M&A stirs up standards

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: Storage magazine: What you need to know about data storage provisioning:

Wayne Adams, chairman of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), thinks mergers and acquisitions like the recent Brocade-McData deal are good for developing standards.

"Where you might have had two strong opposing views, one gets taken out and then you can move along with less debate," says Adams, who is also a manager within EMC's Office of the CTO.

That could happen to the Internet Fibre Channel Protocol (iFCP) standard, invented by Nishan Systems to extend Fibre Channel (FC) traffic over IP. McData acquired Nishan and since August 2003 has been selling its Eclipse SAN router. Brocade's SilkWorm Multiprotocol Router does the same thing, but supports Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) instead.

Experts seem to agree that iFCP is technically superior. FCIP encapsulates FC and forwards it over TCP/IP; iFCP translates 24-bit FC addresses to the Internet addresses of the IP protocol.

iFCP may be the better mousetrap, but don't count on its survival--think VHS vs. Betamax.

--Jo Maitland

This was first published in October 2006

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