How well is the Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol supported by third-party data center management tools? Is it better to focus on management tools that accompany the storage subsystem?
The management tools that come with data center bridging switches are the best place to start. The vast majority of FCoE implementations today are end-to-end integrated offerings (e.g., servers, FCoE SAN and storage) such as Dell Inc.'s vStart; Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.'s VirtualSystem; IBM's BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud; the FlexPod infrastructure stack that uses NetApp Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and VMware Inc. technology; and the VMware-EMC Corp.-Cisco-created Virtual Computing Environment Vblock.
These end-to-end integrated offerings provide management that encompasses everything in the system, not just the FCoE SAN and storage. Generally speaking, most third-party management systems have limited FCoE protocol support right now, although more is being added all the time. FCoE is similar to Fibre Channel in management, but not the same. FCoE is on the roadmap for the majority of third-party management tools, but check to see where your favorite tools stand before making a decision.
This was first published in October 2012