|Signposts On The Roadmap Out To 10 Tb/sec Ethernet|
The world of Ethernet switching and routing used to be more predictable than just about any other part of the datacenter, but for the past decade the old adage – ten times the bandwidth for three times the cost – has not held. While 100 Gb/sec Ethernet was launched in 2010 and saw a fair amount of uptake amongst telecom suppliers for their backbones, the hyperscalers decided, quite correctly, that 100 Gb/sec Ethernet was too expensive and opted for 40 Gb/sec instead.
Now, we are sitting on the cusp of the real 100 Gb/sec Ethernet rollout among hyperscalers and enterprise datacenters, which John D’Ambrosia, chairman of the Ethernet Alliance trade group, says “will be the largest rollout that we have ever seen,” and that is true for a bunch of reasons. For one thing, the cost of 100 Gb/sec Ethernet switches, which often include routing functions and therefore allow standardization of iron across switching and routing workloads, is coming down fast as new ASICs enter the field based on the 25G signaling standard that the hyperscalers (primarily Microsoft and Google) rammed down the IEEE’s throat a few years back for the good of the entire industry. For another thing, there are machine learning and IoT workloads that are dependent on gathering up immense amounts of telemetry from every device known to man, from blenders to cars, and chewing on it back in the datacenter for insight, and that is putting bandwidth pressure on networks. And then, of course, there is the ever-embiggening media files that we use in our business and personal lives, the increasing cross connection between people, the increasing distributed nature of applications, and the increasing population of the world.
There are no surprises, then, that with 100 Gb/sec Ethernet now at an affordable price, seven years since it entered the field, it is finally ready to take off. It is beyond overdue, based on the pressure from compute and storage, which has been growing capacity faster than networking bandwidth rates in the past decade.
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