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Make the smart virtualization choice. Sometimes it’s FCoE. Sometimes it’s not.

By Lee Johns, HP StorageWorks Director of Marketing

Today, Cisco and NetApp revealed a more expensive way to deliver a 10Gb IP-based virtual server environment for customers.  Yes, you heard that right.  They announced an end-to-end FCoE solution.  FCoE has its place in the data center—and converged network adaptors do help decrease the cost of servers that have both Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks.  FCoE also has its place in storage as a migration strategy for customers looking to move away from Fibre Channel. 

At HP, we provide end-to-end FCoE for customers who want it with converged network adaptors in our servers, FCoE switches and innovative Virtual Connect & Flex-10 technology, not to mention FCoE support for EVA storage.  However in virtual server and desktop environments,  an increasingly  large percentage of customers are rolling out new deployments using iSCSI and NAS.  

We offer a variety of certified server and storage solutions for VMware. We also provide Virtualization Smart Bundles that bring together our servers, networking, storage and management software as a part of our converged infrastructure strategy to simplify the deployment of virtualization for customers.  We recently announced Virtual Desktop Reference Architectures for customers using the new StorageWorks P4800 BladeSystem SAN. (Check out this video of the P4800 at Tech Forum.) This is a SAN that sits within the HP BladeSystem infrastructure and eliminates networking complexity.  The traffic between the servers and the SAN never leaves the blade enclosure.  These innovations are designed to enable a better, more cost-effective solution for virtualization by bringing together servers, networking and storage in a way that eliminates complexities of a siloed infrastructure.

Or, you could make the choice to buy a more expensive virtual server or desktop infrastructure based on FCoE from Cisco and NetApp and integrate it all yourself.  After all , it is certified.


(Editor's note: There are many other articles on our blog talking about FCoE that you can read by click here)

Stuart Miniman | ‎07-28-2010 10:37 PM

Hi Lee,

What do you mean by "FCoE support for EVA storage"?  Can HP do end-to-end like NetApp?  Virtualization is definitely the rising tide that raises all boats and while I would not disagree that there are plenty of customers deploying NFS and iSCSI, FC is the choice for large enterprises (so, yes, a smaller percentage than NFS/iSCSI) and FCoE enters into the mix.  I also don't see FCoE as "moving away from FC" as it is trying to leverage convergence while keeping the management and configuration practices of FC.  HP sells a lot of FC and is supportive of FCoE, so I'm surprised to see the negative "price" discussion (although I know that is the "typical" attack against Cisco).  Desktop is a whole different issue and I did not see any mention of it in the NetApp/Cisco PR.  I have some more comments on the announcement on my blog.

Thomas Jones | ‎07-28-2010 11:09 PM



I don't get the price attack. However, FC is the main reason why FCoE exists and don't agree with your comment about FC going away. Analyst have reported that FC infrastructures are still getting the chunk of Customer spending.


FCoE gives customers the opportunity to merge LAN and FC SAN, not replace FC SAN.


I think all OEMs should start to uplift the technology to help facilitate quicker adoption than tear each other down which I believe causes  more customer doubt.


HP Flex-10, IBM Virtual Fabric and Cisco UCS w/Nexus are all viable and solid solutions. Talking more about the strengths of your product will get you more customers than talking about the weakness of others.

leejohnsbladestorage | ‎07-28-2010 11:57 PM

Hi Stuart.  We announced FCoE support for EVA using our MPX200 in June.  As you say we support FCoE at HP because we support customer choice.  I agree with you on FCoE moving toward convergence and leveraging existing FC infrastructure and operations.  "Moving Away" was poor wording on my part.  My point was really that we are focussed on engineering solutions that bring together server, storage and networking to create solutions that eliminate integration complexity and therefore cost.   Our P4800 is an example as it is  integrated with the server infrastructure.  Products like this enable us to leverage innovation like HP Virtual Connect Flex Fabric to lower the complexity of solutions we deliver regardless of network protocol and frankly make the choice less impactful for customers( ).   As you said in your blog the announcement by Cisco and NetApp was really "a non announcement".   


