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Re: [HSSG] The List

My fellow colleagues , 
Last week I sent out a list of items that I felt need to be addressed to ensure that a 40G PAR would be justified. At a subsequent EA teleconference intended to build concensus in the HSSG, I offered to review the presentations made in support of 40G Economic Feasibility and comparing 40G vs 4x10 LAG performance to ensure that I was not being too harsh in my consideration of the material that was presented.
Over the weekend, I reviewed every presentation I could find on these subjects so that I could be comfortable that I was not being unfair in my concerns. Fortunately, it was not a huge task as there are not that many to review.
After doing so, I found myself less convinced in the validity of some presentations that were made. This statement is not made to criticize my colleagues, but to honor the concept of peer review which requires that we review and criticize, otherwise we might as well just upload them to a server and forget about them.
Specifically, I disagreed with cost arguments made on the assumption that 10G cost remains a constant, when in fact I anticipate substantial reductions in 10G cost over the next few years at a rate much faster than today due to a few factors;
1) Higher density/lower cost optical form factors (SFP+) allowing better utilization of switch infrastructural cost and QSFP for NICs.
2) Smaller geometry CMOS allowing higher port densities to work in synergy with PMD cost reductions.
3) Integration of XFI / SFI interfaces directly into ASICs or multi-port PHYs driving 10G cost further downward.
4) Higher volumes / commoditization of 10G driving cost down much faster than the current trajectory.
While 40G can leverage some of these elements, it cannot leverage the volume that feeds the downward cost spiral. So in 4 years, a 40G switch port cost is going to be based on low-volume, freshly designed and un-amortized silicon used primarily for server interconnect, whereas a 10G port cost will be based on amortized, high-volume silicon being used in a huge array of applications. Having different trajectories, the relative cost for 40G will be higher than presented. This is true for 100G as well, but who is arguing a need for 100G based on cost? It is bandwidth that drives 100G demand.
In addition, I found presentations claiming that LAG was insufficient to address server I/O bandwidth needs, yet those presentations failed to address upcoming technology enhancements like TRILL and its impact combined with I/O Virtualization, perhaps with a physical manifestation of QSFP and MPO optics which I believe can lead to graceful performance scaling for servers that does not demand an intermediate IEEE standard. In other words, activities and technologies are advancing which will parse server network access into multiple conversations that can then be put onto a LAG group with much higher than presented performance levels.
Now, I realize that I am swimming upstream here by asking that the proponents for "40G now"  to complete a task that took the 100G proponents almost a year to accomplish, in less than 6 months, but then I am not asking them to do that. My first choice, the one I proposed in Geneva, was that we move 100G forward (because it is DONE) and that we continue to work on 40G (until it is done).
This appears to be a minority position because apparently some people will accept an unproven 40G proposal rather than risk 100G. Others think that 40G is proven sufficiently and are demanding "40G now" or they will not allow a 100G PAR to go forward. Those in the latter camp must either be unconvinced of my concerns, or they think my concerns are insufficient to justify any further work being done to justify a 40G project.
I can accept differences of opinion.
What I cannot do, however, is pretend that these issues do not exist, or that the work we would have to spend getting a 40G standard done is not going to delay the much needed 100G aggregation solution our customers demand. I cannot ignore what I perceive as holes in the 40G presentations.
So, to provide a little more direction to my colleagues in the "40G now or the HSSG stalls" crowd, I am asking you to include relative cost trajectories in your analysis of 40G vs 10G cost models, and to include technology enhancements to LAG (TRILL, I/O Virtualization, QSFP, MPO) in your performance analysis.
If you feel that this is unnecessary, I am requesting that you communicate this position to me as soon as possible so that I can prepare a presentation on these areas of concern for the July meeting.

Dan Dove
Dove Networking Solutions - Serving ProCurve Networking by HP