Can FCoE replace iSCSI?

Can FCoE replace iSCSI?

Summary: Can Fiber Channel over Ethernet become your storage networking standard?


Though it took a long time to build up momentum, iSCSI really made SAN storage practical for the midrange customer.  By running over standard Ethernet, fast switching fabrics meant that an iSCSI-based SAN could be deployed for significantly less money than going with a dedicated fiber channel backbone for your storage networking needs. This is especially important in these days of consolidation and virtualization in the datacenter, as storage is an ever-growing component of the datacenter puzzle.

But as iSCSI has taken market share from Fiber channel vendors, it's now time for dedicated FC networks to take a look at FCoE; Fiber Channel over Ethernet.  With 10 GbE being the commonplace backbone for datacenters today and 40 and 100 GbE on the horizon, why not run your storage networking over the same equipment that routes your general networking traffic and which you are already investing in.

To that end, Cisco, NetApp, and VMware have jointly released an end-to-end certified FCoE solution for datacenter virtualization. This collaboration will allow datacenters to deploy almost turnkey solutions for FCoE combined with storage hardware and networking equipment. These types of solutions should result in a significant reduction in the capital expenditure needed to implement fiber channel storage networking solutions, and with the VMware certification we should see more vendors releasing FCoE solutions designed to work in virtualized environments.

FCoE is ANSI Standard FC-BB-5 and work continues on the next generation of the standard. A good location with information on FCoE to get you up to speed is where you can find details on products that support FCoE and information on the progress of the standards committees.

Topics: Data Centers, Hardware, Networking, Storage

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  • RE: Can FCoE replace iSCSI?

    I am very biased on iSCSI. I would say no way. The biggest reason iSCSI works on standard gears that most of people have.
    It also can do everything a very expensive SAN can do at very affordable price.

  • RE: Can FCoE replace iSCSI?

    Until the "premium," associated with FCoE comes down, iSCSI will be around for a while.. Seems like that could be a while. Not to mention 10Gbe costs will have to come down a bit too, to make it more mainstream, rather than for uplink ports and such.
  • RE: Can FCoE replace iSCSI?

    So far, we've been using 10gE lines quite nicely. It does cost a bit, and it does mean that your network admin will have a bit of brushing-up to do, but it has been extremely nice as a means of getting huge bandwidth and performance from server to SAN.

    Funny thing is, we don't simply toss it everywhere - only the Oracle and VM servers get that kind of end-to-end love. Everyone else can use it as a backbone if needed, but otherwise it's only the bandwidth hogs that get that kind of access.

    (and, err, we actually use iSCSI over those 10gE lines. :) )