My colleague and frequent blogger David Oldenbuttel wrote about 10GBASE-T adoption, and recent technology news made me believe that there is one more good reason to assist end users’ adoption of 10GBASE-T.

You probably have heard of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). In short, FCoE is a technology that enables a Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) to run over Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet particularly. FCoE is not something new; however, the FCoE market is growing quickly.

When FCoE was initially specified, the cabling choice for FCoE users to connect servers to switches was pretty much limited to Small Form Factor Plus (SFP+) Direct Attach Cable (DAC). FCoE over 10G SFP+ DAC is illustrated in the left half of the figure (Before).

This limitation has been broken. Intel® introduced the 10GBASE-T Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X540-T2 supporting FCoE in March. Cisco® recently announced its hardware FCoE capable Nexus® 5596T 10GBASE-T switch at Cisco Live! in San Diego. To the best of my knowledge, Intel’s X540-T2 and Cisco’s Nexus 5596T are the industry’s first 10GBASE-T adapter and switch that are FCoE capable. FCoE users not only have one more choice of network type, but also they can now have one more cabling choice—twisted pair connecting servers to switches. Fibre Channel over 10GBASE-T Ethernet is conceptually illustrated in the right half of the figure (2012).

This is truly a breakthrough, and I applaud their achievements. This technology organically enhances FCoE application with all the benefits inherited in 10GBASE-T technology, such as cost effectiveness (see my blog posting 10GBASE-T Economics), backward compatibility to 1G and design flexibility with a 100-meter reach.

For those customers who want FCoE today, they can deploy Category 6A cabling such as SYSTIMAX® GigaSPEED X10D with the flexible and scalable zone architecture as the infrastructure. For customers who want 10G and FCoE in the future, they can use the same strategy—install Category 6A cabling, run 1G speed temporarily and upgrade to 10G when they are ready. The strategy, enabled by FCoE over 10GBASE-T, provides the value of consistency, flexibility and scalability to end users when they design, deploy and evolve their data center networking infrastructure.

Are you ready to adopt FCoE over 10GBASE-T networks?










About the Author

Frank Yang

Frank Yang is manager, Market Strategy Development, for the ISP Fiber business unit of CommScope. Frank leads the market strategy development for data center, central office and enterprise campus markets. Prior to CommScope, Yang worked at Dell and was responsible for server hardware development. He serves as Marketing Chair for Next Generation Enterprise Cabling Subcommittee of Ethernet Alliance. He received a Master of Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University, and has several patents, articles, white papers and publications under his name. Frank is a frequent speaker at various global and national level opportunities, for example, Data Center Summit, Ethernet Technology Summit, OFC conference, the Ethernet Alliance’s Technology Exploration Forum, Cable Installation and Maintenance (CI&M) Webinars, BICSI conference, etc. Frank holds CloudU, Cisco Certified Network Design Professional (CCDP) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certificates.

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