Cisco, NetApp and VMware have released what they claim to be the industry's first end-to-end Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) offering for VMware virtual environments.The service aims to simplify a workplace by reducing the volume of devices and cables, and aiding the consolidation, automation and virtualisation of a dynamic datacentre.VMware's validation of Cisco datacentre switches and NetApp storage FCoE to support its virtualised environments will also help customers in their moves to cloud computing, the companies said.By supporting FCoE, network attached storage and iSCSI on a single unified network with lossless 10Gb Ethernet, the firms aim to help customers improve the agility, performance and efficiency of their infrastructures, helping to reduce operational costs.Clive Longbottom, service director at analyst firm Quocirca, described the announcement as a "sign of the times"."Pure Fibre Channel seems to have had its day, and FCoE is beginning to be seen as the future for ease of maintenance and for available skills," he said. "FCoE does what Cisco claims: it lowers the number of different connectors and cables in a datacentre, which has to be a good thing."But is it as big a problem as Cisco would like us all to believe? Probably not. The main drive here will be based on whether users believe that pure Fibre Channel has a future or not."The jointly certified product includes FCoE initiators, such as converged network adaptors, and FCoE storage targets, and is now listed on the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide, with support offered by all three companies.In other news, HP has released HP Flexible Data Centre to offer a modular approach to designing and building datacentres.The product allows design flexibility so that a company's data storage can be expanded to suit future needs, while conserving resources in the present.HP believes that its new product has the potential to cut datacentre capital investment requirements in half, in addition to decreasing a company's carbon footprint.HP Flexible Data Centre is available through HP Critical Facilities Services. Pricing varies according to location and implementation.
Issue: 324 | February 2014
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