2550100 ... An Illuminati codeword or name of new alliance demanding faster Ethernet faster?

What do we want? 25GbitE. When do we want it? NOW

An alliance called 2550100 has been announced by QLogic and others to deliver faster Ethernet faster – starting with 25GbitE to deliver better-than-10gig speed without jumping all the way to 40gig.

There is a 2550100.com website, which lists 13 members, including DataCore, Finisar, HDS, Huawei, Lenovo, SuSE, QLogic (of course), X-IO and Zadara. Obvious holes in the list include Broadcom, Brocade, Emulex and Cisco.

QLogic’s Ahmet Houssein, Ethernet products senior veep, said; “25Gb, 50Gb and 100Gb represents multiple breakthroughs for the Ethernet industry. 25Gb brings economy to high-performance networking, 100Gb puts Ethernet at parity with InfiniBand, while the underlying chips and protocol stack are designed to meet the needs of both hyperscale and enterprise customers."

The 2550100 announcement also quotes Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research: “In contrast to the early ramp of 10GbitE, today’s server platforms are already capable of driving much higher bandwidth than is currently available on the market. Hence, the network has become a real bottleneck, especially in hyperscale data centre environments.”

Server connectivity is the key, although storage arrays will love faster Ethernet access too. It makes iSCSI go faster and – you can see Cisco nodding approvingly – FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) more attractive. This FCoE pump-priming aspect makes it odder that Cisco isn’t involved in this 2505100 go-getter group.


Crehan thinks shipments of 25GbitE adapters and LOM ports will reach one million in less than half the time of 10GbitE, the technology currently used for high-performance server connectivity.

“Given that 25GbitE, 50GbitE and 100GbitE can alleviate this bottleneck in a very cost-effective manner, we are forecasting a much faster adoption curve," he said.

The 2550100 bods say their alliance complements the work of the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium and the Ethernet Alliance to promote standards and they have three kinds of programme:

  • Assist hardware and software vendors with early access to 2550100 networking products, and to work together efficiently to develop solutions
  • Assist channel partners with online and hands-on training, and with early access to 2550100 networking products, so they may guide their customers through the migration
  • Assist IT professionals with education, hands-on training and early access to 2550100 networking products needed to evaluate and deploy the new technology.

Fundamentally, the development of 25GbitE products was driven by hyperscale cloud providers who needed a more economical network speed between 10G and 40G. Twinning 25GBitE adapters to reach 50gig is better – cheaper and faster – than quadrupling 10gig adapters to reach 40gig.

For the alliance, adding in 50 and 100GbitE standards, and so matching InfiniBand, is nice, thick and gooey icing on that cake.

Setting up the alliance is a good effort. The more heavyweight Ethernet players that join in the better, and seeing Broadcom, Cisco, Emulex and HP join in would increase its impact a lot. Let's hope they, and others, pile in as well. ®

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