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FCoE, Converging IT Teams, and… Penguins?

October 19, 2011 at 10:37 am PST

Recently flying on an airplane (which I’ve been doing a lot lately), I couldn’t help but notice the book the gentleman sitting next to me was reading.

Normally people tend to read, watch, or listen to something while on an airplane, so that wasn’t unusual, in-and-of itself. What was unusual was that this gentleman, obviously a professional businessman with grey hair and a many years of experience under his belt, was reading what appeared to be a children’s book about… penguins. Read More »

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The Napkin Dialogues: FCoE vs. QCN

July 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm PST

While at Cisco Live I had the pleasure of meeting several people who were curious about Multihop FCoE but had the unfortunate experience of getting too much misinformation from several sources (yes, including some of Cisco’s competition, but even some partners!). Some had already seen my article on FCoE and TRILL and wanted to know if I could help explain the relationship between FCoE and QCN (Quantized Congestion Notification), one of the documents in the IEEE DCB standard revision.

Even though we have a very good, short white paper on the subject, this is one of those subjects that as soon as people ask about it we break out the white boarding, or in the case of being at Cisco Live, the napkins. There are just some things that pictures help explain better.

Because of this, I’m going to try something different with this blog. It may work, or I may fall flat on my face; I suppose we shall find out. Read More »

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Converged Networks vs Mononetworks

May 22, 2011 at 1:01 am PST

In 1950 Time magazine published an article about an apocryphal story about former U.S. Senator (D-Florida) George Smathers:

According to the yarn, Smathers had a little speech for cracker voters, who were presumed not to know what the words meant except that they must be something bad. The speech went like this: “Are you aware that [opponent] Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law, and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper before his marriage habitually practiced celibacy.”

Brilliant! If you were in Pepper’s shoes, would you deny these types of charges? How can you face people who look at you with suspicion when not only are the accusations true, but can actually be the right things to do? (especially in 1950)

I love that story. Even though it’s false (Smathers reputedly offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove that he said it, an offer that went unclaimed up to his death) it provides a cautionary tale of just how someone can use an audience’s confusion against their opponents and yet still be telling the truth at the same time.

What does this have to do with Converged Networks? Read More »

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3-for-2: The FCoE Bandwidth Bonus

April 29, 2011 at 11:58 am PST

“Dude, you’re killing me!” my friend said to me.

I raised an eyebrow. “What did I do now?” Quick witted, I am.

“I know that you’re all over this FCoE stuff,” he said (actually, he didn’t use the word “stuff“, but you get the idea. “But what’s so great about a lousy 2G of bandwidth?” He sipped his beer, pausing for dramatic effect.

I was confused. “What do you mean, 2 Gig of bandwidth?”

“Look,” he said, sitting his beer down and enjoying his gotcha moment. “If I have 8Gb Fibre Channel and I move to 10Gb FCoE on my Interswitch Links, I’ve only gained 2Gb. I mean, what’s so great about a lousy 25% more?”

I shook my head. “You don’t get 25% more,” I corrected.

His smile broadened. “Aha! I knew it! There’s some overhead crap you gotta deal with, right? It’s even less than that.”

“No,” I said slowly. Now it was my turn to add dramatic effect. “You get 50% more bandwidth with FCoE.”

Every once in a while you get moments of pure schadenfreude. This was one of those moments. His moment of gotcha had spun around on him, and his look of dumbfoundedness was truly entertaining. Truly. Read More »

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Fixing Stupid, An FCoE Response

April 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm PST

I’ve read Henry Newman’s article on FCoE and vendor stupidity three times now, and I’m afraid it hasn’t gotten any clearer for me.

Given the nature of the title, “FCoE Gets Lost in Vendor Stupidity,” and given the fact that I work with FCoE on a daily basis for Cisco, can I help but raise an eyebrow at being called “stupid?”

Okay, okay, so he’s not calling me stupid. He’s talking about the nature of the industry as a whole (I think), and he’s talking about what could happen with FCoE adoption if it’s not handled properly (I think), and he’s comparing the lack of object storage as a metaphor for a lack of FCoE storage (again, I think).

This is not to say that Mr. Newman’s numbers aren’t interesting -- they are -- but I just can’t help but wonder how he comes to his conclusion about FCoE given that the entire article discusses iSCSI. Read More »

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