As most of you know, Fibre Channel transitions have typically been driven by
the availability of target devices such as redundant array of independent disks
(RAID), tape and virtual tape libraries (VTLs). The transitions to 8Gb will be
different. Let’s face it, we “marketing pukes” (my engineers tell me that is the
best name for my species) are always looking for angles to sell, position and
describe our value proposition to our markets. In 2009, it seems that the market
reality and the hype curve are converging for 8Gb/s Fibre Channel – so here are
my top eight reasons to move to 8Gb/s in 2009.
Intel® Xeon® 5500 processors – This is the first generation of processors from Intel
designed with server virtualization in mind. The use of PCI Express 2.0, Intel
Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) in virtualized server
environments, Message-Signaled Interrupts eXtended (MSI-X) and Intel QuickPath
Interconnect (QPI) technology for bandwidth intensive applications are built
to leverage the performance of 8Gb/s Fibre Channel.
The Generation Gap – The reality is that not all data centers are built with
generations of products that were purchased, built and designed together. The
move to 8Gb/s Fibre Channel is also about avoiding a generational gap in your
data center. Why run a system loaded-up with Xeon 5500 processors with a 4Gb/s
Fibre Channel card not built to maximize and leverage your other investments?
It would be like adding too much horse power to a car without also upgrading
the transmission, brakes, tires and suspension. You will never be able to
realize the benefits of the power.
Consolidation and Budget Cuts – This is not another attempt at deriving return on
investment (ROI) rationalizations or green guilt. It is about doing more with
less. If you move to 8Gb/s Fibre Channel now, you can use fewer Host Bus
Adapters (HBAs) and switches to connect your servers, blades and clusters to
storage. In the end, this will save on power, cooling, cables and rack space,
which is great, but for the bottom-line folks out there, you also get more
juice with less of a squeeze. It’s that simple.
Resistance Is Futile – You know this transition is coming, and if you don’t move
now, you could be taking the risk of being stuck with out-of-date gear,
services issues and end-of-life issues before your new server reaches its
end-of-life. No one wants to spend the time to upgrade HBAs in the field, and
it is much better to make the move now.
Virtualization Aggregation – According to IDC, the number of virtual machines (VMs)
per server is expected to triple with the roll-out of Xeon 5500 processors.
This means you will need three times the I/O performance, and if you know you
are going to need it over the lifecycle of you new computer processing units
(CPUs), it will cost less in the end to move to 8Gb/s Fibre Channel now rather
than upgrading later.
Business Continuity and Service Level Agreements – When it comes to business
continuity and Service Level Agreements (SLAs), less time spent moving data is
a big win. Moving to 8Gb/s Fibre Channel reduces back-up and data migration
windows, which provides greater availability of business applications, and
helps to improve productivity and the organization’s bottom line.
Investment Protection – 8Gb/s Fibre Channel is backward-compatible with 2Gb/s
and 4Gb/s Fibre Channel. This means you can chose 8Gb/s now for your future
while also protecting the past. Emulex HBAs are fully backward compatible with
your 2 and 4Gb/s Fibre Channel installed base and feature one common driver
across all Emulex HBAs.
The Target Devices Are Shipping – Finally, the targets are shipping from HP, EMC, NetApp and many others. They are not really the drivers this time, but they help complete the story and provide a nice symmetry to the implementation.
In the technology business, hype curves are often many
years ahead of reality, and for 8Gb/s Fibre Channel, this was also true. But
now, in 2009, the time for 8Gb/s Fibre Channel to transition into the realm of
reality has arrived. Continue reading…