Steven J Stark April 20, 2021
nanoFIBER™ armor is perfect for in-concrete installations.
nanoFIBER™ armor protects the fiber optic glass within the inner jacket.
nanoFIBER protects against cracking, crimping, and poor installation.
nanoFIBER slows cable tampering.
Importance of nanoFIBER armored to protect the Data Center.
Fiber optics has become the choice solution for many cabling data centers due to its enormous bandwidth, cannot be tapped and security proof travels at the speed of light, and can cover up to 40 miles on a single strand versus copper. However, fiber optic’s key issue is that it is made of glass and therefore very fragile. Conventional fiber optic cables are vulnerable to crimping, cracking, and kinking caused by poor installation, heavy usage, harsh environments, vermin attacks, and compromising the bend radius. Cracks in the glass will affect the fiber performance and increase signal loss or totally fail.
Since the nanoFIBER™ Armor is the approximate outer diameter of the conventional fiber, it is perfect for space constraints, reclamation of conduits, pulling through pathways, and bends with no issues. So, the cost savings are huge. By using nanoFIBER™, you save on additional conduits, easier to install, and less manpower on the job. nanoFIBER™ Armor is perfect for Data Centers, DAS, Broadband, Pro AV, Security, Building to Building, and anywhere fiber can be used. nanoFIBER™ is the solution to protect the inner fiber optic glass. When failure is not an option use nanoFIBER™!
Point 2 Point’s newly CPR Certified LSZH Stainless Steel Armored nanoFIBER fiber optic cables provide the safest and secure armored cable solution in aviation the market today. The small outer diameter (OD) high flex armor protects the fragile glass and the CPR-rated LSZH jacket protects the environment. The nanoFIBER fiber optic cable provides the airport with the smallest outer diameter (OD) secure cable that is crush resistant, hard to cut, and safest for humans in a fire scenario at the airport. Projects include NYC and Charlotte to name a few.
The stainless-steel armored cable is impervious to harsh weather and ideal for indoor and outdoor environments of a data center. When pulling the nanoFIBER throughout the data center, the cable takes up minimal space and simplifies installation.
nanoFIBER has the highest-level EU B2 certification for low smoke zero halogen outer jacket that provides the best security to protect life in case of a fire in a data center.
What is a Data Center and the Importance of nanoFIBER armored to protect the data?
Multitenant data centers (also known as colocations) have a variety of requirements when it comes to servicing their end-users. With an increased demand for data centers caused by the massive expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its associated technology requirements, many infrastructures need upgrading to keep up.
Over 20.4 billion connected things are expected to be in use worldwide by 2020. This includes the amount of data captured, processed, and stored in the future will be exponential. The cost and resources involved in building a data center – as well as storing and managing the data – are immense. Additionally, keeping a data center fully optimized while eliminating latency, reducing downtime, and maintaining compliance with ever-evolving standards is quite a challenge.
Data centers are facilities that store and distribute data on the Internet. With an estimated 100 billion-plus web pages on over 100 million websites, data centers contain a lot of data. With almost two billion users accessing all these websites, including a growing amount of high bandwidth video, it’s easy to understand but hard to comprehend how much data is being uploaded and downloaded every second on the Internet.
A data center, as defined in TIA-942, Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers, is a building or portion of a building whose primary function is to house a computer room and its support areas. That definition seems quaint in the era of giant warehouse-sized data centers with hundreds of thousands of servers, switches, and storage and up to a million interconnections.
The main functions of a data center are to centralize and consolidate information technology (IT) resources, house network operations, facilitate e-business, and provide uninterrupted service to mission-critical data processing operations. Yes, it is what we used to call the computer room before it grew to fill giant buildings! Data centers can be part of an enterprise network, a commercial venture that offers to host services for others, or a co-location facility where users can place their own equipment and connect to the service providers over the building’s connections.
Data centers are filled with tall racks of electronics surrounded by cable racks. And power cables. And cooling equipment. Data is typically stored on big, fast hard drives although there is some movement to solid-state drives. Servers are computers that take requests and move the data using fast switches to access the right hard drives. Routers connect the servers to the Internet. Speed is of the essence. Servers are very fast computers optimized for finding and moving data. Likewise, hard drives, switches, and routers are chosen for speed. Interconnection uses the fastest methods possible. Faster speed means lower latency, the time it takes to find and send the data along to the requester.
While speed is a primary concern for data centers, so is reliability. Data centers must be available 24/7 since all those 2 billion Internet users are spread all around the world. Reliability comes from designing devices with redundancy, backups for storage, uninterruptible power, and fighting the #1 enemy of reliability, heat.
Heat is generated by all the electronics, and the faster they run, the more power they consume and the more heat they produce. Getting rid of heat requires lots of air conditioning which can consume as much power as the data center electronics itself. Uninterruptible power requires generators, batteries or even fuel cells and those generate heat from inefficiency also.
Data centers consume vast amounts of power. A few years ago, the magnitude of this consumption became apparent in surveys of giant data centers. Estimates are that data centers consume more than 3% of all the power consumed in the US, which hosts the majority of data centers, an amount more than consumed in total by almost half the states! Power consumption in a data center is more than 100 times as much per square foot as the average commercial property.
