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Networking and telecom market watcher Dell'Oro Group says that shipments of 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 8 Gb/sec Fibre Channel adapters are booming. And, somewhat surprisingly, they're not eating into each other, despite the convergence of server and storage fabrics with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) support on mny 10 Gigabit …

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Anonymous Coward

Surprised?

Not really. Most people that build a SAN infrastructure did it for performance or to manage a lot of storage. Say you toss in iSCSI or FCoE, those that care about performance will try and segregate it for performance reasons. If you're going to maintain another infrastructure, why not just stick with FC? It performs better, and I don't see a cost benefit. Granted, we use Cisco which is pricey -- there are cheaper 10GbE vendors.

And that's the infrastructure. There aren't many FCoE arrays. And if you look at arrays that support iSCSI , most would argue if they're as reliable or perform as well as a FC array. Discussion in itself, but I'd say it's a factor in why FC is doing well and not going away anytime soon.

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Megaphone

This is easy to explain

Here's my 2 cents.

Firstly, FCOE made promises about convergence - simplifying the data centre.

You can get simplification from iSCSI, firstly at 1Gbps and now at 10Gbps. And unless you're really looking for very high deterministic performance, iSCSI can hang with the big guys. iSCSI continues to grow - rapidly - due to its lower cost, simplicity and good enough performance for the majority of applications (consolidation, virtualization, near-line archive, backup to disk, etc).

So why Fibre-Channel's continued popularity? Several reasons.

Firstly, the FCOE protocols have just been settled, but the Ciscos, Junipers and Brocades are all arguing about 10Gbpe lossless Ethernet connections, with little common ground.

Secondly, converged network adapters (CNAs) only started to appear on the market in late 2010, which slowed growth. The article mentions blade servers, but if you recall, rack server introduction of CNAs came first and only in late Q4, early Q1 were the blade form factor CNAs introduced for a couple of the major server vendors.

Thirdly, fibre-channel introduction of FC8 protocols offered deterministic connectivity at speeds (really capacity) similar to 10Gbps FCOE..

Fourthly, a storage architect who has built his reputation on 12 years of fibre-channel is going to be highly skeptical of ripping and replacing for something so new.

Fifthly, has anyone seen the cost of the Cisco Nexus gear that you are expected to roll out should you go this direction? in the current climate, that's sobering enough to make you extend the investment you've already made for another business cycle...

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Gold badge

Agree with AC in post 2

In short as far as I see it... fiber channel is designed for use with storage devices; it is designed for low latency, high speed, and to ensure data integrity. However, the controllers and equipment are very expensive, the few FC bits I've played with the drivers were difficult. Ethernet has relatively inexpensive hardware, but can have packet losses and retransmissions; for SAN use, there's iSCSI, (perhaps) ATA over Ethernet, or the likes of NFS if you don't need block-level access. FCoE? You have the packet losses and retransmissions of ethernet, while still needing expensive, specialized cards and tricky drivers like fiber channel. It's like the worst of both worlds.

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