While 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GigE) has been used to interconnect switches for a while, it is now a coveted technology for certain endpoints. Many servers can now take advantage of 10 GigE. The best example is for virtualization installations to utilize 10 GigE. Here, virtual machine migrations as well as Ethernet-based storage can take advantage of the higher throughput networking technology.
One of the issues that inhibit mainstream adoption of 10GigE is the per-port cost when totaled between the device (server) and switching infrastructure. The device end is quite attractive from current offerings, with many options available with new server builds. In many cases, the per-port cost on new server purchases for 10 GigE can be a mere 40% of the cost of a fiber channel equivalent.
While fiber channel is the networking technology in use for many storage networks today, it may not be attractive going forward if the costs dictate that other technologies make sense. The logical answer in this situation is to consider using fiber channel over Ethernet (FCoE). FCoE has a logical home in the converged networking adapter (CNA) space. One of my blogging colleagues, Simon Seagrave at TechHead, has this informative video on the emerging CNA space.
Whether CNAs are used to deliver FCoE with Ethernet or simply using 10GigE for storage and networking, it is clear that the device endpoint of the datacenter will have increased options. I hope that the server switch side of 10GigE becomes more affordable in 2010, making high-performance server connectivity more attainable for many environments.
Do you see 10GigE becoming more mainstream in 2010? If so, share your comments below.
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.