In its latest Data Centre Switch Long-Range Forecast Report, Crehan Research projects that 25 GbE and 100GbE combined will account for over half of all data centre Ethernet switch shipments by 2021; and that these two technologies will be most instrumental in driving this market beyond US$15 billion by that time.
According to Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research: “25GbE and 100GbE data centre switch adoption is already experiencing exponential growth, with port shipments currently in the hundred-of-thousands per quarter. Volumes would likely be even higher if it weren’t for pockets of supply constraints in certain areas, such as the optical transceivers that uplink and connect many of these switches.”
Some of the factors driving the current strong ramp and expected future high volumes of 25GbE and 100GbE data centre Ethernet switching include:
· Very small – and in some cases no – price premium over comparable 10GbE and 40GbE switches, resulting in very substantial bandwidth discounts.
· Higher bandwidth per lane, since 25GbE currently uses the same number of lanes as 10GbE and 100GbE currently uses the same number of lanes as 40GbE.
· Compatibility with existing data centre fibre cabling.
· Very strong interest, and even some pent-up demand, from the largest hyper-scale cloud providers, which can drive significant early volumes and reduce costs even further. Already some of these providers have major artificial intelligence and deep machine learning initiatives.
· 25/100GbE network architectures, in conjunction with compute and network accelerators, will likely be instrumental in enabling the cost-effective scaling of these types of workloads.
The report further predicts that, as a result of the strong adoption of 25GbE and 100GbE, SFP-based 10GbE and QSFP-based 40GbE data centre switch shipments will decline in 2017. In contrast, 10GBASE-T data centre switching is expected to continue growing robustly for some time.