Answer

Will FCoE architecture replace Fibre Channel?

Carrie Higbie, Network Infrastructure expert

Do you think the Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol will replace Fibre Channel any time soon?

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FCoE architecture will not replace Fibre Channel anytime soon, in my opinion. Fibre Channel over Ethernet shipped under 2 million ports in 2012, according to a study I recently read, while Fibre Channel shipped over 4.5 billion. Fibre Channel is familiar and works like a champ. It is a very low-overhead protocol, whereas with FCoE, you are forced to rely on a high-overhead Ethernet packet. Fibre Channel now ships 16 Gbps and the Ethernet counterpart, at least today, is stuck at 10.

Read more about FCoE architecture

FCoE network convergence will start at the edge but move to the rack

End-to-end FCoE for network convergence won't work!

What's more, while they say Ethernet saves on the number of ports, cables, etc., the last time I checked, the power required for the converged adapter was higher than separate Fibre Channel and Ethernet ports. Cables typically carry a 90-day warranty as opposed to a 20-year warranty that you would get with a structured cabling system. Reducing the number of switches required (which is very easy with 10GBASE-T) also reduces the number of required uplink ports.

I'm not saying FCoE architecture will never be used, but that the hype is just that -- hype.

This was first published in July 2012

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