By Rick Cook

Since most storage area networks (SANs) use Fibre Channel networking, it seems logical to use a RAID array built around Fibre Channel rather than the more familiar SCSI interface. In fact, it is logical. Sometimes. But cost, availability and other considerations can affect the logic as well.

Availability isn't nearly the problem it was a year ago. More and more RAID manufacturers now offer Fibre Channel RAID arrays, usually with capacities and features aimed at the SAN market. The limiting factor is compatibility with the rest of your SAN system. Since SANs still have some compatibility glitches, you need to make sure that your SAN vendor will support your proposed Fibre Channel array. Don't neglect to check support from your storage management software as well.

The cost issue depends largely on whether you plan to reuse existing RAID arrays or not. Since almost all RAID installed today is SCSI, using SCSI arrays with a Fibre Channel adapter is definitely cheaper if you plan to reuse what you have now. This is especially attractive because it doesn't keep you from converting to Fibre Channel arrays later.

Fibre Channel RAID arrays are generally more expensive than their SCSI counterparts. The SCSI market is both mature and highly competitive, which helps hold down prices. However, SCSI arrays aren't necessarily very large--or even present at all--in the kind of high-capacity, high-reliability, high-throughput arrays

Requires Free Membership to View

that work best to support SANs.

Performance may be the deciding factor, but don't automatically assume that a Fibre Channel array will be faster than a high-end SCSI array, in spite of the difference in theoretical throughputs.

Additional resources:

About the author: Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in September 2000

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.