Q

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) overrated storage technology

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) has been receiving a lot of attention recently. Storage expert Ali Asvadi is not impressed.

What IP storage technology is currently getting press but, in your opinion, is overrated? Why is it overrated?

Lately, we have seen a number of articles covering a newly proposed storage protocol called Fibre Channel over

Ethernet (FCoE), which has created a puzzling dilemma for its existence or coexistence in any data center.

The backers of FCoE, who believe in a reincarnation of Fibre Channel protocol, propose that it will be a better choice than iSCSI over 10-Gigabit Ethernet. However, today, most IT professionals who have done their homework properly realize that sticking with pure iSCSI over 10 Gigabit Ethernet makes a lot more sense than throwing another unnecessary protocol in the mix. Why make an existing simple and effective concept more challenging?

Today, 1-Gigabit iSCSI performs well with software based initiator in any modest server. The same can be said about the future of iSCSI when 10-Gigabit Ethernet makes more economic sense to deploy.

But, the same can not be said about FCoE which requires specialized and expensive host bus adapter (HBAs) to properly operate. At least at this point, no FCoE software initiator has been announced by any OS vendors.

FCoE does not make sense. This may be a last ditch effort by Fibre Channel vendors to give their protocol a mid-life kicker.

This was first published in August 2007

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