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Back to Basics: Overview of Fibre Channel Protocol

Fibre Channel is one of the most popular protocols for SAN. In the simplest terms, Fibre Channel is a high-speed data transfer protocol. At all layers of the OSI stack, fibre channel is different than Ethernet and utilizes dedicated adapters, cables, and switches.

SAN Review

Since 70-80% of SANs are composed of Fibre Channel, let’s begin this overview of Fibre Channel Protocol with a brief review of what SAN is. SAN stands for Storage Area Network and is a high-speed network with block-level access to data storage. For business-critical applications within enterprises, SAN is the most common storage networking architecture in use. If you would like more detail about SAN, read our blog post titled What is SAN and How can it Benefit Your Company.

Basics of Fibre Channel

Fibre Channel is primarily used for transmitting data and is a high-speed networking technology. It transmits data between storage, computer servers, switches, and data centers. Information units and SCSI commands are transmitted by Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) within the Fibre Channel. Point-to-Point, Switched Fabric and Arbitrated Loop interfaces are provided by Fibre Channel which provides lossless ordered raw block data. Multiple types of communication cables can be used for Fibre Channel beyond optical fiber. Coaxial cable and telephone twisted-pair cables will work for Fibre Channel, but if copper is used, the distance should not exceed a length of 100 feet. If an enterprise uses optical fiber for its enterprise data storage network, the network can reach up to six miles in length.

The Purpose

The purpose of Fibre Channel is to connect and transmit data. The Fibre Channel interface was designed specifically for SAN. It was developed to replace the Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) and High-Performance Parallel Interface (HIPPI). Both of these configurations had shortcomings and Fibre Channel was designed as a response. The Fibre Channel compared to SCSI and HIPPI is more reliable and scalable with low-latency protocol and interface.Networks and their componets are key to IT infrastructure. The infrastructure of enterprise IT is composed of an assortment of different networks, devices, and systems. If you have any questions about the different components of the IT environment, check out our other blog posts. For information and help beyond what is provided in the blog posts, check out our support options for enterprise IT hardware. We help IT professionals all around the globe, possibly even you, keep systems running and data moving with our support and maintenance. Even when the OEM sunsets a system, thomastech can keep you covered. What about when your hardware support contract expires at the end of three years and the OEM’s costs for support are just too high? Check out our support options and save up to 70% allowing you to fund other IT projects. Let us help you keep your data moving through your networks and data systems.

Hitachi VSP 5600

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The Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series is a data storage solution for enterprises that supports block, file, and mainframe applications. It includes the Hitachi Ops Center management software suite for efficiency, data security, enhanced analytics, and centralised administration. The VSP series 5000 have Max. Number of drivers, including spares- 33 NVMe SCM, 96 NVMe and 768 SFF SSD. To accommodate up to 33 million IOPS and 69PB of data, Hitachi Accelerated Fabric can scale from twin controllers with quad CPUs to 12 controllers with 24 CPUs. It has a lightning-fast 39μs Minimum Response Time. Due to the controller architecture, scaling up the system results in a more resilient solution and provides 99.999999 per cent data availability. Additionally, the platform supports various media types combined on the same storage platform, including SAS FMD, SSD, HDD to NVMe SSD, and SCM media.

Hitachi VSP 5200

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The Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform 5000 series is a data storage solution for enterprises that supports block, file, and mainframe applications. It includes the Hitachi Ops Center management software suite for efficiency, data security, enhanced analytics, and centralised administration. The VSP series 5000 have Max. Number of drivers, including spares- 33 NVMe SCM, 96 NVMe and 768 SFF SSD. To accommodate up to 33 million IOPS and 69PB of data, Hitachi Accelerated Fabric can scale from twin controllers with quad CPUs to 12 controllers with 24 CPUs. It has a lightning-fast 39μs Minimum Response Time. Due to the controller architecture, scaling up the system results in a more resilient solution and provides 99.999999 per cent data availability. Additionally, the platform supports various media types combined on the same storage platform, including SAS FMD, SSD, HDD to NVMe SSD, and SCM media.

Hitachi DS7160

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With a maximum of 16 Intel Xeon 8276L CPUs and up to 12TB of memory, the Hitachi Advanced Server DS7160 is a powerful server. Mother Board Revision: 12001509-006 BIOS/uEFI: UEFI: BIOS_PUR043.37.14.121 (06/02/2020) CPU: 16 Intel Xeon® Platinum 8276L Processor 2.20 GHz RAM: 12 TB Ports and Bus Types: 3 USB Ports 40 PCI Express X8 8 PCI Express X16 Video Adapter: Matrox Graphics Inc. G200 SE A (PCI) Host Bus Adapter: Emulex Corporation LPe31004 FC (Quad Port) , FibreChannel LSI Logic SAS 9300-8i , Serial SCSI (SAS) Emulex Corporation LPe31002 FC (Dual-Port) , FibreChannel LSI Logic MegaRAID SAS 9361-8i , Serial SCSI (SAS) Broadcom® SAS 9300-8E Host Bus Adapter , Serial SCSI (SAS) Emulex Corporation LightPulse LPe12002 8Gb/s Fibre Channel PCI Express , FibreChannel Intel X99 Chipset (DHX99 PCH) , Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Disk Drive: 2 SanDisk SDLF1DAM-400G , Serial ATA (SATA) 6 HGST Ultrastar SS300 (HUSMM3240ASS204) , Serial SCSI (SAS) Seagate® Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD v4 SAS, 4TB (ST4000NM0034) , Serial SCSI (SAS) Storage Area Network (SAN) Device: Hitachi Data Systems Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V

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