Fibre Channel over Ethernet demonstrated

* QLogic, Nuova Systems, others show FCoE

I don't often write about storage networks, but they are becoming an increasingly large part of enterprise networking, a critical piece of your network architecture. Plus, now Ethernet (the technology underneath so much of the networked world) is becoming more prevalent in storage networks as well.

From what I hear, this week's Storage Networking World in Dallas is showing proof of that, particularly with QLogic's demonstration of storage networking technology that uses Fibre Channel over Ethernet, or FCoE.

QLogic is demonstrating what it calls "the first complete FCoE converged network," along with Nuova Systems and Network Appliance. Meanwhile, Emulex signed an agreement with Nuova to develop a family of FCoE products to debut next year. Nuova is a start-up that is 80% owned by Cisco.

Fibre Channel grew up as a storage-area network (SAN) technology, with an edge over Ethernet in that area, in part because of its speed and reliability. Fibre Channel is still a healthy market, but with 10 Gigabit Ethernet having caught up with Fibre Channel's current 8Gbps, some have called Fibre Channel's future into question.

Fibre Channel over Ethernet would allow Fibre Channel SANs to run over an Ethernet network, using customers' current Fibre Channel software stacks. Bringing the two networks together has the potential to cut costs, since you'd be using the same switches, the same cabling infrastructure and so forth for both storage networking and everything else. FCoE was proposed in April by Nuova, QLogic and several other vendors, and it is expected to be completed next year. 

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