IHS Markit: CSPs accelerate high speed Ethernet adapter adoption; Mellanox doubles switch sales

by Vladimir Galabov, senior analyst, IHS Markit


High speed Ethernet adapter ports (25GE to 100GE) grew 45% in 1Q18, tripling compared to 1Q17, with cloud service provider (CSP) adoption accelerating the industry transition. 25GE represented a third of adapter ports shipped to CSPs in 1Q18, doubling compared to 4Q17. Telcos follow CSPs in their transition to higher networking speeds and while they are ramping 25GE adapters, they are still using predominantly 10GE adapters, while enterprises continue to opt for 1GE, according to the Data Center Ethernet Adapter Equipment report from IHS Markit.

“We expect higher speeds (25GE+) to be most prevalent at CSPs out to 2022, driven by high traffic and bandwidth needs in large-scale data centers. By 2022 we expect all Ethernet adapter at CSP data centers to be 25GE and above. Tier 1 CSPs are currently opting for 100GE at ToR with 4x25GE breakout cables for server connectivity,” said Vladimir Galabov, senior analyst, IHS Markit. “Telcos will invest more in higher speeds, including 100GE out to 2022, driven by NFV and increased bandwidth requirements from HD video, social media, AR/VR, and expanded IoT use cases. By 2022 over two thirds of adapters shipped to telcos will be 25GE and above.”

CSP adoption of higher speeds drives data center Ethernet adapter capacity (measured in 1GE port equivalents) shipped to CSPs to hit 60% of total capacity by 2022 (up from 55% in 2017). Telco will reach 23% of adapter capacity shipped by 2022 (up from 15% in 2017) and enterprise will drop to 17% (down from 35% in 2017).

 “Prices per 1GE ($/1GE) are lowest for CSPs as higher speed adapters result in better per gig economies. Large DC cloud environments with high compute utilization requirements continually tax their networking infrastructure, requiring CSPs to adopt high speeds at a fast rate,” Galabov said.

Additional data center Ethernet adapter equipment market highlights:

·         Offload NIC revenue was up 6% QoQ and up 55% YoY, hitting $160M in 1Q18. Annual offload NIC revenue will grow at a 27% CAGR out to 2022.

·         Programmable NIC revenue was down 5% QoQ and up 14% YoY, hitting $26M in 1Q18. Annual programmable NIC revenue will grow at a 58% CAGR out to 2022.

·         Open compute Ethernet adapter form factor revenue was up 11% QoQ and up 56% YoY, hitting $54M in 1Q18. By 2022, 21% of all ports shipped will be open compute form factor.

·         In 1Q18, Intel was #1 in revenue market share (34%), Mellanox was #2 (23%), and Broadcom was #3 (14%) 

Data Center Compute Intelligence Service:

The quarterly IHS Markit “Data Center Compute Intelligence Service provides analysis and trends for data center servers, including form factors, server profiles, market segments and servers by CPU type and co-processors. The report also includes information about Ethernet network adapters, including analysis by adapter speed, CPU offload, form factors, use cases and market segments. Other information includes analysis and trends of multi-tenant server software by type (e.g., server virtualization and container software), market segments and server attach rates. Vendors tracked in this Intelligence Service include Broadcom, Canonical, Cavium, Cisco, Cray, Dell EMC, Docker, HPE, IBM, Huawei, Inspur, Intel, Lenovo, Mellanox, Microsoft, Red Hat, Supermicro, SuSE, VMware, and White Box OEM (e.g., QCT and WiWynn).


Mellanox Ethernet Switches for the Data Center:

In the Q1 2018 earnings call, Mellanox reported that its Ethernet switch product line revenue more than doubled year over year. Mellanox Spectrum Ethernet switches are getting strong traction in the data center market. The recent inclusion in the Gartner Magic Quadrant is yet another milestone. There are a few underlying market trends that is driving this strong adoption.

Network Disaggregation has gone mainstream

Mellanox Spectrum switches are based off its highly differentiated homegrown silicon technology. Mellanox disaggregates Ethernet switches by investing heavily in open source technology, software and partnerships. In fact, Mellanox is the only switch vendor that is part of the top-10 contributors to open source Linux. In addition to native Linux, Spectrum switches can run Cumulus Linux or Mellanox Onyx operating systems. Network disaggregation brings transparent pricing and provides customers a choice to build their infrastructure with the best silicon and best fit for purpose software that would meet their specific needs.

25/100GbE is the new 10/40GbE

25/100GbE infrastructure provides better RoI and the market is adopting these newer speeds at record pace. Mellanox Spectrum silicon outperforms other 25GbE switches in the market in terms of every standard switch attribute.