Why SMBs No Longer Need to Cast Envious Eyes at 10G Data Centers

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Significant price and performance improvements in the 10G space means that SMBs can outfit robust data centers that can handle the growing demands of an ever-connected, data-intensive world.

You can sum up in a single word why data center managers with small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) were eager to deploy 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) switching when the technology became affordable: Performance.

All businesses, big and small, carefully weigh whether new investments in technology are going to help them to remain competitive. This wasn’t a hard sell with 10GbE, which marked a major improvement over its predecessor.

10GbE offered connectivity rates that were 10 times faster than Gigabit Ethernet, an arithmetical difference that easily clinched most arguments about whether it would have an impact on data center operations. But for many years, SMBs faced cost constraints that often left them shut out of the market. Unlike their bigger business rivals, who could easily afford to implement newer technology, SMBs had to wait and watch as 10GbE emerged as a central building block of enterprise data centers.

In its early days 10GbE wasn’t cheap -- the price of an average Ethernet port averaged about $5,000 in 2004 and came in essentially one media flavor – fiber But enterprise IT departments paid up because they needed help coping with the unrelenting growth in data traffic that resulted from the growth of mobile and cloud computing. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) more recently made the need that much more acute.

Those previously formidable price barriers are coming down. The cost of 10 Gigabit Ethernet switching equipment has fallen to the point SMBs can add the technology and still stay within their budgets. For instance, NETGEAR offers a choice of eight 10GBASE-T switches with prices starting below the $1,000 mark and ranging from 8-port (XS708E Web Managed Plus) to 28-port (XS728T Smart Managed) to 48-port (M4300 Fully Managed series).

The increasing affordability of 10GbE comes at a critical time for SMBs that find themselves competing in an increasingly connected and mobile world. Consider this: The number of bring your own devices (BYOD) in the workplace is expected to triple by 2018 according to Gartner -- and that is going to require SMBs to build data centers with sufficiently robust capacity to handle the extra data load.

SMBs need a reliable way to bring networking connectivity beyond the core of their networks. But price constraints largely sidelined them as they watched enterprises deploy 10GbE to aggregate hundreds of Gigabit Ethernet server connections and accommodate growing computational and storage density in their data centers. Gigabit Ethernet’s proliferating use pushed more traffic to the edges of the network, raising the potential risk of suffering bottlenecks. But 10GbE uplinks offered a way to break that logjam and smoothed out any scaling challenges.

Now SMBs are doing the same.

Indeed, 40 percent of SMBs have already migrated to 10 Gigabit in anticipation of the increasing number of network performance bottlenecks, according to NETGEAR research, driving SMBs to move to a 10 Gigabit infrastructure.

Other popular reasons relate to new premises expansion or just a general need to refresh legacy switching technology from core to edge. The groundswell is gathering momentum and some 61 percent of SMBs expect to have 10 Gigabit supporting their business network by the end of next year.

Visit NETGEAR’s site to learn more.