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Network World -
Network technologies have come and gone, but the Ethernet switch has survived and continues to evolve, currently making its move to 40G and 100G. Here's a roundup of our latest and most evergreen coverage.
With the exception of Avaya, next-generation data center initiatives are driving the LAN switching market and its consolidation. And they are all intended to compete more intensely with Cisco, which owns 70% of the Ethernet switching market but still has an insatiable appetite for growth.
IT managers who are getting started with – or even pushing the limits of -- 10 Gigabit Ethernet in their LANs and data centers won't have to wait long for higher speed connectivity. 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet products are slated to ship by year-end; terabit speeds are anticipated by 2015.
Convergence, virtualization and more necessitates a new breed of high-performance, low-latency, non-blocking 10G Ethernet switches now hitting the market. And it won't be long before these 10G switches are upgraded to 40G and 100G Ethernet switches when those IEEE standards are ratified in mid-2010.
University of California at San Diego researchers have described software that they say could make data center networks massively scalable. The researchers say their PortLand software will enable Layer 2 data center network fabrics scalable to 100,000 ports and beyond, and they even have a prototype running at the school's Department of Computer Science and Engineering's Jacobs School of Engineering
A range of companies with wireless LANs are discovering that 50% to 90% or more of Ethernet ports now go unused, because Wi-Fi has become so prevalent.
It was the classic IBM vs. Digital Equipment Corp. battle taken to the network theatre.
Vendors at Interop say it's not driving the market for current data center projects. The market for FCoE is still in the gestation phase as standards are still fluid and pricing is too high.
ARTICLES: COMPANY NEWS
Arista Networks has unveiled a Gigabit Ethernet data center switch designed to better accommodate increasing traffic loads between the server access and core layers of the network.
Extreme Networks unveiled a Carrier Ethernet switch for smaller Tier 2 and 3 service providers.The BlackDiamond 20804 Ethernet Transport switch is the latest addition to Extreme's BlackDiamond 20800 series of Carrier Ethernet switches. Extreme rolled out the 8-slot BlackDiamond 20808 a year ago.
The products include blade switches designed to reduce cost and improve security in the data center; an 8Gbps FibreChannel Virtual Connect module and firmware upgrade intended to tune bandwidth to application requirements; and new chassis and modules for its ProCurve 5400 and 8200 Ethernet switches to provide an array of configurations depending on network need.
Juniper's Stratus Project comprises six elements: a data center manager, storage, compute, Layer 4-7 switching, appliances and networking. It is intended to be a flat, non-blocking, lossless fabric supporting tens of thousands of Gigabit Ethernet ports, an order of magnitude reduction in latency, no single point of failure, and with security tightly integrated and virtualized.
Juniper Networks has landed perhaps its most significant enterprise customer to date, as the New York Stock Exchange plans to deploy hundreds of the company's switches for a time-sensitive, low-latency 10Gbps Ethernet network.
Fujitsu has unveiled a 10Gbps Ethernet switch designed to handle important applications in an energy-efficient way. The XG2600 switch is a 26-port Layer 2 device that supports SFP+ optical modules and is designed for use with SFP+ twinax copper cables .The 1RU offering is the first Fujitsu Ethernet switch to support SFP+ connectors, which help the switch consume only five watts of power per port, Fujitsu says.
IBM added 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches from longtime data center partner Voltaire to its roster of resold products. Traditionally a maker of Inifinband switches for the data center, Voltaire recently unveiled the Vantage 8500, a 10G Ethernet switch for converged data center fabrics. The Vantage 8500 is now generally available and customers can purchase it from IBM under this resale agreement between the companies.
Enterasys introduced a major upgrade to its Ethernet switch line in an effort to better serve converged networks, including those that are heavily virtualized. The S-Series boasts an almost fourfold increase in switching capacity and a 10x increase in throughput over the predecessor N-Series, plus greater 10G port density. In addition, the switches come with improved policy-based security features, a traditional Enterasys differentiator.
The Nexus 4000 is the first blade switch in the Nexus line, which also includes the Nexus 7000 core switch, the 5000 top-of-rack switch, the 2000 fabric extender and the 1000V software-based virtual switch. The 4000 is intended to fit inside a blade server system enclosure and aggregate multiple 1G server NIC connections into a 10G pipe for connection to and from the Nexus 5000 and 7000 top-of-rack and core switches.
Nortel said in March it was winding down its investment in Carrier Ethernet switch/routers (CESR) in favor of packet optical transport platforms.
Process industries are trying to reduce plant downtime by deploying whole bunches of intelligent devices across their plants. These devices are expected to give the plant's operators better remote control over other automation components. They will deliver information about what's going on in the plant to business-level decision-making systems. They allow a larger plant to be managed by a smaller team. All of those devices have to communicate their data to the central management system using something, and the openness of Ethernet is compelling.
Looking down the LAN road, the Terabit Ethernet milestone is very much in sight. While 3.2Tbps and 6.4Tbps speeds were demonstrated in test environments by Siemens/WorldCom and NEC/Nortel respectively starting in 2001, the first set of viable solutions are just now taking shape.
Our exclusive Clear Choice test of its new core switch backs up 3Com's claim that it has a viable high-end switch alternative to offerings from Cisco and others. This chassis-based, 288-port device delivered line-rate throughput in all performance tests, supported more Open Shortest Path First routing sessions than we've ever set up and consumed remarkably little power all the while.
From 3Mbps over shared coax to 40/100Gbps over fiber…and beyond. Here's a timeline showing key milestones in the growth of Ethernet.
Ethernet Everywhere! Few technologies in the world have proven to be as adaptable as Ethernet. Once a meek 3Mbps over shared coaxial cable technology used to connect printers and PCs, it has morphed to 100Gbps and is used to help run trains, planes and spaceships. Here's a look at some of Ethernet's cooler implementations.
Zeus Kerravala, senior vice president at analyst firm Yankee Group, explains why so many switching vendors are jumping on the 10 Gigabit Ethernet bandwagon these days.
Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.