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FCoE Takes Next Step to Standards Completion

- February 14, 2008 - 4 Comments

So the big news is that the FCoE standard continues to move forward by adopting a common addressing structure: soon as the release hit the wire, battle lines are being drawn. On one side, you have the Fibre Channel advocates supporting the standard but hedging their bets on how quickly it will be adopted. On the other side, you have the IP advocates who ask “Why can’t we just go straight to iSCSI?”An interesting discussion is taking place here.The reality is probably somewhere in between. The fact of the matter is that customers have invested a lot of money and time into their Fiber Channel infrastructure and they are not about to rip it out anytime soon. FCoE gives them a migration path that gets them immediate benefits of convergence while preserving their investment in hardware, applications, and processes.No one is saying that iSCSI isn’t a good idea for convergence in the data center. For many who haven’t invested in Fibre Channel SANs like small and medium businesses, it’s an ideal solution.But asking a storage administrator who has been running Fibre Channel SANs for years to throw it all away and start deploying iSCSI SANs is not realistic. It will probably be simpler to upgrade the Ethernet infrastructure to support Fibre Channel through FCoE than it would be to deploy a new iSCSI SAN and assess its impact on performance, availability, and management.

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  1. Mary Jander from Byte and Switch just wrote an article with some analysis on FibreChannel over Ethernet. I am glad to see such broad industry support for this critical protocol that we've been working on for so long coming together as the capabilities it delivers become better and better understood."

  2. I don't think I was arguing that FCoE is a better way forward than pure Fibre Channel. What I was trying to say is that for customers looking at converging their data center network fabrics, FCoE may be better for existing Fibre Channel customers than iSCSI because it affords some level of investment protection.However, we also realize that many customers will want to stay with Fibre Channel for a variety of reasons. For those, we will continue to invest in MDS and we have a very rich roadmap that includes 8G and FCoE.It's all about choices and giving customers what they want as opposed to coming up with a one size fits all"" solution."

  3. Why is FCoE being touted as a better way forward than pure FC? According to Deepak Munjal, Cisco's manager of data center marketing, Fibre Channel will remain the major storage protocol because it handles storage better than Ethernet does"".If FC is better, then use it on the $200,000 wonder switch being sold as a ""unified"" fabric. If I still have to use a FC switch, then it isn't unified at all.So let me get this straight...Even though all the pieces are there, Native FC on a Nexus is not an option because:1. In a thinly veiled attempt, Cisco doesn't want to steal sales away from it's MDS FC platform?and/or2. Because Cisco's big MDS customers were sold on the future of the MDS, without being told about the true capabilities of the Nexus? In which case they would be pissed they bought an MDS before the Nexus was available as an alternative.I think there might be a bit of a struggle going on inside Cisco as to which product will be the Datacenter FC switch of choice, and the MDS guys are winning."

  4. Looking through the article, there's a poll posted: the increased interest in FCoE from last year, I found it interesting that the top two reasons given (74% of the respondents) for the interest in FCoE were I/O consolidation and investment protection.This echoes why I believe FCoE will succeed where other solutions have failed. FCoE is the only technology that preserves existing investment in Fibre Channel."