Hasn’t Everyone Deployed 10G Ethernet?

The other day I was participating in a conversation with a customer about LAN and SAN speeds greater than 10G. It was a good conversation and the customer had numerous questions about migrating to 40G Ethernet; what is happening with 100G Ethernet, using multiple fibers for Fibre Channel, etc.

Toward the end of the conversation I asked them about their plans regarding deploying 40G Ethernet. They replied that they had no immediate plans for deploying 40G and that the reason they wanted to talk about it was to make sure that their LAN infrastructure could support it in the future. They plan on deploying 10G Ethernet in the new data center.

That revelation hit me with the same impact as participating in an ice bucket challenge.

That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it struck me nonetheless. When one spends almost their entire workday in the sphere of the latest and greatest networking technology, it can be easy to forget that the real world may not be at the cutting edge. That got me thinking about the deployment and market penetration of 10G Ethernet.

Looking at some market research and survey results, I found that only about 10% of the servers deployed in data centers today are equipped with 10G Ethernet ports*. Those servers are primarily supporting High Performance Computing (HPC) applications or by high frequency traders; essentially use cases where one needs to get to an answer as fast as possible. In marketing terms they would be called the early adopters. This research shows that the mainstream market started to adopt 10G Ethernet this year and into the next and we are at the “knee of the market penetration curve”.

For those looking to deploy 10G Ethernet, there are basically four different media types: multi-mode optical fiber, single-mode optical fiber, twisted pair copper cable (shielded or unshielded), and Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cable assemblies. Which is the right media type for your data center? That depends.

Over the next several blog postings, I’ll address the strength and weaknesses of the various ways one can deploy 10G Ethernet. For a sneak peek at the discussion, click here.

*Crehan Research, Inc., 2014

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