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ICYMI: 400 Gigabit Ethernet concerns fuels new consortium

ICYMI: Industry leaders Cisco, Intel and Arista join a consortium to create standards to allay power, heat concerns fueled by 400 GbE protocol.

The Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) hit the scene this week with the intent of developing standards to solve switch faceplate bandwidth density and airflow constraints caused by ever-increasing network speeds. The development of protocols that include speeds of up to 400 Gigabit Ethernet has raised concerns about power issues and other considerations. Among COBO's chief goals is to find ways to move the optical module from the faceplate to inside of the networking equipment, thus decreasing power requirements and increasing airflow. The group will initially focus on electrical interfaces, management interfaces, thermal requirements and pinouts.

Brad Booth, COBO's chair and principal architect of Microsoft's Azure Global Networking Services, said that the consortium is taking a major step forward in improving the efficiency of optics in data center networks. "With ever-increasing data rates, the ability to move the optical modules closer to the network silicon provides a real economic and environmental benefit," he said. In addition to Microsoft, COBO's membership includes Arista Networks, Broadcom, Cisco, Dell, Intel and Juniper.

Cisco's Stewart says you can't fully avoid NSA surveillance

Ever since the Snowden leaks, the technology industry has been working hard to gain back consumer trust. The latest gambit, according to multiple reports, is for major suppliers to ship computer equipment to dummy addresses -- a strategy Cisco has employed in its efforts to reduce the chance the National Security Agency (NSA) can intercept the package before it gets delivered to the customer. The NSA used that tactic to install firmware, as part of its Tailored Access Operations section. Yet according to Cisco Chief Security and Trust Officer John Stewart, there isn't much a company can do to reduce the risk that the NSA might still get its hands on the package.

"If a truly dedicated team is coming after you, and they're coming after you for a very long period of time, then the probability of them succeeding at least once does go up," he said at Cisco Live in Melbourne.

Infonetics predicts growth for bare metal switches

IHS Inc. unit Infonetics Research said the market for bare metal switches will more than double in the next five years, with the commoditized platforms making up almost 25% -- from 11% in 2014 -- of data center ports shipped worldwide. Infonetics' 2014 data center networking market trends survey also said that the overall data center networking market grew 8% last year, to $11.2 billion. Cliff Grossner, Infonetics' research director for data center, cloud and SDN, said that ever since vendors like Dell and HP came out with branded white box switches, the market expanded beyond large cloud service providers (CSPs) such as Google and Amazon.

Among the report's other highlights:

  • Ethernet switch shipments grew 5% in the fourth quarter, driven by CSP and financial institution spending.
  • ADC shipments have grown steadily on a year-over-year basis for the last seven quarters.
  • Software-defined WAN is gaining traction, but WAN optimization platforms have yet to return to long-term growth.
  • Shipments of 25 GbE ports will begin in late 2015, fueling the development of 25/100 GbE data center fabric architectures.

The report predicts growth in the data center market to slow down due to increased migration to software defined networks and cloud-based technology.

Array offers free migration services to Juniper customers

Array announced its Juniper SSL VPN Replacement Program to encourage customers to migrate away from Juniper's virtual private network (VPN) platform to Array's secure socket layer (SSL) VPN. The company offered to provide an AG SSL VPN that provides at least equal capabilities to similar Juniper products. It will also give customers a minimum of 100 free concurrent user licenses and up to 1,000 free concurrent user licenses for higher-end hardware replacements. To get these services, customers have to purchase a three-year gold contract, which will come at a 30% discount. The Juniper Replacement Program is going on now and will continue until June.

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