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How FC-AL and FC-SW switches are implemented

This is a Q&A from SAN School Lesson 2.
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A loop switch is said to be a non-blocking device, enabling point-to-point communication between nodes. How is FC-AL implemented in switches? What is the difference between FC-AL and FC-SW in switches? Thanks.

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In Brocade switches, there is a technology used called "QuickLoop", that enables a bridge between FC-AL devices on the port that is considered a quick loop and the rest of the devices in the fabric. Fabric-based devices can reach FC-AL destination addresses on the loop since the switch associates a fabric address to the FC-AL addresses within the loop. All switches use FC-SW as the native protocol. The ability to connect to legacy FC-AL devices through a switch that supports FC-SW to FC-AL address translation allows you to reuse older hub- (FC-AL) based devices like tape drives. Chris

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This was first published in February 2004

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