Google´s own 10 GBe-Switch

10 Gigabit Ethernet is certainly the ethernet for the datacenter as 1 GbE reaches the normal home users and the density of computing power get too high even for multiple 1 GbE interfaces. There is only one problem: The networking hardware is incredible expensive. A few weeks ago i helped with a Request for Information and with all this optical equipment (XENPACs for the NICs and the switches) this adds up to quite a huge sum. For server people it´s a shock everytime they hear, that they won´t get a datacenter class network for a coffee and some spare change. With such high costs you have some problems in adopting this technolgy. With 10 server it´s no problem to spend, lets say, 1500 euro per XENPAC, when you have thousands of them, it´s quite a problem. Or in Sun´s speak: Every red shift company has a problem with the high costs of GbE. It´s not a sensible choice to use a network technology, where the optic components are more expensive than the server itself. At the other end: With all such technolgies like iSCSI, iWARP , ATAoE, FCoE and so on the need for the latency and the bandwidth of 10 GbE gets even higher (I speculated about the demise of FC some time ago, and this demise would drive the demand for 10 GbE even more) Google is such a company who own more than 10 servers (slightly) and definitely have the need for faster networks. In a coffee kitchen discussion some months ago i speculated of the likeliness, that Google stopped with building their own servers. In my opinion, building their own networking components would be the next logical steps, but i had no further informations to prove my theory. Thus i had to grin like a Cheshire cat when i read “Google´s secret 10GbE switch”. They speculate about a home-brewn 10Gbe switch too, but have some more points to prove their theory.

It is our opinion that Google (GOOG) has designed and deployed home-grown 10GbE switches as part of a secret internal initiative that was launched when it realized commercial options couldn’t meet the cost and power consumption targets required for their data centers.

And more interesting for us at Sun

Arastra presents the pseudo-IEEE standard 10GBASE-CR which appears to match the twinax approach Google is taking. Furthermore, Arastra was founded and funded by Andy Bechtolsheim, Chief Architect at Sun Microsystems and who is closely tied to Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google and an ex-Sun executive. Andy Bechtolsheim was also one of the first investors in Google. With these connections, Arastra may be the commercialization of Google’s technology and the ultimate supplier to Google itself.

Andy B. strikes again ;)