04-17-2009 12:24 PM
If you happen to read the FCoE draft specification, you will notice that it requires the underlying Ethernet layer to be full duplex and lossless. In places, it is referred to as Lossless Ethernet - notice the capital L? It sounds like they had something particular in mind.
The T11 committee and the IEEE have been working harmoniously to be sure that a completely standards-based FCoE stack can be implemented from bottom to top. That's good news! It means that those wishing to deploy an open, flexible, best-of-breed FCoE solution will be able to choose from a variety of vendors when choosing their technology partners, and it will all work together in a supported fashion.
So a natural question to ask is, "Do I HAVE to use the IEEE lossless Ethernet standards for FCoE?" I've spoken to a number of engineers and designers who assert that they are already building lossless Ethernet networks, and that they do not need these standards. They are looking to experimentation with FCoE over these custom-built networks.
Can they get it to work? I bet they can. Some of these engineers are quite clever, and have been designing top notch networks for some time.
Would I recommend that anyone deploy these custom solutions in production environments? That's a different question...