice president of marketing for Luxtera, adds, "The addition of IDP features to our products emphasizes the advantages of silicon photonics optoelectronic integration and its ability to add innovative features without adding cost. Luxtera will continue to enhance our silicon photonics technology platform to further reduce interconnect power consumption and expand features to maintain this technological lead."

Powering SCinet at SC09 demonstrates low-power Blazar's extended reach and low power by connecting exhibitors through the InfiniBand network to enable multiple HPC demonstrations during the conference.

Luxtera is demonstrating this week at SC09 in booth number 2896. Low-power Blazar is available under part number LUX5010A and ships in multiple lengths from 1 to 4,000 m. The company is currently taking production orders.

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