February 06, 2013

Ethernet's Future: Might Fibre Channel and Infiniband begin their move into the legacy category?

Sometimes you have to step out on a limb to see the future, other times you wait a bit too long and it hits you squarely in the jaw!

While the vision of a converged data center network has been within view for several years now, in 2013 we expect to see deployments of converged Ethernet Fabric for storage and data become a reality in data centers. For new data centers, Ethernet is the clear fabric of choice. Companies building data centers from the ground up have no legacy investment in Fibre Channel (FC), and deploying end-to-end IP/Ethernet throughout their infrastructure makes for a single network that is easier to administer, troubleshoot, upgrade, and maintain.

According to a recent report from IDC, “high bandwidth applications such as data center connectivity, disaster recovery/business continuity, and data storage replication are the three primary applications driving adoption of Ethernet in the U.S.” In fact, the analyst firm predicts the total U.S. Ethernet revenue will increase from $5.2 billion in 2012 to $9.2 billion in 2016.

Even established data centers with extensive Fibre Channel-based SANs will begin looking to migrate to “pure” Ethernet (LAN/SANs) due to the promise of better TCO, increased cost savings, simplified deployment, manageability, and unified administration – all key goals for data center managers and network administrators trying to reign in cost and complexity.

As Data Centers look to adopt converged Ethernet for their Storage Area Networks (SANs), Fibre Channel will increasingly be viewed as a legacy technology due to its cost and complexity, especially when compared with the highly scalable, cost-effective converged Ethernet now taking hold in the data center.

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Extreme Marketing Team

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