The T11 standard body's proposed FCoE standard covers the encapsulation of Fibre Channel packets into Ethernet. According to Wikipedia, the proposed standard defines how FCoE maps Fibre Channel natively over Ethernet while being independent of the Ethernet forwarding scheme.
Broadcom's proposed acquisition of Emulex is the corporate version of Fibre Channel over Ethernet by covering the encapsulation of a Fibre Channel company into an Ethernet company. The proposed acquisition defines how huge Ethernet vendors map the products of smaller Fibre Channel vendors natively over their Ethernet product lines while not being very independent of their strategy of convergence on Ethernet.
It had to happen. The leading Fibre Channel HBA vendors have been swimming in their own small and extraordinarily profitable pond. Until now, many obstacles kept the Ethernet vendors out of the small pond, including R&D for a completely different technology. The explosive growth of the Ethernet market kept vendors focused on their market, and high valuations for the Fibre Channel companies made acquisitions prohibitively expensive.
Thats all changed. The FCoE standard makes R&D for a unified network very efficient; the weak economy is driving Ethernet companies to look outside their own product lines for growth; and for Ethernet vendors with a lot of cash, lower market caps for Fibre Channel companies make an acquisition or two extremely attractive.
I believe the proposed acquisition offers the potential for great synergy as Broadulex competes for future server, storage, and networking sockets. I expect FCoE chips on volume server motherboards will be the catalyst for accelerated network unification. And when that happens in the next 2 to 5 years, the successful FCoE chip and adapter vendor must be well established on the FC and the E side of FCoE. Broadcom gets this and, if successful, will soon offer OEMs and their end users trusted Ethernet and Fibre Channel solutions with a roadmap to non-disruptive unification.