What is the difference between QuickLoop and FC-SW? What is the best one to use and why?

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QuickLoop is a Brocade solution that provides access into a fabric for those OSs that do not talk switched fabric protocol. It also allows you to connect older FC-AL loop based solutions, like the original Compaq Enterprise Backup solution, into the fabric. Then, the fabric-based servers can see and utilize the components in the loop, like sharing a tape drive in the SAN, which is good for ROI on solutions purchased a while ago.

FC-SW is the abbreviation for "Switched Fabric" protocol, and QuickLoop provides address translation from that protocol, to the ID based FC-AL protocol. Fabrics use WWN (worldwide names) for getting access to a specific component where FC-AL used IDs from 1 to 128. There needs to be a way for fabric based hosts to "SEE" loop based devices and this is what QuickLoop allows.

FC-SW2 (the next version of the switched protocol) is being ratified as we speak and addresses "INTER-SWITCH" (switches from different vendors) communication via "E-Ports" which is the term used for inter-switch link ports. This is the first step to making SANs truly plug and play.

This was first published in May 2001

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