40Gb Ethernet for the Cloud or Bust

Michael Vizard

As IT organizations think about building out their own private cloud computing platforms, they might want to consider their bandwidth requirements in the years to come.

As Shehzad Merchant, senior director of strategy for Extreme Networks notes, cloud computing and the virtual machine technology it relies on is going to put an enormous amount of stress on the network. We're already seeing the rise of 10Gb Ethernet devices at the edge of the network, so Merchant says it's reasonable to assume that all those 10Gb Ethernet devices are going to need to be serviced by at least 40Gb Ethernet switches at the core of the private cloud computing network.

The issue this raises for many IT organizations is to first figure out how to pay for what amounts to an enterprise networking refresh, and then secondarily which vendors to work with to build the next generation of enterprise networking. Obviously, Cisco is the incumbent networking vendor of the day.

But Merchant says Extreme Networks and other Cisco rivals are betting that IT organizations will reconsider their allegiance to Cisco as they consider their private computing options. After all, enterprise networking is not as mysterious as it was five or six years ago, and what matters most is having a common networking operating system environment that can run across all their network devices. That way, said Merchant, customers can substantially cut the total cost of enterprise management.

Whether companies such as Extreme Networks will be able to usurp Cisco as IT organizations shift to the next phase of enterprise networking is anybody's guess. But this shift is going to happen. And the decision about what enterprise networking architecture to put in place to drive private cloud computing is going to be the first item on the agenda because without a robust network all clouds are dark and stormy.

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