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Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)

The name of the base system (platform): VMware vSphere
Date of the premiere of the system: July, 2010
Technology: Virtualization


Within the cooperation the companies Cisco, NetApp and VMware in July, 2010 announced the industry-first certified complete solution FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) for virtual environment VMware. This joint solution completely supports FcoE technology, reduces quantity of necessary cables and devices, and helps to consolidate, virtualize and automate data processing centers (DPC). Cisco switches for DPC and storage system of NetApp® FCoE successfully underwent certification of VMware on support of the virtalizirovanny environment of VMware. This event became an important stage in distribution of the FcoE protocol which helps customers to increase efficiency of dynamic data processing centers and to move in the direction of cloud computing.

Now among suppliers of network systems, means is storage and solutions for virtualization only Cisco, NetApp and VMware support consolidation, virtualization and automation of DPC using the joint certified complete solution FCoE including initiators of FCoE (for example, convergent network adapters) and direct systems of storage of FCoE. The VMware company certified use of the Cisco switches Nexus 5000 and the unified storage systems of Netapp of FAS for support of the FCoE protocol in the virtual environment working running the software of VMware vSphereTM. This solution completely corresponds to criteria of the certified program of VMware for the hardware working with the software of VMware and is included in the list of the compatible VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide systems. Its technical support will be performed by all three companies.

Fibre Channel over Ethernet for virtual environment

FCoE, a new stage of development of network technology and technology of storage Fibre Channel, represents the key protocol for support of the unified matrix of switching of DPC. It saves to the customer considerable means due to reduction of number of the adapters, cables and devices of network infrastructure working in a dynamic data processing center. Besides, FCoE increases efficiency of the customer due to reduction of working areas and decrease in needs for power supply and cooling. And, at last, FCoE increases load of DPC networks and by that even more increases their efficiency.

Certification tests of FCoE in virtual environment showed that the technology 10 Gigabit Ethernet working without loss became the main construction brick of the unified infrastructure of a data processing center. Supporting the FcoE protocol and storage systems of NAS and iSCSI with the technology 10 Gigabit Ethernet, this complete solution working without loss for the virtualized environment helps customers to consolidate infrastructure of DPC in the single unified network, to save capital and current expenses, to increase management efficiency and also to increase flexibility and performance of infrastructure.

Joint work of Cisco, Netapp and VMware companies

In January, 2010 Cisco, NetApp and VMware announced expansion of the long-term cooperation aimed at increase in efficiency, dynamism and information security of the virtualized data processing centers. The companies continue innovative work to bring to the market joint tested and the best in the solution class. They already developed several architectural options and complete solutions for the FCoE protocol, mobile applications for telecommunication and information security for the multi-user systems (Secure Multi-tenancy). Now more than 70 partners, system integrators and telecom operators and over 30 other organizations use architecture of Secure Multi-tenancy which helps them to build the full-scale virtualized data processing centers, to optimize their work and to increase stability of business.

Ethernet for cost reduction of data processing centers

Ethernet exists for a long time, but in the form in which it is applied in test laboratories and the small companies, it could not be used in data centers as parameters of its work do not conform to the quality standards and reliability of data transmission.

Wishing to achieve flexibility and the community of producers led by Brocade company directed to controllability of process of storage, processing and data transmission the efforts to improvement of this package technology for data transmission. Development of Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) providing a broadcast of traffic Fiber Channel over Ethernet became result of work. At the same time the predictability, reliability and performance of data transfer process remains.

This solution is quite applicable also for large enterprises and data centers as allows to reduce initial costs of the equipment and fixed expenses of data processing centers due to combination of traffic of Storage Area Network (SAN) and Local Area network (LAN) in one network segment.

The number of ports and network adapters can be also significantly reduced as CEE allows to integrate ports of storage and ports of data transmission in one 10-gigabit port.

Initially the server with the CEE adapter was connected to the Ethernet-port of the convergent switch. And the convergent switch on Fiber Channel turned on in network of storage of SAN.

Already at this stage advantages of this solution – twice less than adapters and cables are brightly visible, than at a traditional data transmission system. At the same time communication breaks for several seconds typical for IP of traffic for the SAN protocols working in the synchronous mode are unacceptable.

Therefore there was a need of development of the protocol which could ensure simultaneous operation of several routes of data transmission. The protocol of the second level — TRILL (Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links) which works similar to routing protocols of the 3rd level was as a result drafted. This protocol replaced STP in CEE network.

TRILL and CEE formed the basis of creation of the virtual switchboard Virtual Cluster Switch (VCS). This switch works at a basis of Ethernet of the connections working without loss and delays and integrating in themselves traffic of SAN and LAN.

Implementation of VCS, CEE and TRILL in the existing SAN and IP Brocade devices, for example, DCX and NetIron MLX, gives the chance to implement easily scalable logical architecture of data center.