CALIENT Technologies, Inc. has announced its S320 Optical Circuit Switch is in customer trials with government and commercial data centers as an optical interconnect for cutting-edge disaggregated data center and high‑performance computing center designs.

Data center disaggregation involves separating compute, storage and network resources into resource pools that provide applications with more fluid access to these resources. It is a growing trend as data center operators seek to extend maturing virtualization technology to the physical layer to boost efficiencies and scale the data center. With the advent of 40Gbps and 100Gbps optical networks, it now is technically possible to dynamically connect these resource pools.

CALIENT’s proprietary microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switching module switches the light pulses using tiny mirrors, creating an all-optical switch with none of the latency involved in converting an optical signal into an electrical signal for backplane transport.

One key outcome of the trials is to determine the actual compute cluster size supported by the S320. Cluster size is determined both by the port count of the OCS and by the latency of the optical bus.

The trials also let data center operators experiment with connectivity options, which include the 640 single mode fiber connectors on the face of the switch, or integrating the CALIENT MEMS Switch Module (MSM) with a rack’s horizontal cable management system to provide connectivity via a bulk connector. This allows each rack to have cabling pre-installed with only one connector required for interconnection to the rest of the network.