In case you didn’t notice the earth move, I have a wake-up call for you: 10 gigabit Ethernet is here. It’s real. It’s in use. Last year, we were all wondering when the 10 GbE wave would hit and what impact it would have. That’s not worth pondering anymore.
Sure, prices remain high, but they’re falling fast and many folks are already implementing 10 GbE in their data centers. Intel CNAs have dropped to around $900, Cisco Nexus switches are running around $1,500 per 10 GbE port and Arista has hit $400, and 10 GbE iSCSI storage arrays are available. Intel has declared that 2009 is the year of iSCSI, and server vendors are moving to make that happen, embedding 10 GbE ports on motherboards. If you’re looking to go cheap, check out D-Link’s 10 GbE iSCSI xStack array, which sells for under $13,000 and can be populated with 15 of your favorite drives.
So is 10 GbE worth the upgrade? Absolutely! Microsoft reported wire speed iSCSI to a NetApp array at WinHEC (see my writeup on wire-speed 10 GbE iSCSI on Gestalt IT). How would you like to push over a gigabyte per second with non-crazy-or-high-end hardware? iSCSI over 10 GbE works great, and Microsoft and NetApp, at least, have demonstrated that they can make use of all that bandwidth.
Then there is Fibre Channel over Ethernet. Cisco has been pushing that technology hard as a unification of datacenter interconnectivity, and Microsoft announced that they are putting together a logo test for Fibre Channel over Ethernet FCoE hardware. Storage array makers are hopping onboard, too, and angling for position in this new market. It’s not just the year of 10 GbE; 10-gig is the future of connectivity, and the future is here.