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FCoE/8G FC Interop Results: Look who supports end users…and who doesn’t

- December 6, 2010 - 1 Comment

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

Tony Antony
Sr Marketing Manager
Data Center/ Storage Solutions

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  1. Really? I have yet to find a single company that is planning to manufacture non-standards based FCoE. While the plugfests can be useful, it's not the litmus test for product readiness. Cisco takes plenty of attacks on standards/proprietary, so I'm disappointed to see that just because some vendors don't make one of these plugfests that you'd suggest that they aren't just as committed to standards or working in multi-vendor solutions.