The Fabric Is Converging: Dell
Even with a fall in the cost of computing, customers are focusing less on capital costs and more on operating expenses, said Anthony Dina, (left), director of server strategy at Dell.
As a result, customers are looking at commonality and standardization between different components, and are insisting on heterogeneous connectivity, especially between blade servers and networks, Dina said.
Ethernet is becoming the fabric of choice, especially as virtualization takes hold in the data center, said Larry Hart, director of storage strategy for Dell. "Instead of having to deal with Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and Ethernet, we feel customers prefer to manage one fabric, Ethernet, whether it's Gigabit Ethernet, 10-Gbit Ethernet or the upcoming 40-Gbit Ethernet," Hart said.
As more and more servers get virtualized and connected to a SAN, the need for storage administrators to work with Ethernet will be critical, Hart said.
"To provide a unified fabric, they will need to converge virtualization; systems management, including a common framework; and network simplification," he said.
The cost of such a unified fabric is still a barrier to adopting it, but companies like Dell are working to make 10-Gbit Ethernet cheaper than 4-Gbit Fibre Channel or 4-Gbit Ethernet ports, Dina said.
"But there are also political issues," he said. "Companies are reluctant to collapse their connectivity into a single fabric. But this is changing."
About half of current blade servers are attached to a SAN via Fibre Channel blade switches in the chassis, all of which could be eliminated with a converged fabric, Dina said.