Fibre Channel will dominate FCoE, 10G iSCSI for years, research says

Sept. 26, 2011
Report from LightCounting also shines light on 10GBase-T, with some optimistic projections.

The recent report from LightCounting entitled "Network Storage: Several Years Before FCoE/10Gb iSCSI Threaten Fibre Channel," allows its title to pretty much give away the ending. But if you follow the plotline anyway, the report promises some insightful information about 10-GbE in data centers and storage networks, including 10GBase-T. LightCounting's vice president and senior datacom analyst Kimball Brown notes that while 10-GbE is "finally taking off," after a decade, but adds that even four years from now Fibre Channel over Ethernet and iSCSI combined will not match Fibre Channel in terms of port deployments.

LightCounting says its report also takes an in-depth look at the overall 10-Gbit Ethernet marketplace, including projections for server and switch ports. Among the 10-GbE analysis is that by 2014, it will surpass 1-GbE in total port counts and that by then, "10GBase-T will finally allow the upgrade of Cat 5/6/6A and RJ45 connections in volume."

As for Fibre Channel, LightCounting characterizes it as "a high-value, high-cost platform with excellent support in the marketplace." The researcher describes iSCSI as a "simmering, potential challenger for over ten years," but says there has never been investment made in the technology to drive acceptance. FCoE, on the other hand, has OEM sponsorship that iSCSI does not. LightCounting notes that Cisco "is betting hugely on FCoE," but reminds us that the company is "a very small player in the server market."

Through all these dynamics, the researcher says, Fibre Channel will remain a force throughout the decade, with a 16-Gbit version this year and a 32-Gbit version to come.

You can find out more about LightCounting's report here.

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