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After spending all of ECOC in meetings with clients and vendors, it was nice to be able to sit back as an attendee at this year’s Open Compute Project (OCP) Global Summit, take in the presentations, wander the expo floor, and talk to colleagues in the hallways.

OCP has a very different vibe from traditional optical trade shows. If you are used to expo halls that spring for the carpet between booths, the warehouse-like feel of the OCP expo with its concrete floors and bean-bag chair pods might be a bit surprising. OCP focuses more on computing hardware than the optics that hook everything together, but optics are an increasingly important part of how datacenters are built. The show offered valuable insights from operators and vendors.  Topics included:

  • The Scale of AI: The numbers are enormous and growing, but is there a risk of overhyping the market?
  • Linear Pluggable Optics: Still a hot topic but the frenzy seems to be slowing.
  • Co-Packaged Optics: Newcomer Micas puts money where Broadcom’s mouth is.
  • Startups: With all the money pouring into AI, optical startups are looking to find their profitable niche.

AI Scale is Bigger than You Can Imagine

If you think that AI has taken over the optical conferences, you haven’t seen what AI has done to the computing conferences. Every presentation mentioned AI and there were entire tracks dedicated to AI across all layers of the OSI model. AI is growing faster than the industry can keep up, and there is risk of overhype and overinvestment at the expense of the rest of the network (e.g., capex and resources pouring into AI instead of building out interconnectivity).

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