I/O, I/O, It's Off to Virtual Work We Go Page 2


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Data Center Ethernet and FCoE

Data center Ethernet (DCE) is a new evolution and extension of existing Ethernet to address higher performance as well as lower latency I/O demands for data centers as a unified interconnect for both network and storage traffic. An example of DCE implementation is Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), which leverages lower latency, quality of service (QoS), priority groups and other enhancements over traditional Ethernet to be used as a robust storage interconnect.

Figure 4 shows how traditionally separate fiber optic cables are dedicated (in the absence of wave division multiplexing, or WDM) to Fibre Channel SAN and Ethernet or IP-based networks. With FCoE (Figure 5), Fibre Channel absent of the lowest physical layers is mapped onto Ethernet to co-exist with other traffic and protocols, including TCP/IP. Note that FCoE is targeted for the data center as opposed to long distance, which would continue to rely on FCIP (Fibre Channel mapped to IP) or WDM-based MAN for shorter distances.

Traditional separate interconnects for LANs and SANs
Figure 4: Separate physical data center I/O networks (interfaces and protocols) today