It's already debate over FCoE

It's already debate over FCoE

It will take probably years before FCoE becomes available, but there are already some very strong opinions from FC and iSCSI vendors.

Read for example what Jeffrey Nick, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at EMC has to say:

Converging Fibre Channel protocols with an Ethernet infrastructure while retaining fibre channel's enterprise-class quality of service and management features will result in a major win on many levels for both endusers and IT vendors.

No surprises there, FCoE promises a smother ride over different media without leaving the FC transport. So EMC and other vendors with a large portfolio of FC products just love it.

In sharp contrast is what Eric Schott Director of Product Management at EqualLogic has to say on FCoE:

With the proposed standard Fibre Channel vendors have basically admitted the inevitable domination of Ethernet. This is a strategic retreat, with a goal of holding onto their existing investment in the FC architecture for as long as possible. They've now acknowledged Fibre Channel as the wire cannot compete with 10Gig Ethernet.

Maybe so, but what about FC as a transport protocol? Mr. Schott has a strong view on that too:

It's funny, with this news Fibre Channel vendors are planning to get rid of the FC wire, but are keeping the protocol, which is hard for customers to implement and manage. This is this first shoe to drop.

I can't wait to read what's the other shoe:

Fibre Channel customers will have to absorb a lot of costs to convert their FC infrastructure to Ethernet as a transport, so why don't the vendors have the customers move to iSCSI protocol to simplify their storage networks? The answer of course is they would cause the other shoe to drop, the admission that IP is excellent for storage, just as it is for all other enterprise applications. This admission is tantamount to admitting FC needs to move aside for iSCSI. Customers should examine very carefully this half step to FCoE, and consider taking the full step to iSCSI themselves

There you have it. The vision of a single wire, Ethernet, and a single transport, iSCSI, can be appealing but does anyone really believe that customers will swarm away from FC?

I don't. But will be interesting to compare FC and iSCSI performance over the same 10G wire, when FCoE products will ship.