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September 2012

Using fibre channel for storage networking

If you think the idea that data centres would abandon Fibre Channel for converged Ethernet was pie-in-the-sky, you are in good company. Very few data centres now run solely on Ethernet—mostly new ones that were built with it—but Fibre Channel remains king, especially with the latest 16 Gbps version now available and 32 Gbps being discussed for 2014 delivery.  What definitely is changing though, according to analysts and vendors alike, is the relationship between the front-end and backend networks. Increasingly this is leading to hybrid data centre fabrics, using the most appropriate technologies in each region, often with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) as a key component.  “Clearly, Fibre Channel is still the [storage] network of choice in data centres,” said Tony Lock, an analyst with Freeform Dynamics. “You’d probably go converged in a greenfield data centre, if your designers are happy with that, but for others it’s how do we get there, what are the training requirements, what’s the business need?”  “We’ve always said the...

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