Reducing storage network complexity with FCoE

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) enables companies to retain an existing Fibre Channel infrastructure, keep existing FC management tools in place, provide the same level of performance (with Data Center Ethernet)

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and lower costs.

But some FCoE issues go beyond technology and certification. Most of them are related to culture and domain segmentation. While we do see some progressive IT shops working to integrate technology silos, convergence is still a challenge in many places.

Beyond testing and developing the technology, do you know who will govern the infrastructure, perform the daily operations and make the strategic decisions associated with FCoE? Before embarking on an FCoE implementation, here are four critical questions that you'll want answered:

  1. Will the storage team or the networking team own the infrastructure? If co-managed, who has the deciding vote?
  2. Which department will pay for it? How will chargeback be calculated and future growth determined?
  3. Will the teams be integrated? Typically, the networking team is responsible for IP switches, while the storage team is responsible for Fibre Channel.
  4. Who will own day-to-day operational issues? If a decision needs to be made regarding whether more bandwidth is given to local-area network (LAN) or storage-area network (SAN) traffic, who makes the call? Will companies have to create a single, integrated connectivity group?

FCoE appears to have all the technology bases covered. The biggest variable is the economics of FCoE solutions. Given the present economy and the pressure IT is under to reduce costs, compelling FCoE pricing may accelerate adoption faster than any marketing pitch or certification.

This material originally appeared in Storage magazine.

Bob Laliberte is a frequent contributor to SearchStorage.com.

This was first published in April 2009

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