Tom Palkert, systems architect at Luxtera Inc., said a big difference can be made in power dissipation merely by shifting the data center from copper to fiber. A Category 6 unshielded twisted-pair 10-Gbit network can cost $28,369 in electricity bills, while a fiber 10-Gbit network costs $5,910 a year.
Palkert, who serves as chair of the OIDA's Silicon Photonics Alliance, has been reaching out to groups such as the Ethernet Low-Power 802.3az task force, and the Fibre Channel and SAS groups for low-power storage. He talked of the hurdles in reducing power for storage applications in the speech excerpt and interview in the video player.
Jack Jewell, a former Bell Labs laser researcher who founded both Vixel Corp. and Picolight Inc., told the forum why he saw VCSEL architectures as the best low-power alternative for short-reach 10-Gbit links. Jewell made a pitch for active cable, in which VCSEL transceivers are embedded directly into a fiber cable, eliminating the need for (and power dissipation) electro-optical interconnect components. In a video interview after the forum, Jewell admitted that, given the state of broadband communications, he was there as much to learn about solar PV cell development as to share information on optical tranceivers.