What isFibre Channel over Ethernet

Fibre Channel over Ethernet, or FCoE, is a technology that combines the benefits of Ethernet and Fibre Channel by encapsulating Fibre Channel frames and transmitting them over Ethernet links. This allows both LAN and SAN traffic to run over the same physical cable while still being separated on the same hardware.

With FCoE, Fibre Channel becomes another network protocol that runs on top of Ethernet, along with the traditional Internet Protocol (IP). This eliminates the need for separate LAN and SAN networks, enabling a converged network that retains the benefits of FC like low latency, security, and traffic management while reducing the number of switches, cables, and adapters required.

Unlike iSCSI, which runs over TCP and IP, FCoE runs directly over Ethernet in the network protocol stack. This means that it is not routable at the IP layer and does not work in routed IP networks.

The FCoE protocol specification replaces the FC0 and FC1 layers of the Fibre Channel stack with Ethernet, while maintaining native Fibre Channel constructs. This enables FCoE to integrate with existing Fibre Channel networks and management software.

Benefits of FCoE

  • Converged network reduces the number of switches, cables, and adapters needed
  • Retains low latency, security, and traffic management benefits of FC
  • Integrates with existing Fibre Channel networks and management software

FAQ

What is the difference between FCoE and iSCSI?

FCoE runs directly over Ethernet in the network protocol stack, while iSCSI runs over TCP and IP. This makes FCoE non-routable at the IP layer and unsuitable for use in routed IP networks, while iSCSI can be used in both local and wide-area networks.

Can FCoE integrate with existing Fibre Channel networks?

Yes, by maintaining native Fibre Channel constructs, FCoE can integrate with existing Fibre Channel networks and management software.

What are the benefits of using FCoE?

FCoE enables a converged network that reduces the number of switches, cables, and adapters needed while retaining the low latency, security, and traffic management benefits of FC.

Conclusion

Fibre Channel over Ethernet provides a way to transmit Fibre Channel frames over Ethernet links, enabling a converged network that reduces the number of switches, cables, and adapters needed while retaining the low latency, security, and traffic management benefits of FC. By maintaining native Fibre Channel constructs, FCoE can integrate with existing Fibre Channel networks and management software.

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