Chaparral/Agilent announcement shows trend toward more pervasive Fibre Channel

Chaparral/Agilent announcement shows trend toward more pervasive Fibre Channel

By Alan Earls

Recently, Agilent Technologies Inc., a supplier of 2 GB/s Fibre Channel solutions for the enterprise-class SAN market, and Chaparral Network Storage Inc., began touting performance results for Chaparral's 2 Gigabit per second (2 Gb/s) Fibre Channel solutions.

According to the companies, Chaparral performed compatibility and performance testing on its FS2620 Intelligent Storage Router with Agilent's 2 Gb/s Fibre Channel host bus adapter (HBA). The tests were performed with two Agilent HHBA-5220 2 Gb/s FC HBAs with a Micron 64-bit/66 MHz PCI motherboard. Using the dual port configuration, a sequential sustained bandwidth of more than 300 Megabytes per second (Mbytes/s) was achieved for both read and write access.

Of course, Fibre Channel technology is being used to handle increasing amounts of data over the Internet and is often considered critical to the growth of the SAN market. According to the firms, the results are the best reported to date within the industry and are significant because the SAN market is quickly transitioning to the 2 Gb/s performance level.

Arun Taneja, an analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group, Inc., Milford, Mass., says the announcement shows that the elements needed for 2Gb/sec Fibre Channel to become pervasive are beginning to ship. "You need the HBAs, the switches and the disks to all have this capability before you can fully utilize the higher speeds in a SAN," says Taneja.

Chaparral's FS2620 is a third-generation router that features a sustained data transfer rate in excess of 300 Mbytes/s, more than 15,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS), two Fibre Channel ports and six low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) device channels.

"The fact that you have a 2GB/s router," notes Taneja, "means that the disks can still be SCSI --you gang up multiples of them, six in this case -- and still take advantage of higher speed throughputs."

About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, Mass.

This was first published in February 2001

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