It’s quite comparable with fiber channel in terms of its technology. They are all based on fiber cable. ( Currently commercially available Thunderbolt is based on copper cables, and Thunderbolt 2 is the same, but originally it was LightPeak by Intel, and the reason they announced it with cooper cable was that they couldn’t find a easy and good interconnection design for consumer market. )
Then, for Apple, even if they allows the new Mac Pro expansion only through Thunderbolt 2, it’s good enough to support fiber channel speed, because Thunderbolt 2 is up to 20Gbps. However real performance can vary. So, time will tell.
Emulex’s is 16GFC, which is 3200 Mbps == 3.25 Gbps. so, it’s significantly low compared to that of Thunderbolt 2.
Also, when we consider actual performance by considering any manipulation of data by CPU or GPU, we also need to consider interface speed of fiber channel adaptor cards.
Currently PCIe 16 lane speed is :
v1.x: 4 GB/s (40 GT/s)
v2.x: 8 GB/s (80 GT/s)
v3.0: 15.75 GB/s (128 GT/s)
v4.0: 31.51 GB/s (256 GT/s)
So, it’s way faster than Thunderbolt 2.
In Gbps, even the v1.x is 32 Gbps.
So, I wonder if Apple is not to include PCIe slot or any external interface to PCIe for high performance computing market.
I’m pretty sure that any pretty good sized video production business will require PCIe performance. They build their own interface than fiber channel to achieve even faster speed then fiber channel through PCIe. Will Apple give up that market? ( Hmm.. Apple has Final Cut pro which is quite popular in video production market. Oh.. I’ve heard that “video” is kind of word which should not be used in this business, because “video” reminds them of somewhat low quality “movable images”. )
Shouldn’t some one attending at WWDC ask this to Apple engineers and their bosses?