While Fiber Channel over Ethernet might not be everyone's cup of tea, Intel hopes to make it a more universal technology in shops that currently need to support fiber channel, by giving away their Open FCoE stack with their 10 GbE X520 network adapter family. This giveaway is part of Intel's effort to reduce network complexity in the datacenter.
The last time I wrote about FCoE I got a lot of flak from iSCSI users who pointed out that iSCSI was much simpler to implement and that FCoE had very limited potential. I actually have no argument with that assessment. But for users who already have built large, complex SAN environments, moving to FCoE will significantly reduce the complexity involved in maintaining, modifying, and expanding their SAN environment.
Intel's Open FCoE stack is already supported by many datacenter vendors of both hardware and operating system software, and for customers looking to begin flattening their datacenter infrastructure, the move to FCoE might be an effective, low-cost way to do so without the need to rip out and replace existing infrastructure hardware components. These users will also be able to do direct, before and after comparisons of many of the expenses found in projects to simplify datacenter networking as they will be able to, in many cases, migrate to FCoE over their existing 10 GbE networks, rather than needing to roll out new networking structures to support the entire concept of a flattened datacenter network.