In an announcement that could radically change the way you use your servers, the world’s three foremost networking, storage and virtualization providers announced the introduction of a certified end-to-end Fibre Channel over Ethernet storage network for VMware server environments.

A first Globally

The new service comes as a first globally and is being done by Cisco, NetApp and VMware. The three said last week Wednesday that the new service would basically change a lot of things as it comes as a first in their line of business. Even though Oracle has also said it has come up with its own version of the end-to-end fibre channel over Ethernet storage network, the three companies last week gained prominence for their claim that the product is a first globally. According to Cisco’s Vice President, the new service means that users will be able to develop on a consolidated data center fabric and it will give the ability to mount their servers and virtual machines to any type of storage gadgets regardless.

Multiple Functionality Servers

What that means is that you will now be able to mount any of your storage devices to the servers or any virtual machines regardless of the mechanism you are using be it Fibre Channel over Ethernet or the native Fibre Channel, NAS or iSCSI together in one unified fabric. How interesting because it by a large extent makes server usage easier and more flexible. This was revealed by Cisco VP of marketing for server access virtualization, Mr. Soni Jiandani. Further to that, the VP said that the consolidated fabric that you develop by an FCoE network for virtual server environments will help users save a lot of money, estimating the costs to be saved at about 40%.

Merits of the Servers

Most companies stand to benefit if for instance they utilize the 10Gbit/sec Ethernet pipe rather than using the native Fibre Channel switches and adaptors in the storage traffic transport. 40% is an amount any company would want to save from networking costs while at the same time sustaining their existing infrastructure investments, reiterated the VP. However, what intrigues most is the functioning of the FCoE system that basically wraps Fibre Channel packets in Ethernet headers to send them using the conventional Ethernet networks whereas at the same time sustaining the Fibre Channel system. The advantage is that due to the sharing of bandwidth with the conventional server traffic, the FCoE protocol runs more than 10Gbit/sec Ethernet ports.

Seeing as it is the limitations of the Ethernet usage, most people prefer Fibre Channel. Ethernet is not as impressive in performance in networking as the Fibre Channel protocol due to the fact that the Fibre Channel protocol was made with one thing in mind, to offer reliability, fast transport of block level data from servers to external storage arrays and thus perform impressively. Ethernet has always had issues with dropped data packets and it is for that reason that a number of dealers want the IEEE to bolster the reliability levels of Ethernet for Fibre Channel data transport.