Updated below According to Nitin Garg at Cisco (2:45 into the video) "So in fact when we say 16 Gbps Fibre Chanel, there's actually no 16 Gbps anywhere. There's no 16 Gbps on the wire. There's no 16 Gbps data rate. But we call it 16 Gbps Fibre Channel." Even more reason to call it Gen 5 Fibre Channel!
I have to admit that I am flattered that we “amused” Cisco and a few others with our new naming methodology. This difference of approaches is really about separating customer-focused marketing from ivory tower engineering discussions. Rather than respond with a comparable wall of text, I will clarify a few of the points.
First, our intent is to connect with our customers and partners through marketing messaging that changes the focus from speed (in this case 16 Gbps) to the underlying technology (Fibre Channel) and features (such as Fabric Vision, ClearLink diagnostics, UltraScale ICLs, etc.) that customers want to buy. The majority of our customers value reliability, resiliency, and scalability more than they value the speed.
Next, we changed how we refer to 16 Gbps speed, we didn’t change any standards. Gen 5 Fibre Channel equals 16 Gbps Fibre Channel. There’s nothing Brocade-proprietary about it, it’s still Fibre Channel capable of 16 Gbps speed. It includes FCIP, FICON, ISLs, and all of the other standards-based features. It’s laughable that Brocade would be accused of circumventing the standards bodies that we either lead or support. I like our credibility in the Fibre Channel industry. Unlike Cisco, we have never wavered nor compromised our commitment to Fibre Channel:
In addition, when we refer to our own products, we call them Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel directors, switches, and adapters. These products contain technology and capabilities that are unique and differentiated from previous generation and competitive products. However, the foundation of these products is still standards-based Fibre Channel.
Let me repeat, speed is not top-of-mind with most of our customers. It’s why Brocade chose not to highlight the first-to-market 40 Gbps FCoE capabilities of the Brocade VDX 8770 switch at launch in September 2012. The challenge for most customers with FCoE is not speed-related, so throwing more speed at customers accomplishes nothing.
Finally, the irony of Cisco’s response is that a large portion of the content is focused on… (wait for it)… speed. Cisco states, “that most storage networking environments do not saturate classical 8G Fibre Channel lanes”. However, what follows is FCoE chest pounding over how much bigger 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps FCoE will be over Gen 5 Fibre Channel (16 Gbps) and Gen 6 Fibre Channel (32 Gbps). So I guess Cisco’s solution for all customer problems is… (wait for it)… speed.
Even more ironic is that Cisco is rumored to be ready to launch its own version of Gen 5 Fibre Channel products (I mean 16 Gbps) nearly two years after Brocade. At this point there are few people confused by our new name for Fibre Channel: not the customers we have talked with over the past several weeks; not our OEM and ecosystem partners who participated in our launch; not the industry analysts and press who were briefed for the launch; and not even my wife and kids who are waiting on me to finish this blog so I can return to my brief vacation.