With all the talk about network convergence this week, you might be thinking that we have forgotten about Fibre Channel. No way! This month, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) ratified the 16Gb Fibre Channel standard, and this week, we announced the industry’s first 16Gb design win with our long-time partner, IBM p Series.
Fibre Channel Market Muscle
According to the Dell Oro Group, Fibre Channel will be a $675 million market by 2013, so it is not going anywhere. Why? Installed base and investment protection is a key factor, but it goes beyond that. Fibre Channel is one of the proven cornerstones of the data center, and IT managers will not just abandon a proven solution. Fibre Channel will be a dominant storage interconnect as a standalone transport or encapsulated in FCoE for at least another decade.
The Powers of 2
1, 2, 4, 8 and now 16Gb. Fibre Channel continues to move forward, and yes, 32Gb is on the FCIA roadmap as well. Each generation of Fibre Channel has followed a power of 2 and shows no sign of stopping. Here are some details from the press release: ”The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) ANSI INCITS T11 committee completed the technical work on the FC-PI-5 for 16Gb/s Fibre Channel (“16GFC”) and voted in early October to send the document out for letter ballot. This milestone marks the technical stability and completeness necessary for vendors to commit to silicon their upcoming designs based upon the FC-PI-5 standard…” This is exactly what IBM and Emulex have done with our announcement this week.
As you would expect, 16Gb Fibre Channel users will experience twice the bandwidth of 8Gb Fibre Channel, and like previous generations of Fibre Channel, 16Gb Fibre Channel will auto-negotiate backward compatibly to 8Gb Fibre Channel and 4Gb Fibre Channel. 16Gb Fibre Channel provides a natural migration path from 8/4Gb Fibre Channel and ensures the end-user full confidence that 8Gb Fibre Channel purchases made today are preserved investments for tomorrow.
16Gb Fibre Channel will provide more virtual ports to improved efficiencies with high-density multi-core CPUs, improve single-root hypervisors support, improve IOPS for solid state disk drives and make way for third-generation PCI Express (PCIe) bus architectures and shared I/O deployments. Additional information on the standardization efforts of 16Gb Fibre Channel is available at the ANSI T11 Web site: www.t11.org.
How Do We Reconcile Support for Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet via Network Convergence?
Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) are complementary, not competitive. Fibre Channel is a core part of network convergence. By supporting the latest innovations in Fibre Channel, we are enabling network convergence and advancing tools that will help us build better, more flexible and more powerful FCoE implementations for 10GbE and 40GbE in the future.
Yes, Emulex is a strong advocate of network convergence. We see network convergence and FCoE as a market expansion opportunity, not a market replacement. We started this blog by saying Fibre Channel will be a big market for many years to come, and we plan to keep growing in our core Fibre Channel markets.