A Moment in Time

By John D'Ambrosia

During the course of my career, I have had the fortune to be involved at various points in the development and deployment of a number of technologies.  Each one had its own particular challenges and rewards, and each stage was necessary in a given life cycle.  I have drawn personal satisfaction at each of these stages – I remember clearly when the industry reached consensus on backplane channels during the development of XAUI in the 10 Gigabit Ethernet.  I remember the first time seeing serial 10Gb/s get transmitted across an electrical backplane in a private lab.  I remember when I stood at the podium as chair at the end of the IEEE P802.3ba 40 Gigabit Ethernet and 100 Gigabit Ethernet project.  I can recall each of these moments as clear as day.

The reality however, is that each of these moments were far removed from the ultimate commercial success and deployment of the respective technology.  So the question that needs exploration is “When is the moment when you realize something big is about to happen?”

For me, that moment has been when I stood in assorted booths at various shows throughout the years, and participated in industry interoperability demonstrations.  As Chairman of the Ethernet Alliance, I have spoken of this moment as “Real technology for real deployment!”  As an engineer and technologist, these have been great moments; seeing the technology actually work first-hand, as opposed to looking at a specification is an incredible moment.  These demonstrations go a step further though, as multiple individuals and corporations have used these specifications to design products, and when it is all put together – it all works!  This is a critical step into the development of an ecosystem and the ultimate adoption and success of a product or technology.

As noted recently in a blog by Bruce Tolley (http://ethernetalliance.org/blog/2012/04/03/intels-romley-server-platform-launch-a-tipping-point-for-10-gigabit-ethernet/), it is anticipated that the introduction of the Intel “Romley” family of processors “will be a catalyst for a broad industry shift from 1 Gigabit to 10 Gigabit connections at the server access edge.”  This shift will have a significant impact on the Ethernet ecosystem. 

With Interop Spring 2012 upon us, the Ethernet Alliance and seven of its member companies have organized an interoperability demonstration that will highlight Ethernet’s capabilities at supporting cloud computing, convergence, and virtualization in data centers, and that features 10GbE and 40GbE solutions.  Showcasing the effortless interoperation of 10G and 40G Ethernet, the network topology of the demo consists of three layers, including 10G attached servers in the access layer linked to multiple 10G switches in the distribution layer aggregated by two 40G core switches. The display illustrates how the latest in Ethernet technology is set to fuel the next generation of the Ethernet Ecosystem.

Showcasing technologies from Cisco, Emulex, Dell Force 10, Nexans, Panduit, QLogic, and Volex, the Ethernet Alliance interoperability demonstration can be found in booth #2360.  On behalf of the Ethernet Alliance, I would like to invite you to come to our booth at Interop, and witness, what is for many, “Our Moment in Time”, where the success of many will begin its journey to fruition.  And if you can’t make it to Interop, join us on Twitter and LinkedIn, where we keep the industry updated on this moment!