Active Optical Cable Markets and Opportunities: 2014 to 2022: Volume I – Data Center Applications

Report # CIR-AOC-V1-0614
Published Jun 02, 2014

CIR has been providing market coverage of Active Optical Cables (AOCs) for six years, as this market has continued to grow and attract new entrants, including some of the world’s biggest suppliers of cabling and telecom components.  Our annual report on AOC market opportunities is now widely regarded as the most authoritative market forecast and technology assessment in the AOC space and is read by business development and marketing executives in cabling, component and equipment firms throughout the world.

This year, CIR has decided to split our report into two volumes.  In this volume we analyze and forecast the opportunities for AOCs in their traditional data center and HPC markets, which is where AOCs began life as “InfiniBand extenders,” but now embrace all the other major local area networking protocols.  In Volume II, we analyze AOC opportunities in markets where AOC insiders believe they will generate significant revenues over the next decade:  personal computing, consumer electronics and digital signage.

Within the data center, AOCs continue to be deployed to optimize the existing infrastructure by providing higher data rates among servers, switches and storage facilities.  CIR expects this general trend to continue, but also anticipates important new developments that will transform the AOC space and create new opportunities for AOCs going forward:

  • Major product changes within the AOC space in the next two years as 40 Gbps, 100 Gbps and high-speed IB connections become commonplace in the data center.
  • AOC suppliers adapting product strategies to the growing number of all-optical data centers.  Will this mean more of fewer AOCs will be sold?
  • Conversely, today, fiber in the data center is something that even managers of medium-sized data centers should be considering and deploying AOCs are a good strategy to adopt to make this happen.  But how much will this make the AOC market expand?

This report also examines how macro-trends such the advent of SDN, virtualization and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) will affect AOC demand.  CIR anticipates that this report will be a high value resource for marketing and business development managers at components and cable firms as well as at the AOC firms themselves:

  • On the supply side, the report provide CIR’s take on the rise of Chinese suppliers and other new entrants into the AOC space.
  • The extensive supplier profiles in this report discuss the products that these firms are (or will soon) offer and include in-depth analysis of the strategies being deployed by major AOC firms including some of newer firms that have entered the market.
  • The report includes granular eight-year forecasts of AOCs in the data center with appropriate breakouts by data rate, standards/MSA, cable type, reach, wavelength and form factor.
  • This report also takes a look at important marketing issues faced by AOC, such as the importance of branding.

The goal of this report is to show how the AOC market will be able to further penetrate data center and campus networks and the economic and technological trends that are making it possible. The report is primarily focused on business strategy, analyzing the sectors of corporate networking in which AOCs are likely to find a market and identifying the main opportunities markets.


