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100GbE Trends in Data Center Network Development

Updated on Jun 23, 2022
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Technological breakthroughs in 100G optical products are continuing to meet the needs of hyper-scale data centers. The development of 5G enables many industries to achieve high data throughput and low latency. From 2017 to now, many enterprises have already upgraded to 100G data center networks and then pursued 400G/800G networks. While other small data centers are still upgrading to 100G.

What's Driving the Growth of 100G Data Center Networks

According to the latest report from Dell'Oro Group, the 100G Ethernet market remains hot, and 100G data center switch shipments will continue to grow by more than half. Although shipments of 100G port devices are currently in full swing, Dell'Oro analysts forecast that shipments of 400G port equipment will also continue to rise in recent years.

Dell'Oro predicts that by 2024, ports of 400G and above will account for more than 25% of shipments, and the development of 800G will also develop like a new life. Dell'Oro senior director Sameh Boujelbene said. "Optics will continue to play an important role in the data center switch market. The availability of high-capacity, low-cost optics is critical to driving any speed shift." Beyond that, AI-driven workloads will continue to shape data center networking infrastructure, the cost of high-speed port equipment will also gradually decrease.

100G Market Insight

Under the influence of this market environment, enterprises using 10G/25G/40G data center networks have also begun to move towards 100G data center networks. Why do businesses need to upgrade to higher-speed networks? We give the following factors.

Data Center Network Architecture and Traffic Changes

Currently, 10G and 40G networks are still widely used. But for data centers, this is far from keeping up with the growth of data scale and traffic, especially Internet service providers and cloud service platforms. Data centers must upgrade to higher bandwidth data transmission solutions to avoid network problems caused by low rates and high latency. This is one of the reasons why 100G data centers have become mainstream in the market.

Limitations of 10G/25G/40G Enterprise Networks

In traditional data centers, link aggregation can easily lead to load imbalance. Compared with 100G/200G/400G networks, 10G/25G/40G backbone networks have low bandwidth efficiency and data transmission cannot continue to meet demand. In addition, with the continuous expansion of the scale of modern enterprises, the Internet has become more and more complex, and the requirements for bandwidth will become higher and higher. At present, 100G data center networks can compensate for the limitations of low-speed networks, minimize aggregation and improve overall efficiency. In the future, it is also necessary to consider upgrading the network for new business development.

CMOS Technology Helps the Upgrade of Network

High-speed transceivers are often expensive and consume a lot of power in the early stage of development, but with the continuous maturity of optical module technology, the cost-effectiveness will be greatly increased. Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology can provide up to 10 times faster transmission speeds for 100G network architectures while reducing power consumption by 50%. The development of this Ethernet technology enables 100G port devices to achieve low power consumption and high bandwidth performance while reducing the cost of 100G data center networks. With the exponential growth of Internet data and the continuous maturity of transceiver technology, 400G/800G will also occupy a larger market in the future.

For most enterprises, the era of 400g is still far away. It is necessary to upgrade to 100g at present, and it is more convenient and smooth to upgrade to 400g.

Development of 100G Data Centers Networks

Increases in processor power, server, and virtualization density are accelerating switch uplink speeds. Server-to-server traffic also exceeds client-to-server traffic. To process data more efficiently, data center networks must transmit from 10G to 100G. So what are the advantages of 100G data center networks?

Performance and Cost

The 100G data center network saves a certain amount of power and space in cabling. Like Dando said, using fewer transcoders can reduce some costs. At the same time, he also gave an example, based on the previous generation technology, if the top-of-rack switch has 16 computing nodes, each node supports two 20G connections, then a total of 320G is obtained. While the new technology allows 10 servers to run at the same time, supporting dual 25G connections, a total of 500G goes into the top-of-rack switch, which reduces the actual number of connections from 32 to 10.

In addition, Dando said that from HPE internal testing, compared with 10G networks, 100G has improved performance by 65% and reduced total cost by 27%, while saving 31% on power consumption and 38% on cabling complexity. Hence, it can be concluded that the 100G network backbone network reduces the load on the core network.

Workload

Large data center service providers and cloud service platforms have adopted 100G networks in high-performance computing and cloud infrastructure service facilities to balance workloads. Brett Ley, director of data center sales at Juniper Networks, mentioned that HPC and technology for financial, government, oil and gas services have also been transferred to 100G data center networks.

From the workload of the storage data center, 100G can indeed greatly reduce the workload inside it. The development of virtualization has also reduced workloads to a certain extent, while also driving the need for higher-speed bandwidth.

Storage Performance

Software-defined storage technologies are also widely used in data centers, such as extended storage or hyper-converged architectures, at their core, storage traffic in IP-based networks. Flash drives with NVMe interfaces can provide higher throughput and lower latency than SAS or SATA drives when used in high-speed data centers. In 100G data center networks and even high-speed 400G/800G networks, this is a very worthwhile storage technology, which not only reduces storage costs, but also provides storage expansion flexibility. Additionally, high-speed data centers generally use Ethernet to complete data transmission. Due to the bandwidth of Ethernet storage being three times that of optical fiber, the cost is only one-third of optical fiber, which is also one of the advantages of storage.

Preparation for 100G Data Center Networks

Upgrading to 100G data center networks, you have to make a migration plan from low-speed networks to 100G in advance and make full preparations. Deployment is simplified because 100GbE products typically support backward compatibility. So you can consider whether you need to reuse the existing cables and install the optical modules you need. Be cautious when building a 100G data center network, and reserve a certain amount of expansion space for future data growth.

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