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Infonetics Releases Report on Ethernet Switch Growth in 2014

April 01, 2015

Recent research from Infonetics reveals that the demand on network infrastructure has caused global Ethernet switch sales to soar in the past year to a record level.

According to the research group's Ethernet Switches report examining sales from the entirety of 2014, sales last year climbed five percent higher than they were in 2013. This rise to $21.7 billion marks the fifth year in a row that Ethernet switches have hit record highs. Matthias Machowinski, the directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics, spoke about the overall growth in the market and the preference for 40GE switches over 10GE.

“2014 was another solid year for Ethernet switches,” Machowinski said. “The one weakness was 10GE, where revenue growth has essentially stalled as large data center operators migrate to 40GE and mainstream enterprises have yet to widely adopt 10GE. As a result, 40GE is the key growth segment right now, but we expect this to last only another one to two years, after which 25GE and 100GE technology takes over.”

That statement is forward-looking to the extent that it comments on the future of 25GE and 100GE switches. Machowinski’s expectations that those types of switches will grow in sales likely comes from an expectation that data centers will continue to push the envelope when it comes to speed, and that enterprises will follow shortly thereafter.

Other findings in the report support expectation of that potential growth. It says that 100GE ports grew more than six-fold throughout the year and that 100GE switches could show reasonable prices in the year to come alongside low-cost optics. Furthermore, 40GE port shipments, the reports says, nearly tripled this past year. Revenue for that class of ports more than doubled, and it apparently has no signs of slowing. They are capitalizing on a market that shows decreased demand for 10GE switches even as companies continue to upgrade their data centers.

“White box” switches are showing signs of life with content providers, however, so it is possible that those types of switches could lead to a resurgence in 10GE among companies in the next few years. It is having such an impact that an Infonetics report from last year claimed they were responsible for 12 percent of data center Ethernet ports shipped.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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