Force10 Networks unveils 40-Gigabit Ethernet data center plans

APRIL 19, 2010 -- Force10 Networks Inc. revealed that it plans to incorporate 40-Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) into its switch/routers, which it called “the most economical incremental step from 10GbE for dynamic data centers.”

APRIL 19, 2010 -- Force10 Networks Inc. revealed that it plans to incorporate 40-Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) into its switch/routers, which it called “the most economical incremental step from 10GbE for dynamic data centers.”

Noting that the IEEE is expected to ratify the P802.3ba standard for 40GbE and 100GbE by this June. Force10 says that economic considerations will drive the initial deployment of the lower of the two data rates end-to-end in data centers. Even though the price for 100GbE technology will eventually shrink, “the price point of 40GbE will more cost-effectively keep pace with the requirements for more bandwidth at the server edge, as well for higher capacity interconnects in the data center core,” Force10 believes.

Force10 therefore has a 40GbE roadmap in place. The first such offering will see 40GbE added to a 10GbE top-of-rack access switch for converging Fibre Channel and Ethernet fabrics. The company says its E-Series core switch/router is 40/100GbE-ready currently, and its C-Series chassis-based switches are 40GbE-ready.

Industry analysts backed Force10’s thinking, based on quotes the company provided to the press. “The unstoppable crush of data is causing scaling problems in data centers that are today confined to 10GbE networks. Even though 100GbE is desired, data center owners are looking for practical relief offered in the lower-cost 40GbE,” said Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst for carrier and data center networks, Infonetics Research, by way of example. “100GbE makes sense at some point as the technology becomes more cost-effective, but customers want solutions to simplify their data center networks and drive down costs today.”

“The emergence of 40GbE is an important step toward making it possible from a bandwidth perspective to converge storage, compute and network resources on to Ethernet technology,” added Steven Schuchart Jr., principal data center analyst, Current Analysis. “Having a complete 40GbE solution that leverages network automation, virtualization, and convergence will strike that balance between optimized data center network performance and efficiency. This will provide a basis for advanced services designed to meet the specific challenges of next-generation data centers and enterprises, specifically service providers.”

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