Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)...demystified and simplified for you

FCoE”….You probably have come across this term numerous times in the past couple of days. 
In all likely-hood, you will continue to hear it in the coming days too.

So what is this FCoE?  How does it work?  How would it benefit you?

Below is a small effort from us to demystify and simplify this new Buzzword for you.

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is an encapsulation of Fibre Channel frames over Ethernet 
networks. This allows Fibre Channel to use 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks while preserving the Fibre 
Channel protocol. FCoE maps Fibre Channel natively over Ethernet while being independent of the 
Ethernet forwarding scheme. By retaining the native Fibre Channel constructs, FCoE allows a seamless
integration with existing Fibre Channel networks and management software.

FCoE replaces the bottom Fibre Channel (FC) layers F0 and F1 with Enhanced Ethernet layers, 
enabling the same network port on a server to carry Fibre Channel frames to an FC storage device 
and Ethernet frames to the local network. Rather than regular Ethernet adapters, FCoE requires 
Enhanced Ethernet adapters on all nodes that support FCoE, and these adapters are called 
"converged network adapters" (CNAs). Regular Ethernet can lose packets under heavy congestion,
but Enhanced Ethernet prevents packet loss by providing flow control.

FCoE consolidates fabrics, simplifying the overall data centre infrastructure, while ensuring leverage 
of existing FC SANs. FCoE would enable SAN traffic to be natively transported over Ethernet networks,
while protecting and extending the investment that customers have made in FC storage networks.

With FCoE, network (IP) and storage (SAN) data traffic can be consolidated using a single network switch. 
This consolidation can:
§  reduce the number of network interface cards required to connect to disparate storage and IP networks
§   reduce the number of cables and switches
§   Unified Management
§   High Performance
§   Reduced Power Consumption and cooling costs.

In Conclusion:

FCoE is an evolutionary approach to I/O consolidation by preserving all Fibre Channel constructs, 
maintaining the latency, security, and traffic management attributes of FC while preserving 
investments in tools, training, and SANs. Fibre Channel over Ethernet extends, rather than replaces 
Fibre Channel, allowing you to seamlessly integrate your Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks at the
pace and path that works best. FCoE combined with enhancements to Ethernet will allow data centers 
the ability to consolidate their I/O and network infrastructure, saving both capital and operational 
expenses and increasing flexibility and control.

Think that it would be a tad difficult to add a Native FCoE Hot Add, Just see how easy it is:

 Sources: Wikipedia, other FCOE related sites.

1 comment:

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