Traffic Jam

40G Is Catching On In The Datacenter But…

Traffic JamThe latest findings from Infonetics Research should come as no surprise: 40 Gigabit is booming in the data center and 100G is taking off in the core. “Deployments of 1G, 10G, 40G, and 100G ports once again grew significantly in 2013, as enterprises and service providers invested in their networks to accommodate the growth in traffic, and revenue growth accelerated as buyers shifted to higher bandwidth-and more expensive-ports,” stated Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video.

Survey says:

  • worldwide 1G/10G/40G/100G network port revenue grew 5% in 2013 from the prior year, to $39 billion;
  • enterprise port revenue grew 5%, and service provider port revenue increased 4%;
  • 1G comprises the lion’s share of ports, while 10G delivers the bulk of revenue, though revenue growth is coming from the emerging 40G and 100G segments;
  • the 40G market is in transition as service providers move on to 100G; 40G is, however, finding success in the data center market, resulting in 40G port shipments more than doubling in 2013;
  • Infonetics looks for 40G port shipments to nearly triple this year, hitting 1.5 million;
  • 100G ports almost quadrupled in 2013, thanks to surging service provider demand for 100G WDM; and,
  • the first 100G ports on enterprise equipment started shipping in 2013, but aren’t expected to become a major factor until 2015.

Back in March, Infonetics reported that the Ethernet switch market passed the $20 billion mark in 2013, with 40G expected to pass the $1 billion plateau this year. 100G ports shipments once again doubled quarter-over-quarter, and the research company expects the 100G market to gain critical mass in 2015.

“While 10G was once again the key growth driver, we’re finally seeing this segment mature after a decade, and 40G is now taking over as the new high-growth segment,” said Machowinski. “40G alone will easily pass $1 billion in revenue this year as it becomes the technology of choice in the data center.”

The future looks bright for 40 and 100G, and in a couple of years, the penultimate 400G, to be followed, eventually by 1.6GbE. However, there’s still life for existing ports because not all networks need to operate at the fastest possible speed, said the Ethernet Alliance.

“Speed is related to the needs of the application, and many applications are well served by what would now be considered low-speed links,” said Steve Carlson in a recent blog.

The alliance is working on a new standard for full-duplex operation at 1Gb/s over a single twisted copper wire pair. It said the target market for 1000BASE-T1 PHY is automotive networking, which will use hundreds of millions of Ethernet port in automobiles in the coming years. It will also appeal to “a wide variety of M2M and “Internet of Things” devices, especially when combined with IEEE 802.3bu Power over Data Lines Task Force that will deliver DC power over the same twisted wire pair.”

More speed should certainly prove attractive to all networkers, but there is a substantial problem that will need to be dealt with. The volume of traffic on faster, higher bandwidth networks is outstripping the data collection and analysis capabilities of traditional network analysis tools, said network forensics vendor WildPackets’ Jay Botelho.

According to a survey it conducted earlier this year, 72% of organizations have increased their network utilization over the past year, resulting in slower problem identification and resolution (38%), less real-time visibility (25%) and more dropped packets leading to inaccurate results (15%). “Not only do faster network speeds make securing and troubleshooting networks difficult, but also traditional network analysis solutions simply cannot keep up with the massive volumes of data being transported.”

The bottom line is that data centers need higher-speed ports and switches, but there will still be applications where slower speeds will suffice. Throw in the challenges of monitoring faster networks, and networking pros will continue to struggle with keeping the data flowing securely.

Image credit: WikiMedia Commons / CC-BY

About the author
Steve Wexler
Steve is a proficient IT journalist, editor, publisher, and marketing communications professional. For the past two-plus decades, he has worked for the world’s leading high-technology publishers. Currently a contributor to Network Computing, Steve has served as editor and reporter for the Canadian affiliates of IDG and CMP, as well as Ziff Davis and UBM in the U.S. His strong knowledge of computers and networking technology complement his understanding of what’s important to the builders, sellers and buyers of IT products and services.