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Brig Asay
Director of Strategic Planning, Internet Infrastructure Group
Keysight Technologies

Exclusive Interview

Please comment on key trends in the computing and data center industry.

The data center industry is driven by the need for more data. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics are driving the need for more data. On the infrastructure front, the big trend is
100 gig Ethernet moving to 400 gig Ethernet and further to 800 gig. Other trends driving the data center industry are 5G and autonomous driving.

As hyperscale computing transforms the world of internet infrastructure, new investors and new data center platforms are emerging to focus on the needs of hyperscale players. Please comment. 

The hyperscale data center is a significant technology shift and is driving the need for 400 giga Ethernet, which is currently the fastest Ethernet speed. In the past, most of the internet traffic happened outside the data centers. It was cellphone to data center, and then the data center would process it and send it back. Currently, 80 percent of data is inside the data center and this is caused by hyperscaling. Therefore, people are trying to allocate resources to use the data center efficiently, resulting in increased demand for faster speeds. That is how data centers are driving high-speed Ethernet and other fast technologies.

Data demands are moving data communications to higher frequencies, wider bandwidths, multiple channels, and higher speed. For developers of new technologies, finding the right instrument is increasingly becoming a challenge. Please elaborate on how Keysight is addressing this challenge.

There are multiple challenges when it comes to faster speed. Customers want to bring their solutions to market as fast as possible.

One of the key challenges for Keysight is to work with the customers to understand their roadmap. Based on that, Keysight develops solutions for each customer. However, in terms of the instruments, as they go faster, the ability to distinguish between a one and a zero is more difficult. This leads to customer margins that are razor-thin. At Keysight, we do not want our test and measurement equipment to interfere with our customer’s device. We constantly develop instruments that lower jitter and noise. For data to move fast, the instrument needs to be fast in frequency. Unfortunately, fast frequency and low noise do not always go together. This creates a challenge to meet the customer’s need for fast speed.

With the recent announcement in the last 1 month, from three Indian conglomerates, Reliance Jio, Adani Group, and Hiranandani Group on their huge plans to set up data centers in India over the next 10 years, what are your expectations from the Indian market?

When you set up a data center for test and measurement equipment, there are potential maintenance issues that come up. This is because customers are not always buying expensive test and measurement R&D-designed equipment, they are sometimes buying equipment that is designed to ensure that data centers are always running at the maximum capacity. From India, we expect to see more technology and more spend in sensors. Solar power is also starting to drive data centers. There will be more investment on R&D from India related to this huge amount of data center spend.

Anything else you may like to add.

India was a test house, but eventually India is becoming more of a design-validation country. India will now transform from lowering cost to becoming critical to the actual design flow. If we look at it from a Keysight perspective as to where the money will be spent, we see India as a key market as far as spend is concerned from a technology standpoint.

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