Move to FCoE expected to favor Cisco, NetApp

Companies better positioned but coverged fabric uptake still 2-3 years out

End users in the storage organizations of enterprises are waiting for 10 Gigabit Ethernet to be fully deployed throughout the data center before moving forward with FCoE adoption, according to data released this week by TheInfoPro. The firm expects this deployment to take two to three years.

TheInfoPro says Fibre Channel will remain the incumbent technology of choice for the forseeable future, but FCoE’s promise of cable simplification, lower infrastructure cost and management are positioning it as the next-generation storage fabric. Cisco, and to a lesser extent, Brocade, are best positioned to be leading players, the firm says; but an industry move toward FCoE would play to the strengths of NetApp and Cisco.

Cisco is pushing FCoE hard. The company was first to market with an FCoE switch -- the Nexus 5000 -- and it gets mighty prickly when people -- including Brocade -- suggest the market for FCoE is a tad premature. Storage vendor NetApp is a Cisco data center partner and also a bullish proponent of FCoE.

FCoE adoption should start to accelerate following the implementation of 8Gbps Fibre Channel and 10 Gigabit Ethernet among storage organizations, TheInfoPro says:

"The reason is less technological and more organizational. All of the storage teams we speak with indicate that FCoE will be the dominant storage transport for the future, but the roles of host connectivity, FCoE initiator certification and topology management are still being debated."

While 10 Gigabit Ethernet adoption has become mainstream within networking organizations, storage and server implementations have not been as extensive, the firm notes.

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