& cplSiteName &

Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE

Craig Matsumoto
9/16/2009
50%
50%

It's become cliché to say that companies like Facebook would use 100-Gbit/s Ethernet right now if they had it. But it helps when someone from Facebook actually shows up and hammers on that point.

Facebook network engineer Donn Lee did that yesterday, pleading his case at a technology seminar on 40- and 100-Gbit/s Ethernet, hosted in Santa Clara, Calif., by The Ethernet Alliance .

Representatives from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and the Amsterdam Internet Exchange B.V. (AMS-IX) gave similar pleas, but Lee's presentation included some particularly sobering numbers. He said it's reasonable to think Facebook will need its data center backbone fabric to grow to 64 Tbit/s total capacity by the end of next year.

How to build such a thing? Lee said his ideal Ethernet box would have 16-Tbit/s switching capacity and 80 100-Gbit/s Ethernet ports or 800 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports.

No such box exists commercially, and Lee is reluctant to go build his own.

That leaves him with an unpleasant alternative. Lee drew up a diagram of what Facebook's future data center fabric -- that is, the interconnection of its switch/routers -- would look like if he had to use today's equipment and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet. Instead of the familiar criss-crossing mesh diagram, he got a solid wall of black, signifying just how many connections he'd need.

"I would say anybody in the top 25 Websites easily has this problem," he said later. (Lee didn't say anything about how long it would take just to plug in all those fibers. Maybe that job could be created by funds from the U.S. Recovery Act.)

Lee also showed charts showing the disconnect between Facebook's wish list and the market. Facebook needed 512 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports per chassis in 2007 and is likely to need 1,500 in 2010. No chassis offers more than 200 ports, he said.

Even though Lee is a veteran of Google and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), you might wonder if he's just one renegade engineer who doesn't represent the Facebook norm. Not really. It turns out Facebook has only five network engineers -- although Lee said that's a 20 percent increase from the spring of 2008 [math note: which means they had approximately 4.165 engineers at that time].

Even though 100-Gbit/s development started four years ago, Lee thinks it came too late, and that's got him worried about the next generation. He's pulling for 400-Gbit/s Ethernet discussions to start right away.

"Let's start the work that doesn't require money, now," he said. "If we have the standard, we can build the product later. I don't mind using an old standard."

He might get his wish. The Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) is already organizing meetings with an aim toward getting federal money for terabit Ethernet research, said John D'Ambrosia, a Force10 Networks Inc. scientist who helped organize yesterday's event.

Of course, money is a major obstacle to the next wave of Ethernet.

During an open commenting and Q&A session, multiple audience members pointed out that optical components margins are too thin to support advanced research at many companies, and that carriers are seeing their big, expensive networks getting used to make money for over-the-top services. "There's no revenue in all that bandwidth increase," one audience member commented, citing the carrier case in particular.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

(15)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:22 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


 

Lee presented graphs of how Facebook traffic can surge at certain times. The audience got to guess what the causes were.

Here are a few of his examples (purely from memory, so they don't have five-9s accuracy).  Take your best guesses. No fair if you were at the meeting, or if you work for a social networking site!

1. Nov. 1, 2008, most of the morning.

2. Feb. 1, 2009, sporadic spikes throughout the evening (Eastern time)

3. June 25, 2009, one sudden, enormous burst, trailing off hyperbolically

4. Entire week of Aug. 31, 2009 -- traffic consistently higher than the previous week, for 24 hours every day (but retaining the same shape, just shifted upwards)

ninjaturtle
50%
50%
ninjaturtle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:56:21 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE
INFN to the rescue...sorry couldn't resist. Google already is a customer. Is it feasible to "Kevin Bacon" that to INFN also???? Ka-ching!
TrojanReal
50%
50%
TrojanReal,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:20 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


" Lee drew up a diagram of what Facebook's future data center fabric -- that is, the interconnection of its switch/routers -- would look like if he had to use today's equipment and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet. Instead of the familiar criss-crossing mesh diagram, he got a solid wall of black, signifying just how many connections he'd need."

Can someone clarify, if the  problem described above is primarily due to   having fixed optical connections  between sites  (as opposed to dynamic  optical connection with timescales  of  nsec,usec duration @ 10Gbps as in optical packet or burst switching)? Or  if it is due to each connection requiring 100G bandwidth.? 

Thanks
TR

chaz6
50%
50%
chaz6,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:20 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


I do wonder why they desperately need to use ethernet. Take for example the Mellanox IS5600; it has 648 ports of 40Gbs with a switching capacity of 51.8 Tb/s, far exceeding the number bandied about by Facebook.

savy.tech
50%
50%
savy.tech,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:19 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


Answer to your puzzle


------------------------


June 25, 2009, one sudden, enormous burst, trailing off hyperbolically


Death of Michael Jackson caused the traffic spikes on most of the websites including Twitter and other news sites..


abashford
50%
50%
abashford,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:16 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


"No such box exists commercially, and Lee is reluctant to go build his own."


They could get a lot more interest from manufacturers if they could indicate to the market that more than 2 of these 'boxes' are required. :)


I have no knowledge of Facebook's architecture, does anyone know how many major data centres they maintain?  Is it 2, or are they more distributed?  Thanks.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:13 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


abashford -- He'd need 16 of them, if I undertand correctly.  And more in the future, of course -- but not thousands of them, admittedly.


During the Q&A, someone actually brought up your point about volumes, and that's when Lee made the "top 25 web sites" remark, IIRC.  He believes there's a hungry high-end market.


(Google apparently made similar comments earlier in the day, but I wasn't present for that session.  People wanted to bring him into the Facebook discussion, but he'd already left.)

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:13 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


TrojanReal -- It's due to needing 100 Gbit/s bandwidth.  He also said there are spots where they'd be link-aggregating 100GEs, if they could.

abashford
50%
50%
abashford,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:12 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


Sounds like a large investment for a potentially small market.  But then, that is what people were saying about the CRS-1 before it sold in the Nx100's.  If you are the only option, it could be a lucrative market.


It would seem more efficient to actually come up with a cost-effective and simple way to solve the meshing of multiple smaller devices to look like one large one.  That way, you can invest in the development of a device that has a much larger target market.  I have yet to see anyone pull this off however...


Was there any discussion of potential technologies to do this?


 

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:12 PM
re: Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE


Ah - the "20 percent increase" cited should be 25 percent.  That's my math mistake, not Lee's (the parenthetical was added in edit).


I'm losing my math chops.  I blame Twitter.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
Phone Review: Moto Z2 Play

8|22|17   |   1:54   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Mobile Editor Dan Jones reviews the Moto Z2 Play, which he calls 'a nice modern Android phone with good battery life and one of the nicest cameras' he's seen. The Moto Z2 Play is a Gigabit LTE-ready phone, but we were not able to test speeds that fast in the US.
LRTV Documentaries
Three Gets Smart(y), BT Invokes Twitter – The Recap

8|21|17   |     |   (0) comments


From Telecoms.com, a recap of the week's telecoms talking points. It's been a week of gimmicks as Three tests out a pay-as-you-go sub-brand called Smarty; Comcast
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Why AT&T May Dump Home Security Biz
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/21/2017
Verizon & Friends Bust Through Gigabit LTE in the Lab
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/21/2017
Disney, iflix Team Up to Take Down Netflix
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/22/2017
WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/18/2017
T-Mobile Turns On First 600MHz 4G Sites
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
Talk About a Custom-Made Workstation! Click Here
Proper ergonomics indeed.
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.