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Facebook is now testing out a new super-fast Ethernet switch to move data around its server farms, an executive announced today.

The new Wedge 100 will offer 32 ports capable of delivering 100 gigabits per second, said Jay Parikh, Facebook’s global head of engineering and infrastructure, at the Structure conference today. Currently Facebook is depending on 40 gigabits per second, Parikh said.

Other networking hardware vendors, like Cisco, Arista, and Mellanox, already offer 100 Gigabit Ethernet switches. But Facebook loves to share its hardware designs with the broader community through its Open Compute Project, and so switches with the same specifications that meet the needs of Facebook will presumably become available for other companies to build on top of.

Facebook has already built and shared designs for a top-of-rack switch that goes by the name of Wedge, as well as the 6-pack modular switch.

Facebook has now deployed “several thousand” Wedge switches in its data centers, Facebook software engineer Jasmeet Bagga and network hardware engineer Zhiping Yao wrote in a blog post today.

Facebook has also built its own servers and storage hardware. This is the company’s latest big hardware project inspired by its own needs.

And if you think about Facebook’s needs, they are speed and bandwidth. The company now has more than 1.55 billion monthly active users. And users are wanting to post videos, which take up plenty of speed and need to be delivered quickly. So hardware like the Wedge 100 actually makes a whole lot of sense.

Parikh said there are a few options available once Facebook exhausts 100 Gigabit Ethernet. “We want the industry to move faster,” he said.


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