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July 2014 Vol. 13 No. 5

Ethernet advances haven't pushed FC SANs into retirement

Storage networking has proven to be the exception to the adage, "Ethernet always wins," and it's unlikely to change soon. Ethernet has made inroads in storage, but Fibre Channel (FC) SANs remain the performance leader, and will stick around for the foreseeable future with 16 Gbps FC adoption growing and 32 Gbps FC on the horizon. With more performance-hungry applications popping up, the idea of 32 Gbps FC becomes more attractive. And demand is unlikely to stop there. "We keep adding audio, video and satellite images," said Arun Taneja, president of analyst firm Taneja Group. "One flight from Boston to Tokyo and back produces [approximately] a terabyte of data that you have to analyze, shift and index. So do I think 32 Gbps will be enough? Probably not." The FC market remains healthy even if it isn't growing. Brocade Communications Systems Inc., the market leader in FC switches, reported $412 million in FC SAN revenue for the quarter that ended in January. That was down 1% from the previous year, while Brocade's Ethernet revenue ...

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