Whether you are upgrading or replacing your existing data center infrasctructure, it's likely that Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is going to appear on your IT roadmap someday soon. This SearchStorage.com Special Report covers FCoE from start to finish, and offers enterprise data storage professionals best practices on how to transition existing Fibre Channel systems to FCoE -- where to start and which questions to ask.
Check out this four-part series to find out what you need to deploy FCoE, what industry analysts and your peers are saying about the technology, and learn about the latest news on FCoE standards.
How to get to Fibre Channel over Ethernet
In these early days of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), getting to the emerging storage networking technology generally won't mean an end-to-end forklift upgrade of your entire enterprise data storage system -- from the host servers to the core switches to the storage arrays.
For IT organizations invested in Fibre Channel (FC), the most common approach is to go FCoE between the servers and top-of-rack switches, or the access layer. Those switches -- Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s 8000 or Cisco Systems Inc.'s Nexus 5000 Series -- split the Ethernet-based LAN traffic and the FC-based storage area network (SAN) traffic. Users can then tap their existing core switches and FC SANs.
Continue reading about getting to FCoE.
Network architecture considerations for FCoE
The University of Arizona's Fibre Channel over Ethernet deployment illustrates how an incremental top-of-rack strategy can prove advantageous. The Tucson-based school faced a major enterprise storage systems replacement project, with plans to add more than 100 servers and two storage arrays.
Sticking with its existing data center infrastructure, the IT organization estimated the price tag would hit $1.2 million just to upgrade the cabling and networking, which consisted of Cisco's Catalyst Ethernet switches and Cisco MDS 9500 FC directors.
Continue reading the University of Arizona case study and learn about network architecture considerations for FCoE.
What you need to deploy FCoE: A storage checklist
IT organizations that want to dip their toes into the Fibre Channel over Ethernet waters can start by purchasing converged network adapters (CNAs) and top-of-rack or end-of-row switches that support FCoE. But, they'll have to wait for high-port-count core switches and storage support.
Check out this enterprise storage checklist for FCoE.
Enterprise data storage requirements for FCoE
Among storage vendors, NetApp has been the most aggressive in its support of FCoE, claiming to be the first to offer "native FCoE," which it defines as end-to-end FCoE from the storage to the switch to the host server environment.
NetApp's high-end FAS 6000 series, midrange FAS 3100 series, FAS 3040 and 3070, and low-end FAS 2050 all support FCoE through a QLogic unified target adapter. The add-on adapter cards, each of which has two ports, plug into open PCI Express slots in the controller.
Continue learning about vendor support for FCoE.
This was first published in November 2009