I have been receiving mail to write on basic storage topic rather than only EMC. Here is first basic thing to know about FC technology.

Fibare Channel is nothing but just a medium to connect host and shared storage. When we talk about SAN first things comes in mind about Fibre Channel.

Fibre Channel is serial data transfer interface intended for connecting shared storage to computer. Where storage is not connected physically to host.

Why FC is most important in SAN? Because FC gives you high speed through the following process:

1) Networking and I/O Protocol such as SCSI command, are mapped to FC construct
2) Encapsulate and transported with FC frame.
3) With this, the hight speed transfer of multiple protocol is possible over same physical interface.

FC operate over copper wire or optical fibre at the rate upto 4GB/s and upto 10GB/s when used as ISL (E - Port) on supported switch.
At the same time, latency is kept very low, minimizing the delay between data requests and deliveries. For example, the latency across a typical FC switch is only a few microseconds. It is this combination of high speed and low latency that makes FC an ideal choice for time-sensitive or transactional processing environments.

These attributes also support high scalability, allowing more storage systems and servers to be interconnected.Fibre Channel is also supports a variety of topologies, and is able to operate between two devices in a simple point-to-point mode, in an economical arbitrated loop to connect up to 126 devices, or (most commonly) in a powerful switched fabric providing simultaneous full-speed connections for many thousands of devices. Topologies and cable types can easily be mixed in the same SAN.

FC is the most important in building SAN, it gives us flexibility to use protocol like FCP, FICON, IP (iSCSI, FCIP, iFCP) and uses block type data transfer.

if we want to define what is FC - Fibre Channel is a storage area networking technology designed to interconnect hosts and shared storage systems within the enterprise. It's a high-performance, high-cost technology. iSCSI is an IP-based storage networking standard that has been touted for the wide range of choices it offers in both performance and price.

Fibre Channel technology is a block-based networking approach based on ANSI standard X3.230-1994 (ISO 14165-1). It specifies the interconnections and signaling needed to establish a network "fabric" between servers, switches and storage subsystems such as disk arrays or tape libraries. FC can carry virtually any kind of traffic.

However, there are some recognized disadvantages to FC. Fibre Channel has been widely criticized for its expense and complexity. A specialized HBA card is needed for each server. Each HBA must then connect to corresponding port on a Fibre Channel Switch. creating the SAN "fabric." Every combination of HBA and switch port can cost thousands of dollars for the storage organization. This is the primary reason why many organizations connect only large, high-end storage systems to their SAN. Once LUNs are created in storage, they must be zoned and masked to ensure that they are only accessible to the proper servers or applications; often an onerous and error-prone procedure. These processes add complexity and costly management overhead to Fibre Channel SANs.


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