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New Happenings with FCoE

September 28, 2009 - 2 Comments

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) seems to be a popular topic for the last couple of weeks.  There have been a number of useful posts that I have ran across recently that I thought I would share:


  • Nigel Poulton (@nigelpoulton) has a couple of great posts on some of the fundamentals of FCoE technology

  • Mark Twomey (@storagezilla) followed up on Nigel’s efforts with a post on the EMC FCoE Techbook which goes into bleeding-eyeballs detail on how to set up environment.


For our part, we have just posted a new white paper on FCoE Initialization Protocol, which was defined as part of FC-BB-5.  FCoE Initialization Protocol supports many of the same functions as FIP in the Fibre Channel world (Fabric LOGIn, Fabric DISCovery, Exchange Link Parameters) in order to establish and maintain the virtual link between an FCoE End Node and an FCoE Forwarder (FCF) such as the Cisco Nexus 5000 that defines the edge of the fibre channel fabric.  Amongst other things, that lets us build more sophisticated network topologies as we deploy an FCoE based unified fabric.  Up to this point, End Nodes have had to be directly attached to the FCF; however, with FIP, you can have intermediate “passthrough” switches between the End Node and the FCF (as long as they meet certain criteria, laid out in the white paper).  A quick example of where this might be helpful is a blade server chassis, where you might not want the cost and/or complexity of a full FCF in the chassis, but do want a switch that can serve as an FCoE passthrough to properly forward the FCoE traffic to an FCF.




Finally, its nice to hear from customers on the topic. To that end, Derek Masseth, Senior Director for Infrastructure Services at the University of Arizona, will be joining us on a webcast tomorrow to discuss his experiences with deploying unified fabric in his environment.  The balance of the webcast will give you an update on some other goings on with storage as well as some new products on the horizon. 


The Webcast is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT. It can be accessed at (no registration required, just go to the URL at 10:00 a.m. PDT and select “Play” to launch the live presentation).

In case you are interested, you can find a copy of the actual T11 FCoE Standard (FC-BB-5) here.


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  1. I think that this new FCoE networks will be as future for new datacenters, now cost for the new technologies is to high, time will tell...New technologies and design for FCoE, you can met at at my special blog

  2. Great post Omar - I am working on a cheat sheet to explain the exact NXOS steps to turn FCoE on in the Nexus 5000.