Week in research: Data centers play it safe; Ethernet switch market set for turbulence

Data center operators stick to the safe road: Fibre Channel is still the technology of choice for data center operators, despite the emergence of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), an Infonetics Research report says. It's indicative of a trend among operators to remain more conservative with their data center deployments, according to Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks. For example, server virtualization is still used only for select applications. "Server virtualization has been the focus of the data center industry for several years now, and the largest data center owners and internet content providers like Google are ubiquitously exploiting virtual machines," he said. "Yet the reality is the bulk of data center owners are more pedestrian in their deployments, finding it more operationally convenient to leave many areas of their data centers alone, using server virtualization for only select applications." Release

Infonetics Research data center services

Future-proof fiber: From the department of glaringly obvious things, a new study conducted for Telecompaper by XSInsight confirmed that fiber to the home (FTTH) is the most future-proof fixed-access technology. However, DSL and coax--augmented by DOCSIS 3.0 technology--will be able to fulfill bandwidth demands in many of the ten markets the study focused on. It said that "required bandwidth (at actual speeds) varies from 20/1 Mbps for a basic one person household to 70/4 Mbps for a high-end, five-person household through 2016," according to the Telecompaper article (sub req.).

Ethernet switch evolution: A Dell'Oro report said the Ethernet switch market now exceeds $20 billion, but as end user preferences change, this segment is undergoing "dramatic changes." More end users prefer purpose-built devices that are optimized according to their deployment location. And those locations are stratified into four areas: data center, enterprise, SMB (small and medium-sized business) and Carrier Ethernet services. "Data center consolidation projects and an increase in cloud services are causing the data center segment to significantly outperform the overall Ethernet switch market. This trend is causing vendors focused in the data center to gain overall market share compared to those focused in other segments," said Alan Weckel, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group. "At the same time, the increase in mobile devices is causing many enterprises and SMBs to invest more heavily in WLAN." The changes haven't yet had a negative effect on the segment, but Ethernet switches may be in for a bumpy ride as the enterprise and SMB segments are expected to plateau and decline over the next few years. Release