Gartner Research

Next-Generation Ethernet Switches

Published: 17 July 2008

ID: G00203523

Analyst(s): David Passmore


Over the past few years, there have been relatively few changes to enterprise-class Ethernet switches. But now, with 10GBase-T driving down the cost of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) local area networks (LANs)--combined with growing use of Ethernet for storage networking as a substitute for Fibre Channel and a need for greater bandwidth/availability and lower power consumption--vendors such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks have recently introduced entirely new families of Ethernet switches. In this report, Research Director Dave Passmore examines the latest products and discusses what's really new about next-generation switches.

Table Of Contents



  • A Previously Mature Market
  • New Developments
    • Cisco Nexus
    • Juniper as Enterprise Ethernet Vendor
    • 10 Gigabit Ethernet
    • Data Center Ethernet
    • Front-End Networking
    • Ethernet Switch Power
    • New Startups
  • Unsuccessful Attempts
    • Infrastructure NAC
    • Chinese Competition
  • Market Impact
  • Recommendations
    • Cisco Alternatives
    • Cross-Functional Coordination
    • Server Ethernet
    • Access Network Substitution

The Details

  • Ethernet Switch Features
  • Layer 2 vs. Layer 3 Comparison
  • Product Categories and Examples
    • Modular Chassis Enterprise Switches
    • Fixed Form-Factor “Stackable” Enterprise Switches
    • Blade Form-Factor Switches
    • Commodity Fixed Form-Factor Switches


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