The End of FibreChannel?

NetCraftsmen®

In the virtualization community, one of the most frequently debated topics is FC vs. Network-based storage: which is better? Some IT professionals have deeply rooted convictions, some say they don’t have a preference, and some give that age-old consultant response: it depends.

It’s not uncommon to hear that, when performance is a design requirement, FibreChannel is the only way to go. Don’t even consider network-based storage when high-performance is required. Of course, you’ll need to define what “performance” actually means in terms of IOPS, latency, throughput, et cetera. But FC still always wins, right?

You’ve probably noticed that the virtualization world is undergoing a sea change with regard to storage. Lots of attention is paid to companies like PernixData, who has an innovative solution for server-side flash. PernixData promises to de-couple storage performance from storage capacity. With storage moving ever closer to compute, at some point you’ll find yourself asking: do we really need to design for performance at the SAN / NAS layer?

Suddenly, server-side flash satisfies your performance requirements. Now the question becomes: do you need to maintain a separate physical network for a single protocol? If you’re doing server-side flash, you probably have a 10/20/40 (maybe 100?) GbE network, and can accomodate the throughput for storage traffic while still meeting bandwidth requirements for the rest of your data center traffic.

I suspect that we’ll see a migration from FC to network-based storage once adoption of server-side flash ramps up. Storage performance will dramatically increase, data center cabling and complexity will decrease, and the importantance of QoS and monitoring will increase. Exciting times for network, storage, and virtualization engineers!

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.

 

Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.

 

John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.