Test equipment used to validate data center infrastructure includes those devices used to test transceivers used in data center production, and others that facilitate the installation and maintenance of the data center and monitor the performance of the data center network post its deployment. Equipment used during these phases includes electronic test equipment, such as oscilloscopes, bit-error-rate-testers, source measurement units, power analyzers, and protocol analyzers; gigabit Ethernet test equipment; fiber-optic test equipment, such as optical time domain reflectometers (OTDR), fiber-inspection probes (FIP) and optical loss test sets (OLTS); as well as solutions that monitor and manage the performance of the data center network as well as applications that reside on top of it.

The deployment of 5G is an important trend driving innovation among data-center service providers and chipset manufacturers. There are many applications that this deployment is engineered to support; key among them include the Industrial Internet of Things, connected living, autonomous vehicles, and connected cars and applications across healthcare. To accommodate the surge in data traffic, data center service providers require a complete overhaul of their legacy data center infrastructure; this would include their migration from large data center infrastructure to smaller data centers with modular designs. These are linked to each other with a denser fiber-optic medium.

The upgraded data center network infrastructure also comes with a substantial degree of network virtualization and software-defined network functions. At a component level, data center service providers are also migrating infrastructure to 100GbE, which will eventually transition to 200GbE and 400GbE and incorporating transceivers that are faster and more efficient than its predecessors. These developments in the data center industry are key drivers for testing equipment that can validate transceivers operating at a higher frequency while being compliant with high-speed Ethernet interfaces and solutions deployed easily across partially-virtualized networks.

End users are often hampered by the sheer cost of the new equipment. Another trend the market has been witnessing is the high degree of consolidation: this is happening because larger testing corporations are acquiring smaller ones to fill in the voids in their own testing portfolio. This consolidation has increased barriers to market entry.

This research service discusses the test and measurement growth opportunities in the data center market, analyzes trends within the data center industry, industry requirements in terms of testing, and evaluates how the testing community should position themselves to meet those needs.