What Does Dell Mean to 400 Gb/s Ethernet?

Editor's Note: Posted on behalf of John D'Ambrosia.

Today, it was announced to the world that the IEEE Standards Association Board had approved the formation of the IEEE P802.3bs 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400 GbE) Task Force.  That Task Force will be led by yours truly, John D’Ambrosia, Chief Ethernet Evangelist of the Dell Networking CTO Team.

Michael Dell has understood for a long time the role that standards will play in the development of the networked world.  In 2002 he stated, “"The whole ecosystem is moving to this standardized infrastructure.  Standards-based hardware and software represents the future of our industry."   Michael’s understanding enabled the Dell we know today, which has moved so far from just being that small business in 1984 that sold computers.  Laptops, servers, networking, storage, software, the list goes on, as our portfolio of solutions to offer our customers grows.  Dell is the living example of Metcalfe’s Law, which states, “The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.”

While it is true that 400GbE is most likely to debut towards the core of networks, the impact it will play in the scale-out capability of networks is undeniable.  And more importantly, the technology developed during this standardization endeavor will enable lower cost 40GbE and 100GbE solutions. In tandem with Dell products like our new Z9500 switch, it will support the mass deployment of 10GbE based servers.  Those servers will leverage other Dell products. 

Michael’s vision of Dell providing our customers with a complete solution moves closer to being reality.

And it won’t stop there.  Networking is moving into lives only once envisioned, and in ways we probably won’t even see.  For example, the development of Ethernet-based solutions for Vehicular Ethernet is a very big deal in the IEEE 802.3 Working Group, as it is currently tackling 5 different problems – ranging from providing power between sub-system components to a data plane up to Gigabit Ethernet.  Further, the IEEE 802.3 Working Group is tackling the problem of latency in relation to traffic prioritization.  And activities to address the “Internet of Things” are just starting to ramp up within IEEE 802.  All of these areas will provide Dell with new opportunities, while at the same time drive the need for our existing solutions.

The activities underway today in the world’s standards development organizations and trade associations will not be felt for five to ten years.  It truly takes this much time to enable the development of the core technology that provides the underlying basis for our products.   And with a team of individuals spread throughout Dell in standards organizations, as well as in trade associations, Dell is not seen as an aggressive adopter, but as a leader in moving the world forward. 

For more information please see the following press release from the Ethernet Alliance, regarding the formation of the IEEE P802.3bs 400GbE Project.  If you or your customers have any questions about 400GbE, feel free to contact me, @Jodam or reach out to @DellNetworking .

About the Author: Michelle Richard