During the week of May 12th, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) completed its second FCoE plugfest at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL). On May 18th, Emulex demonstrated their converged network adapter (CNA) technology at Interop in Las Vegas. On May 20th, EMC and Brocade announced their intent to invest in and develop FCoE connectivity solutions, and on May 26th IBM announced general availability of new IBM System x and BladeCenter servers with two QLogic CNAs, a QLogic 10Gb Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) high-speed Pass-Thru module, an alternate source Brocade CNA, and a BNT switch.
Clearly, demonstrations of technology at industry events are desirable by both users and vendors as they provide an opportunity to see developing technology in action. These kinds of activities are always good opportunities for IT professionals to get a feel for what vendors are going to do with future products. And plugfests are a great way to test interoperability of various vendor's products; although I noticed that Emulex, and a few others, were not part of the second round of testing at UNH-IOL.
Certainly, developing combined solutions will ultimately result in valuable offerings and services that users will eventually be able to benefit from as the solutions roll out. The Information Technology industry as a whole has benefited greatly by vendors working together to develop best practices methodologies that saves time and money -- and greatly reduces the number of headaches suffered by users as well as service and support personnel.
Importantly, being able to deliver tangible Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology today, on a large scale, enables systems vendors and users to rapidly deploy converged networks. IBM's selection of three QLogic products as their primary standard CNA, mezzanine CNA, and Pass-Thru supplier is telling with regard to which vendor is making strides in availability of their technology and building out OEM relationships. Also telling is that IBM points out that QLogic introduced the first converged network adapter.