SOURCE: LightCounting


December 16, 2014 09:00 ET

Broadening Application and Shift to 25G Will Bolster the Active Optical Cable Market

LightCounting Releases a Report on Expanding Market for Active Optical Cables

EUGENE, OR--(Marketwired - December 16, 2014) - Ever since active optical cables (AOCs) were introduced in 2007, the market for these assemblies has been lumpy as they served the unsteady High-Performance Computing (HPC) market. Fortunately, many datacenter servers are now being connected with 10GbE AOCs and they will represent one quarter of the projected $98 million market in 2014. Additional applications will expand the AOC market to $266 million by 2020.

HPC cluster computers are mostly built with AOCs. The HPC market will a return to strong growth in 2015, following an industry slump that naturally followed an unusual HPC boom in 2012. LightCounting projects 2014 will more than reverse the decline of 2013 and that 2015 will bring steady growth.

The industry is eagerly to deploy 100G. Recently-announced awards for range-topping supercomputers bode well for 100G InfiniBand EDR AOCs even as the Intel 'Grantley' server is already ushering in a welcome new upgrade cycle. Meanwhile, hyperscale datacenter operators are making plans for 25GbE at the server and 100GbE in their switching fabrics. AOCs offer advantages beyond the reach of the next rack.

"The benefits of optics are playing out over copper in additional application spaces," said Dale Murray, Principal Analyst at LightCounting. "As we predicted in 2013, low-power plug-and-play active optical cables are ramping very fast in spite of a price premium over Direct Attach Copper assemblies." The advantages of AOCs will increase as datacenters, supercomputers and core routers all transition to 25Gbps channel speed. "With a much broader market and a gradual shift to 25Gbps line rates, the future of AOCs looks bright," said Murray.

The sixth edition of LightCounting's Active Optical Cable Report examines the product segment that embeds optical transceiver technologies into enclosed cables with electrical connections. This report and its companion spreadsheet present historical data on annual AOC shipments, revenues, and average selling prices for 2011-2013 and forecast the market for 2014-2020. It analyzes technologies, market forces and trends, protocol transitions, data rates, and MSAs for InfiniBand, Ethernet and other protocols. The database covers applications for AOCs in high-performance computing (HPC), data centers, core routing and storage and these uses are explained in detail in the written report. 

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