Broadcom’s Greg Scherer and Dell’s Brian Payne Discuss 10 Gb Ethernet

Brian Payne at Dell World10 Gb Ethernet technology has been around for quite a while, but adoption has been rather slow. The Cube’s Stu Miniman of Wikibon.org went to Dell World 2012 and got a chance to talk with Brian Payne, Executive Director of Server Platform Marketing in Dell’s Server Division, and Greg Scherer, Vice President of Server and Storage Strategy at Broadcom, about 10-gigabit Ethernet and what the future holds for it in the data center.

According to Miniman, only 20 percent of servers have 10 Gb Ethernet after nearly a decade of the technology being on the market. Among those that have the technology are Dell’s 12th generation servers. Miniman asked each guest to explain the current state of 10 Gb Ethernet adoption.

Scherer said that Broadcom is starting to see an increase in 10 Gb adoption. It has been common in blades, but they are now noticing moderate increases in racks as well as broader adoption in the public cloud. As companies more readily squeeze more virtualization out of racks, Scherer expects to see more adoption.

Payne reiterated Scherer’s views on virtualization. As customers roll out virtual machines, they will need to push more bandwidth through each server, making 10 Gb adoption a top priority. Because of this shift to virtualization, we are on the cusp of a major increase in adoption, Payne said.

The two guests then discussed 10GBase-T technology at length. Scherer said that Broadcom was making wonderful progress in the area with more speed and agility, allowing customers to upgrade either side independently.

Payne said that Dell is designing modularity into its servers. The network, which was once embedded, is now a module that PowerEdge customers can change out as technology evolves. This will make 10 Gb and beyond easier to adopt.

Miniman then asked Payne to briefly talk about the company’s plans for big data. Payne said that the PowerEdge rack servers are capable of hosting 50 TB of data storage and up to 25 drives. The PowerEdge C 8000 features a 4U chassis and the flexibility to pack 12 disk drive sleds, giving customers looking for maximum density the ability to hyperscale.

Another area of networking that might see more 10 Gb adoption is nPar (network partitioning). Customers that have multiple 1 Gb ports coming out of their servers will find it easier and more efficient to partition a 10 Gb port to behave as multiple 1 Gb ports. This saves physical space without sacrificing speed. Dell and Broadcom are working together on this technology.

To close, Miniman asked Payne and Scherer to talk about green technology and how both are dealing with power issues that increasingly affect companies. They answered this questions and more in the full video interview, which you can watch online.