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Ethernet Fabric (VDX, CNA)

Posts: 29
Registered: ‎04-06-2009

What does FCoE look like?

I was working on the floor of the exhibit hall at SNW, and an attendee interested in FCoE walked up to the booth.  He had just heard the announcement of the Brocade 8000 and our CNAs, and he wanted to see what they looked like.

I showed him the 8000, and he commented that it looked like a 32 port switch.  I explained that the left hand 24 ports were 10Gbps CEE ports capable of FCoE, and that the rightmost 8 ports were 8Gps Fibre Channel ports.  We traced the cables to show server connectivity through FCoE and then storage connectivity via the Fibre Channel fabric.  The demo on the server showed a hypervisor supporting virtual machines across FCoE.  We brought up the server management tools to show that the CNA appeared to the server as a pair of 10Gbps Ethernet NICs and a pair of Brocade HBAs.  He commented that it looked just like a Fibre Channel attached host.

He wanted to know how to manage the FCoE-attached components.  We brought up the fabric management tools, and I showed him the server we were just on, along with another server that used a Fibre Channel HBA to connect to the fabric.  Visually, the two servers looked the same, but to verify the attachment mechanisms, we brought up properties to show the differences.

We then went into the zoning tool, and again, his comment was that this looked exactly like the way he is doing it now.

At the end of the demo, he backed up, looked at the 8000 again, squinted his eyes, and asked me, "Are you *sure* that's really running across FCoE?"

It was the highest complement he could have paid me.

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