It's all about the east-west
For the first time in a long time, there is starting to be a bit of buzz about the Ethernet switching market. Whatever your views on Ethernet as a technology (there are few other examples in IT of something as long-lived as Ethernet has been), we are starting to see some genuine innovation driving radical re-thinks of how Ethernet fits in a modern Enterprise.
It's definitely right to point out that the drive to 10 gig is not just about more bandwidth. Reduced latency is a massive benefit, especially for the transactional east-west traffic flows which we are increasingly seeing within data centre environments (due to application "fan out" from single user request to peer systems to pull in data from disparate sources relevant to that user request, amongst other trends). This change in traffic flows should be driving some redesign in data centre topologies; the tiered "top-of-rack" to "end-of-row" to "core" topology that some switch vendors continue to advocate (as it drives sales of the cash cow modular switch systems) stymies these kind of east-west traffic flows.
In the data centre, new tin is a by-product both of the drive to greater 10 gig densities and higher and a change in best-practice as far as data centre design goes. Fabric technologies such as Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) or FabricPath should be driving re-thinks in design, away from end-of-rack aggregation to meshes of interconnected, lower-cost top-of-rack systems that optimise the forwarding of layer-2 and layer-3 traffic between racks, rows and even data centres. This becomes even more relevant as the server guys push the network guys to support things like VXLAN - SPB in particular is suited to providing the scalable multicast environment that VXLAN requires; one of the many reasons why Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei and others have gone down this route rather than the proprietary alternatives.
Moderately interesting times :)