In a a blog post Multi-Hop FCoE Is Not Ready For Prime Time (Yet) Stephen Foskett talks about the fact that Multi-Hop FCOE is not gaining acceptance in the market place.
Now, “ready for prime time” isn’t really a technical term with a defined meaning, and perhaps this is the root of our issue. “Prime time” refers to the weekday night hours that have traditionally been popular with television viewers and from which network ratings are derived. A program in prime time must have broad appeal and be developed well enough for a good long run if it becomes popular. It doesn’t need to be popular yet, but it must be ready for mass market acceptance.
Having recently been through a Data Centre Design for a major institution that included considering FCoE, I’m going to support this statement. My personal prejudices against FCoE aside, I could not find a single person on either the Storage, Server, Application or Networking teams to speak in favour of FCoE. No one would even allow discussion of the technology for design consideration. Indeed, it took significant commitment and effort to use FCoE as a edge technology with UCS servers.
The consensus view was that FCoE is years away from maturation, and even further to reach proven and reliable. When I pointed out that the standards are complete, and all the vendors are promoting products, designs and strategies not a single person accepted these statements. Any and all assertions that FCoE was ‘market ready’ was dismissed as vendor hype.
As a consultant, I love Multi-Hop FCoE. It’s
- massively interdependent
- requires specific and niche hardware and software
- perceived as risky,
- requires careful design
- a lot of time to research, test and validate.
All of which means hundreds and hundreds of delicious consulting hours for me to bill. Which, of course, is exactly why you shouldn’t use it.
So when J Metz from Cisco says Addressing the FCoE “Ready-For-Prime-Time” Question about FCoE multi-hop
They know that the technology is stable, and they know that there are solutions out there that are interoperable between vendors.
That’s not my experience. No one knows, no one cares and no one wants those solutions. And the storage industry is notoriously resilient to change.
I’ve been pointing out that FCoE is bad technology since April 2009 (at least) e.g. The Case Against FCoE and Fibrechannel – A Reasonably Complete View and nothing has changed in the last two and a half years.
J Metz also, rather ludicrously, claims:
Everyone’s data center is unique, and what may be a problem for one company may not be a problem for another. The fact that FCoE solves a problem for one customer in all likelihood will not be the reason why another decides to implement it.
In fact, nearly everyones Data Centre is the same. I’ve worked on many data centres and all the designs are about 80-90% identical since everyone buys the same products to solve their problems. Just a few wrinkles to adapt to specific solutions or technology 1. So far, Cisco and EMC are the only companies committed to FCoE and no one else much cares. Lots of lip service, and ‘ticks in the boxes’ for tenders and product comparisons – not much else.
If you’ve got legacy, then you might choose to keep it going. FCoE is about extending that legacy in the short term. In the long term, FCoE has very little relevance since it’s expensive, complex (and thus operationally prone to failure) and politically challenging. Excepting a few sales around UCS as a server networking technology, FCoE isn’t seeing market mindshare.
As a result, customers aren’t buying it. Not the pitch, or the product. I’m not sure when, or if, FCoE will ever take off, but it won’t be this year or anytime soon.
- If every data centre was unique, you would have to custom manufacture most of equipment inside it. Since we all use off the shelf components and software, the vast percentage of your data centre is not unique. ↩