The industry is moving to cloud-based services with virtual functions implemented on servers in data centers. These virtualized solutions require significantly higher bandwidth between servers and between applications running on the servers and users. Switches are the key link, providing low latency packet forwarding, network virtualization and overlay capabilities to maximize performance in virtualized network environments based on software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). Data centers operated by cloud and communications service providers are now the key market for switches, and this has had a major impact on the design of the switch chipsets already available and those that are in development.
This report written by Simon Stanley details and analyzes high-performance Ethernet switch devices, embedded SDN and operating system software and innovative IP solutions, identifying the key requirements and highlighting the advantages they hold for equipment manufacturers and service providers. The report also reviews vendor strategies and surveys component features, performance and flexibility in this important market.