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Xyratex solves connector alignment problem - empowers competitive Optical Backplane solutions

Milward, D; Pitwon, R; Hopkins, K; Selviah, DR; Papakonstantinou, I; (2006) Xyratex solves connector alignment problem - empowers competitive Optical Backplane solutions. [Digital scholarly resource].

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Abstract

Havant, UK, January 4, 2006 – Xyratex Ltd (Nasdaq: XRTX) today announced its latest patent applications, enabling embedded waveguide technology to be used competitively inside an optical backplane solution. “One of the main issues preventing the wider deployment of this technology has been the inability to adequately and cost effectively align the photonic signal path through a connector or other component to a waveguide buried within the layers of an optical backplane or plug-in card,” explained Ian Johnson, Xyratex Chief Scientist. “Even very small misalignments will result in substantial signal losses thereby reducing the performance of the ultra high speed interconnect channel. Further, conventional micro-manipulator alignment techniques are perceived to be far too expensive to be practical.” The IT and Communication industry is continuously deploying ever increasing numbers of high speed devices, densely packaged within a high availability solution. For instance, the next generation Fibre Channel standard is researching into an 8 Gb/s data rate, the next generation SAS/SATA standards are looking towards 6 Gb/s and the Infiniband standard has already started deploying 10(4x) and 30(12x) Gigabaud connections. In addition, the emerging PCI Express standard can be configured in multiples of 2.5 Gigabaud channels, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet is beginning to be deployed more widely. Continued Johnson, “These higher data rates make the provision of high speed interfaces and the subsequent design of systems within specified cost targets much more difficult due to the challenge of managing conflicting requirements such as crosstalk and RFI emissions.” Most of these high performance interconnects make up their high speed channels with multiple 2.5 Gigabaud links today, but Double Data Rate (DDR), i.e. 5 Gigabaud individual links, are already emerging and Quad Data Rate (QDR), 10 Gigabaud individual links are also being discussed in some of the standards. Further, the use of copper as the source material to carry these high speed electrical signals becomes problematic at speeds higher than 3 or 4 Gigabaud. More costly dielectric materials are usually required above these speeds to ensure signal integrity over useful distances. This is to sustain the low bit error rate requirements of these high speed digital communication channels. Additionally, as the individual electrical links approach or exceed 10 Gb/s, any purely electrical implementation becomes very difficult and the costs begin to significantly rise. A recent research study has suggested that the optimum cross over to optical based solutions could be as low 6.25 Gigabaud per link. Historically photonic solutions have been considered too expensive, but now optical component costs are falling and densely packaged VCSEL lasers can be purchased at prices approaching $1 per Gb/s in volume. Below this cost point, the issue begins to move toward the system integration implementation problems of high density and low cost optical paths. To address this, Xyratex has researched a completely new method of repeatable line card insertion and cost effective connection to an embedded optical backplane and has successfully created a practical design demonstration with respect to high speed data transfer across multimode polymer waveguides. “We have successfully focused our attention on the development of a low cost optical connector with a particularly cost effective waveguide alignment and a highly practical daughtercard accommodation methodology that can be widely used in many storage, networking and telecommunications applications,” added Johnson. The Xyratex solution satisfies the following requirements: • High bandwidth connection with low latency optical interconnect • Reliable high precision connection with immunity to movements between line card and backplane (vibrations, air flow and PCB deformation due to thermal and mechanical stresses) • High connection repeatability > 100 cycles • Scalable to accommodate more channels and more connectors per board • Low cost in mass production “This is another good example of Xyratex spotting an industry bottleneck or road block and then researching the solution with our academic partners,” said Steve Thompson, Xyratex CTO. “Our OEM business model requires us to maintain our technology leadership in providing innovative high density, high speed, storage and network solutions for our customers. The 3 patent applications filed and 3 being prepared identified in this important area will enable opportunities for innovative system architectures within our strategic roadmap.” Xyratex anticipates that the market will start to emerge in 2007 with volume product becoming commercially available in 2008. There may also be opportunities for earlier deployment in certain niche applications where device density or RFI issues are particularly difficult. The Storlite research project was a 30 month optical research and development program based in the UK and supported by the Department of Trade and Industry. The project involved the collaboration of University College London, Edinburgh University and our industrial research partner, Glasgow-based Exxelis. About Xyratex Xyratex is a leading provider of enterprise data storage subsystems and network technology. The company designs and manufactures enabling technology that provides OEM and disk drive manufacturer customers with data storage products to support high-performance storage and data communication networks. Xyratex has over 20 years of experience in research and development relating to disk drives, storage systems and high-speed communication protocols. Founded in 1994 in an MBO from IBM, and with headquarters in the UK, Xyratex has an established global base with R&D and operational facilities in Europe, the United States and South East Asia. For more information, visit www.xyratex.com. Contacts: Xyratex Investor Relations Brad Driver Tel: +1 (408) 325-7260 Email: bdriver@us.xyratex.com Website: www.xyratex.com Xyratex Public Relations Curtis Chan CHAN & ASSOCIATES, INC. Tel: +1 (714) 447-4993 Email: cj_chan@chanandassoc.com

Type: Digital scholarly resource
Title: Xyratex solves connector alignment problem - empowers competitive Optical Backplane solutions
Additional information: http://www.xyratex.co.uk/company/news/detail.asp?release_id=117
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Electronic and Electrical Eng
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/87635
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