I feel the need… the need for speed!

More data. More devices. More users. And more demands. What’s a poor network/data-center manager to do? Well, to quote Maverick and Goose in the movie Top Gun, “I feel the need… the need for speed!” And it seems more speed is an increasingly popular choice, according to the latest market research.

While both Fast and Gigabit Ethernet contracted in the third quarter, 10, 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet all grew, according to the latest report from Dell’Oro Group. “Users curtailed spending on lower-speed Ethernet switches typically deployed to connect users, however, spending on higher-speed switches typically deployed to connect equipment in the data center remained quite robust in the third quarter,” said Alan Weckel, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group.

“The data center remains in the early stages of migration towards 10 Gigabit Ethernet for server access. At the same time, the core in the data center is seeing the need for additional bandwidth which is necessitating the need for higher speeds. The ecosystem in the data center now comprises four different speeds,” stated Weckel. The largest seven 10GbE vendors in terms of port shipments are Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Extreme, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Juniper Networks.

“The two big drivers for 10GbE adoption are virtualization and big data,” said Dell’Oro analyst Sameh Boujelbene. A recent Emulex survey found that 54% of all IT departments are being asked to scale their networks to support speeds of 100Gbps by 2016. The survey reported that 81% said the growing demand for network bandwidth is one of the most critical issues facing data centers today, while 52% said that their need for network I/O increases by 60 percent or more annually.
“We’ve reached the point where the network has become the bottleneck,” said Cindy Borovick, IDC’s program VP for enterprise and data center networks. “When you move to 10GbE, you can consolidate all traffic onto one network.”

Along with more speed, networks can also benefit from optimization. While WAN optimization appliances posted modest revenue gains in the third quarter, Sam Barnett, directing analyst for data center and cloud at Infonetics Research, believes this will change as more virtualized solutions enter the mainstream, helping to restore higher levels of overall growth to the WAN optimization and application delivery controllers markets.

In the previous quarter virtual WAN optimization appliances soared 58% according to the Q2 Data Center Appliance numbers from Dell’Oro Group. “Virtual appliances makeup just 7% of total sales in the Data Center Appliance market, but contributed 37% of the revenue growth in 2Q12,“ said Casey Quillin, Senior Analyst at Dell’Oro Group.

Image credit: U.S. Navy (navy.mil)