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Oracle Eyes Optical Links As Final Frontier of Data-Center Scaling

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the shine-on dept.

Oracle 14

An anonymous reader writes "Oracle is exploring silicon photonics, an optical technology drawing widespread interest, as a potential weapon in the battle against data-center power consumption. Advances in CPU and memory design could boost efficiency dramatically over the next few years. When they do, the interconnects among components, servers and switches will effectively become the power hogs of the data center, according to Ashok Krishnamoorthy, architect and chief technologist in photonics at Oracle. Oracle isn't often associated with networking and may not even manufacture or sell the technologies it's now studying. But as a big player in computing and storage, it could benefit from fostering a future technology that helps make faster, more efficient data centers possible."

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OK.... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45259511)

Is there a single hardware related company that doesn't have a speculative-office-of-silicon-photonics group hanging around somewhere? Why highlight Oracle?

Re:OK.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45259541)

Blatant Slashvertisement. I'm guessing that Dice got paid to run this story.

Re:OK.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45259809)

Because the average Slashdotter hasn't used products from most of the telecom vendor companies that are looking at Silicon Photonics. Silicon Photonics still doesn't have an answer to the fundamental problem that you can't create a laser on Silicon. So, there still has to be a VCSEL or something attached to the chip and that wipes out any advantage you had in using CMOS. I have a feeling more companies are going to start doing photonic integration on Indium Phosphide like Infinera, then Indium Phosphide fabrication will take off, then nobody will give a damn about Silicon Photonics.

They will sell it (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#45259513)

If they find it feasible, they will sell it. The tech will probably be called "Oracle on Oracle... on Oracle". Like... an orgy of oracles.

Re:They will sell it (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45265961)

The tech will probably be called "Oracle on Oracle... on Oracle". Like... an orgy of oracles.

Yo Dawg, I hear you like Oracles ...

Wrong direction (5, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45259569)

"Faster, more efficient data centers" are already possible. Just remove all of the Oracle products.

Nice Advertisement... (1)

loony (37622) | about a year ago | (#45259627)

Especially the "But as a big player in computing and storage..." bit was cute. Big player with around 5% market share in servers and half that in storage... yep, that's big...


Silicon photonics? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#45259735)

I'm a doctor, not a USB cable. - EMH [] .

Oracle fluf in response to Intel product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45260681)

Intel has been working on the MXC stuff for a couple years and is now apparently demoing it. So now oracle has to say something... Even if its light on content.

Yeah, I'll put these next to my laptop fuel cells (1)

sirwired (27582) | about a year ago | (#45260715)

Wasn't Sun (the corporate predecessor of Oracle's HW division, for those with short memories) talking about this stuff like a decade ago?

Wake me up when there's an actual product announcement.

Re:Yeah, I'll put these next to my laptop fuel cel (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#45261153)

That's not fair - optical has definitely been trickling down from high-end long-haul applications, progressively towards campus/enterprise/residential networks and is continuing inside the data center:

Following a September 11, 2013 press announcement of them being officially Thunderbolt certified by Intel, in late September 2013, US glass company Corning Inc. released the first range of optical Thunderbolt cables available in the Western marketplace outside of Japan, along with optical USB 3.0 cables, both under the brand name "Optical Cables".[12] The cables have the advantage of being 50% smaller in diameter and 80% lighter in weight than comparable copper Thunderbolt cables, work with both the current 10 Gbps Thunderbolt protocol and the forthcoming 20 Gbps Thunderbolt 2 protocol, so are able to work with all self-powered Thunderbolt devices (unlike copper cables, optical cables cannot provide power).[12] Being optical, the cables expand the current 3 metres (9.8 ft) maximum cable length offered by copper to a new maximum of 100 metres (330 ft), meaning peripheral Thunderbolt devices can be attached further away from their host device.

(cite [] ).

From 3m to 100m! Personally I think that sounds great - it will enable truly dumb terminals fully capable of full-motion video applications.

FINAL frontier??? (1)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about a year ago | (#45260987)


That sounds a lot like, "Everything that can be invented, has already been invented...except our one last BIG invention."

Oracle a 'big player'.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45262525)

Oracle's hardware footprint pretty much came as an incidental from getting some Java. When acquired, Sun was struggling on this front and Oracle hasn't exactly *improved* that front of the business. Basically, Oracle seemingly doesn't really care much about it at and they perhaps shouldn't since everyone else that loves fat margins wants *out* of that market and into the business Oracle does have: software. IBM is highly envied by HP and Dell because it has a software arm that can *largely* live without servers for example.

The other problem is the premise that likely CPU and memory efficiency gains will render interconnect the dominant power hog. Even with a 4 fold decrease in memory and cpu power, the interconnect power is still much much lower. Attempts to move from electrical to photonic schemes is more about things like board layout (trace length impacts performance extremely badly today, meaning designs are fairly limited). Another concept is advances can bring down the cost of transceivers making fiber more cost effective.

weapon in the battle against data-center power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45263065)

The phrase "weapon in the battle against data-center power consumption" could only be dreamt up by a room full of high-flying, overpriced marketing execs and their marketing consultants trying to find a new channel for Oracle hype.

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