Robust 2013 year-end growth has propelled 10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) data center switch port shipments past those of gigabit Ethernet (1GbE) for the first time, according to a recent report from Crehan Research.
Since first product introductions in 2001, 10GbE data center switching has overcome numerous hurdles on the path to majority adoption. These have included:
- Very low port-density switches, with accompanying prices prohibitive to volume data center deployments.
- High-priced optical pluggable modules accompanied by many different multi-source agreements and form-factors, with the market cycling through the 300pin, XENPAK, XPAK, XFP and X2 modules before finally settling at the current dominant SFP+ form-factor.
- Limited default or free 10GbE networking on volume rack servers to seed the market for a switch upgrade, similar to what happened with 1GbE.
- Slower-than-expected arrival of compelling 10GBASE-T solutions.
- Two major recessions in the aftermath of the housing and dot-com bubbles.
“When I first saw 10 gigabit Ethernet switches arrive on the market back in 2001, I never thought that we would be well into the next decade before these products would comprise a majority of data center Ethernet port shipments,” said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “Despite a network traffic growth curve that turned out to be way above most expectations, this technology was encumbered by numerous obstacles on its way to becoming a majority of data center connections,” he added.