Within the data center, the focus is on moving data, reducing power and heat, and ensuring reliability. That’s done by choosing components and systems, designing facilities, and installing them properly.
Data Center Architecture
The data center serves the LAN and WAN. The data center is comprised of switches connecting the users to servers and more switches [S} connecting servers [C] to storage [D]. This is probably a good point to say that data centers follow typical high-tech linguistics – it has its own language and many TLAs (TLA = three-letter acronym) – sometimes different from vendor to vendor. We will try to avoid this language issue by using plain English.
Datacenter architectures often include redundancy and multiple connections between servers, storage, and switches. That’s what’s generally called a “mesh” network because when you draw in all the connections it looks like a mesh. That also means data centers can have very large numbers of cables to make all these connections.
Co-Location Data Centers
Some data centers are co-location centers where customers can place their equipment in a warehouse-type location which provides power, AC, and service provider access (as well as high levels of security. Customer equipment is generally in a “cage” – literally, a wire cage structure – and may connect to carriers at an entrance facility cage and other co-location customers in what is generally called a “meet me” cage that allows connections without going outside the facility on service provider links.
Data Center cabling is covered by TIA-568 and ISO-11801 through several standards, ISO 24764, CENELEC EN 50173-5, and TIA-942. These standards cover similar topics and offer lots of options for cabling in data centers. They also include more TLAs (three-letter acronyms) than most standards. Many find the idea of standards like those covering structured cabling irrelevant for data center technology. It is difficult to be relevant in technology than upgrades entire facilities – often including architectures – every 18-24 months when standards have 5-10 year update cycles. Perhaps they make sense for a small corporate data center/computer equipment room but probably not larger data centers.
TIA started ~2006/7 to create a standard for data centers. Perhaps as a consequence of the length of development and review cycles for TIA standards, perhaps because it was created by vendors trying to apply TIA-568 structured cabling philosophy to data centers, it appears to be out of touch with the current data center design. Unlike an enterprise LAN where one can conceivably create a cabling system that is applicable to many types of users (LANs, video, telephones, building security and management, etc.) data centers are highly specialized and designed for efficiency, hard to reconcile with a standardized cabling architecture.
Moving Faster Data over Cabling
Every data center begins with fiber-optic connections to the Internet, usually to several providers for redundancy. Entrance facilities must be provided for multiple cables connecting to the outside communications networks. Incoming cables will terminate in racks with connections to routers that in turn connect to the servers hosted in the data center. These connections will carry vast quantities of data over singlemode optical fibers at 10-100Gb/s.
Within the data center, the goal is to move data as fast as possible with the lowest latency and that means using the fastest possible data communications links. Gigabit Ethernet is too slow. 10 gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel are commonly used today. Fibre Channel is moving to 16 Gb/s and Ethernet is headed for 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s. The big data center users want 40/100 Gb/s as fast as possible and are pushing network standards committees and manufacturers to produce useable products as soon as possible.
Compare a 100G switch with 20 ports. Using MM fiber on a 10X10G link, you will have 20 MPO 24 fiber connectors and 480 fibers serving a single switch. *Think how many fibers you need for a rack! And about 15% of those fibers are wasted because the MPO connector has unused fibers unless the connectors are only loaded for 8 or 10 fibers or you use one of the complicated MPO splitting schemes with modules that do the arranging of fibers.. At 40G (4 X10G) or 100G (4 X 25G), you lose 1/3 of all the fibers, but the 20 port switch needs only 240 fibers, half as many.
After making the choice of MM or SM, there are other choices to make, such as the fiber type.
With MM, do you use OM3 fiber or the higher bandwidth but more costly OM4? Or maybe OM5 and hope that MM WDM products will be developed? Do you choose a prefab or field terminated installation? If field terminated, what kind of connectors (MPOs are not a good choice for field installation.) And if you have a choice, do you use regular or bend-insensitive (BI) fibers? Considering how cramped cables usually are in data centers, BI fiber is probably a good choice. (But remember that mixing BI MM fiber and regular MM fiber may incur excess losses when going from BI to regular fiber and that reference test cables must be of the same type fiber as the fibers being tested.)
Likewise, SM offers similar choices. OS1 fiber is standard SM fiber cabled for premises use while OS2 is cabled for OSP use and lower loss because of the cable design. Both are “low water peak” fibers better for CWDM. And bend-insensitive (BI) fiber will perform better in cramped cable trays and racks.
A nanoFIBER armored fiber optic cable can be used to send high-resolution video, audio, and control signals on a single fiber over 30 km (18.75 miles), and avoids the risk of signal loss or degradation, ground loop hums, and electrical interference. Because transmission of content is fundamentally secure and immune to outside interference, fiber applications are favored in government, military, and medical environments. The nanoFIBER stainless steel armor protects the integrity of the cabling jacket from crimping, cracking, and stresses as well as protected bend radius, tough to cut the steel coil, rodent resistant, weather-resistant, and harsh environments that are inherent to non-armored fiber cables.