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What It Will Take for 10Gb Networking to Go Mainstream

In this guest blog post on the Tintri blog, vExpert Bill Hill looks at what it might take for 10Gb Ethernet to go mainstream. Tintri VMstore typically uses a 10Gb connection.

Enterprise IT is going through some significant growth right now. Virtualization has enabled a shift in how compute tasks are performed, and storage is seeing incredible performance increases with SSDs. However, the network needs to catch up in terms of adoption for the next major revision: 10Gb.

10Gb networking is available, but very expensive — which inhibits widespread adoption. However, many new products are coming that require 10Gb to maximize performance (ex: Tintri VMstore). What is it going to take for widespread penetration of 10Gb networking into mass enterprise markets?

Here are a few factors common to most enterprise IT departments:

  1. Expiring hardware: Unless enterprise environments are running modular switching systems, moving to 10Gb networking requires replacing the existing switching environment at significant cost. On the plus side, the number of physical ports should decrease, which means fewer switches are needed.
  2. Cabling changes: 10Gb networking requires Cat6A cabling (for copper) or Fibre (for optical). Copper is reaching the limits of its transmission speed. So, may as well bite the bullet for optical if you're going to need to change cabling from Cat5 or Cat6.
  3. Availability of 10Gb NIC ports: This is really a two-pronged issue. Servers need the 10Gb NICs as well as the storage devices. New storage technologies are including these as standard, which is nice.
  4. Equipment cost: Another two-pronged issue. Network vendors will need to reduce the cost of access to the 10Gb network.

Networking is really the key to unlocking everything that virtualization and SSD storage have to offer the enterprise compute world. Until 10Gb is adopted, the network will remain a bottleneck for performance.

Bill Hill / May 15, 2012

Bill is an industry recognized vExpert. By day Bill manages the IT infrastructure for a multinational logistics company. By night he blogs on virtualbill....more