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How 400G Has Transformed Data Centers

With the rapid technological adoption witnessed in various industries across the world, data centers are adapting on the fly to keep up with the rising client expectations. History is also pointing to a data center evolution characterized by an ever-increasing change in fiber density, bandwidth, and lane speeds.

Data centers are shifting from 100G to 400G technologies in a bid to create more powerful networks that offer enhanced experiences to clients. Some of the factors pushing for 400G deployments include recent advancements in disruptive technologies such as AI, 5G, and cloud computing.

Today, forward-looking data centers that want to maximize cost while ensuring high-end compatibility and convenience have made 400G Ethernet a priority. Below, we have discussed the evolution of data centers, the popular 400G form factors, and what to expect in the data center switching market as technology continues to improve.

Evolution of Data Centers

The concept of data centers dates back to the 1940s, when the world’s first programmable computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, was the apex of computational technology. The latter was primarily used by the US army to compute artillery fire during the Second World War. It was complex to maintain and operate and was only operated in a particular environment.

This saw the development of the first data centers centered on intelligence and secrecy. Ideally, a data center would have a single door and no windows. And besides the hundreds of feet of wiring and vacuum tubes, huge vents and fans were required for cooling. Refer to our data center evolution infographic to learn more about the rise of modern data centers and how technology has played a huge role in shaping the end-user experience.data center evolution

The Limits of Ordinary Data Centers

Some of the notable players driving the data center evolution are CPU design companies like Intel and AMD. The two have been advancing processor technologies, and both boost exceptional features that can support any workload.

And while most of these data center processors are reliable and optimized for several applications, they aren’t engineered for the specialized workloads that are coming up like big data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

How 400G Has Transformed Data Centers

The move to 400 Gbps drastically transforms how data centers and data center interconnect (DCI) networks are engineered and built. This shift to 400G connections is more of a speculative and highly-dynamic game between the client and networking side.

Currently, two multisource agreements compete for the top spot as a form-factor of choice among consumers in the rapidly evolving 400G market. The two technologies are QSFP-DD and OSFP optical/pluggable transceivers.

OSFP vs. QSFP-DD

QSFP-DD is the most preferred 400G optical form factor on the client-side, thanks to the various reach options available. The emergence of the Optical Internetworking Forum’s 400ZR and the trend toward combining switching and transmission in one box are the two factors driving the network side. Here, the choice of form factors narrows down to power and mechanics.

The OSFP being a bigger module, provides lots of useful space for DWDM components, plus it features heat dissipation capabilities up to 15W of power. When putting coherent capabilities into a small form factor, power is critical. This gives OSFP a competitive advantage on the network side.

And despite the OSFP’s power, space, and enhanced signal integrity performance, it’s not compatible with QSFP28 plugs. Additionally, its technology doesn’t have the 100Gbps version, so it cannot provide an efficient transition from legacy modules. This is another reason it has not been widely adopted on the client side.

However, the QSFP-DD is compatible with QSFP28 and QSFP plugs and has seen a lot of support in the market. The only challenge is its low power dissipation, often capped at 12 W. This makes it challenging to efficiently handle a coherent ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) and keep it cool for an extended period.

The switch to 400GE data centers is also fueled by the server’s adoption of 25GE/50GE interfaces to meet the ever-growing demand for high-speed storage access and a vast amount of data processing.OSFP vs. QSFP-DD

The Future of 400G Data Center Switches

Cloud service provider companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft are still deploying 100G to reduce costs. According to a report by Dell’Oro Group, 100G is expected to peak in the next two years. But despite 100G dominating the market now, 400G shipments are expected to surpass 15M million switch ports by 2023.

In 2018, the first batch of 400G switch systems based on 12.8 Tbps chips was released. Google, which then was the only cloud service provider, was among the earliest companies to get into the market. Fast-forward, other cloud service providers have entered the market helping fuel the transformation even further. Today, cloud service companies make a big chunk of 400G customers, but service providers are expected to be next in line.

Choosing a Data Center Switch

Data center switches are available in a range of form factors, designs, and switching capabilities. Depending on your unique use cases, you want to choose a reliable data center switch that provides high-end flexibility and is built for the environment in which they are deployed. Some of the critical factors to consider during the selection process are infrastructure scalability and ease of programmability. A good data center switch is power efficient with reliable cooling and should allow for easy customization and integration with automated tools and systems. Here is an article about Data Center Switch Wiki, Usage and Buying Tips.

Article Source: How 400G Has Transformed Data Centers

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400G Ethernet Manufacturers and Vendors

New data-intensive applications have led to a dramatic increase in network traffic, raising the demand for higher processing speeds, lower latency, and greater storage capacity. These require higher network bandwidth, up to 400G or higher. Therefore, the 400G market is currently growing rapidly. Many organizations join the ranks of 400G equipment vendors early, and are already reaping the benefits. This article will take you through 400G Ethernet market trend and some global 400G equipment vendors.

The 400G Era

The emergence of new services, such as 4K VR, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing, raises connected devices and internet users. According to an IEEE report, they forecast that “device connections will grow from 18 billion in 2017 to 28.5 billion devices by 2022.” And the number of internet users will soar “from 3.4 billion in 2017 to 4.8 billion in 2022.” Hence, network traffic is exploding. Indeed, the average annual growth rate of network traffic remains at a high level of 26%.

