Monday, September 19, 2011

The When and How of 100 Gigabit Ethernet


I’ve come to the conclusion that the adoption of 100 Gig to be much bigger than 40 Gig. To me, 40 Gig was really a step on the way to 100 Gig. Ethernet has historically jumped in logarithmic steps and a 4x jump just doesn’t seem like the bang is there for the buck spent on new hardware and upgrades.
The standard for 100 Gig-E was ratified last year and since then we’ve had a number of vendors, the usual suspects – Juniper, Cisco, ALU and Brocade, launch 100 Gig-E line cards. Recently, I had a chance to discuss the topic with Greg Hankins, Global Solutions Architect for Service Providers at Brocade.  I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the 100 Gig-E market.
First, the when. Clearly we’re in the very early part of the market. To use a baseball analogy, I think we’re not even out of the first inning, yet. Late 2009 and 2010 were big years for testing 100 Gig so the game is definitely afoot, but only the early adopters are playing. This means companies that need a lot of bandwidth such as service providers, web companies, film and media, high performance compute, financial services and research environment. Adoption will be limited to these verticals for the next five years or so as many general enterprises are in the midst of deploying 10 Gig. The one exception might be as backbone connection for some larger companies but the deployments will be small.
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