Tom,  full disclosure here I am English so forgive the sarcasm.  It is a way of life.  I will  moderate my tone.

Shijas | ‎07-29-2010 05:56 AM

What nonsenses is this? i see that you mentioned Convergence in many places, does it really does that?. Where is HP SAN in Enterprise network.. if you are unable to adapt innovative technology...and please try to compare apple to apple. Rather than miss leading people...


Amnon | ‎07-29-2010 02:34 PM


I was following the link you posted above and had some questions


1) The link if for multifunction router - how is that allowing end to end FCoE? Is FCoE native support part of the storage array itself or is the connectivity to the array limited to iSCSI and FC?


2) In the business value it is mentioned "Unified block storage on EVA (iSCSI/FC/FCoE)" however in the technical specification only FC and iSCSI are mentioned. Can you clarify why FCoE is not showing in the technical section?


Disclosure - I am an EMC employee



GM | ‎07-30-2010 02:32 AM

"At HP, we provide end-to-end FCoE for customers who want it with converged network adaptors in our servers, FCoE switches and innovative Virtual Connect & Flex-10 technology,"


Really?  Virtual Connect & Flex-10 provide end to end FCoE? Nope, they don't support FCoE at all.  Only FlexFabric (currently not even shipping, just vaporware) would provide any FCoE support and, even then, FCoE isn't supported on the uplinks according to comments made by HP - no multihop FCoE support in FlexFabric because of lack of QCN standard.  So, no, HP doesn't provide end to end FCoE support.


Please get the technical facts correct if you are going to blog for your company.  These types of arcticles help prove why we sell Cisco gear instead of HP gear - we can believe was Cisco says.

John_H | ‎07-30-2010 10:12 AM



Backend array connectivity is FC, frontend can be FC,FCIP, iSCSI or FCOE, Management is via backend EVA CommandView. Also can be used as a Array to Array Online Data Migration device.


Try these.

leejohnsbladestorage | ‎08-03-2010 05:54 PM

This stirred up alot of comment and I am going to reemphasise that the point of this post was that there are very innovative and capable 10Gb iSCSI based solutions on the market and multiple vendors including HP are seeing strong growth of iSCSI based storage solutions because of the cost benefits for customers deploying virtualization.  The link here discusses iSCSI and FCoE adoption over time and the differences by size of busienss.  Quotes in here include forrester and IDC.


IDC's Yezhkova said she doesn't expect a sudden rush for iSCSI with 10 GbE, but a gradual replacement of Gigabit Ethernet with 10 GbE. She also said FCoE will likely slow iSCSI adoption a bit but not stop it. "We expect iSCSI will continue to eat into the Fibre Channel space," she said.


Forrester Research's Reichman said iSCSI is "less disruptive than FCoE, which requires all 10 Gig and all lossless Ethernet. That's an advantage in iSCSI's corner. It can be deployed more gradually and deployed with what you have now and you can beef it up later.",295582,sid5_gci1380504,00.html


It will be an ongoing debate and we will see visible evidence over time of where customers fall.



 Thanks to John for posting more detail on the MPX200 multiprotocol Router.  As you will see from this the advantage is having mutiprotocol support for existing arrays including FCoE for EVA and XP.


As far as the comment on Flex Fabric being Vaporware we have stated third quarter 2010 availability.  I have posted a few links here so folks can judge the technology behind it and  you can also register to recieve notification of when it is shipping here


As far as support for QCN is concerned I recomend people read the following blog posts because this ground is well trod and the debate will rage on.



| ‎08-04-2010 05:24 AM

Lee - there was an interesting session at today's Nth Generation Techical Symposium talking about FC, iSCSI, and FCoE.  Folks can find it on this blog here:  Our own Chet Jacob was there "representing" Fibre Channel and it was an entertaining and informative session. 


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