SAN vendors joust over future of fibre channel

"Fibre Channel is dead." That was the controversial conclusion of one participant in a heated debate about storage-area networks over Gigabit Ethernet held at the SAN 2000 held in San Jose, California last week.

Network infrastructure and storage vendors 3Com, Hewlett-Packard, Adaptec, Qlogic, Gadzoox Networks, SAN, Network Appliance, Agilent Technologies and Genroco argued over new proposals to carry storage data over 10-Gigabit Ethernet, and what some see as a sooner-rather-than-later demise of Fibre Channel technology.

Four proposals touting storage over IP are currently being submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for consideration as standards. Included are three that want to send block-mode storage data over 10-Gigabit Ethernet.

There's the SCSI over TCP/IP proposal from IBM and Cisco Systems, which is supported by HP.

There's also a draft specification from Adaptec that calls for a new transport protocol, EtherStorage, in which storage travels over existing Ethernet technology.

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