FCoE: The Standard is Here
So, after a lot of hard work by a number of individual across the industry, I am happy to say that on June 3rd, the FC-BB-5 working group of T11 has completed its work and unanimously approved a final standard for FCoE. Today, the plenary session of T11 approved forwarding the FC-BB-5 standard to INCITIS for the publication process as an ANSI standard. For more details on the efforts to date, check out my post from March. You call also pull down a copy of the standard from here. As I noted earlier, this was an industry wide effort, but, personally, I would like to call out the efforts of our Cisco folks, Joe Pelissier, Landon Curt Noll, and Claudio DeSanti, the latter serving as chairman of the working group.So, what comes next? Well, for folks that have bought the Nexus 5000, as noted in the March post, the current hardware is compliant with the standard. There will be software updates to handle things like implementing the the final version of FIP and the like.We are also making good progress on the Ethernet front. As many of you know, FCoE relies on a set of extensions to the current Ethernet standards to make Ethernet serve as reliable transport. These extensions are also progressing through their own standards process:Finally, last month, the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab hosted an interoperability plugfest for IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging (DCB). Testing was held in two phases. Initially, participants completed individual tests for specific DCB features such as Priority-based Flow Control (IEEE P802.1Qbb), Enhanced Transmission Selection (IEEE P802.1Qaz), and DCB Capability Exchange Protocol (IEEE P802.1Qaz). After that, participants built a large DCB-based network and tested higher layer protocols such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet and iSCSI. Participants in the PlugFest included Cisco, Dell, Finisar, Fulcrum Microsystems, Intel, NetApp, QLogic and Spirent Communications.As the Ethernet Alliance, sponsor of the PlugFest notes in its press release:
The plugfest results were impressive considering that this was the first time multiple vendors had participated in testing products based upon the IEEE 802.1 DCB draft standards. Participants were able to demonstrate effectively the interoperability of their products and participate in a lossless Ethernet fabric simultaneously on the same network. These plugfests help to review the IEEE 802.1 DCB draft standards and to create interoperable products.
There is a white paper with details on the interoperability testing that is due to be published by the Ethernet Alliance in the near future.