Q

Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop or switched disk?

Storage expert Greg Schulz offers advice to a reader considering buying high-end storage from two different vendors -- one uses Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop technology and one uses a switched-disk interface.

We are considering buying high-end storage from two different vendors, one uses a one uses Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop technology and one uses a switched-disk interface. Of course, each vendor is saying that their technology is better. We'd like to hear from independent source and expert on this dispute.
Traditional Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FCAL) has been used on the back-end of storage systems for attachment of disk drives and disk expansion shelves to controllers. Similar to the way the host or server side attachment ports changed over to switched Fibre Channel several years ago, the new standard for storage systems is to leverage a switched or semi-switched (switched loop) connection.

The advantage to using a switched interface is simpler point-to-point connectivity and in some cases, potential for better performance and reliability. The lower cost of switching technology and embedded switch chips has given rise to the shift to switched bunch of disk (SBOD) for storage.

Do you know…

If you need a switch?

This was first published in July 2006
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