Fujitsu shows off servers that use light and lasers to transfer data

Fujitsu has demonstrated servers with thin fiber optics that will use lasers and light transfer data, replacing the older and slower electrical wiring technology.

The server maker showed two Primergy RX200 servers connected to expansion boxes via an optical cable, with light used to transfer data between the systems. Light is considered a faster way to transfer data than copper wire.

The demonstration was made at the Fujitsu Forum being held in Munich this week, and the optical data transfer hardware is based on Intel’s silicon photonics technology. The technology is being demonstrated as a way to show how high-speed connections with fiber optical cables allows processing and storage units to be decoupled from servers and moved to separate boxes. The Primergy expansion boxes have solid-state drives and Intel Xeon Phi co-processors, which would go directly into expansion slots in the servers.

The optical connection is based on Intel’s OPCI-Express protocol, which is the optical version of the PCI-Express specification. Use of light and lasers helps transfer data at fast speeds over longer distances compared to traditional PCI-Express connections, and helps move components further away CPUs.