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Displaying articles for: March 2010

Is FCoE a myth?

Over the last year or so, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of customers about the emerging Fibre Channel over Ethernet standard.  The idea of converging Ethernet and Fibre Channel sounds instantly appealing, but the realities of large scale implementations have many caveats with them.  Last week Gartner published a paper on FCoE titled “Myth: Single FCoE Data Center Network = Fewer Ports, Less Complexity and Lower Costs”.

Given the release of this paper, I thought it would be a good time for me to share some thoughts on FCoE as well.  From my experience, not all customers are aware of some important considerations when evaluating deployments of FCoE.  In no particular order.,.

1. While FCoE can converge ports at the server edge, the total bandwidth remains the same.  So as you go to aggregation and core, the number of ports required to run 8Gb FC or 10Gb Ethernet will likely remain roughly the same or greater.  Replacing relatively inexpensive lossy Ethernet switches with 10Gb lossless ones may actually increase costs substantially.

2. FCoE is literally Fibre Channel running on top of enhanced Ethernet, so both protocols need to be managed.  This may reduce expected management savings.

3. For IT organizations with both a LAN and SAN team, FCoE will likely add a new dependence of the SAN team onto the LAN team.  This could slow down IT change events as more teams are involved in routine provisioning and maintenance operations.

4. FCoE requires lossless Ethernet to operate properly.  Most switches deployed in customer data centers today lack the hardware to support this.  As a result, implementing FCoE will typically require a large-scale replacement of switch hardware.  Most SAN arrays do not support FCoE natively and would also need to be replaced to support end-to-end FCoE.

5. The lossless Ethernet (DCB) that FCoE is dependent on is not yet ratified by the IEEE.   One new protocol for congestion notification across multiple hops (QCN) requires new silicon to fully implement.  Even the newer FCoE enabled switches lack the necessary silicon hardware to support QCN, so full implementations will require next generation switches.

FCoE is an interesting concept, but multi-hop FCoE is a bit premature.  The standards that take this from a concept to a reality are being fleshed out as we speak by the IEEE DCB Workgroup.  For more information on the status of DCB, see: http://www.ieee802.org/1/pages/dcbridges.html.


Isn't it time YOU considered Client Virtualization?

The world sure has gotten complex, hasn’t it?

Did you know that over 10,000 laptops are lost or stolen at airports each week?  That’s right.  In fact, according to the FBI, 2 million laptops are reported stolen every year and 97 percent of them are never recovered.  Has this ever happened to you, to one of your co-workers, or to one of your friends?  I wonder how many of those were company issued systems for employee use while on the road.  I also wonder how many of those laptops have sensitive company information on them, like product specs and customer info?  What about important corporate financial data or HR specifics like salaries, bonuses, and social security numbers?  I shudder at the thought.

Switching gears a bit, a number of my friends and colleagues have been caught up in the snow storms on the eastern coast of the US.  In addition to making them break out the heavy duty snow shovel, sometimes it keeps them from getting to the office to do their job.  And speaking of offices light on staff, remember the H1N1 scare recently?  Corporations wanted to limit the spread of these illnesses, but they were still on the hook with their customers to fulfill their SLAs, which meant that these corporations still needed their employees to perform their jobs to keep the business going.  And think back to the last time you were on the road, and needed access to your applications and sensitive data.  Was it a training session across town?  Or was it a conference the next state or province over? Perhaps it was a customer visit overseas.  (Or maybe it was even on vacation at a beach house – don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.)

And let’s think about our friends in the IT department (maybe that’s you).  Windows 7 was announced recently, and many companies are already taking strides to implement it across their organizations.  Think about the last operating system upgrade your company did.  How long did it take to get the whole company onto the new OS?   Did it ever get there completely?  How many support cases would you guess were generated in that transition?  Maybe your company has specialized or custom applications to enable business - how long did it take for your applications to be supported on the new operating system? 

It all sounds a bit daunting, I know.  But it’s the world we live in now, so we need to plan for it and implement solutions that address these issues. 

Have you considered client virtualization?

With client virtualization (technologies like application virtualization, VDI, and workstation blades), data is stored in the data center, where you’ve invested heavily to ensure security. It provides users anytime/anywhere access of their applications and data, and there’s no need to be tied to a single computing paradigm or physical workplace.  And client virtualization simplifies software and hardware management and maximizes resource utilization.

And HP Client Virtualization Solutions get you there with the strength, experience, and innovation you’ve come to expect from the world’s largest technology company, offering the industry’s best end to end technology and services portfolio.  From thin clients to servers and server blades, from networking to storage, and from management software to services, HP has client virtualization covered.

Where are you with client virtualization?  Interested?  Investigating?  Full on, in-production environments?  I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject - where you are with this technology, where you feel we'll be as a technology space in the future, etc - feel free to leave a comment below. 

Until next time,

Joseph George
HP Client Virtualization Team

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  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
  • I am a member of the Enterprise Group Global Marketing team blogging on topics of interest for HP Servers. Check out blog posts on all four Server blog sites-Reality Check, The Eye on Blades, Mission Critical Computing and Hyperscale Computing- for exciting news on the future of compute.
  • I work within EMEA HP Servers Central Team as a launch manager for new products and general communications manager for EMEA HP Server specific information. I also tweet @ServerSavvyElla
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  • WW responsibility for development of ROI and TCO tools for the entire ISS portfolio. Technical expertise with a financial spin to help IT show the business value of their projects.
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  • Luke Oda is a member of the HP's BCS Marketing team. With a primary focus on marketing programs that support HP's BCS portfolio. His interests include all things mission-critical and the continuing innovation that HP demonstrates across the globe.
  • Global Marketing Manager with 15 years experience in the high-tech industry.
  • 20 years of marketing experience in semiconductors, networking and servers. Focused on HP BladeSystem networking supporting Virtual Connect, interconnects and network adapters.
  • Working with HP BladeSystem.
  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
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