Straight out of the "Why Didn't We Think of This Before" category comes word that a group of leading storage vendors are petitioning the American National Standards Institute for a means to run Fibre Channel traffic over Ethernet. The so-called FCoE standard would likely breathe new life into Fibre Channel by giving entrenched FC networks a means to leverage new 10 GbE technologies now hitting the market.
Reaction was mostly positive in the first few hours after the announcement. Enterprise Strategy Group's Brian Garrett voiced one of the major advantages to FCoE, telling internetnews.com that it would end the wasteful practice of having to maintain and manage two separate networks for general and enterprise-class data.
In fact, the move might make some IT execs think twice about launching iSCSI. iSCSI, after all, relies on the TCP/IP layer to process data, while FCoE would use the much simpler Ethernet.
According to news.com, you should be able to use existing SAN management tools for FCoE, although your servers will need new adapter cards. And since a final standard probably won't appear for another year and a half, it's unlikely that the initial 1-GbE adapters will support it as well.
One side note: One of the leading vendors in the FCoE drive is Brocade. It was only earlier this week that Brocade CEO Michael Klayko, in announcing new 10 GbE and iSCSI SANs, hinted that a plan for an Ethernet version of the company's Fibre Channel line might emerge later this year.
He should have said later this week.