The past several months have been quite hectic. I traveled around the world to talk about the state of Ethernet, and while going around the world can be challenging enough, the Ethernet community is simply in a state of activity I have not seen before.
Development, adoption, deployment, looking to the future—considering Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 100 Gigabit Ethernet, and the future 400 Gigabit Ethernet—all of this happening right now.
In the past my involvement in the IEEE during the development of the respective standards probably preoccupied my focus, as it occupied much of my attention. At other times during my involvement in alliances my time was pre-occupied with interoperability demonstrations that targeted various technologies as being ready for adoption and deployment. Now as I find my time occupied by responsibilities to the IEEE and Ethernet Alliance, I feel like the linkages between the two worlds are more obvious to me than they were before.
For example, consider the findings of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment that was published this summer. After a year-long industry wide study, it was determined that the average growth rate of doubling approximately every 18 months or a compound annual growth rate of 58 percent was still a reasonable approximation. In simple terms, this translates to networks, on average, needing to support bandwidth capacity requirements of a terabit per second in 2015 and 10 terabit in 2020.
Such bandwidth requirements do not just happen, though. Demand is distributed throughout the entire eco-system, and as the bandwidth capacity requirement of the network core goes up, one should expect the capacity of the underlying eco-system to also be increasing. Demonstrated interoperability leads to confidence which leads to deployment which leads to volume leading to further cost reductions leading to further deployment. At least that's the model we all believe, right?
Well it seems to be working..... finally...
I was talking with Seamus Crehan of Crehan Research, who was very kind to share some very interesting numbers with me for a presentation I was doing (see the presentation here).
In the second quarter of this year, almost two million 10GbE server ports and adapters were shipped. Furthermore, the number of 10BASE-T ports shipped in the second quarter grew by amost 400 percent over the first quarter. Finally, the start of the hockey stick! And while 100 Gigabit Ethernet is finding its way into service provider networkers, 40 Gigabit Ethernet is ramping up in data center networks.
Next time, I'll talk about the expansion of the 40 GbE and 100 GbE families, and the start of 400 Gigabit Ethernet.
John D'Ambrosia is chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO office, at Dell.