Traditional networks are gradually becoming obsolete as they are unable to handle the increasing strain placed on their available resources by various heavy-weight requirements of emerging applications. Network data flows in this highly dynamic environment, where the computing focus has shifted from local servers to the cloud, have vastly increased in volume, while at the same time becoming less tolerant to delays and jitter due to their time-sensitive nature.
Enterprise organizations continue to push the envelope as they deploy the latest technologies to keep up with exponential data growth.
As organizations push more traffic into their enterprise and private data centers, and with bigger pipes coming into the enterprise, more bandwidth is also required as data moves down into the fabric or top-of-rack (ToR) switching.
25 Gb Ethernet is the new standard for data center connectivity. Data center bandwidth requirements are growing at double-digit rates. To meet these needs, networking and the Ethernet industry are moving in a new direction. 10, 40, and 100-GbE networking has expanded to include 25 and 50-GbE technology â€¨as well. In particular, many are moving from 10 to â€¨25-GbE for ToR switching.
ToR architectures are rapidly outgrowing â€¨10 GbE capabilities, often requiring multiple ports. Organizations would need to deploy twice as many 10 GbE switches to keep up with required network bandwidth, along with additional cables, space, power and cooling. That would mean a significant increase in capital and operating expenses.
The traditional next step up to meet demand â€¨(40 GbE) is not cost-effective or power-efficient enough for many organizations. Moreover, as organizations look ahead, there is no simple, economical path from 10 to 40 to 100 GbE - it requires organizations to make three product transitions.
To better address high-performance network and scalability requirements, industry leaders are increasingly implementing 25 GbE for their customers. These implementations capitalize on the 25-GbE specification adopted by the 25-Gb Ethernet Consortium. The specification makes use of single-lane 25-Gbps Ethernet links and is based on the existing IEEE 100-GbE standard (802.3bj). With the adoption of the 25-GbE specification, a new generation of switch and adapter chips is becoming available.
While 25 GbE may seem like a step back from 40 GbE, it actually delivers more. 25 GbE is an easier upgrade path from 10 GbE as it fits into the existing model and requires half the number of PCIe lanes compared to 40 GbE, leading to better PCIe bandwidth utilization and lower power consumption. The 25-GbE physical interface specification also supports a variety of form factors, allowing flexible configuration options.
Trends point to a healthy switching market ahead as buyers continue to expand the size of their networks and grow investments in network infrastructure. For 2016-17, organizations have healthy expansion plans for their networks and corresponding increases in equipment expenditures. Outsourcing is taking hold, letting a third party own and operate Ethernet switches, as buyers seek to convert CapEx to OpEx. Reliability, performance, and technology innovation are the most important criteria buyers will use to select Ethernet switch vendors.