Intel's announcement of Open FCoE running on their 10 GbE products is yet another manifestation of the 'Infrastructure as Software' trope; Open FCoE has been officially part of the Linux kernel since November and Intel's announcement brings Windows Server into the fold.
This announcement means that you can run iSCSI, NAS and FCoE on a single adapter; big deal I hear you cry especially if you work for one of the traditional HBA vendors; you can already do this using a CNA but Intel's announcement is important because Intel is currently the top-selling vendor of 10 GbE cards and this will allow you to use those cards which may already be shipping in your standard server build to run FCoE if you so wish.
Obviously doing FCoE in software does come at cost and that is increased CPU utilisation but this has not really hampered the iSCSI software stacks. And like iSCSI, I suspect that we will find the predominant deployments of FCoE will be utilising a software implementation and I expect that other 10 GbE adapters will come to be supported by the Open FCoE stack.
One place where I will take issue with many of the commentators is this feeling that we will not have a separate Storage/Network infrastructure; it is extremely likely that we will continue to have some kind of separation between Storage and Network infrastructures; this might be physical or it might be logical. But I do expect that in many cases that we will continue to have 'storage ports', 'backup ports' and 'network ports'; this separation will be due to both the political realities of most Infrastructure teams but also simply because it makes sense. You don't necessarily want your back-up traffic or storage traffic stomping all over your transactional traffic or even each other; yes, QoS can help but it just might be simpler to keep them separate.
Yes Ethernet has pretty much won and Open FCoE makes victory even more certain but don't expect storage networks to go away anytime soon and don't expect FC to go away any time soon; 10 GbE ports are still relatively expensive and I'm not seeing a massive appetite for rip and replace at present. The long march to converged network will be a long march indeed but tools like Open FCoE might shorten it slightly.
I guess the big question for many of us is when will VMware see a software implementation of FCoE?