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Benchmarks Give Fibre Channel Significant Edge Over FCoE

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

In a new study by Evaluator Group, and funded by Brocade, Fibre Channel (FC) has been found to perform significantly better than Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) when it comes to overall storage area network (SAN) connectivity performance.

The quality and performance of solid state storage networking is becoming more important as the storage technology rises in popularity. An IHS Technology report detailed the overall decline in storage device shipments, stating an 82% increase in sold state drive shipments, most likely due to a recent decrease in solid state drive component pricing.

"Solid-State Storage has become a strategic purchase, with businesses demanding high-performance storage to deliver predictable application results," said Russ Fellows, Senior Partner at Evaluator Group. "Storage networks and protocols continue to play a significant role in delivering application performance."

The Evaluator Group study was aimed at testing the networking performance of FC and FCoE in an enterprise environment, specifically between blade servers and solid state storage devices. Using the group's IOmark suite, the environments used simulated workloads, scaling to 560 virtual desktop users, 126 virtual database applications, 126 Exchange email instances and three NL Video rendering instances at 250MB/s. 

In the end, Evaluator Group found that the FC environment performed 2 to 10 times better than the FCoE environment. For the FC environment, workload utilization of the SAN was over 80% and CPU utilization was 20% to 30% less than that of the FCoE environment.

Evaluator Group also monitored response time consistency. With the network at a 50% workload the FC environment was twice as consistent (i.e. 50% less variance) in its response time compared to the FCoE environment. In addition, Evaluator Group continued to increase the workload on the environments and found that response time variance grew at a significantly faster rate within the FCoE environment.

"Our testing found that heavily utilized solid-state storage environments function at their highest levels with Fibre Channel connectivity.  Additionally, Fibre Channel delivered superior availability, while reducing cabling, complexity and other management costs," says Fellows.

For Evaluator Group's full study on FC vs FCoE, visit