What do you get when you cross iSCSI with lossless Ethernet? A lot of confusion.
I do quite a lot of presentations regarding converged networks, including Fibre Channel, whether native or over Ethernet (i.e., FCoE), iSCSI, NAS, etc. The hardest part about these presentations are combating some of the expectations that audiences have, considering they may come from server backgrounds, network backgrounds, or storage backgrounds.
Why is this important? Quite frankly, because like fish who don’t know they live in the water, they have come to grow unaware of their own environmental backgrounds. They tend to forget the assumptions with which they make their decisions. Ethernet and Fibre Channel networking people have very different fundamental philosophies about the way their networks run.
In the world of converged networks, this can cause some, er, unintended consequences. Read More »
Tags: DCB, ETS, FCoE, iSCSI, Lossless, PFC
Before I came to Cisco I still wrote about Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and did my best to try to help edumificate people on how the technology works. One of the most popular things I’ve ever written, in fact, was a comparison between FCoE and another convergence technology, iSCSI. Since that time I’ve come to learn and understand a lot more about both technologies, how they relate to each other, and how storage networks are designed and implemented using them.
Since Demartek published the recent piece on multiprotocol connectivity, which included some comparisons on the protocols regarding latency I thought it might be a good time to revisit some of those questions. Read More »
Tags: FCoE, Fibre Channel, iSCSI
There are a lot of questions that people ask regarding Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), especially Multihop FCoE, and what happens when you put it into place inside the Data Center. For the most part, the questions have involved two particular threads: architecture and performance:
- What are my options with FCoE?
- Where can FCoE fit into my Data Center?
- Is there a performance penalty for running FCoE?
- How do Fibre Channel, FCoE, and iSCSI compare?
Demartek, a third-party research and analysis corporation, recently published an evaluation on Cisco’s Multiprotocol Connectivity and Multi-Topology solutions, which found that not only were the topology configurations extremely flexible for many different types of environments, but also found that even with multiple switches, multihop FCoE topologies can provide excellent performance within the Data Center.
Dennis Martin, founder and President of Demartek, will be presenting these findings and discussing his impressions of the technology in a live, public webinar, Thursday, August 9, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. We encourage you to attend to learn more about how these different technologies can fit inside the data center.
Tags: FCoE, Fibre Channel, iSCSI
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 »
Tags: FCoE, iSCSI
I was reminded this week of how much perception is driven by perspective. In this case, it was because of our advocacy of FCoE. I was exchanging messages with one individual who interpreted this as an attempt to undermine Fibre Channel (FC) and send it to an early grave. At the same time I was exchanging messages with someone else who felt we should not be wasting out time on FC and be spending more time and effort on IP-based storage. Needless to say, I found the contradiction entertaining, but I thought it might be worthwhile exploring these sentiments a bit.
“Doesn’t Cisco want to get rid of Fibre Channel?”
This one is easy--nothing could be further from the truth. We are committed to FC for the long haul because, simply, our customers are committed to FC. At the end of the day, in the enterprise, FC is still the standard against which other solutions will be judged for performance and availability. Even if customers make the decision to adopt IP-based storage, there is going to be a huge amount of data thats going to stay in the FC domain. It may stay put or be migrated slowly as part of normal refresh, but the end result is that FC is not going away anytime soon. From our perspective, we will continue to invest in FC as long as our customers tell us its important. Lest you doubt that, look at the updates to our Cisco MDS family over the last year and also remember that we still sell gear with Token Ring interfaces.
“Why spend time on Fibre Channel protocols?”
This is a fine question. To paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton, we’re investing the time in FCoE because that’s where the data is. One of our primary data center design tenets is a unified fabric at the access layer for its TCO and functional benefits. We are agnostic about how you do that, whether its via IP-based storage or FCoE. From a practical perspective, as noted above, for most enterprise customers, their data is sitting in an FC domain, so any convergence strategy needs to take that into account. And while the storage folks may not care what we are doing at the server access layer, they are certainly not looking for their lives to be made any more complicated. Hence, we have FCoE.
At the end of the day, storage strategy shouldn’t be technology-dependent. The next-gen data center is going to need to support the ability of apps to grab data wherever it happens to be sitting: on IP-based storage, FC-based storage, or in a cloud somewhere, which is what we are ultimately helping our customers prepare for.
Tags: Data Center Business Advantage, FCoE, iSCSI, MDS, Storage