& cplSiteName &

Facebook: Yes, We Need 100-GigE

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
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   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Light Readingís Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
LIVE NOW!
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, December 2, 1:00PM EST
The SDN Approach to IP & Optical Integration
Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (1) comment


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
LRTV Custom TV
Drivers & Potential of NGP

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group to work on Next Generation Protocols (NGP ISG), looking at evolving communications and networking protocols to provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. The NGP ISG will identify the requirements for next generation protocols and network ...
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei IP 2020 for Future Networks

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Future Networks should satisfy many requirements such as high throughput, extremely low latency, flexible mobility, intrinsic security, networking automation, and so forth. The Chief Architect of Huawei Future Networks addresses a holistic solution, i.e., IP 2020, to achieve these requirements for various future life scenarios (e.g., autonomous driving, tactile ...
LRTV Custom TV
Digital Object Architecture

11|11|16   |     |   (0) comments


Digital Object Architecture provides a basic information infrastructure that can facilitate interoperability between or among different systems, processes, and other information resources, including different identity management systems. Digital objects are networked objects that are named by digital object identifiers and instantiated by an infrastructure service ...
LRTV Custom TV
BT's Openreach Has High Hopes for Long-Reach VDSL

11|11|16   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Peter Bell, Network Portfolio CIO at BT's access business Openreach, talks about the operator's trial of a new broadband access technology called Long Reach VDSL.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T Debuts DirecTV Now on New Video Platform
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 11/28/2016
Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/30/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Samsung Bows to Investors, Considers Revamp
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/29/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.