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Ethernet Alliance Breaks New Ground with Successful TeraFabric Plugfest

The Ethernet Alliance, a global consortium dedicated to the continued success and advancement of Ethernet technologies, today announced the successful completion of its TeraFabric Plugfest. The groundbreaking plugfest brought together the industry’s largest and most disparate array of Ethernet product and technology vendors in a multi-vendor test environment at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL). The gains achieved during the TeraFabric Plugfest have allowed the Ethernet ecosystem to move another step closer to realizing the next generation of multi-vendor converged data center networks.

“This is the most diverse interoperability testing event the Ethernet industry has seen to-date in terms of the sheer number of unique vendors, products, and technologies represented, all working in concert to accurately represent the entire spectrum of a converged data center,” said Chauncey Schwartz, chair, Marketing Committee, Ethernet Alliance and senior technical marketing manager, QLogic. “Using an approach incorporating multiple Ethernet speeds, vendors, technologies, and protocols, we were able to successfully construct and transmit data through a 1Tb-capable fabric. Thanks to Ethernet’s continuing maturity and the solid foundation laid during the TeraFabric Plugfest, we’re ready to make the leap into tomorrow’s terabit-enabled future.”

With 18 vendors in attendance, the TeraFabric Plugfest set a new standard for industry-wide cooperation and collaboration. Plugfest participants represented a cross-section of Ethernet switch, storage, adapter, test equipment, and cabling industry leaders, including Amphenol Corporation (NYSE: APH), Applied Micro (NASDAQ: AMCC), Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ: BRCM), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), CommScope, Inc., Dell Networking and Dell EqualLogic (NASDAQ: DELL), Emulex Corporation (NYSE: ELX), Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. (HKG: 2038), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), Ixia (NASDAQ: XXIA), JDS Uniphase Corp (NASDAQ: JDSU), Leviton Manufacturing Co., NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP), Nexans S.A. (EN Paris: NEX), Panduit Corp., PLX Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLXT), QLogic Corporation (NASDAQ: QLGC), Samtec, Inc., Siemon Company, TE Connectivity Ltd. (NYSE: TEL), and Volex (LSE: VLX).

Among the notable achievements realized during the event was the successful use of 10GBASE-T in data center bridging (DCB) architectures end-to-end over the maximum length of 100-meters. The event also saw the industry’s first multi-vendor public test of the official IEEE Data Center Bridging Exchange (DCBX) standard 802.1Qaz. In addition, 40GE was successfully tested for the first time in a multi-vendor DCB environment. Cabling vendors also performed thorough signal integrity testing for direct-attach copper cables. Additionally test cases were run using direct-attach passive and active copper cables as well as direct-attach active optical cables. Tests were also completed using 40GbE breakout to four 10GbE copper cables. These cable tests demonstrated the robustness and interoperability between 40GbE implementations, as well as between different rates of Ethernet.

“With the increasing convergence of various technologies onto an Ethernet fabric, the demonstration of Interoperability will be paramount to the success of some of these new and emerging technologies,” said Erica Johnson, director, UNH-IOL. “With over twenty years of Ethernet testing experience, the UNH-IOL was happy to assist the Ethernet Alliance as we seek to foster our vision for a more Interoperable future in an increasingly heterogeneous environment.”

“This was truly a breakout event for the Ethernet Alliance in that it required unprecedented cooperation of vendors from every corner of the Ethernet ecosystem, as well as significant investments of time and resources. The results speak for themselves – not only were we able to achieve our current interoperability testing goals, we’ve laid groundwork for the next evolutionary stage of high-speed converged data center communications,” said John D’Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance, chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO office, Dell. “The Ethernet Alliance will continue to actively pursue interoperability events such as the TeraFabric Plugfest in an effort to ensure Ethernet’s global expansion and advancement.”

Additional information about the TeraFabric Plugfest and other Ethernet Alliance interoperability events is available online. A coming white paper with full details and results of the TeraFabric Plugfest will also be made available to all Ethernet Alliance members. For more information about the Ethernet Alliance, please visit http://www.ethernetalliance.org, follow @EthernetAllianc on Twitter, visit its Facebook page, or join the EA LinkedIn group.

About the Ethernet Alliance

The Ethernet Alliance is a global consortium that includes system and component vendors, industry experts and university and government professionals who are committed to the continued success and expansion of Ethernet technology. The Ethernet Alliance takes Ethernet standards to market by supporting activities that span from incubation of new Ethernet technologies to interoperability demonstrations and education.

For more information about the Ethernet Alliance, please visit www.ethernetalliance.org; follow @EthernetAllianc on Twitter; visit the Ethernet Alliance Facebook page; or join the Ethernet Alliance LinkedIn group. Individuals who would like to receive updates on Ethernet Alliance news, activities and events may sign up for the organization’s newsletter at www.ethernetalliance.org/newsletter.

