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How to choose 10G SFP+ for data centers in real life?

June 20, 2023

The development of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things has an impact on Data Center. The expansion of capacity has put forward new challenges, often leading to a trade-off between technology and cost. In order to achieve high density and capacity while also controlling costs, proper cabling is very important, including the selection of optical module and jumper combinations. In this article, we take 10G data center as an example to explore how to choose in real-world scenario.

10G SFP+ cable include 10G SFP+ DAC and 10G SFP+ AOC. These cables, along with they and 10G SFP+ optical modules, are commonly used for data center top-of-rack (ToR) cabling optical devices. They are used to connect small access switches and servers. 10G SFP+ AOC and 10G SFP+ optical modules are common optical devices for data center top-of-rack (ToR) cabling, used to connect small access switches and servers. Among them, 10G SFP+ DAC is used for short distance connection within the rack, while 10G SFP+ AOC is suitable for inter-rack connections between ToR and EoR switches.

Inter-rack connections between ToR and EoR switches

Traditional cabling architectures often adopt centralized cabling, such as EOR and MOR, while TOR cabling structures adopt point-to-point cabling, which reduces the number of cabling and saves costs to a certain extent. In the design of TOR architecture, at least one switch is placed in each rack, and the servers in the rack are usually connected to the switches through copper cables, with the top-level switches in each rack interconnected.

TOR cabling structures

10G SFP+ High Speed Cable vs 10G SFP+ Optical Module vs 10GBASE-T Electrical Port Module: What’s the Difference

10GBASE-T RJ45 modules are typically wired using Cat6a or Cat7 network cables with a maximum transmission distance of 100 meters at gigabit rates and up to 30-80 meters at 10G rates. In data centers, where hundreds of cables are typically required, using inexpensive network cables can result in significant cost savings. In addition, 10GBASE-T modules can maximize the use of existing copper structure cabling, further reducing expenses.

10G SFP+ optical modules require the use of single-mode or multi-mode fiber optic patch cords to achieve transmission distances of up to 100km, but the maintenance cost of fiber optic cabling systems is relatively high.

SFP+ DAC high-speed cable is the least expensive of these three products, with the only drawback being its very limited transmission distance of up to 10 meters. It is more suitable for cabling connections within and between racks. If transmission distance is not a factor that must be considered, SFP+ DAC high-speed cable offers lower power consumption and lower latency, making it a more ideal choice for data center cabling.

10G SFP+ DAC and 10G SFP+ AOC: Server to switch connection or switch to switch connection

10G SFP+ DAC typically supports link lengths of 7 meters and also offers advantages such as low power consumption and low latency, making it ideal for server-to-switch connections, while 10G SFP+ AOC supports link lengths of up to 100 meters and serves as a low-cost alternative to optical modules, making it typically used for switch-to-switch connections.

For server-to-switch connections of up to 7m, it is recommended to use 10G SFP+ DAC. 10G SFP+ AOC may be the appropriate choice if there is a need to connect two switches with a link length of 100 meters or less, or if a cost-effective 10G SFP+ cable solution is required.

Server-to-switch connections

10G SFP+ optical module: server to switch connection or storage device to switch connection

Due to the high requirements of server or storage devices connected to switches, high performance 10G SFP+ optical modules with high reliability and scalability are needed. It is well known that 10G SFP+ optical modules include 10GBASE-SR, LR, ER, ZR, BIDI, CWDM, DWDM and 10GBASE-T electrical port modules, and can provide high-speed interconnection for networks. They are widely used in next-generation mobile networks, fixed access networks, metro networks, and data centers.

Server to switch connection or storage device to switch connection

For connectivity between servers and switches, you can use 10GBASE-SR, LR, ER, ZR, BIDI, CWDM, DWDM optical modules, paired with LC-LC single-mode fiber or LC-LC multi-mode fiber patch cords together. For the connection between storage devices and switches, you can use 10GBASE-T electrical port modules together with Super Category 6 or Category 7 network cables.