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Evolution Of Data Center Networking Technology — IP And Beyond

How Ethernet standards’ evolved from supporting home networking to now enabling hyperscale and cloud data center networking.

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Ethernet is ubiquitous—it is the core technology that defines the Internet and serves to connect the world in ways that people could not imagine even one generation ago. HPC clusters are working on solving the most challenging problems facing humanity—and cloud computing is the service hosting many of the application workloads struggling with these questions. While alternative network infrastructure within datacenters often facilitates low latency, high-speed communication, they are often limited in reach to within a single facility. Additionally, there is often a prohibitive cost to building multiple fabrics and cloud providers that occupy multiple locations need to move data and even perform inter-process communication between locations. For these needs, Ethernet SoCs supporting up to 800 GbE or even beyond play a critical role and companies who can aggregate, route, and deliver this traffic with minimal latency will thrive— presenting a way to leverage massively scale-out and long-haul high-speed communication critical to multi-site high performance computing, machine learning and data analytics.

This white paper explains the Ethernet standards’ evolution over the years from supporting home networking to now enabling hyperscale and cloud data center networking. The paper also highlights the need for a more comprehensive Ethernet solution beyond IP that SoC designers demand for 100G to 800G SoCs.

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