Tag Archives: 25g switch

25G Ethernet – How It Develops and What’s the Future of It?

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInRedditTumblrShare

Have you ever heard of 25G Ethernet? It is a hot topic which is often mentioned these days. Then, what is it and how it develops? What’s the future of it? Let’s find all the answers together in the following text focusing on the developing process of 25G Ethernet.

What Is 25G Ethernet? Why Does It Appear?

25G Ethernet, or 25 Gigabit Ethernet, is a standard for Ethernet network connectivity in a data center environment. It is developed by IEEE P802.3by 25 Gb/s Ethernet Task Force. The IEEE 802.3by standard uses technology defined for 100 Gigabit Ethernet implemented as four 25 Gbps lanes (IEEE 802.3bj).

25G Ethernet to 100G

In addition to 10, 40 and 100GbE networking, 25G Ethernet technology continues to innovate and lay a path to higher networking speeds. Then, you may ask why it appears since we already have 40G. As you may know that 40GbE technology has evolved over the years and has gained some momentum as an option for enterprises, service providers and cloud providers. However, since the underlying technology for 40G Ethernet is simply four lanes at 10G speed, it does not offer the advantages in power consumption reduction when upgrading to 100G, which 25G can offer.

25G Ethernet can provide a simpler path to Ethernet speeds of 50Gbps, 100Gbps and beyond. With 25G, network operators are no longer forced to use a 40G QSFP port to go from one individual device to another to achieve 100G throughput.

Development of 25G Ethernet

Year 2014 – 25G Was First Introduced

The 25G Ethernet can be dated back to 2014. This is the year when 25G was first put forward. At that time, its cost and efficiency were discussed by a wide range of vendors when compared with 10G, 40G, and 100G. Some well-known hyper-scale data center and cloud computing providers such as Google, Microsoft, Broadcom, Arista, Mellanox, etc. have formed a special research group, namely 25G Ethernet Consortium, to explore the standardization of 25G Ethernet and promote the development of it.

Year 2015 – The First Batch of 25G Products Appeared

Stepping into the second year on 25G Ethernet exploration, the Consortium had a deeper and more comprehensive analysis of it. Researchers were conducting analysis of 25G Ethernet from various aspects, such as its demanding trends in data centers, advantages and applications, Q&As people may concern, etc. With the deepening of exploration, the standardization of 25G Ethernet has gradually taken shape, and suppliers have great expectations for the development of it.

As the initiators of the 25G Ethernet Consortium, Broadcom, Mellanox and Arista have stepped ahead of time and planned to launch their products for 25G development. Broadcom was ramping up production of its “Tomahawk” switch ASICs, and Mellanox had announced its Spectrum ASICs as well as adapter cards to support 25 Gb/s, 50 Gb/s, and 100 Gb/s speeds on servers. While, Arista joins list of vendors that are supporting the new 25G Ethernet standards with its three new switches, the 7060X, 7260X and 7320X, that support both 25 and 50 Gigabit Ethernet.

Year 2016-2017 – Fast Development of 25G

These two years have significant meaning for 25G Ethernet development. During the years, the IEEE approved the 802.3by specification for 25G Ethernet and other major suppliers are rushing to launch their own 25G products to comply with the market trend. 25G Ethernet has more practical applications in the data center.

802.3by specification for 25G Ethernet

In 2016, Marvell introduced industry’s most optimized 25GbE end-to-end data center solution with its newest Prestera switches and Alaska Ethernet transceivers. And Finisar introduced 25G Ethernet optics for high speed data centers with its SFP28 eSR transceiver enabling 300-meter links over existing OM3 MMF, and 25G SFPwire, an Active Optical Cable (AOC) with embedded technology that provides real-time troubleshooting and link performance monitoring as well. In addition, major server vendors including Dell, HPE, and Lenovo have 25G network adapters solutions. And as one of the members of 25G Ethernet Consortium, Mellanox offered SN2100 with 16-port 100G half rack width and can be used as 64-port 25G with breakout cables.

In 2017, 25G was recognized as the industry standard for next-generation server access rates. The related technical specifications such as 25G ToR switches and AOC cables are urgently needed to be finalized, and global organizations are actively competing to take the initiative. At that time, China’s ODCC (Open Data Center Committee) first introduced the 25G ToR switch specification and released details, which had become an important force in the rapid rise of 25G Ethernet.

As companies offer more and more different types of 25G SFP28 transceivers, DACs, and AOCs, the call for 25G Ethernet construction is getting higher and higher.

Year 2018 Till Now – Competition Against Other Network Products

2018 is a year of competition between 25G products and other products. During the year, sales of 10G products declined slightly. At the same time, 25G products received more and more recognition. In 2018, Supermicro opened path to 100G networking with new 25G Ethernet server and storage solutions. It offers a wide range of 25G NIC solutions that empower customers to future-proof nearly any Supermicro system by equipping it with 25G Ethernet networking technology. What’s more, Supermicro also offers a 25G switch (SBM-25G-100) with the X11 SuperBlade. This switch has twenty 25G downlink connections, four QSFP28 ports where each port can be configured as 40G or 100G uplink connections.

