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Google and Microsoft Join Forces to Promote Faster Ethernet Speeds


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A consortium of leading cloud network vendors is moving forward to develop a specification optimized to enable data center networks to run over a 25 or 50 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Ethernet link protocol. This new specification is intended to pave the way to the cost-efficient scaling of network bandwidth delivered to server and storage endpoints in next-generation cloud infrastructure, where workloads are expected to surpass the capacity of 10 or 40 Gbps Ethernet links deployed today.

The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium was formed to create and supporting an industry-standard, interoperable Ethernet specification that boosts the performance and slashes the interconnect cost per Gbps between the server Network Interface Controller (NIC) and Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch. Member companies include Arista Networks, Broadcom Corporation, Google Inc., Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., and Microsoft Corp.

By deploying 25 and 50 Gbps Ethernet in their networks, builders of mega-scale data centers such as Microsoft expect to achieve operational advantages, including reduced capital and operational expenditures.

“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, 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.”

The specification prescribes a single-lane 25 Gbps Ethernet and dual-lane 50 Gbps Ethernet link protocol, enabling up to 2.5X higher performance per physical lane or twinax copper wire between the rack endpoint and switch compared to current 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps Ethernet links. The new specification is being made available royalty-free by the consortium members to any data center ecosystem vendor or consumer who joins the consortium.

The consortium hope to enable the swift rollout of 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps Ethernet-compliant implementations over the next 12 to 18 months. The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium is open to membership from any ecosystem company or organization. To become a member of the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium, visit www.25GEthernet.org.


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