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Connecting a Fibre Channel switch to a router

Can we connect a Fibre Channel switch to a router in any way? We want to share remote data on a SAN via a router.

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These routers can be attached to Fibre Channel and director switches as external devices or as blades. These storage networking routers are available from vendors including Brocade, Cisco and McData, and provide various functions including storage-over-distance using IP, iSCSI for connectivity, and segmentation to create storage network subnets. Other vendors support distance extension, including Ciena, CNT and Nortel, while still others provide iSCSI gateway capabilities, including Crossroads (and their OEMs), Lefthand, SANrad and StoneFly. Cisco has already released blade versions of these routers for its MDS Fibre Channel directors and Brocade, CNT and McData have made statements of direction (SOD) for their products. Check with your specific vendor to see which combinations of storage, switches and routers are supported as part of their interoperability list.

To answer your question about sharing data on the SAN, we have to clarify something first. To share data, you will need to use data-sharing functionally like NAS. To share storage where each server is allocated storage space, for example, a LUN, then it's a matter of providing remote access to the data and implementing LUN or volume mapping for security. For example, you could use iSCSI on a gateway or router for Ethernet-based remote servers to access Fibre Channel SAN storage.

This was first published in September 2004

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