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what the transformation means to storage teams
Bottlenecks. Once server virtualization technologies have been deployed correctly, bringing on a new application can require only a few minutes. But how long will it take to provision the storage to support it? If the answer is measured in days or weeks, the process needs to be reviewed and new storage technologies may be required.
Who controls the newly deployed network? Typically, storage teams dictate the type of network supporting the storage environment. Looking ahead, it's easy to imagine that changing. If FCoE takes off, will the deployment of Ethernet switches be controlled by storage or networking companies? Will the storage team or the networking group have the responsibility and budget? Will companies
| need hybrid IT groups with members from both of these teams?
Do FCoE products need certification from storage vendors? Traditionally, FC switch sales are influenced by the specific vendor but controlled by storage companies. Ethernet switches, sold into the network groups, haven't needed any approvals for NAS and iSCSI implementations. With FCoE, however, the game has changed. For now, all FCoE products are undergoing testing and so-called certification by major vendors. But will this trend continue? If you've been purchasing Ethernet switches for years without requiring storage vendor approval, why start now? And questions remain as to whether or not storage vendors will even have the time or desire to test all of the solutions. Will storage vendors retain final approval or will network vendors convince customers that it's an unnecessary step? It will be important to keep an eye on this potential shift in power.
FC won't disappear overnight. Remember when open systems were going to eliminate mainframes? There are still plenty of mainframes around and you could argue that the concept of virtualization is simply open systems recognizing a great benefit of logical partitions in the mainframe world and adopting it. FC will be around for a while, but like ESCON and FICON, it may not be the fastest growing or most exciting segment to work in five to 10 years down the road.
Vendors, especially those with a convergence message, now offer classes and certification programs to become better educated on these new technologies and virtualization products. Many are offered online and don't require travel. Take advantage of any company-sponsored training to expand your knowledge base and position yourself for future growth.
In addition, go to the certifying bodies themselves, like the IEEE and T11, to learn more about the status of CEE and FCoE. Other helpful sites include the FCoE home page.
This was first published in November 2008