10 Gigabit Ethernet Rollout Begins at Global 2000 Firms
August 7, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
While it may seem like Gigabit Ethernet is only getting started in the data centers and offices of the world, the biggest companies on the planet are always looking ahead to the next fastest thing when it comes to networking, and that would be 10 Gigabit Ethernet, or 10GigE. If the Global 2000 is any guide, then the rest of us will probably find some excuse to move to 10GigE networking technology within the next few years.
One of the drivers of 10GigE networking, of course, is the iSCSI protocol, which marries the SCSI connection protocol used in internal disk arrays inside servers for many years with a fast Ethernet connection. In the past, if you wanted shared, networked storage, you had to go with Fibre Channel, which is expensive, or you had to put up with the slower performance of Gigabit Ethernet. But 10GigE can deliver enough bandwidth to make Ethernet a viable alternative to Fibre Channel. Moreover, according to a survey by market researcher TheInfoPro, virtualization and server consolidation is playing a role, too.
“The economic benefits of server virtualization, which is enabling wide scale server consolidation, is driving the need for a reliable, high speed network core infrastructure that 10Gbs enables,” explains Bob Gill, managing director of TIP’s server practice.
TIP says that 30 percent of the Global 2000 has implemented 10GigE already, is in the process of installing it, or has plans to. In a snippet of an upcoming report on networking trends, which you can watch by clicking this link, TIP found from its surveys that 21 percent of the companies surveyed were using 10GigE as their backbone or in their core network already, with 2 percent in pilot or evaluation stage, 13 percent with near-term plans to move to 10GigE and 23 percent with long-term plans. While this faster networking technology is seen as a priority for many companies, some 42 percent of the companies polled say that do not have 10GigE in their plans yet.
Many smaller companies are still using 10/100 Mbit Ethernet, and the cost of Gigabit Ethernet has fallen fast enough that this is the more appropriate technology for them at this time, given their bandwidth needs and their budgets. But 10GigE is without a doubt in their future, too. It’s just a matter of time, which makes most IT gear less expensive eventually.