Computers aren’t much good on their own. This simple fact was evident even at the dawn of the microcomputing age, and has never been more true today in the “post-PC” world. If the standard microcomputer is the “Wintel” box (Microsoft’s Windows, Intel’s CPUs, and all that implies) then the standard network services protocol is SMB. So let’s take a nice deep dive into SMB, past, present, and future!
VMware shocked the world today, pre-announcing an important addition to the vStorage family of APIs found in their marquee vSphere family of products. The vStorage API for Token Ring Integration (VATRI) promises to ease the transition to converged networks featuring the emerging Fibre Channel over Token Ring (FCoTR) storage protocol. According to a recent report by The Dâ€™Plata Group, FCoTR is set dominate the enterprise storage market, and this integration is a confident step in that direction.
In PhilosophiÃ¦ Naturalis, Sir Isaac Newton defined inertia. Although he was referring to physical objects, the power of inertia affects companies, markets, and relationships in the same manner. Humans are creatures of habit, and change is challenging. When faced with a choice of continuing along the same road or branching off in a new direction, most will choose familiarity.
The buzz about Fibre Channel over Token Ring has built rapidly over the last week. Industry experts like Greg Ferro, Denton Gentry, and Joe Onisick have weighed in, and the Packet Pushers Podcast featured the news in show 12, “Get on the Ring!” Some have called out FCoTR as a foolish hoax, but the FCoTR phenomenon is not foolish. Indeed, FCoTR gives everyone in the industry the chance to reevaluate the current state of the art and has exposed real weaknesses in the Ethernet-centric future of the data center.
Industry veterans fondly remember the LAN wars of the early 1990’s, when a diverse set of excellent data link protocols competed for dominance. Although the victory seemed to have gone to Ethernet, industry insiders are looking for a resurgence of better alternatives. One technology, Token Ring, is undeniably superior for transporting modern protocols, especially Fibre Channel for storage. Let’s take a look!