Industry Consortium to Bring 25 and 50 Gigabit Ethernet to Cloud-Scale Networks

A consortium of companies including Arista Networks, Broadcom Corporation, Google, Mellanox Technologies, and Microsoft have announced the availability of a specification optimized to allow data center networks to run over a 25 or 50 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Ethernet link protocol.

25-gigabit-ethernetThe new specification would enable the cost-efficient scaling of network bandwidth delivered to server and storage endpoints in ‘next-generation’ cloud infrastructure, where workloads are expected to surpass the capacity of 10 or 40 Gbps Ethernet links deployed today.

The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium was formed by these cloud networking technology providers for the purpose of supporting an industry-standard, interoperable Ethernet specification that boosts the performance and slashes the interconnect cost per Gbps between the server Network Interface Controller (NIC) and Top-of-Rack (ToR) switch.

Up to 2.5X higher performance

The specification adopted by the Consortium prescribes a single-lane 25 Gbps Ethernet and dual-lane 50 Gbps Ethernet link protocol, enabling up to 2.5X higher performance per physical lane or twinax copper wire between the rack endpoint and switch compared to current 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps Ethernet links. The new specification is being made available royalty-free by the Consortium members to any data center ecosystem vendor or consumer who joins the Consortium.

The companies’ motivation for founding the Consortium is to immediately set an industry standard definition of the 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps Ethernet physical layer (PHY) and media access control layer (MAC) behavior, including virtual lane alignment, auto-negotiation, and forward error correction characteristics, to enable the swift rollout of 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps Ethernet compliant implementations over the next 12 to 18 months through the participation of multiple semiconductor, networking equipment and interconnect vendors in the Consortium.