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25 Gigabit Ethernet Gaining Traction

Network administrators running data centers where moving directly to 100 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is too big a leap may have an easier time making the transition with 25 GbE, demonstrated by QLogic and Huawei. U.S.-based QLogic makes data, server and storage networking infrastructure products. Huawei is a networking and telecommunications equipment maker headquartered in China.

Huawei servers were equipped with QLogic 25 GbE adapters and hooked up to Huawei 25 gigabit Ethernet switches. The demonstration was intended to show potential customers an approach for upgrading from 10 GbE to something considerably faster with largely the same infrastructure for cabling. According to the companies, 25 GbE "single-lane" technology provides a 250 percent increase in bandwidth with the same port density as 10 GbE.

Some networking companies are moving away from an emphasis on 40 GbE as being the next obvious networking bandwidth standard. Both QLogic and Huawei are members of the 2550100 Alliance, a vendor organization promoting the use of 25 GbE technology as a better fit for the eventual shift to 100 GbE.

QLogic is the first vendor to introduce 25 GbE adapters for the purposes of testing. In April the company demonstrated a network setup using HP ProLiant Gen9 servers with Ethernet adapters based on QLogic controllers.

As QLogic CTO, Greg Scherer, explained in a YouTube video, "If I have a single lane running 25 GbE, why wouldn't I use that instead of using four lanes [of 10 GbE], which comprises 40 GbE.... The Fewer the number of lanes, the less cost." From a total cost of ownership standpoint, he said, "There's no lower cost way to get the kind of bandwidth that 25 GbE and 50 GbE afford."

He noted that IEEE has taken up the cause of 25 GbE usage; a task force is currently discussing the potential for developing a standard.

"Cloud-based networks are proliferating rapidly and will require considerably more bandwidth and efficiency," said Manoj Gujral, QLogic vice president of marketing for Ethernet products, in a prepared statement. "Our 25 gigabit Ethernet adapter technology enables network bandwidth to be cost-effectively scaled in support of next-generation server and storage solutions residing in cloud and web-scale data center environments."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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