Brocade Joins 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium

The effort to build a new Ethernet standard for data center speeds of 25 and 50 Gigabits per second is gaining momentum.

Brocade announced that it is now officially joining the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium in a bid to bring the new data center Ethernet connectivity technology to fruition.

The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium got started at the beginning of July, with the support of Microsoft, Mellanox, Google, Broadcom and Arista. The group aims to fill a gap in the existing Ethernet connectivity landscape. Currently, much of data center networking traffic passes over 10 Gigabit Ethernet links. There is also a standard for 40 GbE and one for 100 GbE, but the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium view is that a need exists for 25 and 50 GbE as well.

“After announcing the Consortium, Brocade quickly reached out to become a member to help drive 25 Gigabit and 50 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity for the benefit of the industry,” Brad Booth, secretary of the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium, said in a statement.

Booth currently works at Microsoft as a principal engineer and is no stranger to the world of Ethernet standards. Booth is a founder of the Ethernet Alliance and has chaired multiple IEEE committees over the years.

From Brocade’s perspective, joining the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium is an obvious move.

“This is a natural progression with relatively minimal incremental cost and an excellent re-use of existing infrastructure,” said Martin Skagen, chief architect at Brocade, in a statement. “Our support of this consortium and the standard it has created reflects the strong commitment we have to the industry and our customers.”

After Brocade, the next big networking vendor that might end up aligned with the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium could be Cisco.

“Cisco believes that 25G Ethernet needs to be standardized and that IEEE is the right forum for standardization,” a Cisco spokesperson told Enterprise Networking Planet. “In the past, Cisco has worked through IEEE with other industry leaders to standardize 1GbE, 10GbE, 40GbE, and 100GbE.”

At the IEEE Plenary event currently underway in San Diego, Cisco has requested discussion time and a 25G Call for Interest (CFI). The Cisco spokesperson noted that many other industry players, including some from the Consortium, are active participants in the preparations for the meeting and will state public support for the IEEE 25G standardization effort. A formal vote is set to be held on July 17 at the IEEE Plenary to determine if a formal Study Group for 25 GbE will be formed.

“Cisco also agrees with the 25G Ethernet Consortium on the value of promoting standardization and improving Ethernet Interfaces,” Cisco’s spokesperson said. “Cisco is reviewing the Consortium’s Adopter Agreement, and plans to join as a member after the review is complete.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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