Ethernet connectivity is at a crux. Vendors and customers are looking at the transition to speeds beyond 10GbE, not only for traditional networking but also the needs of the storage and high-performance I/O appliances. With the technologies necessary for completely interconnecting your datacenters everything from cable plants to specific devices can impact the ability of new devices to simply plug into to your existing infrastructure.
With the goal of specifically addressing the interoperability concerns of users and vendors, the Ethernet Alliance will be holding their Terafabric Plugfest October 22-26th at the University of New Hampshire’s Interoperability Laboratory. The goal of the Plugfest is to build, via a series of interoperability test events, an integrated network capable of delivering a one-terabit dataflow.
More importantly, the goal is to demonstrate that interoperability is a practical goal for vendors and consumers. As performance goes up, the ability of products to interoperate at full speed, without needing to run in some form of lower performance compatibility mode, becomes a more important part of the purchase decision process. The era of allowing your datacenter infrastructure to gracefully age until fully amortized is behind us; there are too many technology changes in process to just stand pat for five years. Details on the Ethernet Alliance can be found here.
Companies that look for the greatest possible competitive advantage want datacenters that are capable of adjusting to and utilizing the latest technologies and the ability to treat those technologies as plug and play. Having a high level of confidence that your physical infrastructure can handle future demands makes IT’s job that much easier.