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    The IETF, Consensus and NFSv4

    April 9th, 2014

    The Internet Engineering Task Force is one of the older – and more unusual – internet organizations. It first met in 1986, and has regularly met since then several times a year. The last meeting was the March 2-7, 2014 IETF89 in London,  and I was fortunate to be in attendance.

    What Makes the IETF Unique

    What’s unusual about the IETF? From my perspective as someone who spends most of his working day dealing with more traditional standards bodies, two things stand out.

    One, (in its own words) “it exists as a collection of happenings, but is … Read the rest


    Relentless Advance Of Ethernet – And Ethernet Storage Networking

    March 31st, 2014

    As one Cisco colleague once said to me, “After the nuclear holocaust, there will be two things left: cockroaches and Ethernet.”  Not sure I like Ethernet’s unappealing company in that statement, but the truth it captures is that Ethernet, now entering its fifth decade (wow!), is ubiquitous and still continuing to advance at a breathtaking pace.  And as it advances, it advances the capabilities of storage networking based on the Ethernet backbone, be it file storage like NFS or SMB or block storage like iSCSI or FCoE.

    Most recent evidence of Ethernet’s continuing and relentless evolution is illustrated in the … Read the rest


    Use Cases for iSCSI and FCoE – Your Questions Answered

    March 11th, 2014

    We had a tremendous response to our recent Webcast “Use Cases for iSCSI and FCoE – Where Each Makes Sense.” We had a lot of questions that we didn’t have time to address, so here are answers to them all. If you think of additional questions, please feel free to comment on this blog.

    Q. You stated that FCoE requires End to End DCB connectivity.  That is not entirely true if you have native Fibre Channel storage. 

    Once native FC is added, it is a hybrid FCoE/native FC network, not a simple FCoE network.  To be clearer I … Read the rest


    Why the FCoE – iSCSI Debate Continues

    February 11th, 2014

    Why the FCoE – iSCSI Debate Continues

    This is my first blog post for SNIA-ESF.  As a Principal Storage Architect, I have been doing extensive research on the factors that are driving FCoE vs. iSCSI choices over the last several years. The more I dive into the topic, the more intriguing the debate becomes. In fact, this blog is a preview of an upcoming white paper I’m writing and a Webcast SNIA is hosting on February 18th. If you agree this debate is interesting, I encourage you to attend. Details on the Webcast are at the end … Read the rest


    2013 in Review and the Outlook for 2014 – A SNIA ESF Perspective

    January 28th, 2014

    Technology continues to advance rapidly. Making sense of it all can be a challenge. At the SNIA Ethernet Storage Forum, we focus on storage technologies and solutions enabled by and associated with Ethernet Networks. Last year, we modified the charters of our two Special Interest Groups (SIG) to address topics about file protocols and storage over Ethernet. The File Protocols SIG includes the prior focus on Network File System (NFS) related topics and adds discussions around Server Message Block (SMB / CIFS). We had our first webcast last November on the topic of SMB 3.0 and it was our … Read the rest


    Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE): Hype vs. Reality

    January 7th, 2014

    It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride for FCoE, which started out with more promise than it was able to deliver. In theory, the benefits of a single converged LAN/SAN network are fairly easy to see. The problem was, as is often the case with new technology, that most of the theoretical benefit was not available on the initial product release. The idea that storage traffic was no longer confined to expensive SANs, but instead could run on the more commoditized and easier-to-administer IP equipment was intriguing, however, new 10 Gbps Enhanced Ethernet switches were not exactly inexpensive with … Read the rest


    SMB 3.0 – Your Questions Asked and Answered

    November 19th, 2013

    Last week we had a large and highly-engaged audience at our live Webcast: “SMB 3.0 – New Opportunities for Windows Environments.” We ran out of time answering all the questions during our event so, as promised, here is a recap of all the questions and answers to attendees’ questions. The Webcast is now available on demand at http://snia.org/forums/esf/knowledge/webcasts. You can also download a copy of the presentation slides there.

    Q. Have you tested SMB Direct over 40Gb Ethernet or using RDMA?

    A. SMB Direct has been demonstrated using 40Gb Ethernet using TCP or RDMA and Infiniband using RDMA.

    Q. 100 Read the rest


    SUSE Announces NFSv4.1 and pNFS Support

    November 6th, 2013

    SUSE, founded in 1992, provides an enterprise ready Linux distribution in the form of SLES; the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. As of late last month (October 22, 2013), SUSE announced that SLES 11 with service pack 3 now supports the Linux client for NFSv4.1 and pNFS client. This major distribution joins RedHat’s RHEL (RedHat Enterprise Linux) 6.4 in supporting enterprise quality Linux distributions with support for files based NFSv4.1 and pNFS.

    For the adventurous, block and object pNFS support is available in the upstream kernel. Most regularly maintained distributions based on a Linux 3.1 or better kernel (if not … Read the rest


    Software Defined Networks for SANs?

    September 26th, 2013

    Previously, I’ve blogged about the VN2VN (virtual node to virtual node) technology coming with the new T11-FC-BB6 specification. In a nutshell, VN2VN enables an “all Ethernet” FCoE network, eliminating the requirement for an expensive Fibre Channel Forwarding (FCF) enabled switch. VN2VN dramatically lowers the barrier of entry for deploying FCoE. Host software is available to support VN2VN, but so far only one major SAN vendor supports VN2VN today. The ecosystem is coming, but are there more immediate alternatives for deploying FCoE without an FCF-enabled switch or VN2VN-enabled target SANs? The answer is that full FC-BB5 FCF services could be provided … Read the rest


    Q&A Summary from the SNIA-ESF Webcast – “How VN2VN Will Help Accelerate Adoption of FCoE”

    August 29th, 2013

    Our VN2VN Webcast last week was extremely well received. The audience was big and highly engaged. Here is a summary of the questions attendees asked and answers from my colleague, Joe White, and me. If you missed the Webcast, it’s now available on demand.

    Question #1:

    We are an extremely large FC shop with well over 50K native FC ports. We are looking to bridge this to the FCoE environment for the future. What does VN2VN buy the larger company? Seems like SMB is a much better target for this.

    Answer #1: It’s true that for large port count SAN … Read the rest