Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Facebook, Google Ready for Faster Ethernet

As Facebook was announcing that it has reached 300 million users last week, network engineer Donn Lee was making the case for faster Ethernet networks – definitely 100-Gigabit Ethernet, and perhaps even Terabit Ethernet.

It is “not unreasonable to think Facebook will need its data center backbone fabric to grow to 64 terabits a second total capacity by the end of next year,” Lee told attendees of a seminar hosted by the Ethernet Alliance, an industry consortium focused on the expansion of Ethernet technology.

10 Gigabit Ethernet is currently the fastest rate available, although higher capacity can be achieved by aggregating 10 Gigabit links. The Ethernet Alliance event last week brought together networking developers working on the IEEE 802.3ba standard for 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet. Presentations from Facebook’s Lee and Google network architect Bikash Koley offered a deep dive into network technologies, architecture and the future of Ethernet standards. The next phase of development envisioned is Terabit Ethernet, although some stakeholders see 400 Gigabit Ethernet as a likely interim step.

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