Posts Tagged 10GbE
After a blockbuster year of storage acquisitions in 2010 with over $1B spent each on 3PAR, Isilon, Compellent, many have predicted that 2011 would be the year of networking acquisitions. Many look at Cisco’s entrance into the server business as having a ripple effect of server vendors expanding into the networking space, most notably with HP’s acquisition of 3COM and to a lesser extent IBM’s BNT purchase. This week, Intel signed an agreement to acquire merchant silicon vendor Fulcrum Microsystems and Dell announced the intent to acquire networking equipment vendor Force10. While financial terms have not been disclosed, both of these deals are estimated to be in the hundreds of $Ms and complement existing portfolios rather than changes in market direction or severing of existing partnerships.
I have to admit, when I first heard that Juniper was looking to deliver a “single tier” for networking, I thought it was a case of marketing one-upmanship. Every networking vendor has been pitching its own version of how to flatten a network to gain greater efficiencies and support the different traffic patterns driven by virtualization. I wrote last year that there wasn’t much differentiation between the various high level messages of moving to a two-tier network. Juniper has announced the architecture of it’s Stratus Project – the first hardware component, the QFX3500 starts shipping this quarter and the full QFabric solution is expected to ship by Q3’11. Juniper’s deconstruction of a switch, which allows for greater scale, lower latency and most importantly an order of magnitude in the number of devices to be managed, is truly innovative (not a term I use lightly).
Today, IBM officially announced the formation of its System Networking group (it’s buried in this PR). I’m on the record saying that IBM’s acquisition of BNT is not to attack Cisco. IBM is a master at the practice of co-opetition, and has a stated commitment to maintain partnerships, unlike HP, which has openly declared war on Cisco. The networking industry has undergone a realignment that will challenge Cisco’s dominance in the space.
Commoditization of IT, moving to more standardized components is a force that affects every product line across the industry. Looking at the details of any server or storage device will show the impact that Intel has had. Network switches have specialized chip designs that differ from processors, but face the same competitive pressures of creating new generations of products at a lower cost with more functionality. The move to standard switch components has moved significantly over the last decade and is creating a shift in the economics of the switch market. Specifically, hardware value is flowing from the switch vendors (Cisco) to suppliers of switch silicon (Marvell, Broadcom, QLogic). The implication is that to maintain margins, switch manufacturers will need to look for alternative value streams.
What is the best protocol for virtualized environments? For years we’ve been hearing arguments for NFS, iSCSI and FC (and more recently FCoE). This week HP sent a strong message with their Virtual Connect Flex Fabric launch that the answer is YES! In the new BladeSystem G7, customers can Wire Once and support NFS, iSCSI, FCoE or FC. This is an industry first for a switch module which can dynamically support FC and Ethernet.
There is a great write-up of the new BladeSystem G7 on Kevin Houston’s Blades Made Simple blog (the photo above is also from his site).
We are in the midst of an inflection point in the network industry with the adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). The adoption curve for 10GbE hit the knee of the S-Curve last year. The big question for industry watchers is will Cisco maintain its dominance in the Ethernet market?
Widely seen as the next generation in Layer 2 network infrastructure, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is a relatively new industry effort to combine the lossless features of Fibre Channel (FC) with the ubiquity of Ethernet. Combined with the new 10 Gbit Ethernet, it also promises something close to fibre channel speeds and the opportunity to converge FC and Ethernet networks, allowing organizations to simplify their networking infrastructure. Because it can support both FC and Ethernet traffic over a single physical infrastructure, it supports convergence of storage and network traffic over a single set of cables, switches, and adapters, eliminating the need for maintaining two physical networks, energy consumption and heat generation as well as overall cost and complexity. Specifically, storage management on FCoE has the same look and feel as management on traditional FC interfaces. On the Ethernet side, FCoE introduces 10 Gbit lossless Ethernet, the next generation in this technology, providing higher data transfer rates with more security against packet loss than previous versions. Overall, this promises to be a win all around for the network infrastructure.
Today Emulex announced general availability of its OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapters (UCNA) and OneCommand Manager software. With this announcement, Emulex is making a strong move into the 10Gb Ethernet network adapter marketplace, while continuing its existing Fibre Channel HBA business.
Today’s announcement includes the general availability of three different adapters, a 10GbE NIC with TCP/IP offload, a 10Gb iSCSI adapter with full iSCSI offload and full TCP/IP offload, and a 10Gb converged network adapter (CNA) supporting Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCOE) that includes full TCP/IP offload. These dual-port, PCI-Express 2.0 x8 products are available immediately through distributors worldwide, and are expected to be available through major server and storage vendors in the future. The UCNAs have been qualified to run with Microsoft and Linux operating systems, and other environments are expected to be officially supported soon.