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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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Announcing True Director-Class Multihop FCoE

March 30, 2011 at 6:49 am PST

For months people have been asking me what I’m doing, and it’s been difficult to hold something like this under my hat because I’ve been really excited about this.

How the time has flown. I joined Cisco in June of last year, and on my first day my manager told me that I was going to be working on a new product -- an FCoE blade for the MDS 9500 Series Fibre Channel Directors. Read More »

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On the Nature of Innovation

March 29, 2011 at 11:15 pm PST

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Soni Jiandani about the nature of innovation at Cisco.  For those of you who know her, you know she knows a thing or two about bringing innovation to market.  Soni is currently a VP in the Server Access and Virtualization Business Unit. In a prior role, she was Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s LAN and SAN switching business unit within the Data Center, Switching and Wireless Technology Group, where she was responsible for the industry leading Catalyst modular switches and a comprehensive portfolio of intelligent SAN switches.

Omar Sultan: Soni, you often refer to the “Cisco Innovation Edge” -- What does this refer to?

Soni Jiandani: Specifically this refers to our ability to introduce technology innovations more quickly than the rest of the industry that deliver quantifiable benefits to our customers.  This really speaks to our culture of being a customer-centric company. Throughout our history we have maintained a close collaboration with our customers in order to understand their current requirements and vision for how technology can benefit their business in the 3-5 year time horizon.  By listening and then applying our technology expertise and experience of over 2 decades, we have been successful in driving many innovations into our architecture through custom silicon development.  At the same time, we are often leading the charge to drive these innovations through the standardization process and providing engineering support for plug-fests and industry-wide interoperability efforts.  We do this because we believe it is in the best interests of the customers, the industry and Cisco.

A recent example of this is Fibre Channel over Ethernet, a technology which is helping customers to save up to 50% on their data center infrastructure and operation by consolidating equipment and networks.  We were the first company to introduce FCoE switching products in 2008 in our Nexus data center switches.  At the same time we were helping to lead several industry-wide efforts which resulted in Lossless Ethernet and FCoE becoming official IEEE / INCITS standards in 2009.  Our custom silicon development allows us to introduce innovations more quickly to our customers, allowing them to benefit through cost savings and more agile infrastructures.  Once these innovations become standard and required by customers, they may then make it into merchant silicon; but often this can be several years later.  That’s a significant “Cisco innovation edge” that delivers real value to our customers maximizing investment protection.  We are on an innovation treadmill here. As we standardize Cisco innovations, we are constantly investing in the next set of innovations.

OS: There are a number of competent companies out there that make merchant networking silicon, so why does Cisco continue to commit R&D resources to make our own chips?

Read More »

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To Tell the Truth: Multihop FCoE

March 11, 2011 at 9:40 am PST

In the old television show, “To Tell The Truth,” celebrity panelists would attempt to decipher the true identity of one of three people, two of which were imposters.

Sure, they looked alike, sounded alike, and had very similar characteristics, but there was only one genuine article.

As we move deeper into the capabilities of FCoE, it’s now starting to become obvious that people are starting to become more sophisticated about what happens beyond the first switch. Not surprising, we start getting a lot of possibilities that look and sound alike, but are not really bona fide multihop FCoE. Read More »

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