Cruising Over Copper

Ethernet over copper cabling promises to lower costs for high-bandwidth storage.

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"There's significant momentum for IP-based storage," says Balaouras. Small and midsize companies that aren't using Fibre Channel are looking at iSCSI or at both. A large enterprise that needs high bandwidth in a transaction-heavy environment will use Fibre Channel, but the interesting story will be when Ethernet catches up, which might mean there will be more adoption in large organizations. 10 Gigabit Ethernet is moving into more critical environments.

Even though the new spec may cause IT managers to look at IP-based storage as an alternative to Fibre Channel, the decision will continue to be based on more than performance.

"Ethernet and Fibre Channel bandwidth will leap-frog each other over the years, and users should not make their decision based on speed alone," says Yankee Group's Capizzi.

However, Ethernet's ever-increasing throughput, coupled with its ease of deployment and integration, will attract IT managers' attention.

In the end, the specification for 10 Gigabit Ethernet over copper wiring creates another choice for high- bandwidth networked storage and, says Kossuth, it "mitigates some of the concerns over throughput."

Webster is a freelance writer in Providence, R.I. Contact him at

Special Report

Storage: New Wrinkles 2006

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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