The emergence of 8GB is good news for fibre channel. The resulting massive performance increase also improves pricing.
QLogic’s 8GB influx is a step on the road to the regeneration of the fibre channel market. It has also contributed to a wave of technology advances, alongside 10GB iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and quad data rate (QDR) InfiniBand.
It will be good for virtualisation, and applications such as Oracle may also benefit from its performance and connectivity from the server to the storage infrastructure.
A wider range of customers can be targeted, encompassing sales of HBAs, blades and switches. Cost per port is impressive.
FCoE and 10GB iSCSI are looking to muscle in. Next year will be make-or-break time for FCoE as it goes mainstream, and we may see that starting to happen later this year.
Next-generation storage connectivity allows multiple consolidations, in the combination of Fibre Channel and Ethernet, the calibre of data traffic (IP and SAN) and the consolidation of I/O, resulting in a unified output.
This helps to cut power and cooling costs and slash the number of cables, adapters and network interface cards needed, resulting in easier management.
FCoE promises seamless integration with existing fibre channel and iSCSI storage devices, and by increasing network bandwidth through consolidation into fewer servers, may help free up space in the datacentre.
However, deployment will mean investing in a system that requires a complete overhaul to support the infrastructure. Getting the system up and running in a secure and reliable manner will be costly.
Although FCoE is gaining the most press coverage, until it is widely adopted and can prove itself as a viable technology, fibre channel, 10GB Ethernet and iSCSI will continue to gain market share.
In recent years, we have seen a huge increase outside the datacentre in iSCSI storage, based mainly around 1GB Ethernet.
However, the emergence of 10GB Ethernet will assist the growth and performance of iSCSI, and by having a head-start on FCoE, many believe iSCSI may be the real competitor to fibre channel in small to medium-sized datacentres, and even on the fringes of the enterprise datacentre.
More will adopt 8GB fibre channel, with it becoming native in storage arrays providing further acceleration.
With double the performance, 8GB allows for cost-efficient future-proofing of data infrastructures and, as the market will continue to see, it really is a great way forward for fibre channel.
By the time fibre channel comes under real pressure from those championing FCoE, we will see 16GB fibre channel.
There is much hype surrounding FCoE, but 8GB fibre channel is here and uses established FC protocols. Companies have invested in educating their IT support staff in Ethernet for networking and fibre channel for storage. To refocus on FCoE will take a lot of convincing for many decision-makers.
Yet all these technologies have their benefits.
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