Google and Microsoft back 25Gbps Ethernet data centre push

Google datacentre tech servers

Google and Microsoft have thrown their weight behind a new industry group, which aims to help design the next generation of data centre networking standards for connections of 25Gbps and 50Gbps.

The group will be called The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium and the three other founding members are networking firms Arista Networks, Broadcom, and Mellanox Technologies.

The consortium has been set up in order to ensure that the next generation of data centre networking kit can handle more data at faster speeds, as the current 10Gbps and 40Gbps standards will no doubt be overtaken by the huge strains being placed on data centres.

The group has proposed two new technologies, a single-lane 25Gbps Ethernet and dual-lane 50Gbps Ethernet link protocol, that could offer up to two-and-a-half times higher performance per connection.

These new specifications are being made available royalty-free by the consortium members to any other data centre or networking firm that joins the group, in an effort to encourage other firms to back the initiative.

Yousef Khalidi, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, said working together to ensure the next generation of data centre network kit could handle more data and at faster speeds was vital in the new cloud era.

“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’,” he said.

“In essence, the specification published by the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium maximises the radix and bandwidth flexibility of the data center network while leveraging many of the same fundamental technologies and behaviours already defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard [for existing Ethernet technologies].”

Arista’s senior vice president of Customer Engineering Anshul Sadana explained: “The companies joining the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium are taking a major step forward in increasing the performance of data centre networks.

“With ever-increasing server performance and with the uplinks from the leaf to the spine layer migrating to 100Gbps in the near future, it makes sense to increase the access speed from 10Gbps to 25Gbps and 50Gbps.”

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