Recent data center trends predict bandwidth requirements will continue growing 25 percent to 35 percent per year. A key impact of this sustained growth is the shift to higher switching speeds. According to a recent study by Dell’Oro, Ethernet switch revenue will continue to grow through the end of the decade, with the biggest sales forecasted for 25G and 100G ports.
40G port revenue has likely peaked and will now decline in favor of 25G and 50G ports. 40G ports are used extensively for server connectivity today, with each QSFP 40G port supporting four 10G server connections. Servers are quickly evolving, however, and new designs will easily consume much more than a 10G uplink can supply.
The shift to 25G lanes is well underway as switches deploying 25G lanes become more commonplace. Lane capacities are expected to continue doubling, reaching 100G by 2020 and enabling the next generation of high speed links for fabric switches. A number of factors are driving the surge in data center throughput speeds.
- Server densities are increasing by approximately 20 percent a year.
- Processor capabilities are growing, with Intel recently announcing a 22-core processor.
- Virtualization density is increasing by 30 percent, which is driving the uplink speeds to switches.
- East-west traffic in the data center has far surpassed the volume of north-south traffic.
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