Exclusive: Six months after the closing of the Sun Microsystems acquisition, Oracle now is apparently close to launching FCOE connectivity provided by QLogic. Oracle hasn't made the IT infrastructure announcement yet, although QLogic is on the record about it.
Strange as it sounds, Oracle and FCOE-Fibre Channel
over Ethernet, the new wave of data center connectivity that most full-service
IT infrastructure providers are already on top of-haven't been mentioned in the
same sentence until now.
Why? Because Sun Microsystems was working on getting products to market using
FCOE when it got caught up in its 2009 acquisition-at
first by IBM,
which eventually passed on the deal, and then by Oracle,
which eventually closed
the transaction in January 2010.
Naturally, during those uncertain months customers were wary of buying Sun
products, so sales fell away to zero. Salespeople couldn't sell, internal
developers and marketing folks weren't sure how to best use their time, and
Sun's lame-duck management was stymied. An optimal business environment it
Thus, research and development of Sun's FCOE, along with many other products, came
to a grinding halt. But six months after the closing of the $7.4 billion
acquisition, Oracle now is apparently close to launching this new-generation
connectivity option provided by network adapter and storage controller maker
The company simply hasn't announced it yet, and an Oracle spokesperson was
unable to provide comment for eWEEK on July 23.
FCOE allows Fibre Channel-which is expensive, high-end networking-to use 10 Gigabit
Ethernet networks while preserving the Fibre Channel protocol, in which
numerous enterprises have invested billions of dollars over the last decade.
Oracle hasn't been shy about reminding people that as of this year it provides
data center stack,
plus all the middleware, management tools and
applications to go with it. It's called the Red Stack.
Of course, adding FCOE to its data center catalog requires that the entire
Oracle Red Stack be retooled to be able to use this fast, flexible option. And
because Oracle is late to this party, there's been pressure to get it done.
QLogic is in the center of all this change
Word about this leaked out during QLogic's earnings call July 22 and was first
blogged about by Wikibon
analyst Stuart Miniman
Angle's John Furrier.
But neither obtained comment or perspective from
QLogic, the supplier of Oracle's-as well as other systems makers'-server and
storage adapters that enable FCOE.
Oracle, like several other systems providers, brands its stack as its own and
doesn't broadcast what components it licenses to put inside its boxes. But since
the QLogic connection became public at the earnings call, the topic is now fair
"To date, Oracle has not announced any converged networking support for
any of its servers [or storage]," Steve Zivanic, QLogic senior director of
corporate communications, told eWEEK. "The news is that now they are
bringing network convergence to this stack. We're enabling them to have the
connectivity for these new virtual data centers."
Oracle markets its big Sun SPARC-processor-powered M series servers for large
data centers and the T series entry-level servers for midrange enterprises,
along with other x64 platforms.
"They're all going to be running the [QLogic] conversion network adapters that
are being used by NetApp, IBM Power systems and others," Zivanic said. "From
a big-picture standpoint, Oracle is building out its stack. They already own
the database, the applications, hardware, servers, storage-everything all-inclusive-and
now they're adapting this for a converged network-for the converged enterprise,
if you will."
And not a moment too soon, either. Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems and Dell, as
well as the aforementioned IBM and NetApp, already are offering converged-type
data center infrastructures.
Definitions are appropriate here. "Converged infrastructure" from a
communications standpoint refers to an infrastructure that supports the
delivery of voice, data and video over the same IP network.
From a data center standpoint, a "converged network infrastructure"
refers to two things: the consolidation of physical components of servers,
storage and networking into fewer and smaller boxes, and the ability to select from
various choices of networking that include Fibre Channel, FCOE, iSCSI and
Oracle Sun Storage 7000 gets Fibre Channel option
Another significant news item, Zivanic said, is that Oracle's front-line Sun
Storage 7000 System product line-formerly known as "Amber Road" back
in development at Sun-has never had the option of Fibre Channel connectivity.
Until now, that is.
"Now they're [Oracle] selling our 8G-bit Fibre Channel adapters to expand
the addressable market" for Storage 7000, Zivanic said.
The Sun Storage 7000 array, with its ultrafast Zettabyte File System and highly
regarded DTrace analytics, has been one of Sun's clear storage successes in the
last couple of years. Adding the Fibre Channel option will undoubtedly make it
attractive to a wider enterprise audience.