Find out what pros and cons partners should know to cash in on the boom in 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology.
May 21, 2012
What partners should know to cash in on the boom in 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology.
Finally, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) is taking off, spurred by bandwidth demands from virtualization, cloud computing, and Big Data projects.
In fact, a December 2011 forecast from IDC projects an explosion in 10GbE networking over the next five years, with the number of ports shipped growing from 6 percent in 2009 to more than 50 percent of data center network ports by 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2011, IDC also reported that 10GbE port shipments grew to a record 2.8 million ports. And this isn’t just an enterprise phenomenon. SMBs, midsize businesses in particular, are jumping on the virtualization and cloud computing bandwagons and also need increased bandwidth.
The benefits of 10GbE for any size business are clear. It offers significant potential reduction in power consumption, cables and switch ports, and infrastructure cost. It enables the doubling of bandwidth per server. And it enables organizations to move data and storage traffic over unified networks (the same pipes), improving efficiency while further reducing data center cost and complexity.
For the channel, 10GbE represents a huge opportunity, because while most SMBs know what they want to accomplish, they’re not always sure how to achieve it. Channel partners can help educate SMBs about the ROI of 10GbE over legacy 1GbE technologies.
When selling 10GbE, here are the top three pros and cons to keep in mind:
- Technology Shift = Opportunity According to Moore’s Law, as we continue to drive more processing power on CPUs, the number of apps and usage models (such as virtualization and cloud) grows exponentially, creating enormous need for more bandwidth. There is a rapid shift under way now from 1GbE to 10GbE—the kind that only happens once a decade. As a channel partner, you have the opportunity to show customers the value of moving to 10GbE while growing your addressable market.
- Price/Performance The traditional view of 10GbE is that it’s expensive. But if you look at the actual cost per GB, today it’s about 55 percent lower than it is for 1GbE, and it’s expected to be even cheaper in 2012 and beyond. You now have an opportunity to show customers how they can boost bandwidth and maximize TCO with 10GbE.
- Simplification and Throughput Moving to 10GbE provides a bigger pipe to carry both data and storage network traffic, simplifying the data center environment, cutting costs, and improving overall efficiency. This also gives you an opportunity to grow your addressable market and enter adjacent markets, such as storage.
- Infrastructure Expense While 10GbE switch costs have been dropping roughly 30 percent per year, overall infrastructure support costs can still be a challenge. Regardless, remind your midsize customers that they are investing in the future, and that will almost certainly require more bandwidth. Be prepared to explain how investing for future growth now will be a benefit in the long term.
- Proprietary Architecture Some vendors will lock you into proprietary architectures, arguing that with everything on the same platform, the technology “works better together.” While true with some technology, that doesn’t apply to 10GbE. Indeed, proprietary 10GbE architectures can often carry hidden costs for the channel and end customers. So embrace a more standardized infrastructure based on IEEE standards as the best way to assure heterogeneity and limit costs.
- Crowded Market There is heavy competition among vendors in 10GbE unified networking, and it can be difficult to know which to work with on an ongoing basis. Do a little homework to identify a veteran Ethernet company to meet your networking needs.
SUNIL AHLUWALIA is director of product management at Intel Corp.’s LAN Access Division.