Report: Cloud service providers muddy Ethernet adapter market

Thanks in part to varied deployments by cloud service providers, the adapter market was somewhat volatile in the fourth quarter, according to a report.

A new report by Dell'Oro Group found that shipments of high-speed Ethernet controllers and adapters—25 Gbps and faster—had mixed results in the fourth quarter of last year.

During the same time frame, shipment of 10 Gbps adapters declined after six quarters of sequential growth as the enterprise server refresh cycle slowed.

“Growth in server purchases across the cloud service providers was mixed. For instance, Amazon expanded server capacity in 4Q 2018, which drove the shipments of 25 Gbps Ethernet adapters. Conversely, Microsoft scaled back on server purchases which negatively impacted shipments of 40 Gbps ports,” said Baron Fung, director at Dell’Oro Group, in a prepared statement. “As a result, adapter vendors with a strong cloud exposure, such as Mellanox, saw more volatility than the prior quarters.

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"On the enterprise side, shipments of 10 Gbps ports are starting to decline in tandem with the tail-end of the Xeon Scalable server refresh cycle."

Overall, the total controller and adapter port shipments were down 4% sequentially in the fourth quarter of last year.

Going forward, Dell'Oro's report predicted that shipments of 100 Gbps ports will grow 79% this year due to the telecom and cloud hyperscaler segments. The Smart NIC (network interface card) market is forecast to grow by nearly 40% this year.