IT Vendors Propose FCoE

by CXOtoday Staff    Apr 09, 2007

A community of leading IT vendors has presented a new technology specification, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to the T11 Committee of American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

It will give customers a new choice for pervasive server connectivity in data centers, and complement the existing connectivity and protocols used in storage and data center networking.

The user benefits of this future technology include seamless extension and protection of existing investments, lower long term operating costs through consolidated connectivity and management and a management model consistent used in Fibre Channel SANs. It provides a unified data center fabric meeting reliability, latency and performance requirements for storage and broader data center connectivity, additional server connectivity options for cost effective data center networking and reduction in multiple server I/O and parallel network infrastructure used in data centers.

The FCoE standard would directly map the Fibre Channel protocol over Ethernet, bypassing the TCP/IP stack, allowing companies to continue using their existing Fibre Channel infrastructure.

FCoE has the support of vendors like Brocade, Cisco, EMC, Emulex, IBM, Intel, Nuova, QLogic and Sun Microsystems.

Claudio DeSanti, vice chairman, T11 Committee and technical leader Cisco Systems Data Center said, “The new protocol is a similar, yet simpler, technology compared with the existing Fibre Channel over IP protocol (FCIP), which wraps Fibre Channel packets in IP headers .This is just an additional technology,” DeSanti said.

Mike Smith, VP worldwide marketing Emulex said, “FCoE is being targeted at the need to consolidate storage for blade servers and virtualized servers on a SAN.”

The vendors have submitted a separate proposal to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that would increase the reliability of Ethernet for the purposes of Fibre Channel block level data transport.

“If Standards proposal is successful, it would take about 18-24 months to navigate the standards committee maze before being approved. The products supporting a completed standard would not reach the market until sometime in 2009″, said Smith.