InfiniBand “or” FCoE – This time you should care
Last night I posted on FCoE vs. iSCSI. This morning I picked another debate on FCoE vs. Infiniband. The post I have commented to Jerome Wendt’s “Is FCoE a diabolical plot?“I posted the following on Jerome’s blog as a reply, but I want to make sure that Cisco’s blog readers have an opportunity to learn and have an opinion on the topic as well.I do not think that FCoE is a way to lock customers into FC. If anything, it is the other way around. Infiniband has always been faster than Ethernet and FC and for a while it will continue be (it was true for HIPPI, FDDI,… what happened with them?) and InfiniBand has alwayst touted the I/O consolidation value proposition, but that comes at a cost that makes it prohibitive and unrealistic. And I am not only talking of the pure hardware costs, but all of the implementation costs associated with it.I think the point of FCoE is that it can ultimately represent the easiest transition ‘out’ of FC, assuming that is what you want. And I am saying that becasue despite of what you and I may believe in terms of protocol superiority (see also my post of FCoE vs. iSCSI in response to Marc Farley) I still talk to customers, who have no intention whatsoever to move away from FC, hence Cisco continues to have a solid roadmap on the MDS.While I do believe that there will be a role for iSCSI and FCoE in the Unified Fabric, I do not believe there is a role for InfiniBand there. InfiniBand today is required not for its bandwidth, but for its latency. The application of InfiniBand is ultra low-latency high performance computing.InfiniBand is not easy and people know this. Even in HighPerformanceComputing situation, customers try to use Ethernet as much as they can and they only revert to IB when the business case for low latency justifies that.From a Cisco perspective, we do not really push one technology or the other (we offer a solution in every one of those camps,) but I think it’s important to keep the customer’s perspective in mind and if customers ask for simple, integrated, transitionary solution, I think we are honest if we propose FCoE.