The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) announced the completion of FCoE/8GFC Plugfest held recently at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL). While it looks like many vendors are on top of FCOE/8G interop testing, several major vendors were conspicuously missing:
“Participating companies in the Plugfest included ATTO, Broadcom, Chelsio, Cisco, Emulex, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Ixia, JDSU, LSI, Mellanox Technologies, NetApp, QLogic and SANBlaze Technology”.
Why is Multi-Vendor Interoperability Important?
As customers transition to virtualized and cloud environments and attempt to wring the most out of their existing technology, multi-protocol environments are inevitable. The single biggest hurdle to overcome in multi-protocol environments (FC, FCoE, iSCSI, etc) is intelligent scaling -- and intelligent scaling requires interoperability between legacy and virtualized environments.
Standards-based architectures -- The only way to ensure Interop!
Because most customer environments are heterogeneous in nature, a standards-based approach is paramount to enable intelligent scaling at reduced cost without forklift upgrades.
- Cisco participates in over 75+ standards bodies
- Cisco has been issued several thousand patents in networking hardware and software innovations over the last 25 years
- Cisco invests significant R&D effort in innovations, drives innovations into standards and invests in post-standards activity based on customer requirements
FCoE Standards are here – you don’t have to wait
FCoE standards (called FC-BB-5) were ratified in 2009 and published in May of 2010.
You don’t have to wait for a different standard for multi-hop FCoE -- FC-BB-5 also sets the standard for multi-hop FCoE.
While the standards bodies are always working on enhancements, it doesn’t mean you have to wait for FCoE technology-based products. FCoE standards simply mean in the future, you will continue to have new features and capabilities that are standards-based.
Why did some vendors not participate in crucial FCoE/8G FC Interop testing?
Two main reasons which come to mind are:
1) They don’t use standards-based approach
2) They don’t have the product ready for prime time, multi-vendor testing
For a more thorough analysis on vendors and FCoE standards see J Metz’s blog.
If you are planning a “data center convergence project”, check with your vendors to see 1) they support standards-based implementations and 2) their protocol convergence roadmap supports more than just FCoE. Remember, FCoE is not just about FCoE, it’s about how to seamlessly scale your multi-protocol environments (FC, FCoE, and iSCSI).
For more info how to bring scale and intelligence into your converged networks, take a look at Cisco Unified Fabric www.cisco.com/go/unifiedfabric
Sr Marketing Manager
Data Center/ Storage Solutions