Facebook unveils its second-gen computer switch --- ‘Backpack’

Facebook unveils its second-gen computer switch --- ‘Backpack’

On Wednesday, social network Facebook unveiled an innovative second-generation computer switch called ‘Backpack’ --- a 100G optical switch for connecting together all the racks inside of a data center.

The newly-unveiled Backpack computer switch is the successor to Facebook’s 2015-launched 6-Pack 40G switch which had the capability to stream 40G worth of data around a data center network.

The launch of the new Backpack computer switch by Facebook underscores an apparent effort by the company to ensure that the fiber optic networking inside of its data centers goes from 40G to 100G.

Since the Backpack is a 100G switch, it is 2.5 times faster than the 6-Pack 40G switch. In addition, to move data around, the innovative new switch uses fiber optics rather than the traditional and more limited copper wires.

Moreover, along with being the successor to the 6-Pack switch, the Backpack switch is also a companion to the new Wedge 100 “top of rack” network switch which was announced by Facebook last spring. The Wedge 100 switch connects a computer rack of servers to the network, and the Backpack switch then connects all the Wedge 100 switches together; thereby forming what, in network lingo, is called a "network fabric."

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