Q

The primary role of an HBA

I understand that a storage LUN or group of LUNs is externally mapped to a specific volume that in turn gets mapped to an OS specific file system on an FC-attached host.

1. What is the role of HBA in this mapping?
2. If the storage RAID controller exposes the file systems, what is the role of HBA?


The HBA primarily performs connection-level functions that transmit data. The RAID controller does not export a file system, it exports a storage address space. Sometimes this is called a volume, sometimes it's called a virtual disk. Whatever it is called, it is the thing that a file system places data into. The file system manages how the space is used and reused.

The HBA is also responsible for providing all other data about the node to the SAN switch it is connected to. The HBA is the network citizen on behalf of the node, whether it is a system or storage subsystem.

Regards,
Marc

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This was first published in September 2003

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