Executive Summary

  • E.1 Changing AOC Market Conditions Since 2013 Reports
  • E.2 China and the AOC Business
  • E.3 Once Upon a Time in the West: Technological Innovation at Leading AOC Firms
  • E.3.1 The Future of Conventional AOC Products
  • E.3.2 Innovation Creates Larger Addressable Markets for AOCs: SAS 3.0
  • E.4 Summary of Market Forecasts
Chapter One: Introduction
  • 1.1 Five Reasons Why AOC Markets Will Keep Growing
  • 1.1.1 AOCs: Easy Fiber
  • 1.1.2 Breaking Out: The Rise and Rise of Ethernet AOCs
  • 1.1.3 AOCs in the All-Optical Data Center: Up and Then Down
  • 1.1.4 Enter the Dragon: The Growing Role of Chinese Firms in the AOC Business
  • 1.1.5 Branding, Technology and the Commoditization Factor
  • 1.2 Intended Audience for this Report
  • 1.3 Objectives of this Report
  • 1.4 Scope of this Report
  • 1.5 Methodology
  • 1.6 Plan of this Report
Chapter Two: Data Centers and Enterprise Networks as a Market for AOCs
  • 2.1 Key Data Center Trends Impacting the AOC Market
  • 2.1.1 AOCs, Big Data and the IoT
  • 2.1.2 AOCs and the Cloud
  • 2.1.3 AOCs and the Rise of the Port-A-Data-Center
  • 2.1.4 AOCs in the All-Optical Data Center
  • 2.1.5 Co-Location and AOCs
  • 2.2 Evolution of Active Optical Cabling Products for the Corporate Networking Environment
  • 2.2.1 AOCs as CX4 Replacement
  • 2.2.2 AOCs in a 10G Server Environment
  • 2.2.3 40-Gbps and 100-Gbps AOC Product Evolution
  • 2.2.4 AOCs and QSFP
  • 2.2.5 AOCs and CXP
  • 2.2.6 AOCs at 400 Gbps
  • 2.3 AOCs and the InfiniBand Roadmap
  • 2.3.1 AOCs and the Future of IB
  • 2.3.2 IB AOCs: Products and Vendors
  • 2.4 AOCs and Storage
  • 2.4.1 Fibre Channel AOCs
  • 2.4.2 AOCs and SAS
  • 2.5 Hybrid AOCs
  • 2.6 AOCs and Serial Ethernet
  • 2.7 Active Optical Cabling in the Campus and Telecom Environment
  • 2.8 Coda: Current and Future Role of Active Copper Cabling
  • 2.9 Summary of Key Points Made in this Chapter
Chapter Three: Firms to Watch in the AOC Business
  • 3.1 10GTEK (China)
  • 3.2 3M (United States)
  • 3.2.1 3M's New AOC Products
  • 3.3 Amphenol (United States)
  • 3.4 Avago Technologies (United States)
  • 3.4.1 Avago' Current AOC Offerings
  • 3.4.2 The Avago Mellanox Dispute
  • 3.5 Centera Photonics (Taiwan)
  • 3.6 ConnPro (Taiwan)
  • 3.7 Eoptolink (China)
  • 3.8 FCI Electronics (France/Singapore)
  • 3.8.1 Mini-SAS HD AOC
  • 3.8.2 Inheritance from MergeOptics
  • 3.8.3 The Future of FCI in AOCs
  • 3.9 Fiberon Technologies (Locations in several countries)
  • 3.10 Finisar (United States)
  • 3.10.1 Laserwire
  • 3.10.2 Quadwire
  • 3.10.3 C.wire
  • 3.10.4 Finisar's Future in the AOC Business
  • 3.11 Fujikura (Japan)
  • 3.12 Fujitsu (Japan)
  • 3.13 GigaLight Technology (China)
  • 3.13.1 Gigalight's 120 G AOC
  • 3.14 Hitachi Cable
  • 3.15 InnoLight (China)
  • 3.16 Mellanox (Israel)
  • 3.17 Molex (United States)
  • 3.17.1 Luxtera, AOCs and Silicon Photonics
  • 3.17.2 QuatroScale
  • 3.17.3 iPass
  • 3.18 Multilane (Lebanon)
  • 3.19 Samtec (United States)
  • 3.19.1 AOC Products Offered
  • 3.20 Siemon (United States)
  • 3.21 Sopto (Hong Kong)
  • 3.22 Sumitomo (U.S./Japan)
  • 3.22.1 Product Evolution of AOCs at Sumitomo
  • 3.23 TE Connectivity (United States)
  • 3.23.1 Conventional AOC Products
  • 3.23.2 Newer Products: Coolbit and CDFP
  • 3.24 Volex (U.K.)
Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this ReportAbout the AuthorList of Exhibits
  • Exhibit E-1: Worldwide AOC Market by MSA, 2014-2022 ($ Millions)
  • Exhibit 2-1: Data Rates for InfiniBand (Gbps)
  • Exhibit 4-1: Size of Data Center by Number of Racks
  • Exhibit 4-2: Addressable Market for Rack-Based Interconnection in the Data Center, 2014-2022
  • Exhibit 4-3: AOCs for Server Connections in the Data Center, 2014-2022
  • Exhibit 4-4: AOCs for Inter-Switch and Similar Connections in the Data Center, 2014-2022
  • Exhibit 4-5: Worldwide AOC Market by Network Location, 2014-2022 (Millions of Units)
  • Exhibit 4-6 Worldwide AOC Market by MSA/Type of Connector, 2014-2022
  • Exhibit 4-7: Worldwide AOC Market by Data Rate, 2013-2022 (000s of Units)
  • Exhibit 4-8: Worldwide AOC Market by Protocol, 2014-2022 ($ Millions)
  • Exhibit 4-9: Worldwide AOC Market by Length of Cable, 2014-2022 ($ Millions)
  • Exhibit 4-10: Worldwide AOC Market by Media, 2014-2022 (000s of Units)
  • Exhibit 4-11: Worldwide AOC Market by Wavelength, 2014-2022 (000s of Units)
  • Exhibit 4-12: Worldwide AOC Market by Size of Data Center, 2014-2022 ($ Million)

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