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FCoE: From fee to free

Jim Duffy | Feb. 8, 2011
With demand for FCoE more sluggish than vendors had hoped, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch and adapter makers are making it available for free.

Dell’Oro believes FCoE is a “no brainer” inside blade server chassis.

“It has no complexities such as interoperation among multiple suppliers, and server operating systems,” Dell’Oro says.  “FCoE connects the server to the FCoE switch inside the blade server chassis and then the switch sends it out in either Ethernet or Fibre Channel -- something that all equipment understands. (And) instead of needing both an Ethernet switch and a Fibre Channel switch inside the blade server chassis, users will only need one switch -- thereby freeing up a slot in the blade server.”

Weckel believes 40G Ethernet on servers will help FCoE adoption at that level too by addressing the bandwidth disparity between Fibre Channel – 4Gbps and 8Gbps – and 10G Ethernet. Beyond server access, standards such as TRILL and Shortest Path Bridging are being defined that may help scale FCoE deeper into the core of data center networks and out into the cloud, and provide one physical point of access between a core switch and storage arrays.

Weckel expects to see “decent volumes” -- $100 million or more – of FCoE on modular core switches like Cisco’s Nexus 7000 in 2012.


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