Sunday, December 10, 2023

AI/ML Leads to Massive Traffic Across the Network

 Lots of attention is focused on interconnecting GPUs for AI clusters. But what effect does AI have on other segments of the network, such as storage clusters, East-West application flows or core-to-edge? Mansour Karam, VP of Data Center Products from Juniper, explains:

  • The data center market is growing at a rapid pace, with AI/ML workloads contributing significantly to this growth. In four years, the market is projected to reach $32 billion, with AI/ML workloads growing at a rate of 46% year on year.
  • The key to optimizing AI/ML workloads lies in the technology and infrastructure. Speeds and feeds are crucial, with 800 gig and 1.6 Tbps interfaces on the horizon. Innovations in optics and topologies are needed to minimize the cost and latency of these clusters.
  • Beyond hardware, software plays a critical role in maximizing the efficiency of AI/ML workloads. Juniper's expertise in data feeds and speeds, combined with software from Apstra, can provide visibility into latency and performance, enabling automatic tuning of parameters for optimal job completion times.

AI Super Clusters Need Optics to Scale

AI super clusters, powered by vast numbers of GPUs or specialized silicon, are redefining data center architecture. 

Radha Nagarajan, SVP and CTO, Optical and Cloud from Marvell explains:

  • The increasing size of AI clusters: AI clusters are growing from a handful of GPUs to super clusters, necessitating efficient data movement over large distances. This growth is driving the need for larger interconnected pods, achievable only through optical connectivity.
  • The role of optical connectivity in AI clusters: As AI clusters expand, copper cables and active electrical cables are no longer sufficient due to their limited reach. Optical connectivity becomes critical, especially for AI-centric data centers that are starting to be built today.
  • The future of data transport in AI clusters: As the data generated by AI clusters continues to increase, the need for higher data transport speeds is evident. Marvell is pushing ahead with its current 800G and soon 1.6 Tbps solutions.

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BT unveils Multicast-Assisted Unicast Delivery

BT introduced a Multicast-Assisted Unicast Delivery technology that improves quality and reliability of live content for viewers while driving down costs for broadcasters and networks operators.

MAUD, which was developed by the Content Delivery Research team at BT’s Research Labs at Adastral Park, uses multicast to group single streams into one shared one. MAUD has a further significant advantage over 'ordinary' multicast streams, as its integration is made completely transparent to the player application. BT says MAUD technology uses up to 50% less bandwidth during peak events, reducing energy usage through the use of fewer caches. By freeing up internet capacity, it will help to deliver a higher quality of experience for both live and non-live content.

Howard Watson, Chief Security and Networks Officer at BT Group said: “MAUD is a major breakthrough in how we deliver content over the internet. Developed in our world leading labs at Adastral Park in Suffolk, MAUD could be a key solution to how we manage ever increasing traffic loads. By combining individual streams, MAUD delivers a more reliable, consistent picture, no matter whether customers are watching over Wi-Fi, fibre or mobile networks.”

BT said it is working with major broadcasters and platforms to employ MAUD technology to support live events coverage in 2024.

Dell'Oro: Increased Spending on Data Center Physical Infrastructure

The third quarter of 2023 marked the fifth sequential quarter of double-digit year-over-year (Y/Y) growth for the Data Center Physical Infrastructure (DCPI) market, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.  This segment has historically grown at mid-single digit rates for the past decade. Growth from pandemic induced orders is waning, but early AI deployments are materializing as a new driver of revenue growth. Some vendors have secured orders for equipment optimized for large scale AI workloads, which are more than offsetting the decline in pandemic-related orders, and backlogs are rising.

“The generative AI infrastructure story began with the NVDIA H100 in 1Q 2023, which has remained the industry barometer for AI adoption. End-users have utilized significant resources to obtain initial shipments of the costly and supply constrained GPU,” said Lucas Beran, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. Due to the effort required here, many end-users are only able to address the power and thermal management infrastructure requirements after or close to receiving those initial GPU shipments.

“Without a doubt, these AI related power and cooling investments started contributing to market growth in 3Q 2023. This was particularly prominent for rack power distribution units, where customized products with higher power ratings were notable. The next few quarters will increasingly emphasize the transition in DCPI market drivers, from broad based pandemic induced digitalization and supply chain constraints, to large scale, purpose-built AI facilities,” Beran added.

Additional highlights from the 3Q 2023 Data Center Physical Infrastructure Quarterly Report:

  • Vertiv continued to outpace market growth and gained over 2 percentage points of market share in 3Q 2023.
  • North America, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Europe, and the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) were the fastest-growing regions in 3Q 2023, maintaining double-digit growth rates. Caribbean and Latin American (CALA) revenues grew at a high single-digit rate, while the China market was the only region to decline.
  • Product growth was broad-based, but Thermal Management and Power Distribution grew at the fastest rates.
  • Looking ahead, we forecast worldwide DCPI market growth to moderate in 2024 as pandemic induced orders are filled. However, we predict the market growth rates will remain at higher than historic levels, as AI deployments increasingly materialize throughout the year.

Dell'Oro: Global Broadband Access Equipment Spend Plummets

Total global revenue for the Broadband Access equipment market decreased to $4.1 B in 3Q 2023, down 14 percent year-over-year (Y/Y), according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. The lone bright spot this quarter was spending on Fixed Wireless CPE, as North American operators continued to expand their 5G Sub-6GHz subscriber bases.

"The inventory alignment that began in North America has now migrated to Europe and Latin America, as both regions saw significant Y/Y declines in equipment spend," said Jeff Heynen, Vice President with Dell'Oro Group. "Meanwhile, Chinese operators are once again accelerating their purchases of PON ONTs to support growing FTTR (Fiber-to-the-room) deployments," explained Heynen.

Additional highlights from the 3Q 2023 Broadband Access and Home Networking quarterly report:

  • Total Fixed Wireless CPE unit shipments were up 1 percent from last quarter, buoyed by indoor 5G Sub-6GHz units, which reached just below 1.3 M units for only the second time on record.
  • Total cable access concentrator revenue was down 18 percent Y/Y at $197 M. Remote PHY devices and Virtual CMTS platforms both saw slowdowns this quarter, as cable operators pulled from their existing inventories. Meanwhile, Remote OLT (R-OLT) revenue was up Y/Y, but down from last quarter.

Arelion adds PoP in Lisbon

Arelion activated its first Point-of-Presence (PoP) in Portugal at the Equinix LS1 data center in Lisbon. 

The Lisbon PoP follows 17 new on-net PoPs added to the Arelion network since early 2023. Additionally, 12 more PoPs are currently being implemented in locations spanning North America, Europe and Asia.

Arelion's fiber network offers a full ecosystem of data center, cloud and content services that includes direct, fully resilient access to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud on a global basis.

"Portugal has evolved into a fast-growing digital economy where consumers and enterprises need to reach global cloud and content service providers, as well as provide their own services to a global market," said Christoph Lannert, Head of EMEA Sales at Arelion. "Large-scale data center and fiber investments in the region, along with future subsea systems like 2Africa, Nuvem and Medusa, makes Lisbon into a hot spot for connectivity between Africa, Latin America and other parts of the EU. Arelion is committed to supporting this growth with resilient, high-capacity connectivity."

STACK expands its No Virginia data center campus

STACK Infrastructure announced the expansion of its flagship Prince William County data center campus in Northern Virginia with the purchase of an adjacent plot of land. 

The expansion increases STACK’s Northern Virginia data center portfolio to 1GW across six campuses.