Networks Europe Issue 19 January/February 2019 - Page 53

INTERVIEW Backbone of the network Riccardo Weber, Director of Marketing and Product Development, Prysmian Group data centre. Riccardo Weber discusses the data centre industry from a cabling perspective Draka Multimedia Solutions (MMS) is part of the Prysmian Group and specialises in cables for private communication networks, supporting wholesalers, resellers and OEMs. MMS manufactures optical, coaxial and copper cables with greater bandwidths, longer-life solutions and absolute reliability. 1 What have been the most significant changes to the industry over the past five years? We’ve seen a major move from copper cable to fibre optic over the past decade, with the last five years seeing an increase in the density of fibre being deployed. Not just in hyperscale data centres, but across the industry. 144 fibre (in 1 RU) cable designs are in demand. In high-density fibre deployment, ribbon cable designs are rapidly evolving. The aim is to maximise the number of fibres within decreasing spaces – the Tardis effect! Singlemode fibre (G652) is now the de-facto choice of fibre, although OM5 multimode still has a place in the industry. What have been the main challenges for your sector? With individual cable designs now able to deliver multi- thousands of fibres to the patching frame, the challenge is now to effectively route, splice and manage within the frame. Construction Products Regulation (CPR) compliance is also a major challenge. CPR for cable products essentially ‘proves’ the manufacturer’s declared performance for a cable’s reaction to fire properties laid out in EN 50575. However, there’s an unfair market in that the majority of cable products – often available at low prices – claim they’re CPR compliant, but simply aren’t. It’s bad for our business but also potentially dangerous for yours. 2 3 Cabling is one of the unsung heroes of the What will be the market drivers for the future? The increasing demand for data storage will result in the need for even more fibre per cable. While we already have a 144 fibre cable, 288 versions are in development and plans for a 576 version is in place. Data centres aren’t getting bigger so all of this fibre has to be fitted into relatively smaller cables, so new ribbon cable construction designs are vital. While this change can be found predominantly in hyperscale data centres, there’s a trickle- down effect and enterprise data centres are also moving in this direction. What does the data centre of tomorrow look like? If we were to simply use the existing cabling solutions at our disposal but increase the amount of cable to meet the demand placed on data centres, the data centre of the future would look somewhat crowded so solutions and products that maximise fibre density within a cable of the same, if not similar, dimensions is essential. So, from a cable perspective, data centres shouldn’t, on the surface, look all that much different in the foreseeable future. 4 How is Draka MMS keeping abreast of current and future industry developments? As a UK manufacturer – a rare breed in the cable sector – Draka MMS actively engages with its customer base to ensure R&D and our product lines not only meet customer requirements now, but well into the future; hence our work on new ribbon cable designs with high density fibre. We’re heavily invested in the data centre sector and therefore have a high-level strategy for this market and considerable expertise. Attending events such as the Data Centre Summit, for example, not only allows us to demonstrate this expertise and our product lines but to also gain valuable feedback to keep us on point. n 5 53