Logic (and industry marketing campaigns) suggest that converged data center architectures will make for less ports, fewer switches and therefore less cooling infrastructure and energy consumed.
But a new report from Gartner is challenging that notion, because of the complexity involved in designing such converged networks. Titled "Myth: A Single FCoE Data Center = Fewer Ports, Less Complexity and Lower Costs," the Gartner report says no matter what it's called -- Fibre Channel Over Ethernet, Data Center Ethernet or Data Center Bridging -- as a network grows beyond the capacity of a single switch, it will become inherently more complicated.
According to the lead analyst, Gartner research vice president Joe Skorupa, single converged networks in which some switches do nothing else but connect other switches together will actually use more ports than a separate LAN and storage area network, boosting the energy and maintenance costs. In addition, designing converged networks and debugging them is also difficult, which could be troublesome when planning for power coverage and maintenance outages.
These challenges shouldn't keep organizations from looking to standardize their technologies as much as possible, the report suggests.
In a press release highlighting the report, Skorupa states: "While the promise that a unified fabric will require fewer switches and ports, resulting in a simpler network that consumes less power and cooling, may go unfulfilled, that doesn't mean enterprises should forego the benefits of a unified network technology."
I'm certain that this isn't the last we'll hear on this topic. But sometimes, simple isn't as simple as it seems.