We’ve covered Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) many times and from many angles in these pages and on infostor.com, but for our Special Report on FCoE this month we thought it would be a good idea to round up some actual users.

So we contacted some of the more vocal proponents of the technology – Brocade, Cisco, Emulex, LSI, and QLogic – that are actually shipping FCoE products to the IT community. All of them said they could supply customers, but only one came through in time for our deadline: QLogic. (The customer plans to use QLogic’s converged network adapters, or CNAs, as well as FCoE-enabled switches from Cisco.) And that site – the Data Services Division of the Mississippi Department of IT Services – plans to roll out FCoE as part of its new data center, which is expected to go ‘live’ within six months.

According to a QuickVote poll of infostor.com visitors, about 9% plan to test FCoE this year, 13% plan to deploy it in 2010, 22% in 2011, and 56% of the respondents did not have plans for FCoE implementation.

Infostor.com visitors tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to emerging storage technologies, so those percentages may be skewed on the optimistic side, but nevertheless it’s clear that interest in FCoE is picking up.

At the Storage Networking World conference in October I moderated a session on FCoE, with panelists from the vendors mentioned above. It was standing room only (and that certainly wasn’t true of some of the other sessions at the show), again suggesting strong end-user interest in the technology. The discussion was lively, and the questions (almost all from IT users) were very technical; none had to do with cost; and there were almost as many questions about Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) as there were about FCoE. (10Gbps CEE is required for FCoE implementations.)

Despite all the apparent interest in FCoE, trust me on this: It will take much longer than expected for this technology to become mainstream.

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