Intels new Xeon E5-2600 platform, introduced last week, will be a key driver in the strong adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking technology in 2012, according to market research firm DellOro Group.
In a report March 12, DellOro analysts said that by the end of the year, 10GbE revenue will be more than one-third of overall market revenue for L2-L3 switching, as businesses continue to ramp up their adoption of the I/O technology in their data centers.
At the same time, 40GbE revenue is expected to grow to more than $200 million, according to the analyst firm.
We believe we are still in the early stages of server access from 1 Gigabit Ethernet to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Alan Weckel, senior director of DellOro, said in a statement. We expect the first significant ramp of this migration to start in the second half of 2012 and continue through 2013.
Demand for faster networking technology is growing rapidly as businesses adopt such technologies and computing models as cloud computing, converged data centers and virtualization. It also is coming from Web 2.0 companies, such as Google and Facebook, which run large data centers that process massive amounts of data and workloads.
That is the part of the industry that Intel officials are targeting with their new eight-core Xeon E5-2600 Romley processors, which were introduced March 6 and will support PCI Express 3.0, which will increase the chips overall bandwidth over previous generations. The chips also will include Intels new Ethernet Controller X540. The chip will offer 10GbE LAN connectivity integrated onto the servers motherboard, a jump up from the 1GbE speeds available before.
Intel has ramped up its networking capabilities through recent acquisitions, most significantly the purchase last year of Fulcrum Microsystems, which made 10GbE and 40GbE chips for Ethernet switches.
Intel officials, when announcing the new chips, said they expected as many as 400 system designs based on the new processor family, with major OEMs, such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM, all jumping on board. Their servers will all offer network cards with both 1GbE and 10GbE connectivity.
All that will help drive the continued adoption of 10GbE, according to DellOros Weckel.
We expect server vendors will ramp Intels Romley chipset quickly in the second half of 2012. Most new high-end servers will, for the most part, be 10 Gigabit Ethernet going forward, he said. We also expect vendors will most likely specialize in a particular area within the data center, or have a large portfolio of products to address customer requirements, as vendors migrate servers from 1 Gigabit Ethernet to 10 Gigabit Ethernet in significant volumes and look toward 40 Gigabit Ethernet to connect these switches to the core.
The DellOro report also indicated that fixed 10GbE saw the strongest growth in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2011. A wide variety of vendorsincluding Cisco Systems, Dell, HP, IBM, Juniper Networks, Brocade, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucentall have Ethernet switch offerings in this category.
Analysts from market research firm IDC said last week that revenues in the worldwide Ethernet switch market grew 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the same period in 2010, to $6.06 billion. Revenue for 10GbE jumped 32.9 percent in the same quarter, with port shipments hitting a record 2.8 million. Throughout all of 2011, 10GbE revenue jumped 26.5 percent over 2010, with shipments more than doubling.
Cisco dominated the Ethernet switch market in the fourth quarter, with 64.3 percent share, which IDC analysts said reflected a significant improvement from earlier in the year. Cisco saw its switch market share fall during 2010 as the company expanded into new markets, which some analysts said gave such rivals as HP and Juniper a chance to expand their reach.
According to IDC, Cisco also owned 69.5 percent of the 10GbE market in the fourth quarter of 2011.