Data center customers deployed seven million more server-class Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC) ports in 2020 than in 2019, according to a recent report from Crehan Research. Most of the new deployments were 25 gigabit Ethernet (GbE), 50GbE and 100GbE NICs. This, in combination with a strong increase in SmartNIC adoption, drove revenue growth well above the year’s robust shipment growth.
Early stages of adoption
Even with these strong results in 25GbE, 50GbE and 100GbE NICs as well as SmartNICs, Crehan’s report shows that these technologies are still mostly in the early stages of adoption and should have numerous years of growth ahead.
Seamus Crehan, president of Crehan Research, said,
“More users, deploying more applications requiring more bandwidth, fueled strong demand for both faster and smarter server-class Ethernet NICs. Although there are factors specific to the pandemic that helped accelerate demand, these are still long-term trends that will continue to drive increased server-class Ethernet NIC deployments.”
200GbE NICs started to ship in 2020, with Nvidia currently driving these volumes. 100GbE NICs saw particularly strong demand in the latter half of 2020, helped by the arrival of server platforms for artificial intelligence workloads, such as Facebook’s Zion. Broadcom and Nvidia were the main drivers of this strong 100GbE NIC growth. Intel accounted for most total server-class Ethernet NIC shipments in 2020.