Intel Announces 10/40 GbE Data Center Upgrade

GbE.pngWhat can a high-performance data center infrastructure capable of 10GbE network speeds do for your business? Aside from simplifying the virtualization of office, enterprise, and service applications, it can ultimately reduce your per-server TCO by leaps and bounds. And we’re recognizing that here at Intel.

Intel IT has announced an immediate plan to upgrade their architecture to accommodate a standard 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet data center fabric design in response to the increasing demands placed on the network by rapid expansion. Support for this design will result in reduced data center complexity, lowered cost of ownership in virtualized environments, and elevated throughput and agility, as well as facilitating a future shift to 100 GbE.

The decision to upgrade was motivated by recent trends surrounding server virtualization, design computing applications and attendant performance concerns, and Intel’s own 40 percent increase in yearly connection requirements. Intel IT is responsible for approximately 55,000 servers in 64 data centers supporting more than 104,000 employees, and existing 100 Mbps and 1 GbE connections are no longer sufficient to cope with the strain placed on servers by big data, private cloud computing, and continued growth. Server performance has scaled by a factor of ten in the last decade, and there is no evidence to suggest that it will slow in the decade to come. Scalable network infrastructure is a must if the enterprise is to react swiftly to the exigencies of the future.

A 10/40 GbE split allows networks to transition their 10 GbE resources to the access layer, leaving traffic at the aggregation and core layers to the more robust 40 GbE -enabled equipment. As of two years ago, I/O data transfer rates within the access layer were doubling every 24 months, while transfer rates at the core layer doubled approximately once every 18 months, leaving little doubt that a move to 40 GbE has become essential for positioning the data center to adapt to further growth. Intel IT has deployed switches that support logical partitioning of 40 GbE ports into 4 x 10 GbE, maximizing 10 GbE port density while minimizing inefficiencies in power, cooling, and floor space.

Intel IT anticipates the need for 100 Gigabit Ethernet in their data centers as early as next year, with the completed 10/40 GbE upgrade expected to expedite this conversion. While small to midsized enterprises may be able to avoid following suit by shifting their operations to the cloud, large enterprises and cloud providers are advised to begin planning their own adoption strategy as soon as possible. Early awareness, training, and personnel development can be critical to making the change without disruption to the business.

For more on Intel IT’s methods and motivations, read the white paper here. To join the conversation on Twitter, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter.