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Cisco: We are NOT lagging behind Brocade

FCoE ahead of 16GBit/s FC, sniffs boss

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Blocks and Files A Cisco boss fired a warning shot across Brocade's bow after the rival networking biz bragged that it had a two-year lead over Cisco in the 16Gb/s Fibre Channel arena.

Cisco's product manager for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), J Michel Metz, took exception to boasts made by Brocade's chief technology officer Dave Stevens, who was speaking this month at an investor meeting. The comments were picked up by financial analyst Aaron Rakers of Stifel Nicolaus.

For the uninitiated, Fibre Channel is a technology that transfers data at multi-gigabit-per-second speeds over copper or optic cable, and is aimed at supercomputers and enterprise-grade storage gear. FCoE replaces the FC1 and FC0 layers of the stack by running the FC frames over Ethernet, allowing Fibre Channel-connected kit to integrate with existing corporate networks.

Although Brocade is flogging 16GBit/s Fibre Channel kit, Cisco's Metz said there are no storage devices available at the moment capable of sustaining this speed end-to-end - adding that installing Fibre Channel is a "rip and replace" job compared to Cisco's FCoE offerings, which will work with existing Ethernet setups. Brocade had said end-to-end FCoE networks are not appearing in any meaningful way.

"Customers can deploy FCoE right now, end-to-end if they wish, through top-of-rack switches to director-class core FCoE switches to FCoE-based storage arrays from a variety of vendors," said Metz.

"Ultimately, having something available right now versus next year does not sound like it's lagging behind; in fact, 16Gbit/s FC has a lot of catching up to do to FCoE in terms of use cases, feature sets and deployment scenarios. Cisco isn’t falling behind. Brocade is pushing technology that is far ahead of the majority of customers’ needs. Customers appreciate being able to prolong their investments whilst seamlessly accommodating future growth."

Adding that Cisco's FCoE kit is outselling FC, Metz says: "While Brocade should be congratulated on a successful product launch (after all, a lot of time, effort, and engineering brilliance goes into the development of milestone technologies - especially in storage) it seems that their enthusiasm far exceeds their sense of perspective." ®

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