Software-defined networking (SDN) is a key focus for network equipment providers as it has a significant potential to reduce service provider capex and opex. SDN is having a major impact on the architecture of data center and other networks. The deployment of SDN requires significant investment and is driving a new ecosystem including switch silicon, embedded software and systems.
Data center traffic continues to grow rapidly. Most high performance servers have 10Gbit/s connections, and a growing number have 40Gbit/s connections. The latest Intel processors based on the Ivy Bridge architecture can support 40Gbit/s packet processing. Ethernet is the dominant networking technology and data center interconnect is moving quickly from 10 Gbit/s to 40 Gbit/s and 100 Gbit/s.
Software developers have introduced enhanced network operating systems and stacks with support for SDN that will run on a wide range of hardware platforms. Several system companies are integrating innovative switching technology and SDN software into switch systems that are specifically targeting the data center market.
SDN is the single most important development in data center networking for a decade. SDN will allow service providers to deploy a flexible network that is implemented on standard server and switch hardware significantly reducing the capital cost. Multiple data centers can be managed using common tools, no matter what the size or location, reducing service provider opex. These benefits must be delivered without compromising network performance and with full interoperability between different SDN-enabled systems and software.
All the companies covered in this report are making significant investments in new switch devices, systems and SDN software. 10Gbit/s serial interfaces are universally used and have enabled vendors to deliver integrated switch devices that are capable of greater than 1Tbit/s switching. The next generation of switch devices will integrate more programmable capabilities and deliver greater performance. With 25/28Gbit/s serial interfaces and silicon phonics these next-generation devices should be able to support over 5 Tbit/s within a single device.
The challenge for the industry is not only developing these next-generation switch devices but also ensuring they interoperate with the rest of the SDN infrastructure. SDN software must support the complex mix of virtual and physical servers, switches and other systems. The winners will be those that can deliver on performance, flexibility and interoperability as the SDN architecture and ecosystem continues to develop.
Switching Technology & Components for SDN details and analyzes switch devices, embedded SDN software and innovative SDN switch systems identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers and service providers. The report also reviews vendor strategies and surveys component features, performance and flexibility in this important market.