Data Center Bridging Plugfest

IEEE Plugfest PoE Certification Technology Tradeshow Webinar

The Ethernet Alliance Data Center Subcommittee invited companies to participate in the second Data Center Bridging (DCB) plugfest that was held during the week of May 17th, 2010 at UNH-IOL in Durham, NH.  Member participants represented a broad vendor community and included Cisco, Dell, Emulex, Intel, Ixia, JDSU, Leviton, Marvell, Mellanox Technologies, NetApp, Panduit, QLogic, Spirent, and Volex.  This challenging set of tests focused on testing the interoperability of cabling, test equipment, network adapters, storage systems and switches built to support IEEE 802.1 DCB standards and draft standards and exercised DCB features across multiple applications such as FCoE, iSCSI, and latency sensitive applications.

The large number of participants indicates the growing interest and demand for support in DCB capabilities, and the event provided an excellent opportunity to test the improving maturity of DCB enabled Ethernet networks.  In addition, this event marked a huge accomplishment with the first demonstration of interoperability testing of IEEE Std. 802.1QauTM-2010 Congestion Notification (QCN) while continuing to test DCB Capability Exchange Protocol (IEEE P802.1Qaz,), Enhanced Transmission Selection (IEEE P802.1Qaz) and Priority-based Flow Control (IEEE P802.1Qbb).

The plugfest results were impressive considering that this was the first time many vendors had participated in a DCB plugfest, and the test results provide Ethernet users an increased level of comfort knowing that there will be a wide availability of converged products and a greater breadth of vendor choice.  Participants were able to demonstrate effectively the interoperability of their products and participate in a lossless Ethernet fabric simultaneously on the same network.  In addition to traditional TCP/IP traffic, interoperability was also demonstrated with multiple converged traffic classes including higher layer protocols such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI over DCB as well as high performance computing traffic being properly managed by the DCB protocols.

The summarized results of the Ethernet in the Data Center subcommittee interoperability plugfest for products designed to support IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging (DCB) is available in a white paper published found below:

Data Center Bridging White Paper

This paper highlights the fundamental enhancements that Ethernet is undergoing in an industry wide move to provide the medium for a single network to be able to transport SAN, LAN and IPC data effectively.