News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

Point-counterpoint on FCoE

Two of the storage industry’s most prolific (and diametrically opposed) bloggers have posted–as one would expect–lengthy and diametrically opposed blog posts about the announcement this week that storage vendors are proposing a new Fibre Channel over Ethernet standard (FCoE).

Chuck Hollis of EMC writes that Fibre Channel over Ethernet will rectify ongoing concerns with iSCSI related to (you guessed it) reliability and performance. (Hollis also wrote a post a while back questioning whether iSCSI is really going anywhere.)

Meanwhile, on Drunken Data, a blog belonging to DR expert and maverick analyst John Toigo a commenter dismisses FCoE as pure marketing fluff from FC vendors desperate to hang on to market share. “In my view,” the commenter writes, “FCoE [follows] the rule, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them; if you can’t join them, confuse them.'”

You couldn’t find two more different viewpoints–neither writer even shares the same basic premise about the status of FC in the market in general. As always, reality is probably somewhere in between.

FUD reigns supreme when it comes to the various new standards being proposed for Fibre Channel these days–those not participating or opposed to the standards efforts like to paint them as last-ditch ploys by FC vendors to retain market share. Supporters of the standards, however, make compelling arguments for a future of converged networks and multiprotocol systems for all. Unfortunately, aside from one analyst (Brian Garrett of ESG, quoted in our news story on the new FC-SATA spec being touted by Emulex), all the supporters of the specs we’ve talked to so far are Fibre Channel vendors.

The bottom line: the proof is in the pudding. We’re not ready to declare the standards unadulterated marketing fluff, but we’re not seeing multi-lateral industry support for any of them, and we’re certainly not seeing any storage end-users, integrators, resellers or consultants–in other words, anyone who ever actually works with storage products–being asked for their opinion by any of the standards committees.

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Between two extreme views - the truth can be found in between. Look - the goal of FCoE is to run a very popular protocol (FC) over Ethernet infrastructure. It doesn't replace iSCSI and it isn't a conspiracy. Do the FC vendors want to make money? Surprise, surprise. None of us is trying to cure world hunger. For anyone interested, here is my take on FCoE:
I think FCoE offers another option for providing SAN connectivity at a lower cost. The issue will be whether having a range of protocols (now including FC, iSCSI, AoE and FCoE) will simply confuse the market as customers struggle to understand how they all fit together. Most important to me would be how we trade off cost and reliability.