What are the differences between iFCP and FCIP? When do you use them? Are there any iFCP/FCIP HBAs? Could you use legacy network boards with software initiators (like iSCSI software initiators) to run them?

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FCIP is a tunneling protocol that moves Fibre Channel traffic over an IP network. It is mostly used for remote connections between two Fibre Channel SANs over a TCP/IP network. iFCP is a protocol that uses the FCP protocol from the Fibre Channel standard, but implements it on IP networks. It is not necessarily designed as a tunneling mechanism, although it can theoretically be used this way. FCIP runs in some type of "junction box" like a router, so there are no HBAs specifically for it. The function is implemented in some type of network system.. iFCP was originally designed so that HBAs could be made for it, but as far as I know, none exist. In a nutshell, iFCP is mostly dead, although there may be McData customers who are using it (it was developed by Nishan Systems, which was acquired by McData).

Check with various vendors to see what FCIP implementations they have there are several different ways to implement it. There used to be several companies who specialized in this but most of them are out of business today.

Read Randy Kerns's answer to this question.

This was first published in July 2004

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