Inphi’s ColorZ-Lite Technology: Offering an innovative solution for Nx100 G campus connectivity
Although mature, cost-effective and widely deployed, 10 Gb/s pluggable optical technology no longer addresses the increasing bandwidth and distributed workload demands of enterprise campus environments. In response, enterprises are migrating to 100 Gb/s campus connectivity and asking a question about what optical technology is appropriate and least-cost for such deployments.
To answer this question, ACG Research conducted a total cost of ownership (TCO) economic analysis of three 100 Gb/s optical technology alternatives: 100 Gb/s grey optics, Inphi’s ColorZ-Lite technology and 100 Gb/s coherent DWDM.
First, some background on Inphi. In 2016, Inphi announced its ColorZ technology, which delivers 100 Gb/s, 100 GHz, fixed-dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) in a 4.5 watt, QSFP28 pluggable package. In 2017, the technology is actively being deployed to interconnect sub 80 km metro-distributed data centers. Inphi has now introduced ColorZ-Lite, a derivative of the ColorZ technology optimized for 10–20 km campus connectivity.
In our analysis, we looked at the capital expense and operational expense of deploying the three competing alternatives in a 10–20 km campus connectivity environment. We considered grey optic alternatives such as 100G-BASE-LR4 with 10 km reach or 100G-BASE-eLR4 with up to 20–25 km reach. We also included options to lease or build the actual fiber. In the paper, we document four different deployment scenarios: three with leased fiber and one with built fiber.
Not surprisingly, our results found that coherent DWDM technology is generally the most expensive option and overkill for operation at the relatively short 10–20 km campus distances. However, grey optics and ColorZ-Lite economic results vary based upon environmental conditions. Grey optics is the least-cost alternative if the enterprise has easy access to fiber and/or the bandwidth demands are low. ColorZ-Lite is the least-cost alternative if connectivity demands are large (Nx100 Gb/s) or fiber is scarce; with ColorZ-Lite delivering up to 68.5% TCO savings and 89% lower operation expenses over five years in a leased fiber scenario.