In any case, the arrival of 25G and its impact have given everyone confidence that data centers and suppliers can’t wait to plan for the era of 100G, 200G or even 400G.

How Far Can 25G Ethernet Go?

From all the above, you may have a general understanding of how 25G develops. At present, 25G is mainly used for switch-to-server applications. And it indeed gains ground in some aspects compared to 10G and 40G Ethernet. What’s more, you can see a clear trends of 25G market with a recent five-year forecast by industry analysts at the Dell’Oro Group below.

25G five year forecast

For a long run, it will go further since 25G switch offers a more convenient way to migrate to 100G or even 400G network.

Related Articles:

25G Switch Comparison: How to Choose the Suitable One?

Taking an In-depth Look at 25G SFP28

25G Switch Comparison: How to Choose the Suitable One?

Driven by the undeniable growth in demand for bandwidth of private and public cloud data centers, 25G Ethernet over a single lane has become the new trend for sever-to-switch interconnections. And the increasing requirements of higher speeds in data centers have enhanced the adoption of 25G switch, which is the new buzz in recent years. In this post, a simple analysis of 25G Ethernet switch market and comparison of commonly used 25G switches will be explored.

25G Switch Market Analysis

As we know, before 25G technology advent, the existing options are one lane for 10G, four lanes for 40G, or four lanes at 25Gbps for 100G. The 25G technology meets the specification for existing module form factors like SFP28 and QSFP28, and allows for a breakout connection between 25G and 100G without changing the port on the front of many 100G switches. Besides, driven by the high speed and bandwidth, various network switch manufacturers have announced their new 25G switches in recent three years, just to occupy more market shares.

  • Cisco delivered their Nexus 9300-FX platform switches for 10G/25G/100G switching;
  • Mellanox launched 25G Ethernet switch SN2410 series for 25G/50G/100G Ethernet networks;
  • Dell put forward EMC networking S-series 25/40/50/100GbE to help data centers migration;
  • Broadcom announced its BCM56960 Series 25G switch for cloud-scale networking;
  • FS.COM introduced N-Series spine/leaf 25G/100G switch for cost-effective data center solutions.

At the same time, 25G SFP28 transceivers, DACs, and AOCs also spring up like mushrooms. According to a study by Dell’oro, Ethernet switch revenue will continue to grow through the end of the decade, with the biggest sales forecast for 25G and 100G ports.

25G switch market

Notes: the source of the research: Crehan research.Inc

From the research we can see, at least in the next three years, 25G/50G/100G bandwidth will continue to grow and occupy half of the total network bandwidth, which in turn enhances the development of 25G switch market. Though challenges still exist for 25G Ethernet, it’s not denied that the trend for ToR 25G switches cannot be blocked.

Comparison Between Commonly Used 25G Switch in the Market

As have mentioned above, 25G SFP28 switch market is booming due to the growing speed and bandwidth as well as switch vendors promotion. Then how to achieve the optimized network performance with existing 25G Ethernet switches, and control the total investment at the same time? Firstly, let’s take a 25G network switch comparion among the commonly used ones.

25G Ethernet Switch Port Switch Capacity Packet Buffer Memory Max power consumption ONIE Support Price
Brocade
SLX 9140
48*SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
1.8 Tbps 24 MB 489 W Yes $19703.99
Cisco Nexus 93180YC-FX 48* SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
3.6 Tbps 40 MB 425 W No $11681.99
Dell S5148F-ON 48* SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
3.6 Tbps 16 MB 516 W Yes No Infro
FS.COM N8500-48B6C 48* SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
3.6 Tbps 16 MB 550 W Yes $6,199.00
Mellanox SN2410 48* SFP28 Port
8* QSFP28 Port
4 Tbps / / Yes $16910.00

All the 25G SFP28 switches listed in the table have the same port configuration: 48 SFP28 ports and 6 QSFP28 uplink ports. And there are ToR/Leaf switches. Usually 25G SFP28 switch is often used for switch-to-server applications, as for how to realize this, please read the article: How to Use 25G Switch for Switch-to-Server Connection.

For choosing ToR 25G switch, if you have no limited cost budget, Cisco 25G switch maybe a not bad choice, because except for the expensive price, it has high-level performance and configuration as well as its good reputation. All these make Cisco switches are perfect for data centers. Of course, other 25G SFP28 switch vendors like Dell, Brocade and Mellanox also provide good options for migration from 10G, 25G to 50G and 100G networks.

However, for those who have a tight budget or do not pursue brand, a more wise choices is to buy 25G switch like FS.COM N8500-48B6C. This switch supports ONIE installer for 3rd party network operating systems and compatibility with SDN (Software Defined Networks) via OpenFlow 1.3.11. And it also supports the advanced hardware based VXLAN feature to support over 16M virtual networks, making it a suitable option for cost-effective data center solutions.

25G switch

Summary

25G switch offers a more convenient way to migrate to 100G network. Because it reduces the numbers of cables and switches needed in network designs, which in turn decrease the CAPEX and OPEX. Facing with the fast evolving 25G switch market, are you ready for it?