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10G Supply Exceeds Demand

Suppliers continue to charge hard on 10-Gbit/s Ethernet equipment, but users are making it abundantly clear they're on a different time table than their vendors.

A slew of recent and upcoming companies target customers most likely to need a high-bandwidth technology, including broadcasters and video production companies. Here's a sampling:

  • Advanced Technology and Systems Co., Ltd. (ADTX), which makes RAID systems, and Apace Systems Corporation, which makes storage systems for the video editing and archiving markets, will demonstrate interoperability of their 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet gear at a National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas next week. (See ADTX, Apace Team Up.)
  • At the same conference, Myricom and Fujitsu will demo Fujitsu's XG700 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switch working with Myricom's Myri-10G 10-Gbit/s NICs (network interface cards). (See Myricom, Fujitsu Push 10-Gig.) Separately, Fujitsu will also be showing 10-Gbit/s chips for ATCA devices to attendees at the Server Blade Summit trade show in Garden City, Calif., next week. (See Fujitsu Features 10-Gig.)
  • Neterion plans to show the broadcasters in Vegas a newsroom system from Thomson Grass Valley linked via its 10-Gbit/s HBAs to IBM servers and an Apple video editing workstation, which in turn will be linked to a 10-Gbit/s switch from Force10. (See Force 10 Fires Up Low Latency Switch.)

Component suppliers are also keeping up the 10-Gbit/s drumbeat. (See iVivity Unveils 10-Gig HBA and NetXen Singles Out 10-Gig.) And there's business activity: This week, SolarFlare announced a merger with Level 5 Networks. (See SolarFlare, Level 5 Team.) The newly formed company, SolarFlare, will focus on 10-Gbit/s Ethernet development. This follows Emulex's agreement to buy Aarohi, in which 10-Gbit/s chips play a part. (See Emulex Buys Aarohi.)

Even with all this stage-setting, users don't seem ready to pony up to 10-Gbit/s Ethernet storage networking. None of the vendors mentioned in this article can produce a single customer to testify to using the new technology.

There appear to be several holdups. Some companies just don't need 10-Gbit/s Ethernet for storage, particularly if their existing network is Fibre Channel. "Requirements drive everything. We don't have the requirement right now," says Harold Shapiro, technology architect at Warner Bros. His group hasn't yet completed planned migration from 2- to 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel, he notes, and still, performance hasn't suffered.

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