Is Fibre Channel over Ethernet dead?

Data Storage Industry is buzzing with the latest news that Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol is dead; thus making the future for iSCSI and FC bright. Generally, in the technological world, when a newer technology arrives, the older one gets tagged with a label that its days are going to be outnumbered soon. But in this case it turned quite opposite.

After the arrival of FC and iSCSI it was the turn of FCoE to stand up. However, after having a gala time for a petite period the circumstances totally turned unenthusiastic for FcoE.

FYI, FCoE is a standard way to encapsulate Fibre Channel (FC) frames into Ethernet networks. Initially, it was termed to be a lossless protocol encapsulated in a best-effort network and was termed to be a sweetheart to data center networks. But Alas! It did not work as expected, as very few adopted it in practical for the following reasons

  • It’s complicated
  • It needs the expertise of FC and Ethernet teams
  • High investment with unclear ROIs is needed
  • In practical, the standard was not all that standard after all, with different vendors competing to get their specification ratified
  • It did not offer the flexibility which iSCSI did
  • Storage vendors and customers did not feel the need to see another storage protocol in the industry

In the meantime, iSCSI took all the good stuff from FCoE like for example data center bridging and got a true appreciation from end users and vendors. As per SNIA, the standardization process of FCoE started in 2007. But after almost eight years this technology has fallen flat, as most of the vendors are now in support of only iSCSI and/or FC.

Therefore, most of the storage analysts are terming the future of Fibre Channel over Ethernet as dead—-similar to AoE.

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