Converged Enhanced Ethernet

Definition of Converged Enhanced Ethernet

Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) is a set of enhancements to the traditional Ethernet protocol, aiming to combine and optimize data center networking for storage, data, and high-performance computing. By implementing features like priority-based flow control, congestion management, and data center bridging, CEE ensures low latency, lossless communication, and efficient use of bandwidth in Ethernet networks. This allows better handling and management of storage and networking traffic in a unified infrastructure.


The phonetics for the keyword “Converged Enhanced Ethernet” are:- Converged: kənˈvɜrdʒd- Enhanced: ɛnˈhanst- Ethernet: ˈiθərˌnɛt

Key Takeaways

  1. Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) is a technology that enables the convergence of multiple types of traffic like storage, data, and voice, onto a single Ethernet-based network, improving efficiency and reducing the need for separate, dedicated networks.
  2. CEE incorporates several enhancements to traditional Ethernet, such as Priority-based Flow Control (PFC), Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS), and Data Center Bridging eXchange (DCBX) protocol, optimizing performance, and management in data center environments.
  3. By using CEE, organizations can achieve operational cost reductions and better resource utilization, while maintaining the advantages of the familiar and ubiquitous Ethernet standard, simplifying infrastructure and improving overall network efficiency.

Importance of Converged Enhanced Ethernet

Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) is important because it optimizes and streamlines data center networks by converging different traffic types such as data, storage, and networking onto a single, high-speed Ethernet infrastructure.

This technology enhances the traditional Ethernet capabilities by incorporating features such as priority-based flow control, bandwidth management, and improved congestion detection.

The implementation of CEE significantly reduces complexity, increases efficiency, and lowers operational costs in data centers by eliminating the need for multiple, specialized networks.

Additionally, CEE plays a critical role in enabling the adoption of advanced technologies like cloud computing, virtualization, and software-defined networking, thus paving the way for more agile and scalable IT infrastructures capable of meeting the ever-evolving demands of modern businesses.


Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) serves a crucial purpose in modern data centers by offering an evolved and streamlined Ethernet solution that can efficiently handle both the storage and networking requirements over a single infrastructure. This technology enables multiple data center networking protocols, including Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), iSCSI, and traditional network traffic, to be transmitted seamlessly and concurrently across a unified Ethernet fabric.

Consequently, CEE leads to reduced complexity and cost in the data center by eliminating the need for parallel and independent networks for each of these tasks. One of the key aspects of CEE is its ability to support lossless connectivity, ensuring minimal data loss and zero congestion in the transmission process.

This is enabled by flow control mechanisms, such as Priority-based Flow Control (PFC) and Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS), which assign varying priorities to different network traffic types. These techniques provide more reliable and efficient data transmission, subsequently enhancing overall data center performance.

As a result, organizations can benefit from improved resource utilization, simplified network management, and reduced energy consumption, making Converged Enhanced Ethernet a critical component to support the demands of modern, large-scale data centers.

Examples of Converged Enhanced Ethernet

Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE), also known as Data Center Bridging (DCB) or Data Center Ethernet (DCE), is a set of enhancements to Ethernet networking standards that aim to provide improved traffic management, priority handling, and resource allocation for data center environments. Here are three real-world examples of CEE technology implementation:

Cisco Unified Fabric:Cisco, a leading networking equipment manufacturer, has integrated CEE technology into its Unified Fabric portfolio. This solution combines the benefits of Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and CEE capabilities in a single, unified network fabric. Cisco’s Unified Fabric includes products like the Nexus 5000 and Nexus 7000 series switches, designed to provide lossless Ethernet and priority flow control (PFC) for improved performance, better QoS, and lower latency in data center networks.

Dell EMC VxRail Hyperconverged Infrastructure:Dell EMC’s VxRail is a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution that offers simplified virtualization, flexible scalability, and converged management. VxRail uses CEE features like Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS) and Priority-based Flow Control (PFC) in its networking infrastructure to optimize bandwidth utilization and ensure proper handling of different traffic types, such as storage, virtualization, and management. By incorporating CEE technology, VxRail can efficiently manage diverse workloads and provide a robust and reliable networking foundation.

IBM Cloud Data Center:IBM, one of the world’s largest technology companies, offers cloud services and has implemented CEE technology in its data centers. As part of their cloud infrastructure, IBM deploys CEE-supported switches like the IBM Ethernet Switch B48Y. The utilization of CEE technology allows IBM to offer features like lossless Ethernet performance, low-latency, and improved traffic management to its customers. This in turn helps data center operators achieve better efficiency, reduced costs, and enhanced reliability for a wide range of workloads, including big data, high-performance computing, and storage applications.

FAQ for Converged Enhanced Ethernet

What is Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE)?

Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) is a set of protocols and standards designed to improve the performance, efficiency, and reliability of Ethernet networks. CEE aims to provide a single, unified Ethernet infrastructure that can support multiple types of data traffic, including storage, data center, and high-performance computing applications.

What are the benefits of using Converged Enhanced Ethernet?

Some benefits of using Converged Enhanced Ethernet include improved network efficiency, reduced complexity, and lower costs. CEE provides better resource utilization by consolidating multiple traffic types onto a single network and eliminating the need for separate networks for storage, data center, and high-performance computing applications. Additionally, CEE aims to reduce latency and improve performance for critical applications by prioritizing traffic based on the type of data being transmitted.

How does Converged Enhanced Ethernet differ from traditional Ethernet?

Converged Enhanced Ethernet differs from traditional Ethernet in a few key ways. Firstly, CEE is designed to support multiple types of traffic, such as storage, data center, and high-performance computing applications, on a single network. Secondly, CEE incorporates features such as priority-based flow control and congestion management to improve performance and reliability. Finally, CEE is built on a foundation of Ethernet standards, ensuring compatibility with existing Ethernet devices and networks.

What are some common use cases for Converged Enhanced Ethernet?

Converged Enhanced Ethernet is commonly used in data center environments and enterprise networks to support applications and services that require high availability, low latency, and efficient resource utilization. Some common use cases include storage area networks (SANs), data center interconnect (DCI) solutions, and high-performance computing (HPC) environments.

Is Converged Enhanced Ethernet compatible with traditional Ethernet devices and networks?

Yes, Converged Enhanced Ethernet is built on a foundation of Ethernet standards, ensuring compatibility with existing Ethernet devices and networks. However, to fully leverage the benefits of CEE, it’s recommended to use devices and infrastructure that are specifically designed to support CEE features and protocols.

Related Technology Terms

  • Data Center Bridging (DCB)
  • Priority-based Flow Control (PFC)
  • Enhanced Transmission Selection (ETS)
  • Quantized Congestion Notification (QCN)
  • Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)

Sources for More Information


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