Some people feel “one day, we will have 10Gig Ethernet”. Well, that day is today, and it’s been like this for a while. 10Gig Ethernet technology has been available for quite some time now – it’s just expensive.
There are 5 ways to transmit 10Gig Ethernet today – through Twinax cable (which has a maximum run of 10 meters), CX4 cable (which has a maximum run of 15 meters), CAT 6 cable (which has a maximum run of 55 Meters), CAT 6A cable (which has a maximum run of 100 meters) and fibre cable. Yes, fibre cable – the same stuff that is used with fibre channel SAN systems. Up until now, Fibre has been the most practical way to run 10Gig Ethernet, because a limitation of 45’ away with CX4 cable is just to short of a run for most people. But with the advent of 10Gig Ethernet over CAT 6 and CAT 6A cable, it has become much more realistic for people to setup 10Gig Ethernet systems.
Of course, what I am not telling you, is the #1 problem that 10Gig has had since it’s inception. IT’S EXPENSIVE. Most of you know that you can go down to the local office store and buy a regular Ethernet switch for $60 – $300. Well, that same switch in 10Gig Ethernet format is about $15,000 ! And those individual 10Gig cards that must go into your computers start at about $1200 each. So if you have 10 computers, you just spend a of money on 10Gig cards.
So when are the prices going to drop? I have no idea, but all new technology is very expensive when it first comes out. The idea of a 1 Terabyte SATA drive costing under 100 bucks, would have been considered absurd 6 or 7 years ago. We may look back on the prices of 10Gig Ethernet equipment in the near future, and say “can you believe how much they used to charge for this stuff”.
Of course, the reason 10Gig Ethernet is so appealing, is that it operates JUST LIKE REGULAR ETHERNET, but it’s a LOT faster. So there is no special management
Software, there is nothing new to learn, and with copper 10Gig cables (like CAT 6), you don’t have to be gentle with glass fibre cables, that are expensive and fragile. Go right ahead and jump up and down on a CAT 6 cable. It will work just fine.
Regular 1Gig Ethernet runs at about 50Mb/sec, and about 90MB/sec with jumbo frames enabled. 10Gig Ethernet runs at about 200MB/sec, and about 350MB/sec with jumbo frames enabled. So you get dramatic jumps in speed using 10Gig, without all the “learning curve” and special software requirements of a fibre channel system.
Maxx Digital specializes in shared storage systems that use Ethernet. A powerful 16 Terabyte shared storage system will cost about $16,000 at time of this writing, yet a “starter system” for 10 Gig Ethernet with only 4 users will cost about $27,000. And a full copper based (CAT6A) 10Gig Ethernet system with 16TB of storage will cost close to $40,000.
So is this technology available today? – you bet it is! 10Gig Ethernet is here right now.
You just have to be comfortable with how much it costs. The realization that it is backwards compatible with all of your existing equipment (like your regular MAC’s, and Mac Book Pro’s) is of great comfort to many people who are just “getting in”, who don’t want to sacrifice their current equipment investments.