Market research firm The D'Plata Group today released its sesquicentennial report on the future of data center networking. One surprising prediction in the report was that the still experimental Fibre Channel over Token Ring protocol will become the dominant data center storage protocol in 2020. The report uses the now familiar hockey stick-shaped graph to indicate that FCoTR sales will start small in 2012 but will grow exponentially, exceeding Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet in market share in 2020. By 2030 FCoTR will have 99.44 percent market share for SAN interconnects.
D'Plata contends that data center architects will be disheartened as Ethernet vendors such as Cisco, Brocade, Juniper and Extreme develop their own data center fabric technologies that won't interoperate. This will make data center architects open to the return of Token Ring and the introduction of Fibre Channel over Token Ring as a storage protocol. Stephano D'Plata, chairman, CEO and analyst in chief of the D'Plata Group, said that the tight control the FCoTR Alliance has over the FCoTR trademarks will ensure total interoperability.
In fact, the FCoTR Alliance has announced that products have to pass interoperability testing at DampStorage.net's independent test facility, located in the basement of the Clam Broth House in beautiful Hoboken, N.J., before they can bear the FCoTR trademark. The FCoTR license includes concepts from the GNU Public License (GPL) that requires vendors that make products that extend the protocol to place those protocol extensions in the general pool of features that all FCoTR licensees can use.
"This single instance of the protocol, and guaranteed interoperability, means users can purchase FCoTR products from any manufacturer without having to check hardware compatibility lists. That's a real boon to the end user and should keep FCoTR prices low through competition" says Michel Frodo, editor of DataCenterNetworkOfTomorrow.com. D'Plata says all the Token Ring NIC vendors have announced they will be releasing FCoTR CNAs in 2011, and that vSphere 5 is rumored to have embedded FCoTR APIs.
While I am a founding member of the Fibre Channel over Token Ring Alliance, the only reason I would discuss FCoTR with a straight face in this august blog is that it's the first of April.