Fibre Channel over Ethernet (Part 1 of 3)

This week I’ve spent much of my time talking to Cisco, HP, EMC and Fibre Channel Industry Association Chairman Skip Jones.  Monday afternoon I spent time talking to Claudio DeSanti, Technical Leader, Advanced Architecture and Research and Bill Lulofs, Product Manager, Data Center Business Unit, both at Cisco Systems.

When I received the assignment to review the FCoE specification and compare it to iFCP, FCIP and iSCSI (block protocols over data networks) I was thinking it might be boring, I was very wrong.  After just a few short minutes with Claudio and Bill I knew I was talking to a pair of very intelligent and thoughtful business technologists.  I had a good idea of what I wanted to talk about.  I had already read these articles and all the comments:

In this blog, The uncomfortable marriage of Fibre Channel and iSCSI, Julian Satran’s comments were most helpful prior to my interviews with the aforementioned companies.

This Question and Answer article where Brocade, EqualLogic tussle over Fibre Channel and iSCSI supremacy helped me realize that FCoE offers two types of green.  Doug’s comments made it clear there is green to be saved by by maintaining FC assets, employees and software.  John’s comments made it clear there is green to be had with envy by the iSCSI proponents.

Bill and Claudio helped me understand there is room for FCoE in the data center, citing these items as the tops:

  1. Data center focus for low-latency, low-cost per bit and no gateway required storage network
  2. Reduction of power by consolidating I/O cards to 10gig Ethernet
  3. Preservation of fibre channel physical assets, administrative skills and management software
  4. Native Fibre Channel over Ethernet; nothing changes just the leveraged buying of I/O cards and switches
  5. iSCSI requires overhead of transport and network layer, when not needed
  6. Consolidation of I/O using evolutionary approach; building off of iSCSI

Be sure to read the upcoming Trends article in Storage Magazine’s November edition where Jerome and I set the baseline for FCoE.  In the final installment of this blog series I’ll talk more about the six items above, but I’m hoping to see this technology in action at the FCIA booth at Storage Networking World.

In part 2 of 3 I’m writing about InfiniBand, more on Cisco and my interview with Mark Krause, Fellow Engineer at HP.

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Joshua L. Konkle

About Joshua L. Konkle

Vice President DCIG, LLC Joshua Konkle is Vice President at DCIG LLC, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Konkle has been a business advisor with them since September 2006.

One Comment

  • DCIG, Inc says:

    Fibre Channel over Ethernet (Part 2 of 3)

    Last month I did some research and evaluation of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).  In my Part 1 of 3 I shared some elements that can encourage the use of FCoE in the data center.During my research I spent about…

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