Friday Show & Tell: Testing the New Ethernet

12:05 PM -- Welcome to Friday Show & Tell, an occasional series that we'll run on Friday, in which we'll show you something and then tell you about it. Yes, we're that creative.

Earlier this month, for about a week, analyst Nick Lippis of Lippis Enterprises holed himself up at Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA)'s Santa Clara, Calif. office for a marathon test of 10Gbit/s Ethernet switches.

He wasn't alone, and they certainly kept him stocked. "You a beer drinker?" he asked, as I came in out of the rain on a Wednesday afternoon. I was catching them in quiet, end-of-day mode. Silicon Valley was commuting home, and Ixia's building was nearly deserted. It felt like time for a beer.

At iSim City, as Ixia calls the facility, Lippis had scheduled time slots for seven vendors: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Arista Networks Inc. , Blade Network Technologies Inc. , Force10 Networks Inc. , Hitachi Cable Ltd. (the Apresia line), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), and Voltaire Inc. (Nasdaq: VOLT). One by one, switches were wheeled into a room full of networking gear in racks. Lippis and the vendors' engineers then ran the tests from the glass-walled office next door.

Part of what made Lippis's tests significant was the newness of the gear -- Arista's 7504, hot off its debut at Supercomputing 2010, was plugged in when I got there. And nearly all of the participating boxes are built from a new generation of Ethernet chips from the likes of Broadcom, Fulcrum, and Marvell. There's also a deeper issue going on -- the growing argument for Ethernet to become the data center protocol, rather than splitting duties with Fibre Channel. Starting from that point, please have a look at the follow pages for our slideshow and a short interview to get more of Lippis's explanation of what was going on.

Here’s a hyperlinked contents list:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:15:42 PM
re: Friday Show & Tell: Testing the New Ethernet

I realize these tests and benchmarks don't always involve having every vendor in the room at the same time. Even so, it's funny to hear that trash-talking goes on. Anybody want to support or challenge that observation (anonymously, if you choose, of course)?

On a similar front, I've wondered how cooperative (or not) vendors are when setting up big demo networks like the one at Interop.  I usually hear about those from the test & measurment providers or the network-monitoring vendors, and of course they're pleased as punch to work with anybody.  But how do the big switch vendors behave to each other when they're putting up those networks?

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