FCoE Is Ready, Is It Time to Care?

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) has been a much-hyped technology, but adoption rates haven’t yet lived up to the propaganda.According to Seamus Crehan, an analyst at Dell’Oro Group, only about 10,000 FCoE ports shipped in 2008. While that number is predicted to reach 1 million in 2011, it will still be outgunned by Fibre Channel by a factor of 10 to one.That said, FCoE isn’t a technology to ignore…

However, Alexander Nier, product manager for DataCore Software, cautions that an understanding of the underlying technology is a must or implementation headaches will crop up.”Don’t confuse FCoE with a freshly paved road where everything goes better just because it’s new,” said Nier. “FCoE is a complementary technology rather than a replacement for existing products. The main prep work is to understand if somebody may or may not benefit from using FCoE.”

To his mind, if you are a happy camper today, there is probably no need to switch gear. As FCoE is still in the early stages of adoption, he wouldn’t encourage anyone to switch if the technology they have in place is satisfactory. FCoE’s primary intention, after all, is to consolidate back-end cabling by using the same physical media (Ethernet cable) for multiple transportation streams in parallel.”If the back-end cabling of your server racks looks like a mess, and each server has a bunch of fiber optic and network cables connected to it, you’re probably a good candidate,” said Nier.

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