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Is fiber optic strand management important?

First a little background as to why I am posing this question. I have been working in a couple of workgroups within The Green Grid organization that are developing metrics to provide a common framework to simplify reporting of data center infrastructure capacity, utilization and efficiency. The PUE metric is probably one of the most well know metrics developed within TGG, together with the recent ICT Capacity & Utilization metrics published in WP#72.

We are currently working on developing a metric to help identify stranded capacity within the data center space, power, cooling and network infrastructure. One question that has come up in our discussions is; "Is managing fiber optic strand counts important?" Back in the days when all fiber optic transceiver modules consisted of one transmit and one receive strand for each fiber optic network port, managing fiber strands was not much of a concern. The focus was on fiber ports.

However, recent changes in network technologies has created several transceiver module options that are no longer based on two strands for every port. Current transceiver modules range from 2 strands to 20 strands per port. It appears the network industry may continue to fluctuate between serial 2 strand and parallel multi-strand channels as speeds increase. Parallel optics will prevail when higher speeds are needed but the higher speed transceiver module technology has not been developed or is cost prohibitive. As these challenges are overcome the channels may again migrate back to higher speed serial, or lower strand count parallel, transceiver modules. Then there is the fiber optic cabling infrastructure itself to support the transceiver technologies, does your fiber infrastructure utilize Base-8, Base-12 or Base-24 components?

So back to my original question. Is fiber optic strand management and tracking important? Are you tracking how much of your installed fiber optic infrastructure has been allocated to active network ports? Are you tracking based on network port counts or fiber strand counts? If you are tracking based on fiber strand counts I would be interested in hearing how you are tracking the fiber optic infrastructure as we are considering methods to incorporate fiber optic strand count capacity and utilization in the metrics we are developing.

Phil is the President of Isaak Technologies, an independent consulting and training firm that focuses on helping organizations succeed in efficiently delivering data center services with high availability and risk mitigation.  We take the guess work out of current and future data center services; public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, or enterprise data center services.  Isaak Technologies delivers clear solutions to complex problems using best practice forecasting, strategy and risk mitigation.

Read more about Phil Isaak or Isaak Technologies.

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