When we talk about transforming data centers into faster and more efficient environments that are easier to manage, configure and monitor, new FCoE standard is one of the hot topics. How does it actually work in existing environment in Serbia?

Most companies that have storage systems use two separate networks: one for the storage and one for all other services. This picture is slowly changing because of the new standard, adopted in June 2009. Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) uses one cable to collect all IP (traditional LAN) and FC (Fibre Channel) traffic, used by the storage subsystem. Besides replacing IP and FC networks, FCoE enables faster data transfer with speeds of up to 10 Gbps. One network infrastructure means less expenses, less cable, and half the devices needed for traditional solutions with separate IP and FC networks.

NetApp FAS3100 storage
The complete solution for Erste Bank includes Cisco Catalyst 6500 and Nexus 5000 switches, NetApp FAS3100 storage system, HDD shelves (two shelves for FC disks and one shelf for SATA disks), and Emulex CNA cards.

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Network storage in banks is traditionally built using specially prepared FC solution. A separate network for storage is a more expensive than Ethernet technology. Fibre Channel also requires special expertise and management tools, and the company must install a separate Ethernet network for other business applications.

The advantages of the new FCoE standard are easier to understand through a real-life example: Erste Bank in Serbia based it's new IT infrastructure on FCoE solution. Erste Bank now has a consolidated solution, a storage that supports several functonalities in the same system, and lower maintenance and management expenses.

Saga designed end-to-end FCoE solution for Erste Bank. That means that all the traffic from the server to the storage are sent via FCoE infrastructure based on the converged network adapters (CNA) in the server, a Cisco Nexus switch and a NetApp storage. New solution allows all users, from any point in network, to see server disks using the FCoE infrastructure.

Advantages of IT consolidation with FCoE standard, especially in data centers that had invested a lot in FC infrastructure, can first be seen through decrease of equipment that needs to be managed. Data Center Bridging (DCB) Ethernet add-ons are implemented to enable the traditional LAN and to allow FCoE to share the same cables to transfer data. This solution supports NFS, CIFS, iSCSI and LAN standards. DCB also enables defining priority traffic. In that way FCoE can have higher priority, while the applications that can work with variable data transfer have lower priority. And during heavy data transfer loads it is possible to stop the traffic with lower priority and allow only higher priority traffic and operations that can't be delayed.

Why should companies implement FCoE standard? One of the more important reasons is to cut cost. Analysis showed that FCoE is more cost-effective than IP and FC technologies together. This solution is easier to manage and maintain, because the company doesn't need different people for different technologies: one person can manage FCoE infrastructure. Initial investment isn't half the price of IP and FC initial investment together, but in the long run, looking at the number of people that are needed in the IT department, and the more efficient management, implementing FCoE is more cost-effective and financial benefits can be measured.

Unified storage is the idea of one architecture that combines the advantages of NAS and SAN solutions, while providing better data center efficiency. Latest generation of unified storage saves money by reducing necessary space, and using about 50% less energy for power and cooling. When looking at the active usage of some of the typical applications (Oracle, SAP, Exchange, file services, archiving, and VMware), NetApp storage implemented in this solutions has 30 to 55% less TCO than competitors' products.

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  • Increased flexibility through support for FCoE storage and FCoE infrastructure with NetApp FC SAN storage
  • Consolidated storage that supports several protocols (FCoE, FC, iSCSI, and NAS) in one system
  • Increased performance with 10 Gbps of Ethernet data bandwidth
  • Easier administration with transparent storage access using the existing SAN management methods
  • Less complexity because of more efficient and easier maintenance

Summary

01

Overview

Fibre Channel over Ethernet replaces IP and FC networks and enables faster data transfer with speeds of up to 10 Gbps

02

Country

Republic of Serbia

03

Type of business

Banking

04

Customer Profile

Erste Bank a.d. is a member of Erste Group, financial institution with more than 190 years of tradition. It is one of the leading banks in Central and Eastern Europe, and in Serbia it employs around 1,000 people who provide services for 200,000 clients.

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