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On Wednesday last week, Cisco and NetApp announced their end-to-end FCoE solution and the validation of the solution by VMware.  This checks off another validation of the partnership between VMware, Cisco and NetApp .

NetApp has had FCoE target adapters for about 2 years now, and since that time has expanded the offering to include unified target cards (that support both FCoE and other IP protocols at the same time), FCoE-capable 10 GbE switches, and Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) to connect the host.  That means you can buy an end-to-end, validated FCoE solution from NetApp or your favourite NetApp VAR.

Starting from the host, NetApp carries the Brocade BR1022, Emulex OCe10102, and QLogic QLE8152 all with or without SFP+ optical modules.

For switches, while we support and sell the Brocade 8000, this article is about Cisco and from them NetApp offers the Nexus 5010 and 5020 DCB switches (along with the Nexus 2148T Fabric Extender which with mainly 1 GbE ports is not FCoE, but is part of the overall DataCenter Ethernet solution).


On the storage end, NetApp supports the dual-port FCoE Unified Target Adapter (the storage equivalent of a CNA – remember:  initiator on the host and +target +on the storage) on all FAS models with PCIe slots( FAS2050, FAS3040/3070, FAS3100 series and FAS6000 series) and their V-Series equivalent.  So far, the FAS3100 series and FAS6000 series are supported by VMware, until the team cranks through the rest of the certifications. 


In fact, as of today, the only systems from any vendor listed on VMware’s Compatibility Guide under FCoE are the NetApp FAS3100 and FAS6000.  (If that link doesn’t work, click this link , select “Storage/SAN, then next to Array Type select “Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)”, then click Search.)  Note also that the listing includes the brand-new ESX 4.1 (and therefore vSphere 4.1).

This validation demonstrates the partnership between Cisco, NetApp and VMware. 


Consider this:  You can’t really test any of these components by themselves.  They really only work as an end-to-end solution together.  You need an HBA in the server, target ports in the storage and a switch to connect them.  So, it makes perfect sense to validate an end-to-end solution using the only storage platform with an FCoE target in the storage controller.

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