If you're looking for a rationale to move to 8-Gbit/s Fibre Channel, Brocade has one: adaptive networking.
Brocade's newly announced 8-Gbit/s FC HBAs and switches are supposed to dynamically adjust bandwidth and storage allocations for data in response to congestion (real or predicted). The feature set works not just with networked storage, Brocade says, but with virtual and physical servers.
This means that if you need to prioritize three levels of traffic for bandwidth and resource sharing, you can do so using Brocade equipment. You can tweak port and route utilization as well as disk I/O. And you can optimize traffic for specific routes. The catch? You'll need a whole network of Brocade 8-Gbit/s gear.
This makes sense. According to Brocade, higher-speed storage networks are built mainly for port consolidation and for virtualization -- and the two are usually interdependent. Further, data centers requiring 8-Gbit/s horsepower require it everywhere, not only on the storage network.
Put another way: None but the largest data centers are going to need high-speed 8-Gbit/s Fibre Channel. Those that do will want a lot more than just raw speed. And Fibre Channel suppliers, eager to maintain their data center presence, are rushing to keep pace.