by Sean Fitzpatrick, StorageWorks Storage Platforms Business Development
Over the past few months, we've all witnessed positive milestones for FCoE...but...is it ready?
This past June the Fibre Channel Standards T11.3 BB-5 (back bone) working group finalized defining the spec (or ratified) and voted to forward it to INCITS for public review and eventually publication next year. Is the BB-5 spec good enough to develop product? Absolutely!
Also in June HP announced the availability of two ToR (top of rack) FCoE switches from Brocade and Cisco. Other companies have also announced future availability of FCoE products. This is positive move in the right direction for the industry and for customers looking to lower the TCO over time.
More resources and tools are available today from Brocade, Cisco, Emulex and QLogic to assist with evaluation and planning. HP's own SAN Design Guide provides great design ideas on how to build or modify existing SANs, including a dedicated application note on FCoE implementation guidelines.
As I've stated before, this stage is very important part of the early adopter Phase I to allow customers to evaluate the technology. The real adoption has yet to develop (phase II) and it will, once additional mature products become available. In the mean time IT managers should investigate adopting FCoE for small pilot projects and focusing on how it's going to improve their overall TCO.
From a timeline perspective 2009 is the year for proof of concept and planning. In 2010 I'm anticipating a wider breath of product availability from all the major suppliers.
HP's position is FCoE won't overtake traditional Fibre Channel next week, or even next year. But, now that FCoE is starting to move, it's getting exciting.