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Network convergence is the way forward

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 2, 2010
Fibre Channel over Ethernet  represents the starting point of next generation data centres, says Martin Darling, vice president, Asia Pacific and Japan sales, QLogic.

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) represents the starting point of next generation data centres. The latest available technology includes a lossless option, that is, no data is lost on transmission. This eliminates the need to re-transmit data and ensures high performance.

One company that deals with FCoE is QLogic. This California-headquartered company is a global leader and technology innovator in high performance networking, including adapters, switches and ASICs.

For example, QLogics 5802V Series Fibre Channel stackable switches provided the backbone of the International Broadcast Centers (IBC) storage area network (SAN) at the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Martin Darling, vice president, Asia Pacific and Japan sales, QLogic, discusses with Zafar Anjum how FCoE is transforming the data centres.

Do you think Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is the starting point of next generation data centres? How?

There is a lot of talk about designing and building out a green, extremely efficient virtual data centre and Network Convergence plays a big part in that. There are many degrees of data centre efficiency, and there are several key steps companies need to take to arrive at an Intelligent Converged Data Center. The first step of data centre efficiency is the consolidation of physical servers and storage systems. Were all familiar with deploying massive consolidation strategies whereby you consolidate your stranded mid-range storage systems into your high-end enterprise-class storage systems and the same applies for servers.

The next step beyond consolidation is the virtualisation of your physical assets. For blade servers, this means using hypervisors to create dozens or hundreds of virtual machines in a single system. For storage devices, this means virtualising multiple storage systems under common management so that they can be partitioned like one giant hard drive.

Now, the next degree of data centre efficiencyone step beyond virtualisationis the convergence of your networks. You can consolidate your assets, you can virtualise them, but ultimately your data centre will not be operating at peak levels of efficiency unless you have converged your mixed protocols supporting your common applications. FCoE provides the technology to truly converge your disparate networks and operate at peak levels of efficiency.

Do you think virtualisation and cloud computing will boost demand for FCoE?

Yes, for virtualisation to be more prevalent in the data centres, the increased mobility of virtual machines is required. And with its ability to consolidate disparate networks onto a single high-speed data pipe, FCoE significantly increases the proliferation and mobility of virtual machines across the data centre. Additionally, cloud service providers require an infrastructure that is converged, efficient, space-efficient, green, protocol-agnostic and can scale to the exabytes. Cloud computing environments require flexible IT resources that move along a converged fabric and FCoE will play a critical role in enabling this model to thrive.


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