Additional Quotes:

“Amphenol was once again proud to be part of the Ethernet Alliance TeraFabric Plugfest held at UNH’s IOL. These plugfests are a great opportunity to test our cables assemblies and work with the leading Ethernet technology providers in the world. Interoperability is what makes Ethernet flourish and the best way to prove that out is with these plugfests and this was another successful event.” – Greg McSorley, chair, Ethernet Alliance High Speed Modular I/O Subcommittee, and technical business development manager, Amphenol

“By participating in the 10GBASE-T data center bridging portion of the Terabit Plugfest, AppliedMicro was able to demonstrate interoperability, performance and robustness of our 10GBASE-T PHY in an environment with leading suppliers of PHYs, switches, NICs and test equipment. Events such as these offer a clear and objective indication that 10GBASE-T is ready for broad market adoption and this plugfest will help to drive a rapid transition to 10GBASE-T in the data center." – George Jones, vice president of marketing and co-general manager, Connectivity Solutions, Applied Micro Circuits Corporation

"After extensive conversations with our customers, we believe there is a growing need for interoperable ecosystems to build their networks and applications. CommScope's SYSTIMAX® network infrastructure solutions brings 10-, 40-, and 100GbE cabling options to the interoperability test event and helps customers design, deploy and evolve their network infrastructure." – Frank Yang, technical marketing manager, CommScope

"As a principal member of the Ethernet Alliance, Dell is excited to take part in the TeraFabric Plugfest as multivendor interoperability will be critical for wide-spread customer adoption. And proving out key storage and networking converged infrastructure technologies in a multivendor environment validates the overall end-to-end solution.” – Arpit Joshipura, vice president of product management and marketing, Dell Networking

“Ethernet is the backbone of the data center and network convergence provides the path for data center network simplification, with local area network and storage area network traffic able to run on the same wire. The Ethernet Alliance TeraFabric Plugfest allows us to test our current and future technologies in order to ensure interoperability with the Ethernet networking ecosystem for our customers.” – Shaun Walsh, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development, Emulex

“Intel is delighted by the success of the Ethernet Alliance TeraFabric Interoperability Plugfest – the first plugfest with multiple vendors successfully demonstrating 10GBase-T products. The wide variety of vendors, equipment, data rates, physical media and applications – all working together – highlights the value of Ethernet itself, and the strong role that the Ethernet Alliance plays in encouraging an ecosystem of interoperable products. Our customers benefit greatly from this work.” – David Fair, member, Ethernet Alliance Board of Directors, marketing for Storage over Ethernet, Intel

“The plugfest’s high-density network mirrors the challenging environment that many enterprise data centers are moving toward, which require ultra-flexible and massively-scalable test solutions. This event was the first interoperability demonstration of Ixia solutions capable of creating 40GbE converged network conditions, support for 802.1Qaz, and comprehensive coverage of DCB/FCoE and DCB/iSCSI over all media types. Together these solutions enable next-generation data centers to deploy fully optimized and drive the deployment of the latest applications and services.” – Michael Githens, marketing lab program manager, Ixia

“As networking speeds increase, and virtualization becomes more prevalent, the physical layer is becoming a key part of the data center architecture. We are glad that we had the opportunity to participate in the Ethernet Alliance’s TeraFabric Plugfest as it provided us the forum to make sure that Panduit’s optical fiber and copper connectivity solutions interoperate with a wide range of Ethernet switches and servers.” – Jeff Paliga, director of data center solutions, Panduit

“Industry-standard, interoperability initiatives, such as the Ethernet Alliance TeraFabric Plugfest, are critical to advancing Ethernet technology. A principal member of the Ethernet Alliance, QLogic relies on the Ethernet Alliance plugfest and interoperability demonstrations as one way to demonstrate that our Ethernet and converged networking products interoperate with peers in the Ethernet ecosystem. Enterprises reduce the risk and complexity of adopting new Ethernet technology by using products that have been demonstrated to interoperate with a broad range of other products in the Ethernet space.” – Chris Humphrey, vice president of corporate marketing, QLogic

“Samtec is proud to participate in the Ethernet Alliance TeraFabric Plugfest event and is excited to have our Active Optical Cable Assemblies tested to this leading industry specification. Successful Ethernet interoperability testing provides customers with a proven and reliable source for 40 Gbps QSFP+ solutions that break the bandwidth, distance and density limits of traditional copper cabling systems. Ethernet Alliance-tested and approved Active Optical Cable Assemblies are a natural step in the evolution of Samtec’s broad offering of Signal Integrity products and capabilities that allow us to be uniquely positioned to provide our customers with true end-to-end high speed solutions.” – Tom Custer, signal integrity engineer, Samtec

“The Siemon Company participated in this event, as well as previous Ethernet Alliance plugfests to demonstrate our commitment to support the Ethernet ecosystem. Our advanced product line includes high-speed copper and fiber; SFP+ and QSFP+ interconnect assemblies; as well as UTP and shielded twisted pair category 6A and higher 10GBASE-T cabling. We welcome the opportunity to come together with our colleagues in the industry to demonstrate interoperability.” – Randy Below, business development, Siemon Interconnect Solutions, the Siemon Company

"TE Connectivity is pleased to be part of the first Ethernet Alliance TeraFabric Plugfest at UNH-IOL. As a principal member of the Ethernet Alliance, we support its efforts to promote next-generation Ethernet standards and are committed to meeting the industry’s needs through our innovations in high-speed fiber optic components and copper cabling. For participation in this Ethernet Alliance event, TE supplied 40GbE Transceivers, active optical cables, OM3 MPO Cable as well as QSFP+ & SFP+ passive copper cables in various wire gauges and lengths." – Scott Shuey, senior standards engineer, Data Communications Industry, TE Connectivity

“The Ethernet Alliance has once again provided a neutral environment for collaboration and testing by a diverse group of industry leading vendors. Volex is pleased to have participated in the EA TeraFabric Plugfest and to have taken advantage of this unique opportunity to perform interoperability and validation testing of our High-Speed Cables. Volex provided passive copper 10G SFP+, 40G QSFP+, and 40G QSFP+ to four 10G SFP+ hydra link cables for testing side-by-side with others supporting the Ethernet ecosystem. With continued adoption of converged Ethernet in data centers coupled with the ever-increasing need for greater bandwidth, Volex continues to keep pace and fulfill our customer’s needs.” –John Osborne, global vice president, Telecoms/Datacoms Business Sector, Volex

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