Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

News

3/23/2010
03:05 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

Proceed Gradually With Fibre Channel Over Ethernet

There has been some concern recently of Fibre Channel Over Ethernet's (FCoE's) readiness to be deployed as an IT infrastructure. While the technology will continue to develop, it should be suitable for many environments. No one should be suggesting that the move to FCoE is a total rip-and-replace, but more of a gradual move as the opportunity arises.

There has been some concern recently of Fibre Channel Over Ethernet's (FCoE's) readiness to be deployed as an IT infrastructure. While the technology will continue to develop, it should be suitable for many environments. No one should be suggesting that the move to FCoE is a total rip-and-replace, but more of a gradual move as the opportunity arises.An example would be deploying a new rack of servers in a virtual environment. This is an area that FCoE is ideal for. Without FCoE virtual servers demand a lot of HBAs and I/O bandwidth. Typical configurations include four quad port 1GB Ethernet cards and two often dual ported 4GB fibre channel cards. Doing the math that is up to 20 cables going into each server. Multiplied over a rack of servers this can be 100 or more cables per server.

While installing 10GBE can help alleviate the cabling problem on the Ethernet side it does nothing to help with the storage side if you are running fibre channel as your storage connection methodology. Today for many environments the jump from 1GBE to 10GBE provides almost too much of an increase. 10GBE needs to have a QoS type of functionality to be able to allocate the bandwidth properly across virtual machines. This requires advanced and more expensive cards while 10GBE would allow greater virtual machine density. Even then much of the bandwidth goes unused by the physical hosts.

FCoE addresses some of these challenges. First it provides 10GB bandwidth to both IP traffic and Fibre traffic, consolidating the cabling concerns. Today FCoE cards come in either dual ported or single ported configurations. For most environments that is going to mean either two or four cables per physical host. It also provides built in QoS. On the storage side the early form of this is likely to be in the form of a prioritization, leveraging N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) to provide additional buffer credits to virtual machines as we discuss in our article "Using NPIV to Optimize Server Virtualization's Storage". In addition the Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) specification includes provisions for complete QoS functionality and I expect vendors to add that capability to their cards within the year. Finally FCoE provides a better chance for fuller utilization of the available 10GB bandwidth by placing both storage traffic and IP traffic on the same infrastructure.

With FCoE the two or four cables that run from the physical hosts within the rack are typically going to go to a top of rack switch that will then split traffic to either the IP infrastructure or the Fibre Infrastructure. There are also blades available for organizations using a larger backbone as their core. In either case FCoE can be added to the environment gradually providing the benefits of reduced cabling and interface card in the connecting servers.

An interesting wrinkle is how some of the I/O virtualization vendors will work in this environment. As I mentioned in my blog over on Network Computing these systems can work in conjunction with FCoE to provision that 10GBs of bandwidth across multiple servers. Further improving utilization efficiency, while at the same time further driving down costs.

While FCoE will continue to evolve and improve, the time for FCoE is now, gradually. Just don't throw out your current infrastructure. The technology is well suited to a step-by-step changeover and can peacefully co-exist with your current infrastructure.

Track us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/storageswiss

Subscribe to our RSS feed.

George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Former CISA Director Chris Krebs Discusses Risk Management & Threat Intel
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/23/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
Security + Fraud Protection: Your One-Two Punch Against Cyberattacks
Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5,  2/23/2021
News
Cybercrime Groups More Prolific, Focus on Healthcare in 2020
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/22/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Building the SOC of the Future
Building the SOC of the Future
Digital transformation, cloud-focused attacks, and a worldwide pandemic. The past year has changed the way business works and the way security teams operate. There is no going back.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-20327
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
A specific version of the Node.js mongodb-client-encryption module does not perform correct validation of the KMS server’s certificate. This vulnerability in combination with a privileged network position active MITM attack could result in interception of traffic between the Node....
CVE-2021-20328
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
Specific versions of the Java driver that support client-side field level encryption (CSFLE) fail to perform correct host name verification on the KMS server’s certificate. This vulnerability in combination with a privileged network position active MITM attack could result in inte...
CVE-2020-27543
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
The restify-paginate package 0.0.5 for Node.js allows remote attackers to cause a Denial-of-Service by omitting the HTTP Host header. A Restify-based web service would crash with an uncaught exception.
CVE-2020-23534
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
A server-side request forgery (SSRF) vulnerability in Upgrade.php of gopeak masterlab 2.1.5, via the 'source' parameter.
CVE-2021-27330
PUBLISHED: 2021-02-25
Triconsole Datepicker Calendar <3.77 is affected by cross-site scripting (XSS) in calendar_form.php. Attackers can read authentication cookies that are still active, which can be used to perform further attacks such as reading browser history, directory listings, and file contents.