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Vol. 4 No. 9 November 2005

Easing away from ESCON

At issue: ESCON, the protocol that pre-dated FICON as a systems-to-storage connection, is incompatible with the newer FICON-based systems. This tip looks at various ways you can tackle this dilemma. In 1999, IBM began selling FICON, the mainframe equivalent to the Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP), as a way to connect mainframe systems to disk and tape storage devices. Following in FCP's footsteps, the company is expected to announce 4 gigabit per second (Gbps) FICON in 2006. But ESCON, the protocol that pre-dated FICON as a systems-to-storage connection, is tenacious and still figures prominently in many mainframe shops, says Greg Schulz, senior analyst at the Evaluator Group Inc., in Greenwood Village, Colo. "There's still quite a bit of ESCON out there," he says, on devices like disk arrays and tape libraries, as well as on peripherals like printers, check sorters and even ATMs. Related information Fast Guide: Fibre Channel basics Fast Guide: Advanced Fibre Channel Storage Clips: Brocade offers FICON for IBM mainframe On paper, ...

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Features in this issue

  • Quality Awards: What are the best midrange arrays?

    Midrange array users are a generally satisfied group, according to the latest Diogenes Labs-Storage magazine Quality Awards survey. While all midrange array vendors fared quite well in this third installment of our awards program, the vendor that snared top honors might surprise some people.

  • Easing away from ESCON

    by  Alex Barrett

    ESCON, the protocol that pre-dated FICON as a systems-to-storage connection, is incompatible with the newer FICON-based systems. This tip looks at various ways you can tackle this dilemma.

  • Secure your backups

    The headlines tell the story: Lost tapes can jeopardize the confidentiality of personal information and cause public-relations woes for those companies charged with safeguarding that data. Encryption can solve the problem, but implementing tape encryption isn't so easy, as performance issues could impact backup windows.

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