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A Sneak Peek at SDN in Early 2016 – Changes Abound for the New Year

by Alan Weckel

I’m super excited to be participating in ONUG (Open Network User Group) in November and when I look at what is going on in the community, there is a lot of change happening over the next few months that will really highlight SDN and how important it is, especially in the data center.

When I look at the Ethernet Switch – Data Center market, 2016 will be driven by new silicon and Cloud growth with SDN being a main driver in both. Diving down into those topics, we can see we are in for an exciting next couple of months.

New Silicon

In the past six months, we already saw Broadcom (Tomahawk), Cavium (Xpliant), and Mellanox (Spectrum) announce next-generation silicon with several other silicon vendors also looking to introduce products over the next six months. At the same time, the other major sources of switch silicon innovation, the Ethernet Switch vendors have remained relatively quiet.  Therefore we will see a significant amount of new product introductions in the 25, 50, and 100 GE space by early 2016. Each merchant-silicon offering will likely enable at least double the bandwidth and significantly more programmability when compared to current generation products. Without this added programmability, data center staff simply would not scale with the growth in applications and bandwidth.

More Change in the Cloud

The move to the next generation silicon will usher in a significant change in how Cloud customers buy and deploy equipment. We see many Cloud customers using next generation silicon as a decision point to change vendors.  Based on many supply chain interviews, we believe the Ethernet switch industry will be surprised with which Cloud customers go with white box solutions. On balance, we expect more Cloud service providers to use merchant silicon-based white box switches next year, when compared to previous years. It will also be important to watch how the Cloud customers use software to enable these new switches with Cloud customers ranging from fully custom solutions to using third party operating systems.

Author Bio

Alan Weckel HeadshotAlan Weckel, Dell’Oro Group
Alan Weckel joined Dell’Oro Group in early 2006 and is responsible for the Ethernet Switch market research program. Mr. Weckel participates in and oversees the research produced on the data center across the analyst team. While at the firm, Mr. Weckel has significantly expanded Dell’Oro Group’s research on the data center including deep analysis of network convergence with servers and storage systems. In addition, he has authored several Advanced Research Reports on the Ethernet Switch market and related technologies, including the impact the Cloud, SDN, and white box vendors have on the data center.

Prior to joining Dell’Oro Group, Mr. Weckel spent five years at Raytheon, where he worked as a Systems Engineer in the Network Centric Division on a variety of projects ranging from product development to integration and test. Prior to Raytheon, Mr. Weckel held positions in software development and manufacturing at General Electric Power Systems and Cisco Systems, Inc.

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