The "n" in SAN and NAS has long been the Rodney Dangerfield of storage shops. Networking gear has simply lacked the cachet of sophisticated and complex storage systems. After all, it's just the cables and cards used to connect the truly important things, right? But now, more intelligence is moving from servers and storage arrays into the network, with sophisticated switches and special-purpose appliances providing a central point of administration and a logical place to add new storage management functionality. And newer storage protocols and virtual interfaces promise to converge networks into a single, more manageable one and bring truly agile networks within reach.
Download our storage networking ezine to find out what's in store from protocols such as Data Center Ethernet, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Fibre Channel over InfiniBand (FCoIB), as well as 8 Gb/sec Fibre Channel networking gear.
Data center building blocks
The data center of the future consists of Fibre Channel (FC) and Ethernet working in harmony. Data Center Ethernet and FC over Ethernet (FCoE) also plays a part.
8 Gig Fibre Channel
New 8Gb/sec host bus adapters (HBAs) and switch devices have started arriving. But with storage arrays incorporating the new, higher speed technology still months away, end-to-end 8Gb storage infrastructures are still in the planning stages. Storage managers can get a jump on their 8Gig configurations by upgrading switches and HBAs now, or by considering networking gear that supports Fibre Channel over Ethernet.
Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) has the potential to reduce data center complexity and make the world a little greener by decreasing the number of cards, cabling and network devices in the data center.
Fibre Channel over InfiniBand (FCoIB) will let InfiniBand adapters encapsulate FC packets in hardware and move them over InfiniBand.
This was first published in November 2011