Annual Growth of Network Traffic
Annual Growth of Network Traffic

Facing the rapid growth of network traffic, 100GE/200GE ports are unable to meet the demand for network connectivity from a large number of customers. Many organizations and enterprises, especially hyperscale data centers and cloud operators, are aggressively adopting next-generation 400G network infrastructure to help address workloads. 400G provides the ideal solution for operators to meet high-capacity network requirements, reduce operational costs, and achieve sustainability goals. Due to the good development prospects of 400G market, many IT infrastructure providers are scrambling to layout and join the 400G market competition, launching a variety of 400G products. Dell’Oro group indicates “the ecosystem of 400G technologies, from silicon to optics, is ramping.” Starting in 2021, large-scale deployments will contribute meaningful market. They forecast that 400G shipments will exceed 15 million ports by 2023, and 400G will be widely deployed in all of the largest core networks in the world. In addition, according to GLOBE NEWSWIRE, the global 400G transceiver market is expected to be at $22.6 billion in 2023. 400G Ethernet is about to be deployed at scale, leading to the arrival of the 400G era.

400G Growth

Companies Offering 400G Networking Equipment

Many top companies seized the good opportunity of the fast-growing 400G market, and launched various 400G equipment. Many well-known IT infrastructure providers, which laid out 400G products early on, have become the key players in the 400G market after years of development, such as Cisco, Arista, Juniper, etc.

400G Equipment Vendors
400G Equipment Vendors

Cisco

Cisco foresaw the need for the Internet and its infrastructure at a very early stage, and as a result, has put a stake in the ground that no other company has been able to eclipse. Over the years, Cisco has become a top provider of software and solutions and a dominant player in the highly competitive 25/50/100Gb space. Cisco entered the 400G space with its latest networking hardware and optics as announced on October 31, 2018. Its Nexus switches are Cisco’s most important 400G product. Cisco primarily expects to help customers migrate to 400G Ethernet with solutions including Cisco’s ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure), streamlining operations, Cisco Nexus data networking switches, and Cisco Network Assurance Engine (NAE), amongst others. Cisco has seized the market opportunity and is continuing to grow its sales with its 400G products. Cisco reported second-quarter revenue of $12.7 billion, up 6% year over year, demonstrating the good prospects of 400G Ethernet market.

Arista Networks

Arista Networks, founded in 2008, provides software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center storage and computing environments. Arista is smaller than rival Cisco, but it has made significant gains in market share and product development during the last several years. Arista announced on October 23, 2018, the release of 400G platforms and optics, presenting its entry into the 400G Ethernet market. Nowadays, Arista focuses on its comprehensive 400G platforms that include various series switches and 400G optical modules for large-scale cloud, leaf and spine, routing transformation, and hyperscale IO intensive applications. The launch of Arista’s diverse 400G switches has also resulted in significant sales and market share growth. According to IDC, Arista networks saw a 27.7 percent full year switch ethernet switch revenue rise in 2021. Arista has put legitimate market share pressure on leader Cisco in the tech sector during the past five years.

Juniper Networks

Juniper is a leading provider of networking products. With the arrival of the 400G era, Juniper offers comprehensive 400G routing and switching platforms: packet transport routers, universal routing platforms, universal metro routers, and switches. Recently, it also introduced 400G coherent pluggable optics to further address 400G data communication needs. Juniper believes that 400G will become the new data rate currency for future builds and is fully prepared for the 400G market competition. And now, Juniper has become the key player in the 400G market.

Huawei Technologies

Huawei, a massive Chinese tech company, is gaining momentum in its data center networking business. Huawei is already in the “challenger” category to the above-mentioned industry leaders—getting closer to the line of “leader” area. On OFC 2018, Huawei officially released its 400G optical network solution for commercial use, joining the ranks of 400G product vendors. Hence, it achieves obvious economic growth. Huawei accounted for 28.7% of the global communication equipment market last year, an increase of 7% year on year. As Huawei’s 400G platforms continue to roll out, related sales are expected to rise further. The broad Chinese market will also further strengthen Huawei’s leading position in the global 400G space.

FS

Founded in 2009, FS is a global high-tech company providing high-speed communication network solutions and services to several industries. Through continuous technology upgrades, professional end-to-end supply chain, and brand partnership with top vendors, FS services customers across 200 countries – with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative solution portfolio. FS is one of the earliest 400G vendors in the world, with a diverse portfolio of 400G products, including 400G switches, optical transceivers, cables, etc. FS thinks 400G Ethernet is an inevitable trend in the current networking market, and has seized this good opportunity to gain a large number of loyal customers in the 400G market. In the future, FS will continue to provide customers with high-quality and reliable 400G products for the migration to 400G Ethernet.

Getting Started with 400G Ethernet

400G is the next generation of cloud infrastructure, driving next-generation data center networks. Many organizations and enterprises are planning to migrate to 400G. The companies mentioned above have provided 400G solutions for several years, making them a good choice for enterprises. There are also lots of other organizations trying to enter the ranks of 400G manufacturers and vendors, driving the growing prosperity of the 400G market. Remember to take into account your business needs and then choose the right 400G product manufacturer and vendor for your investment or purchase.