Another day, Another Skeptic
It seems that there are a lot of concerns about FCoE and that’s understandable since it is a new protocol and standards are still being finalized. However, there is significant momentum behind it and I’ll try to address some of the points mentioned in this post from Greg Ferro.1. “There are no standards”The FCoE standard will be completed this year. Most of the hard work such as frame format and addressing schemes has been completed and there shouldn’t be any roadblocks left.2. “The year of 10Gb ethernet won’t be until 2010″The year of 10GbE has already come. 10GbE is already widely deployed in the data center and I expect to see it deployed to servers this year. Cisco has shipped over one million 10GbE ports so obviously the market is there and growing rapidly.3. “For FCoE to be successful, you must buy new switches that support PFC, ETS, and DCBX Data Centre Ethernet extensions”Yes, FCoE will run better with Data Center Ethernet enhancements and the standards are going through IEEE right now and should be completed this year. Cisco is already shipping a pre-standards version of DCE today with the Nexus 5000 at a price point of less than $1000 a port. That’s market-leading pricing and certainly not a bomb!4. “You must buy FCoE HBA for servers, and then wait for the drivers to be certified by all the storage vendors”The FCoE adaptors (CNA) have been announced by two different vendors and they use the exact same ASIC technology and driver as their current 4G HBA so certification should be relatively swift. Also, Intel has announced a software implementation on their current 10GbE NIC which should lower cost substantially.5. “Why did Cisco buy Nuova Systems so quickly?”The Nuova acquistion was not a surprise to anyone. Cisco was a majority owner from the start and most of the founders were ex-Cisco after originally working on Catalyst and MDS development. The timing of the acquisition was due to the fact that the product had completed development and was ready to ship. Which it is now by the way.6. “FCOE is a transition technology”FCoE is more than a transition technology. Of course, everyone would prefer a pure solution but there is over $50B in Fibre Channel installed base. You don’t move that kind of infrastructure overnight. A more evolutionary approach is required.7. “ISCSI will move into the gaps”I can’t disagree with the fact that iSCSI will continue to be popular and gain marketshare. But most of the growth is coming from new customers who don’t already have a Fibre Channel SAN. Very few customers are removing their Fibre Channel infrastructure and replacing it with iSCSI. That is where FCoE comes in and is an ideal convergence solution for them.Both iSCSI and FCoE are good for the market. We don’t need separate parallel networks that do the same thing at the cost of additonal hardware, additional cabling, and additional management.Convergence is coming to the data center. Depending on what your starting point is, there is a path for you to get there.