Cabling strategies for a future-proof data center

Optimal space utilization for improved cost efficiency

The demands on the performance and expandability of data center infrastructures are constantly increasing. At the same time, costs are also playing an immense role. After all, analogous to the real estate market, every square meter within a data center is also precious. Space is the most valuable, scarce resource and IT floor space is in short supply in data centers. Optimal use of space through innovative cabling strategies therefore makes a significant contribution to improving the total cost of ownership (TCO) of data centers. This is one of the reasons why every data center operator strives to accommodate as much performance as possible on as little floor space as possible, to be structurally flexible and to use space-saving solutions.

But what means do exist to save space in the physical data center infrastructure? What are the specific optimization possibilities in the rack through the use of high-density concepts and miniature connectors? How can the choice of the cabling rack itself affect the port density per data center space?

Highest port density in the smallest space

High-density 19'' panel systems

Distribution racks such as main and zone distributors are an essential part of a data center's standard-compliant structured data cabling according to EN50600-2-4 and EN50173-5. The existing height units (HU) in a distribution rack and a server rack can be better utilized with high-density concepts. This is the case because every height unit (HU) saved by using High Density (HD) or even Ultra High Density (UHD) instead of Standard Density (SD) 19" panel systems for data cabling in the rack is available for the installation of IT hardware such as switches and servers. For example, port densities of up to 3,150 are possible with the 19'' PreCONNECT® SMAP-G2 High Density (HD) and even port densities of up to 4,200 are possible with the 19" PreCONNECT® SMAP-G2 Ultra High Density (UHD) (per m² of data center area, for an 80 x 120 cm, 42 HU rack). The latter corresponds to a port density of up to 96 LC duplexes per height unit.

Space saving in the rack

Mega High Density (MHD) thanks to new miniature connectors

Another factor helping to optimize space utilization in the data center by saving height units in the rack are new miniature connectors. These new miniature connectors, known in technical jargon as Very Small Form Factor (VSFF) connectors, have correspondingly smaller space requirements in the panel front due to significantly smaller dimensions compared to the successful SFF (Small Form Factor) connectors, such as the LC.

A new innovative connector that belongs to the VSFF category is the MDC (Miniature Duplex Connector) from US Conec. A true push-pull duplex connector, it is manufactured based on 1.25 mm all-ceramic ferrule technology. Developed as the Media Dependent Interface (MDI) or Optical Interface of the new SFP-DD and QSFP-DD transceivers, our data center cabling product manager Harald Jungbäck sees a bright future for the MDC. "With the launch of the two transceivers with the MDC as the mating face, it has the potential to replace the bulk LC duplex connector in its market position. We are pleased to be a pioneer partner of US Conec, as we were in the 1990s with the MTP®," said the product manager.

With the MDC, port density can be doubled or tripled compared to LC duplex per 19-inch height unit, depending on the enclosure system, thus saving crucial space in the rack. In addition to Standard Density (SD), High Density (HD) and Ultra High Density (UHD), Mega High Density (MHD) now becomes possible, as MDC adapters with three or four ports can be used instead of LC duplex couplers.

Application examples

Migration to Mega High Density (MHD) port density using MDC
Examples of doubling port density per HU versus LC duplex

40/100/200GBASE-SR4

PreCONNECT® SMAP-G2 HD 19'' 1 HU 6/6 panel with 144 (36 MDC4x adapters) within the patch field, 2 PreCONNECT® OCTO MTP 4+4F interfaces per cassette back plane

400GBASE-SR8

PreCONNECT® SMAP-G2 HD 19'' 1 HU 3/3 panel with 144 (36 MDC4x adapters) within the patch field, 2 PreCONNECT® SEDECIM MTP 16F interfaces per cassette back plane

MDC direct connection trunk - patch cable, by means of MDC coupling partial front plates

Examples of multiplication of port density per HU versus LC duplex

Within this application range, the Miniature Duplex Connector (MDC) impresses with its flexible and robust push-pull boot, which allows easy handling despite highest port densities.

PreCONNECT® SMAP-G2 UHD 19'' 1 HU 4/4 panel with 128 MDC (32 MDC 4x adapters) within the patch field, MDC 4x at trunk legs within the panel

PreCONNECT® SMAP-G2 UHD 19'' 1 HU 4/4 panel with 192 MDC (48 MDC 4x adapters) within the patch field, MDC 4x at trunk legs within the panel

Space saving in depth

Optimal space management in Meet-Me-Rooms

Especially colocation and carrier-neutral data centers face the challenge of space management in so-called Meet-Me-Rooms. These data centers often host services from multiple operators or organizations. Data center customers use the so-called Meet-Me-Rooms to interconnect or cross-connect with one or more carriers.

One solution for this is the DN-ODF (Data Network Optical Distribution Frame) distribution system, which adopts the concept of fiber optic main distribution frames (FOMDF ). The DN-ODF acts as a high density patch location with up to 2016 LC duplex ports per frame for fiber optic cables in data centers. Unlike standard 19'' cabling racks, it requires less space in depth and also allows otherwise unsuitable space on walls to be utilized.

Compared to cabling racks, even up to three times the port density per data center area is possible. Specifically, we are talking about 5250 LC duplex ports per 1m² net data center area compared to 1689 for the 19'' setup. If required, the solution can also be used with two or more row main distributors "back-to-back" with low overall depth. In addition, the DN-ODF offers up to three times the port density per data center footprint compared to traditional cabling closets. In addition to being used as a transfer point for network transitions (Meet-Me-Room), the DN-ODF can be used as a main distribution cabinet, intermediate distribution cabinet or zone distribution cabinet according to EN50173-3 with extremely high packing density in data centers and IT rooms.

Is the optimal use of space in your data center also an important issue for you? Then please feel free to contact us!