The data center is the point where all Internet service traffic converges. New services, such as enterprise Artificial Intelligence (AI), have raised the switching requirements on servers from 10 GE to 25 GE or as fast as 100 GE. To keep pace with such changes, a switch must provide 400 GE interfaces. Development for the 400 GE interface standard initiated in 2015. Four years later, switches have entered the 400G era.
The increase in cluster scale drives the data center architecture evolution. Classical non-blocking CLOS theory supported the growth in data center servers from thousands to tens of thousands. As that server number has now extended to over hundreds of thousands, increased core switch capacity is the accepted method of expanding data center scale.
Recently, Huawei unveiled the industry’s first data center switch built for the AI era –– CloudEngine 16800. This switch supports the smooth interface evolution of 10 GE -> 40 GE -> 100 GE -> 400 GE. It provides the industry’s highest density 48-port 400 GE line card in a slot and up to 768 400 GE ports that reduce the number of core devices to a considerable extent, simplify the network, and improve management efficiency. To support such ultra-high density and evolutionary capability, Huawei’s CloudEngine 16800 switches have created revolutionary technical improvements and innovation in PCB material, process, heat dissipation, and power supply.
Fast: Ultra-high-speed signal transmission adopts new materials and technologies to achieve full-lifecycle compatibility evolution of 100 GE -> 400 GE
The first challenge facing the evolution from 100 GE to high-density 400 GE is the decision for the method that will result in drastic improvement of the high-speed signal transmission capability. The intra-system interconnection signal frequency of a 400 GE interface is higher than 53G. Each time the signal frequency doubles, the signal attenuation of the PCB increases by more than 20 percent. Traditional PCBs use standard copper foil and manufacturing techniques. As the single transmission rate increases, the transmission loss and high-frequency interference become more severe, to limit the transmission rate. Huawei’s CloudEngine 16800 uses new sub-micron lossless PCB materials and unique polymer bonding technology to improve the signal transmission efficiency by 30 percent, to support the full-lifecycle compatibility and capability evolution from 100 GE to 400 GE.
Powerful: Efficient power supply requires 49% less space and improves efficiency in unit space by 95%
Huawei’s CloudEngine 16800 uses the industry’s first power module with dual inputs and intelligent switching, as well as magnetic blow-out and large exciter technology, to realize fast millisecond-level switching. With 49 percent less space for power supplies required, 21 of these unique power modules can achieve the power supply capability and reliability of 40 regular power modules. The line card uses the matrix magnetic and high frequency magnetic technologies to provide 1,600 Watts of power supply capability in a space the size of two thumbs, so the unit space’s power supply efficiency was improved by 95 percent.
Cool: Powerful heat dissipation medium improves heat dissipation efficiency four-fold and achieves 6 dB less noise than the industry average
For an ultra-high-density switch, heat dissipation is an important engineering capability indicator of the entire system. CloudEngine 16800 switch’s system provides both card-level and system-level heat dissipation. The key to card-level heat dissipation design is to evenly export the chip-generated heat out of the card and dissipate the heat. CloudEngine 16800 uses a unique carbon nanotube thermal pad and VC phase change heat dissipation to provide a heat dissipation capability four times the industry average, to improve the entire system’s reliability by 20 percent. In terms of system-level heat dissipation, Huawei’s CloudEngine 16800 uses mixed-flow fans to achieve the industry’s leading heat dissipation efficiency of an entire system. Each bit of data’s average power consumption is 50 percent lower than the industry standard. Each switch saves 320,000 kWh and reduces carbon emissions by more than 250 tons per year. This is a CNY$ 260,000 reduction in electricity costs. The unique magnetic permeability motor and the mute defector ring reduce the noise by 6 dB, to establish CloudEngine 16800 as the most eco-friendly and energy-saving choice.
Ultra-high-speed signal transmission, efficient power supply, and effective heat dissipation medium — three futuristic technologies that enable CloudEngine 16800 to manage digital floods.