Tuesday, May 13, 2008

8G Fibre Channel heats up

In the relatively slow and steady pace of the Fibre Channel world, competition is starting to heat up around the transition to 8 Gbit/s products. Storage switching giant Brocade rolled out its portfolio of 8G switches and server cards today.

Emulex was quick to point out it has been there, done that with server cards already qualified by EMC. Indeed both Emulex and QLogic were early to the 8G party with cards they rolled last summer.

Despite a little bit of temperatures rising, I recall what Renato Recio of IBM told me during an interview for a recent story about Fibre Channel over Ethernet. For users that what high performance and need to move this year FC is the safe bet, but for 2009 the FCoE community should have its ducks al in a row to be a solid competitor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Ducks all in a row"???? Initial FCoE implementations are huge, multi-chip, power wasting adapters. Sure, the FCoE proponents will roll out single chip products in 2009 and sure there will be FCoE gateways based on these new ASICs but, for goodness sake, the proponents don't even have the specifications completed for FCoE or data center Ethernet. How anyone can equate that to ducks in a row is a bit incredulous.

Storage solutions take many months to validate in a production environment. They take many months to validate in a vendor's environment before that. That is just to get the basics working. Then there will be the whole issue of making FC management work over Ethernet management and while not rocket science, the devil is in the details and it will take time to work out.

8G FC on the other hand is completely interoperable with 1 / 2 / 4G FC and does not require any new software to make work. It is also more than sufficient bandwidth for the most demanding storage solutions on any class of server. This will hold true well through 2010-2012 time frame.

Please don't fall for some vendor's marketing hype. FCoE will be there in a credible form in later 2009 but it won't be ready to wholesale replace FC SANs until much later as people learn from the experiences of bringing these technologies together. Yes, the marketing types will say they have it all solved but as demonstrated with FC, 10 GbE, and so forth, they are prone to overstate the success leaving it to the people who actually have to defend the technology to pick up the pieces.