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February 2011 Vol. 2, No. 1

FCoE or iSCSI? Doesn’t matter! It’s about the Ethernet

The hype surrounding data center network convergence and the battle between FCoE or iSCSI can obscure the core issue: At the end of the day all storage will traverse the production Ethernet network and engineers must be prepared for this transition. Listening to vendor stories can be mind-numbing since each is choosing its own corner. Cisco Systems and Brocade lead the FCoE charge. Meanwhile, Dell tells its customers that iSCSI over Ethernet is the path to convergence. Chip vendors like Intel and network adapter vendors like QLogic and Emulex are backing all horses, ready to support whatever technology an enterprise chooses. Enterprises must overlook the vendor hype and instead consider their existing infrastructure investments to determine which technology to choose. They also must understand that network convergence may occur in small increments, not necessarily going beyond the rack level in the short term. "Typically [customers] have one type of convergence in mind when they come to us, and we have to open their minds a bit ...

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