25G Ethernet Marches Forward

It's brand new, but demand is already forecast to take it to the number two port speed by 2018.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Aug 5, 2014
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25 Gigabit per second (25 Gbps) doesn't yet exist in the market, but demand for it is already forecast to be high.

According to a recent report from Dell'Oro Group, 25 Gbps speed is expected to grow exponentially in the next four years, from zero to the number two spot in terms of server Ethernet port sales and shipments by 2018. Not surprisingly, Dell'Oro Group forecasts that 10 Gbps will continue to drive over 50 percent of ports and revenues over the next five years.

"25 Gbps drives a better cost curve than 40 Gbps as most components that support 100 Gbps can be easily split to 25 Gbps," Sameh Boujelbene, director at Dell’Oro Group, said in a statement. "Material Capex and Opex savings can also be achieved, especially by mega cloud providers as 25 Gbps cabling infrastructure can likely support many generations of servers and network equipment."

Boujelbene added that Google and Microsoft alone could drive a 25 Gbps ecosystem.

The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium was officially formed at the beginning of July.

The effort now is getting the attention of the IEEE as well, with the formation of an 802.3 study group for the creation of a formal 25 Gbps standard.

"The application of single-lane 25 Gb/s signaling technologies provides Ethernet with a solution set that can be reused by those companies building the data centers of tomorrow," Mark Nowell, chair of the IEEE 802.3 25 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group and senior director, Cisco Systems, said in a statement. "The new study group expects to lay the groundwork for a new Media Access Control (MAC) rate that will enable cost-optimized single-lane solutions that will increase network deployment efficiency."

Not coincidentally, Cisco was not part of the initial 25 G Consortium when it was first formed ahead of any IEEE involvement. The first firms to join the 25 G Consortium were Microsoft, Mellanox, Google, Broadcom and Arista, with Brocade joining shortly thereafter.

John D'Ambrosia, chair of the Ethernet Alliance, was among those that helped to lead the development of 40 GbE and 100 GbE. He's now working on 400 GbE speeds, which will be the next big top-end speed for Ethernet.

"Personally, I have always noted that I feel Ethernet’s success has been its ability to evolve to meet the needs of the market," D'Ambrosia blogged. "That evolution, however, has been fueled by the broad deployment Ethernet enjoys, where individuals have noted the needs of their particular application spaces."

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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