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FC vs iSCSI: A Winner Emerges

Will there be a war between iSCSI and Fibre Channel? Or is something else going on behind the scenes something that will make that question moot in the foreseeable future?

Publicly, most storage suppliers say iSCSI and Fibre Channel can coexist; that's the point of FCoE, after all.

Or is it? While it's based on Ethernet, FCoE will require new equipment, including specially equipped switches and HBAs, as well as a series of network modifications.

These modifications include actual protocol revisions and additions to Ethernet, designed to simplify I/O for blade servers, which in turn are hosting increasing numbers of virtualized servers.

As Cisco's Claudio DeSanti, a leading developer of FCoE in the T11 committee of INCITS, told Byte and Switch a few weeks back: "FCOE as a protocol requires the same lossless behavior that underlies Fibre Channel." To make that happen, DeSanti and others are working on new congestion notification, enhanced transmission, and flow-control specs for Ethernet in the IEEE 802.1Qau, 802.1Qaz, and PFC groups, respectively.

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