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Status of Fibre Channel and FCoE Support in Linux - Chris Leech


Chris Leech has been developing Linux Ethernet drivers and network protocol enhancements for Intel since 1999. Working on FCoE has been his first introduction to SCSI and storage development.


Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is an network encapsulation technology designed to reduce the deployment and management costs involved in attaching systems to a storage area network. FCoE is an industry wide effort being developed within the T11 committee of INCITS, and supported by a wide range of storage and networking vendors.

The Open-FCoE project brings a software Fibre Channel and FCoE stack to Linux, allowing for the use of high-speed Ethernet adapters to connect Linux systems to storage area networks via a FCoE forwarder switch. The Open-FCoE software was first released under the GPLv2 license in November of 2007. Originally implemented as a portable code base, since November the team has spent quite a bit of time removing abstractions and more tightly integrating into the Linux SCSI subsystem and existing Fibre Channel transport class, in the process reducing the size of the code base by 50%.

While we're currently focused on getting the code ready for upstream kernel inclusion, the Open-FCoE team is also working with Linux storage and Fibre Channel experts to ensure that Linux is ready to support the next generation of Fibre Channel and FCoE adapters. We're working on making the Open-FCoE stack into a library of reusable Fibre Channel functionality, with an eye towards supporting a wide range of devices with varying capabilities from standard Ethernet controllers to fully offloaded host bus adapters. We're also looking at possible improvements to the Fibre Channel transport class and common management interfaces, a shared open source HBA API library for integration into fabric management applications, and a common implementation of the FCoE Initialization Protocol for FCoE forwarder discovery.

I'd like to discuss the current state and future directions for Fibre Channel and FCoE support in Linux at the LPC, as well as present an technical overview of FCoE and possibly related technologies, such as Ethernet enhancements for network convergence and reliability including Data Center Bridging / Data Center Ethernet, if desired.