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Data center fabric convergence: Many take the iSCSI route

Apparently attendees at Gartner’s Data Center Summit held in Las Vegas last month weren’t too enthusiastic on Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) as an avenue toward data center network convergence. In a brief note based on findings at the meeting, “Data Center Summit Attendees Cast Doubts on Breadth of FCoE Deployments,” Gartner analysts Joe Skorupa and Robert Passmore say that more attendees were looking at IP-based storage protocol iSCSI or network-attached storage (NAS) as alternatives to FCoE for I/O convergence.

Of the 100 attendees the analysts surveyed at the show 27% said they are already converging with NAS and iSCSI, 23% are planning to use NAS and iSCSI and 32% plan to  use FCoE in the next three years. No one reported using FCoE today.

In the conversations I’ve had with data center and networking pros, it sounds like the convergence path a company takes will mostly depend on the infrastructure they already have in place. Fibre Channel shops will want to use FCoE in order to get more out of their storage area network investments. iSCSI shops will see no reason to invest in FCoE. They’ll just upgrade to lossless 10 Gigabit Ethernet and converge iSCSI and production traffic onto the same wire.

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