Google and Microsoft have teamed up with Arista Networks, Broadcom and Mellanox to create a consortium around a new Ethernet standard for connecting servers to top-of-rack switches in data centers to support the next generation of cloud computing network requirements.
The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium’s aim is to promote quick development of higher-bandwidth access networking equipment needed to support workloads in hyper-scale data centers whose requirements will soon surpass the 10 Gigabit per second Ethernet and 40 GbE protocols being supported today, according to the members.
The specification for is available royalty-free to any vendor who joins the consortium. It prescribes a single-lane 25 GbE and dual-lane 50 GbE link protocol.
The consortium’s goal is to define the standard for physical and media access control layers to enable rollout of compliant equipment over the next 12 to 18 months.
Companies like Google and Microsoft, which build massive data centers to support delivery of their services globally, will benefit from both capital and operational expense savings since the standard will enable them to reduce overprovisioning of resources.
“The new Ethernet speeds proposed by the Consortium give superior flexibility in matching future workloads with network equipment and cabling, with the option to ‘scale as you go,’” said Yousef Khalidi, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft.
“In essence, the specification published by the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium maximizes the radix and bandwidth flexibility of the data center network while leveraging many of the same fundamental technologies and behaviors already defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard.”
Networking hardware vendor Arista and silicon vendors Broadcom and Mellanox are major suppliers for the hyper-scale data center operators.
Mellanox and Broadcom both have switch designs based on Facebook’s Open Compute specifications. Arista, which went public last month, lists Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and eBay as customers.