Crehan Research: Data Center Operators Double Ethernet Networking Capacity

Between the beginning of 2018 and the end of 2019, global deployments of server-class Ethernet networking bandwidth saw a significant increase, according to a recent report from Crehan Research. Over the past two years, data center operators have doubled their Ethernet server-class networking capacity.

This recent strong increase helped drive the market to a longer-term annual average growth of 30 percent (see figure). Crehan’s report further shows that the strong increase was a result of robust server-class Network Interface Card (NIC) port shipment growth, in conjunction with more bandwidth per port to handle increasingly demanding server and storage applications.

“Data center networking bandwidth deployments hit an inflection point with the arrival of 25, 50, and 100 gigabit Ethernet NICs and switches,” said Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research. “These technologies delivered much lower cost per gigabit of bandwidth, further accelerating network speed upgrades.”

The Crehan report also shows that customer adoption of newer Ethernet NIC speeds, especially 25 gigabit Ethernet, has been much faster than past adoption curves, with cloud service providers and early enterprise and telco adopters deploying about seven million of these connections in 2019, approximately three years after general market introduction.

“With the recent arrival of PAM-4 based server NICs, we expect another strong cloud service provider server-networking upgrade centering around 100 gigabit Ethernet to start sometime next year,” added Crehan.