10G Networking: Who, What, When, Why?

On a Tuesday many years ago, Bob’s memo changed everything. The Tuesday in this instance was the 22nd of May 1973, and the Bob was Professor Robert Melancton Metcalfe. Perhaps more important was the groundbreaking memo, which detailed an “omnipresent, completely-passive medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves”. So was born Ethernet, a family of computer networking technologies for local area and larger networks.

Since the early days of the “DIX” standard (Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel, and Xerox worked together to promote Ethernet as a standard from 1979), Ethernet has overcome proprietary competitors, evolved to meet new bandwidth and market requirements, quickly replaced legacy data transmission systems in the world’s telecommunications networks, and finally found itself (by 2010) as a market worth over $16 billion per year.

So let’s take a brief detour to appreciate just how much Ethernet has evolved to meet our modern bandwidth requirements. The below dates approximate when standardization for each was approved:

1979: 10Mbps

1995: 100Mbps

1998: 1000Mbps (gigabit Ethernet – the speed your local network is likely running at)

2002: 10Gbps

2010: 40Gbps and 100Gbps

And if we could take a detour from the detour, you may be wondering why that growth rate evidence in the 90s didn’t carry through to the next decade and why we’re not currently all enjoying 10Gbps or even 100Gbps Ethernet? For that answer, let’s turn to Jim O’Reilly:

“One of the big surprises in IT over the last few years has been the slow uptake of 10 gigabit Ethernet. With production available in 2006, we would have expected it to become industry standard by 2009. But with a recession beginning at the end of 2008, the driving force for replacement weakened considerably, and took the sails (and sales) out of the launch.”

But fortunately, as Jim goes on to say, things are looking brighter this side of 2010.

10ge-chart_large

With adoption rates improving and prices becoming more attractive even for those in small to medium sized businesses, 2014 and 2015 seem likely to be the years most organizations take the plunge into the long overdue waters of 10G networking.

Having released the world’s first SMB 10GbE NAS back in 2010, Thecus was well prepared for the changing of the networking guard, and has since developed two separate 10G networking cards (with the most recent being the C10GTR). So for those looking for faster network speeds, improved resource utilization, and expanded virtualization, what do 10G networking and storage have to offer?

“Powered by an advanced Tehuti TN4010 processor, the new 10Gb Ethernet PCI Express Adapter from Thecus is compatible with both x4 and x8-sized PCIe slots as well as 100M, 1G, and 10G networks. Software supported by the C10GTR includes Windows Storage Server 2012, WSS 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows 7, Linux 2.6, Linux 3.x, VMWare 5.x, and Hyper-V. This low profile card is suitable for a wide range of products, including enterprise-targeted NAS from Thecus (such as the Top Tower, large business rackmount, and N7710/N8810U series, as well as the N7700 and N8800 PRO v2). Lastly, the C10GTR is also fully compliant with a wide range of protocols, including IEEE 802.3az, IEEE 802.3ad Link Aggregation, and IEEE 802.1q VLAN.”

So on the performance side, the below test result and diagram help illustrate the potential improvement in performance for multi-user scenarios:

10G Diagram

10G Chart

All in all, things are looking pretty bright for today’s media and cloud-service hungry users. So next time you’re thinking about upgrading your network, why not have a look at 10G networking and storage?

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