More on this FCoE thing

This FCoE thing is probably going to last for some time as a difference of opinions and perspectives. For those who wished I had kept my mouth shut (or keyboard locked), I was probably a little nastier a year ago with this post on my Storage @ Work blog.  Being a CREATURE OF HABIT,  I responded to last week's news from SNW with my usual open-minded and fair approach. 

Having said these snide things about FCoE, I am quite sure that it actually will be an excellent solution for lots of FC customers that need a migration path onto something less mortal than Fibre Channel.   The move to Ethernet-based SANs struck me as an obvious evolution a long time ago, after I heard the first FC bigot explain that FC was a channel and Ethernet was a network.  So I guess I shouldn't be too hard on FCoE, because it is a move in the right direction. Being an iSCSI technology bigot, it just seems like a unnecessary, cumbersome step, but to be fair, I tend to see the world through medium-sized business glasses.

I believe that most of the concerns people have had with iSCSI are based on the implementations that are available. They either don't exploit the iSCSI standard very well or they do not scale up to be a good fit for large-scale data processing.  I'm not buying the protocol arguments for FCoE. At the end of the day, I believe the brute force power of 10Gb Ethernet will be sufficient for iSCSI and that I would rather deal with the rare tuning problems that occur than the crushed-veggie-juice-on-papyrus methods of managing storage in an FC SAN.  I know Greg Ferro (see his comment on Dante's post)  agrees.

So where the heck do I stand today?  FCoE is as imperfect as FC, but it gets people headed where they need to be, which is Ethernet – and a lot better than FC.  There are going to be situations where taking a leap of faith to iSCSI is going to be a bit like riding a zipline.  You know its safe, but you don't want to attempt too much all at once.

About the Author: Marc Farley