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Intel Gooses FCOE

Intel has cranked up its Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCOE) effort, unveiling an open source software initiator for running the protocol on the Linux operating system.

Despite the fact that the networking spec is still in its infancy, Intel is nonetheless eyeing what its sees as a major opportunity around FCOE.

"The goal is to create a reliable FCOE initiator stack that will be integrated into Linux distributions," says Jordan Plawner, storage product planner at Intel. "We're following all the steps that are necessary to get kernel integration and distribution support."

The vendor's long-term goal is a situation whereby Linux servers ship FCOE-ready, according to Plawner. "What we're saying is that every server should ship FCOE-ready in the same way that servers ship iSCSI-ready [today]."

Big words, but at least one analyst thinks this is a distinct possibility. "I think that it's very doable and very likely," says Bob Wheeler, senior analyst at the Linley Group. "Intel's strategy is to get out there early with this open source code, knowing that it will take quite a lot of time to get into the Linux distributions. My view is that we will see trials of FCOE in the second half of 2008, but we won't see any substantial volume shipments until 2009."

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