Ethernet Alliance: Storage Traffic in a Converged 10 Gigabit Ethernet Network

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Executive Summary

The next phase in the modernization of data centers is the Converging networking. Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Converged Ethernet are the key technologies that will make this convergence possible in next-generation Enterprise data centers. From facilitating interconnection of clients, servers and switches in the LAN data center, the modern Ethernet, specifically 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE), has moved to more sophisticated protocols. They are now being used as interconnection technology for Storage Area Networks (SAN) using the Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) protocol on an IP-based network. The Ethernet infrastructure is now finding use with a relatively new protocol that maps Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). This facilitates communication of servers, storage, and management devices in a converged data center fabric. This paper describes the live demonstration undertaken by participating Ethernet Alliance members, including, NetApp, Finisar Corporation, and Fulcrum Microsystems to show FCoE traffic in a Converged Ethernet network. The paper has details about the real-time operation and interaction between two Ethernet-based storage networks - an FCoE SAN and an iSCSI SAN. The demonstration showed how SAN and LAN traffic can be aggregated onto a converged 10GbE network. The conclusion arrived at by the demonstration shows that the bandwidth provisioning of SAN, LAN and multicast traffic follows the ETS assignment. Also, when a selected traffic type exceeds its allowable bandwidth, the stream is throttling down by PFC pauses.

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