back to article Keep it simple with one-size-fits-all networking

This isn’t the sort of thing that sysadmins usually admit to, but I have recently developed a grudging sort of respect for cable monkeys. This is a difficult statement to make: sysadmins despise cabling. All too many of us think it is beneath us, our time is too valuable to be spent on such mundane tasks, cabling is a waste of …

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Anonymous Coward

apples and oranges?

Fibre Channel is primarily a storage network technology. Sure, you can replace FC/AL SANs with NAS systems that communicate over Ethernet, but they have their own pros and cons. FC isn't a general office networking technology.

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Facepalm

Apples and pears?

Where did you get the idea that FC = SAN and Ethernet = NAS?

It's completely flawed, they are different technologies you are talking about. Have you heard of iSCSI? Running a SAN over TCP/IP, you can even run FC over Ethernet.

They are different protocols - the underlying infrastructure may be different but the actual box is often capable of both iSCSI or FC and (often in lower end boxes) either in a SAN or NAS role.

The one thing that is true is that FC isn't a general jack-of-all trades that is used for regular data transmission.

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Anonymous Coward

D'oh yourself

> Where did you get the idea that FC = SAN and Ethernet = NAS?

Where did I say that? "primarily" isn't "always" or "only".

You can run any protocol over any other protocol; if you really want to. Even an FC SAN still speaks SCSI protocols, so bringing iSCSI in is a red herring. It doesn't change the fact that in most large storage farms (like the ones I use) most of the FC fabric is used for SAN, and the only time you' ll see Ethernet is for NAS connections.

> FC isn't a general jack-of-all trades

Which was my point.

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But it's still so passive!

Current cabling still costs a small fortune in copper, much of which is unused. Standard 10/100 Ethernet only uses half the conductors in the cable. Desks are over-provisioned with cable just in case future needs increase.

But the cost of making a passive termination socket is not actually much different from adding a few chips and making an active socket instead. That active electronics might be used to report on cable condition and faults (heck, even BT has slightly active master phone sockets with a resistor and capacitor so you can remotely check there's a continuous path to the socket). Or could be used as a mini-router, allowing a few workstations to be connected down a single shared cable.

Jack PCs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_PC) have been able to add significant intelligence to the socket, so certainly the concept is valid.

So why doesn't someone run with this opportunity?

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Bronze badge
Meh

Has a few drawbacks...

Heat dissipation, Power - you'd need POE on all your switches serving the boxes or have to connect it to a power supply, manageability, security, cost, reliability, speed, scalability...

If you wanted to extend like that you can pick up cheap $10 switches and connect them to a port in each office.

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Silver badge

"sysadmins despise cabling"

::rolls eyes::

That explains lots. Do grow up, Trevor.

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Thumb Down

"sysadmins despise cabling"

Only sys-admins who work somewhere with the budget to cover cable-monkeys. I have to do it myself in our office.

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Fibre

There is another reason for using fibre in an office environment. Regular office Ethernet (cat5) won't do reliable transport at distances over 100m. Fibre on the other hand can connect one end of a building to another without repeaters in between.

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Happy

Ah the days,

when I had to terminate cables to a stopwatch as part of course assessment!

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