Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Is FCoE the emperor's new trousers?

Everyone says it looks great. Hmm.

Article comments

Until quite recently, Fibre Channel and Ethernet networks were mutually exclusive. Sure, you could encapsulate Fibre Channel within TCP/IP to run over long distance IP networks - that's how the iFCP and FCIP bridging schemes work - or you could bridge the two, but when it came to networked storage, each server used either Fibre Channel or an IP SAN connection.

Now that's changing: as Techworld reported earlier this week, a consortium of networking suppliers put together a specification to run the Fibre Channel protocols over Ethernet, with no need for encapsulation, or indeed for an IP layer at all.

FCoE's proponents - who include Brocade, Cisco, EMC, Emulex, IBM, Intel, QLogic, Sun and others - argue that it will provide a seamless way to extend a Fibre Channel SAN to more servers, without having to fit them all with Fibre Channel HBAs, install Fibre Channel switches and cabling, and so on. It will do this by making Ethernet loss-less, thanks to new specs around congestion management.

Of course, you can build an IP SAN today using iSCSI, but that requires each server to do some heavy-duty number crunching, especially at 10Gbit/s speeds. So you either want an expensive TCP offload engine (TOE) - basically, a super-intelligent NIC - or you'd better have quite a few processor cycles going spare if you want to do it in software.

And as Emulex senior marketing director Joe Gervais says, iSCSI is "a different management paradigm- it encapsulates SCSI packets differently from Fibre Channel." He claims that by comparison, the only difference between FCoE and Fibre Channel will be the wires - management will be the same.

He adds that, just as in the early days of LANs we used to run multiple protocols on the same wire - TCP/IP, NetWare, DECnet, etc - this allows Fibre Channel and TCP/IP to share a connection.

So is FCoE the Holy Grail of storage networking - the long-awaited technology that will finally enable the 30 to 50 percent of corporate servers that aren't currently connected to the SAN to join in? Up to a point, Lord Copper...


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *