While FCoE technology has been standardized for quite some time now, most FCoE deployments have been upto the access layer of the network.  Multi-hop FCoE deployments are gaining traction increasingly. Many a times, I get asked to share the production deployment designs and the real-world benefits of Multi-Hop FCoE infrastructure. So, in this series of blogs, I plan to share the same. In this blog, the spotlight is on a division of the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing Defense, Space, and Security (BDS).

Boeing-LogoBDS provides end-to-end services for large-scale systems and supports a diverse range of customers, including the U.S. Army, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). When the global recession hit the aerospace industry in 2010, BDS came under extreme pressure to cut costs. Dual network topologies, both FC and IP, were adding complexity to the network. BDS needed to reduce the TCO and at the same time increase the network agility, improve scalability and maintain highest availability possible.

As a result, the company decided to adopt FCoE to consolidate its IP and SAN data traffic on a single network. Since 2010, BDS has extended its use of FCoE and is now 100 percent Multi-hop FCoE. BDS deployed End-to-End FCoE architecture with Nexus 5000 at the access layer, the Director-class Nexus 7000 at the Core, connected to the FCoE Storage Arrays.


For BDS, the shift to the new Cisco Unified Fabric infrastructure and leveraging FCoE has delivered unparalleled value to the organization.  The ease of management simplified the rollout and the server provisioning time was reduced by about 25%. At the same time, BDS saved 35% in capital expenses and cut 90% of power costs.

With Cisco solutions, we are utilizing the cores better, and increasing I/O with fewer cables and fewer switches. This consolidation means we use less floor space and power, as well as cut cooling costs.”

“With the Cisco OS, commands for managing the IP and FC sides of the house are very similar. This is critical because people with the skill sets to manage both tasks individually are very rare and very expensive. However, we can now use our existing personnel to manage both IP and FCoE resources quickly and efficiently, increasing their value within the company!”

-Dennis Kuehn, Technical Fellow at BDS

Moreover, the ability to support multiple Ethernet storage protocols offered superior investment protection for the company’s future virtualization environments and the Cloud-ready data centers!

I hope this information was useful. More details can be found in the externally published case study.  I plan to provide information on other customers in a follow-up blog. In the meantime, one can also listen to the recording of the recent Webinar, in which few of the Multi-hop FCoE case studies were highlighted. Stay tuned!