What are the principal hardware requirements to facilitate Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) storage deployment (e.g., network interface cards, switches, etc.)? Are there any hardware recommendations or suggestions that would enhance FCoE deployment?
Each server or client on a data center bridging (DCB) SAN must have a converged network adapter. Then it becomes a choice. The servers could be connected to a top-of-rack switch that converts them to Fibre Channel (FC), which is then connected to the FC fabric. Or the servers can be connected to a DCB core switch that connects them via layer-2 switching to the target storage arrays connected to that switch with an FCoE storage target adapter.
As far as other best practices for FCoE deployment, begin with one workgroup or department at a time. Ensure you have a working environment before adding more systems, servers, users, applications, storage and switches. Plan a controlled FCoE storage implementation process that includes measurable deliverables and performance, and validate each step before you move to the next one. This type of controlled implementation takes discipline, patience and diligence, but the payoff is enormous. Also, consider whether the much more mature and lower-cost iSCSI protocol is an equal or more viable alternative for your organization before you begin your implementation plans.
Dig Deeper on SAN technology and arrays
Related Q&A from Marc Staimer
Network File System and Common Internet File System/Server Message Block were designed to work with any operating system, but NFS remains dominant in... Continue Reading
Object storage has unique features, including erasure coding and multi-copy mirroring, which may make it better suited to data protection than more ... Continue Reading
Why would you attach NAND flash storage directly to the memory channel? Isn't RAM much faster than NAND? Marc Staimer discusses this and more in this... Continue Reading