Fibre Channel

(redirected from Fibrechannel)

Fibre Channel

(storage, networking, communications)
An ANSI standard originally intended for high-speed SANs connecting servers, disc arrays, and backup devices, also later adapted to form the physical layer of Gigabit Ethernet.

Development work on Fibre channel started in 1988 and it was approved by the ANSI standards committee in 1994, running at 100Mb/s. More recent innovations have seen the speed of Fibre Channel SANs increase to 10Gb/s. Several topologies are possible with Fibre Channel, the most popular being a number of devices attached to one (or two, for redundancy) central Fibre Channel switches, creating a reliable infrastructure that allows servers to share storage arrays or tape libraries.

One common use of Fibre Channel SANs is for high availability databaseq clusters where two servers are connected to one highly reliable RAID array. Should one server fail, the other server can mount the array itself and continue operations with minimal downtime and loss of data.

Other advanced features include the ability to have servers and hard drives seperated by hundreds of miles or to rapidly mirror data between servers and hard drives, perhaps in seperate geographic locations.

Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA).
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

Fibre Channel

A high-speed transport technology used to build storage area networks (SANs). Although Fibre Channel can be used as a general-purpose network carrying ATM, IP and other protocols, it has been primarily used for transporting SCSI traffic from servers to storage arrays. The Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) serializes SCSI commands into Fibre Channel frames and uses IP for in-band SNMP network management (see SNMP). For more about storage networks, see SAN.

Using singlemode or multimode fibers, Fibre Channel can be configured point-to-point (FC-P2P), as a switched topology (FC-SW) or in an arbitrated loop (FC-AL) with or without a hub, which can connect up to 127 nodes (see below). Transmission rates up to 12.75 Gbps in each direction are supported.

Fibre Channel uses the Gigabit Ethernet physical layer and IBM's 8B/10B encoding method, where each byte is transmitted as 10 bits. Fibre Channel provides both connection-oriented and connectionless services. Following are the class and functional levels. See FCIP, FCoE, IP storage and Director-class switch.

Connection-oriented services
 Class 1    With acknowledgment, full bandwidth
 Class 4    Virtual connections, QoS,
             fractional bandwidth
 Class 6    Uni-directional

 Connectionless services
 Class 2    With acknowledgment
 Class 3    Without acknowledgment

 Node levels
 FC-4  Translation between Fibre Channel and
        command sets that use it: HiPPI, SCSI, IPI,
        SBCCS, IP, IEEE 802.2, audio, video
 FC-3  Common services across multiple ports

 Port levels (FC-PH standard)
 FC-2  Framing and flow control
 FC-1  8B/10B encoding, error detection
 FC-0  Electrical and optical characteristics

Arbitrated Loop
The arbitrated loop is widely used and can connect up to 127 nodes without using a switch. All devices share the bandwidth, and only two can communicate with each other at the same time, with each node repeating the data to its adjacent node. TX means transmit, and RX means receive.

Switch Fabric
A switch fabric is the most flexible topology, enabling all servers and storage devices to communicate with each other. It also provides for a failover architecture in the event a server or storage array ceases to operate.

This is the simplest topology connecting two Fibre Channel devices that communicate at full bandwidth.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
By combining next-gen cable management and patch cord design with automated connectivity tracking, Netscale Solutions deliver the world's highest port density for 10/40/100G Ethernet and FibreChannel. Ultra high density makes it possible for example to support a SAN director in just two 1U housings.
If you regularly work with standards such as SAS-3, 28/32G FibreChannel, or MIPI M-PHY, you really do need an SBO.
Additionally, ATTO will exhibit their FastFrame[TM] line of Network Interface Cards (NICs) and Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) that leverage ATTO's expertise in FibreChannel and Ethernet technologies to support the increasing demands of network and storage bandwidth.
On tap for the OmniSwitch 6900 in second half of next year are 12x10Gbps FibreChannel/Ethernet modules for the switch; FibreChannel gateway and FibreChannel-over-Ethernet support; and pre-loaded and performance-optimised applications for the switch in data centre racks.
The new models offer an easy integration into customersEoACAO Storage Area Networks via the SAN-Integration-Package SIP, which is combined with support for FibreChannel (FC) that provides a direct, high-speed connection for mid-range Fujitsu ETERNUS DX400 and high-end DX8000 storage systems.
So Cisco unveiled the Nexus 5500, which is designed to enable any-transport over Ethernet -- Layer 2 and Layer 3, as well as storage traffic, including iSCSI, NAS, FibreChannel, RDMA over Ethernet and InfiniBand over Ethernet.
These provide support for multi-rate Ethernet, FICON, ESCON, FibreChannel, SONET/SDH and OTN protocol terminations as well as flexible bit rate and protocol independent transport.
The SDA 18000 has sufficient bandwidth to allow real-time measurements of the fastest serial data standards entering active development today, including 10 Gb/sec Ethernet and FibreChannel 8.5.
The instrument has sufficient bandwidth to allow real-time measurements of 10 Gb/s Ethernet and FibreChannel 8.5.
All new models reportedly feature 4Gb/s FibreChannel technology, as well as Pentium 4 Xeon CPUs, larger caches, and storage processors with the PCI Express-based UltraScale architecture.
* Interconnect flexibility: Options include Gigabit Ethernet and 4Gb FibreChannel