Is FCoE Struggling to Gain Traction, or on a normal adoption course?

April 1, 2011 – 2:42 pm

Here is an article by Drew Robb over at Enterprise Storage Forum about Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and its state of adoption. Drews article includes comments and perspectives from myself around where FCoE is going and why it is on a long road and not a sprint for a short temporal technology play (e.g. not a quick passing fad or bandwagon trend).

If you measure FCoE adoption in months, sure, its been slow to gain adoption and deployment similar to how Ethernet, Fibre Channel (FC) and even iSCSI took time to evolve. Part of the time involved is for developing the standards, implementing the technology as well as expanding the capabilities of the new tools. Another part of the time required for technologies that are targeted to be around for a decade or more include ecosystem maturity, education not to mention customers being comfortable with along with having budget to buy the new items.

I have previously said that FCoE was in the trough of disillusionment and depending on your view, that could be either entering, exiting or there to stay. Not surprisingly some cheerleaders thought that saying FCoE was in the trough of disillusionment was being cynical, while some cynics were cheerleading.

My point around FCoE is that any technology or paradigm that goes through a hype cycle that will actually have long term legs or be around for years if not decades goes through a post initial hype disillusionment phase before reappearing. Technologies or trends that go through the trough of disillusionment that will eventually reappear sometimes go to Some Day Isle for rest and relaxation (R and R). Some Day Isle for those not familiar with it is a visional or fictional place that some day you will go to, a wishful happy place so to speak that is perfect for hyperbole R and R. After some R and R, these trends, technologies or techniques often reappear well rested and ready for the next wave of buzz, fud, hype and activity.

Certainly there have been and will continue to be more battles or matches tied to early deployments along with plenty of hype or FUD. After all, if FCoE were to simply pack up and go away like some cynics or naysayers suggest, what will they have to talk, blog, write or speak about? Similarly if FCoE magically goes mainstream tomorrow, the cheerleaders will have to find a new bandwagon or Shiny New Toy (SNT) to rally around.

Also as I have said in the past, its not if, rather when FCoE will be deployed in yours or your customers environment along with how and using what tools or technologies. Another question to pose around FCoE as a converged technology is will you use it in a true converged manner meaning adapting how server, storage and networking resources are managed including best practices? Or, will you use FCoE in a hybrid SAN or LAN mode using traditional SAN and LAN management practice and separate teams perhaps even battling over who owns the tools or technology.

Fwiw, in case you did not pick up on it from my previous posts, tips, articles and coverage in books, I think that FCoE has a very bright future as does NAS and iSCSI along with shared SAS as complimentary technologies when used for the applicable scenario.

What is your take, Is FCoE struggling to gain traction?

Is FCoE on a normal technology evolution path and timeline?

Is it too early to tell what the future holds for FCoE?

Is FCoE too little to late and if so why?

Ok, nuff said for now.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and coming summer 2011 Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC)
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