Composable data centers (DCs) have been proposed to enable greater efficiencies as the uptake of on-demand computing services grows. In this article we give an overview of composable DCs by discussing their enabling technologies, benefits, challenges, and research directions. We then describe a network for composable DCs that leverages optical communication technologies and components to implement a targeted design. Relative to the implementation of a generic design that requires a (high capacity) dedicated transceiver on each point-to-point link on a mesh optical fabric in a composable DC rack, the targeted design can significantly reduce capital expenditure (by up to 34 times) because fewer transceivers are used. This is achieved with little or no degradation of expected performance in composable DCs.