Arthur Cole spoke with Dave Zabrowski, president/CEO, Neterion.
Cole: There are a lot of concerns over the cost of deploying 10 GbE. Given the relatively high upfront costs, what kind of ROI can enterprises expect?
Zabrowski: There really has to be a shift in mindset when it comes to virtual I/O environments. It's not about the cost of the NIC itself. It's really about what the entire system-level cost is. If I have a 1G deployment, it could not be fully virtualized, so you must maintain the old model of deployment and miss out on all of the acquisition cost savings. By using a 10G I/O virtualization adapter, you really break through on the system level, which is where the cost savings are. Is 10G expensive? Sure it is, but you'll save much more on the system level.
Cole: How long of a shelf life can we expect from 10 GbE, considering the increased I/O demand we're likely to see with unified fabrics?
Zabrowski: 10 GbE will certainly be adopted at rapid rate. What we see is the 10G market really accelerating in 08 and '09; that technology will begin to grow rapidly and will continue to grow for years to come. The next step will be 40G. The IEEE has started the standards process to take the next step. IT can now confidently invest in 10G knowing that the next step is coming. Those products aren't coming this year, but as standards mature, by 2010 we'll see the first signs of product. But know that by investing in 10G, it will be around for another decade and beyond.
Cole: If one of the goals of 10 GbE is fabric convergence. Won't that fabric be a bear to manage?
Zabrowski: The promise of a unified wire to run multiple protocols is huge. The industry is investing heavily to try to make all this come to fruition. But it won't happen this year or next year. It will be standards-based, and the industry will come together on unified fabric that will resolve any protocol translation problems. It's a very exciting time from the end-user perspective. We see days where lots of complex multi-fabrics will become one, and it will be an Ethernet network. What's happening is that there is virtual environment technology that end users can embrace now. There are products available in the here and now. Investments in 10G can be made now to get the benefits of I/O virtualization with the knowledge that the next step will be a fully unified fabric.