Thursday, June 07, 2007

Circling the wagons around Ethernet

It's looking pretty good for an early move to an enhanced Ethernet standard carrying Fibre Channel protocols based on the news from this week's T11 meeting. The proposal Cisco put together had co-authors from a whopping 16 supporting companies. The only other proposal, from Brocade, had backing from HP and IBM who were also behind the Cisco work.

There are a ton of details to sort through here—-defining Ethernet frames, Fibre Channel mapping, understanding all the various interconnect models and ensuring all existing functions and management tools work well together. Nevertheless, the spirit of these meetings seems very congenial, people are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

One wrinkle: EMC, HP and IBM are suggesting as part of a requirements document they put together the industry decouple this work from the IEEE congestion management standard which they think could take awhile. The congestion features could be added later, they suggest. It's also interesting to see Broadcom is staying in the background on this effort so far. The competitive friction between Cisco and Brocade could still spark debates, but so far it looks like smooth sailing.

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