How to Select Proper Transceivers to Reduce Data Center Operation Costs?

Updated on Oct 7, 2021 by

It's widely acknowledged that the fiber-optic interconnections won't be realized without optical transceivers in data centers. In a data center, at least thousands of optical transceivers will be consumed to achieve the interconnections. Thus optical module price and the costs related to it account for a large proportion of data center operating expenses. Therefore, choosing proper transceivers is of crucial significance. Then, how to reduce the operating costs for data centers through the wise choice of transceivers? Follow the four tips below:

Tip One: First Choice—Compatible Modules

When comparing OEM modules and compatible modules, the premise must be that they can both work flawlessly. Then the main difference lies in the supplier, whether it is provided by the brand vendor or not. Normally speaking, OEMs will turn to suppliers to code and label optical transceivers for them instead of producing the modules by themselves. Like Cisco, it will buy the modules from certain manufacturers and sell to the users with a relatively high price. The modules offered by Cisco are claimed to be tested on the original devices, which are not difficult for a third-party optical vendor now. More comparison details are concluded in OEM vs Third-Party Transceivers. Consequently, cost-effective compatible modules that can also meet the users' demands are the preference in data centers.


Tip Two: Select Optical Transceivers With Lower Power Consumption

Energy efficiency is also a concern as to the cost of operation. Produced by different vendors, fiber optic transceivers with the same type may have different parameter values in power consumption, resulting from the manufacturing ability of the vendors. Due to the technology and craftsmanship, some modules manufactured by small-sized suppliers may have higher power consumption even if they can work normally.

Indeed, the difference in power consumption of two modules may be only a few watts or even a few tenths of a watt. However, the generated power consumption will be accumulated when there are a number of modules involved. If the power consumption of two 10G optical modules is 2.5W and 3W respectively, then the power consumption of the optical transceiver on a 48G switching board may reach 120W for the former and 144W for the latter. If a network device with 16 boards is inserted, then the total value will be 1,920W and 2,300W. Select the optical modules with lower consumption—reduce the power consumption to minimize the operation costs.

Tip Three: Pick Optical Transceivers With Higher Density

The space utilization of the data center is a main concern for many IT architects. When selecting from the modules with the same operating rate but in different form factors, the ones with smaller sizes will save the space as much as possible. Take two 40G modules as an example, a 40G QSFP+ optical module is roughly 12cm long and 1.8cm width, while a CFP optical module is approximately 14 cm long and 8.2 cm width. Given that there are 8 modules, QSFP+ modules require about 172.8c㎡ whereas CFP modules need around a total of 918.4 c㎡, both of the situations are not calculating the gap between the modules. As a result, fiber optic transceivers with smaller form factors can provide optimized space-saving solutions for a high-density data center.



Numerous IT managers are continuously struggling with the challenge of the OPEX and CAPEX of the data centers' operation and maintenance. With a limited budget, most managers will tend to purchase a large number of compatible modules, which turns out to be a cost-effective solution. In addition, power consumption and form factors are also essential factors to consider to save the operation expenses and available space. All in all, adopt compatible optical modules with low-consumption and high-density to realize an optimal optical solution.

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