Application-specific integrated circuit

Frosting the FCoE Cake…

by dave on November 2, 2009


Czech kind of sponge cake.
Image via Wikipedia

I was advised the other day that a certain manufacturer was adopting a rather interesting model for Fibre Channel over Ethernet CNA licensing.  Rather than simply purchasing a FCoE CNA with all the features (10GbE, iSCSI, and FCoE) turned on, they were going to adopt some sort of staggered licensing model that put each of those features as an option that you could license (and pay for) at a later date.

When I read this, the analogy that sprung to mind was one of, well, cake.  (I’m not a foodie, I just tend to think abstractly of food.) How many people go to a bakery and buy a plain cake that isn’t frosted and that has a payment plan against it?   You’re going to buy a cake that fits with the mindset of what a cake should be; that is, something that is complete and “ready to eat.”  Additionally, you’re probably not going to be interested in a plain cake where the end cost is greater than a pre-frosted cake!  Why would you buy something that required an order of magnitude more effort to get to a final, workable order?  You’d consider someone who bought into this idea as somewhat of a lunatic.

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In Part 3a, we discussed the possibility of a purpose-driven Compute Node based on the Torrenza initiative for the Future Storage system.  This expansion node made use of Hypertransport as a “glue” between the base storage compute node and the expansion node (of computation or I/O flavours) that could be added.  The advantages of that topology were simple:  hot add support for additional processing power, additional I/O bandwidth within the system, and additional computing power for the array OS (which we’ll cover in a later article).  In this overview, we’ll take a look at another variation on an expansion node: an I/O expansion node that will add additional front-end ports and/or functionality to the base system.  We will be referencing the diagram below. (Apologies in advance for the image shearing off in the lower right hand corner).

Hypertransport I/O Expansion Topology

Hypertransport I/O Expansion Topology

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