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Introducing a new industry standard takes time, patience, and persistence.  But adopting one can take courage.  Customers often have concerns about the deployment of pre-standard product, how complete the standard really is, the availability of solutions, the insertion into long-term roadmaps, whether the benefits outweigh the risks for early adoption, and most importantly, knowing when to invest.  When considering the implementation of a Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) solution, the Cisco IT group has decided that the investment time is now, and we’re already starting to realize the benefits this technology can bring.

Cisco’s involvement with the emerging FCoE standard has been ongoing for the past few years. In 2007, Cisco joined other industry leaders in the FC-BB-5 workgroup to begin development of the new standard.  In 2008, we released standards-track support for FCoE in our Nexus product line. In June 2009, the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) approved the workgroup’s draft for publication as an ANSI standard.  And in July 2010, Cisco, VMware, and NetApp certified and announced the first joint, end-to-end FCoE solution for VMware-virtual environments.

While Cisco has been busy helping to bring this new technology to market, our IT group has shared many of those same concerns about adopting a new technology that our enterprise customers have.  After all, we share the same mission. And we share the same challenges, such as making strategic capital investments that will yield a strong return-on-investment (ROI).

Fortunately, with the FCoE standard now passed and tested solutions available, the focus is shifting from risks to benefits.  In our new facility, Texas Data Center 2 (DC2), we’ll use FCoE to help us meet several objectives. First, deploying FCoE aligns with our long-term roadmap toward a unified fabric. Second, the consolidation of our switch ports lowers our energy consumption, helping us meet our carbon emission commitments. And finally, the FCoE reductions in our cable, switch port and rack requirements are projected to provide CapEx savings that exceed US $1 million.

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If these benefits sound interesting to you, I recommend watching the Cisco Data Center 2011-Texas video, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE):  Immediate ROI to learn more.  And perhaps you’ll agree that when analyzing the costs, risks, and benefits, early adoption of FCoE is starting to seem less like an act of courage, and more like practicing good business sense.

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