Every network needs switches, and the need continues to grow as the world becomes increasingly networked. In 2014, the revenues from the global Ethernet switching market hit an all-time high, according to Infonetics Research, now part of IHS Inc.
Infonetics reported that global Ethernet switch sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 came in at $5.9 billion. For the full 2014 year, Infonetics reported that global Ethernet switch sales were $21.7 billion, hitting a five percent year-over-year growth rate.
Looking at different classes of Ethernet switching gear, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) port shipments increased in 2014 by 27 percent, according to Infonetics. 10 GbE demand is coming from multiple drivers, including the increasing rollout of server virtualization technologies, though revenues are not growing as fast.
"2014 was another solid year for Ethernet switches," Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics Research, said in a statement. "The one weakness was 10GbE, where revenue growth has essentially stalled as large data center operators migrate to 40GbE and mainstream enterprises have yet to widely adopt 10GbE."
While 10 GbE is growing, so too are 40 GbE and 100 GbE. Infonetics reported that 40 GbE revenue doubled, while 40 GbE port shipments tripled. For 100 GbE, port shipments grew six-fold, according to Infonetics. Machowinski noted that while 40 GbE is a primary growth area today, he only expects that to last for another one to two years, at which point 25 GbE will become more important.
Infonetics had previously reported that it expects 25 Gigabit Ethernet (25 GbE) switch ports to start shipping in the fourth quarter of 2015. The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium got started in July of 2014 and has been helping to drive that new standard forward.
Growth is also expected in the bare metal switching segment. Infonetics is forecasting that by 2019, approximately 12 million bare metal data center Ethernet switch ports will ship, representing just under a quarter of all data center ports shipped globally.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.