How Fibre Channel over Ethernet Improves Data Center Efficiency

By Jay Kidd  |  Posted 2008-11-24 Print this article Print

Fibre Channel over Ethernet is an emerging protocol that is creating a lot of buzz in the IT industry. Knowledge Center contributor Jay Kidd shares a quick overview of Fibre Channel over Ethernet and explains how it can improve the efficiency in your data center.

Fibre Channel over Ethernet transports Fibre Channel frames over an Ethernet fabric. This enables data centers to increase application performance while simultaneously reducing cost, power and manageability tasks by converging storage, networking and clustering data on a single fabric.

There are six key benefits of FCoE:

Benefit No. 1: High-performance storage access over loss-less 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabrics

Benefit No. 2: Transparent access to storage devices using existing SAN (storage area network) management methods

Benefit No. 3: Retention of enterprise-proven Fibre Channel drivers and management tools

Benefit No. 4: Lower capital, energy and cooling costs with fewer adapters, cables and switches

Benefit No. 5: Lower management overhead by maintaining a single fabric

Benefit No. 6: Increased application availability by simplifying the network and server configuration

FCoE is the encapsulation of Fibre Channel in Ethernet

FCoE is an evolution of Fibre Channel that uses Fibre Channel's network, service and protocol layers to carry data packets over Ethernet's physical and data link layers. Using Fibre Channel's upper layers simplifies FCoE deployment by allowing customers to leverage enterprise-proven Fibre Channel software stacks, management tools and trained administrators. Most importantly, no change is required for mission-critical applications to benefit from the performance and cost benefits of FCoE.

Jay Kidd is Chief Marketing Officer at NetApp. Jay has extensive experience in storage, networking and high-performance systems. Before joining NetApp, he held the position of Chief Technology Officer and VP of Product Management at Brocade. Before joining Brocade, Jay was VP of Marketing for Omneon Video Networks (a supplier of storage and networking equipment for video broadcasters) and Multigen (a real-time 3D simulation software company). Prior to working at Multigen, Jay spent seven years at Silicon Graphics (SGI), where he directed marketing efforts for the graphics workstations, servers and SGI Web systems business. Earlier in his career, Jay worked at Hewlett Packard, where he held key engineering positions in the Information Networks group. Jay holds a Bachelor's Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. He can be reached at

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