#59 – Ethernet vs Fibre Channel

#59 – Ethernet vs Fibre Channel

Chris EvansGuest Speakers

This week’s podcast looks at storage networking and in particular the choice of using Ethernet vs Fibre Channel as the network protocol.  Traditionally, enterprise storage platforms have been Fibre Channel connected, with only a small amount of iSCSI usage.  However, the world isn’t just block storage and in fact, as guest Marty Lans (General Manager, Storage Connectivity Engineering & Global Interoperability Business Unit at HPE) tells us, 80% of storage is Ethernet connected.  This is because of the growth in unstructured data stored on NAS and object stores.

Ethernet storage now includes lossless Ethernet (DCB) and has done for some time.  Ethernet is faster than Fibre Channel in raw throughput, yet Fibre Channel continues to see modest growth, according to Lans.  The next wave of storage networking is coming along with the introduction of NVMe.  This will bring FC-NVMe and NVMe-oF protocols, both improving performance for shared storage.  So is it the end for Fibre Channel, should the default be to move to Ethernet?  The answer isn’t that clear cut, as Marty explains.

Elapsed Time: 00:27:57


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:01:30 – Summarising the storage networking landscape
  • 00:02:35 – 80% of all storage is attached via Ethernet
  • 00:04:00 – Lossless Ethernet and DCB.
  • 00:06:00 – Why use Ethernet instead of Fibre Channel?
  • 00:07:00 – HPE doesn’t see the Fibre Channel business shrinking.
  • 00:08:50 – Whatever happened to Fibre Channel over Ethernet?
  • 00:12:00 – Cloud service providers – all Ethernet, surely?
  • 00:13:00 – NVMe, FC-NVMe and NVMe-oF
  • 00:18:00 – How have form factors changed, TOR switches?
  • 00:20:00 – Is there a storage equivalent of SDN?
  • 00:23:50 – Should customers be actively moving away from FC?
  • 00:25:00 – Where does storage networking go next?

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Marty’s Bio

Marty Lans (General Manager, Storage Connectivity, HPE Complete, Storage Qualification & Interoperability Engineering) joined HPE in 2013 and is responsible for innovating and developing next generation storage connectivity technology, implementing third party ecosystem partnerships with HPE Complete and storage qualification and interoperability engineering. Prior to joining HPE, Marty had more than 20 years of storage and networking industry experience with executive roles at leading technology companies including EMC, Cisco Systems, Brocade Communications and Juniper Networks.

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