Know your port errors when troubleshooting SANs

When first installing a storage area network (SAN), or when adding new devices to a SAN, it is a good practice to get a baseline of the port errors for each switch in the fabric.

Fibre Channel is not a clean medium and some if not all devices will cause port errors on power up. These errors could range from encoding errors outside a frame to link failure or loss of sync.

Depending on the switch and the device being powered up, this number could range from a few to a couple of thousand or higher per port. Knowing the baseline of errors will eliminate confusion later on when trying to troubleshoot a SAN problem.

About the author: Dave Campbell has been working in the storage industry for almost 16 years. He worked in D.E.C.'s storage division for 10 years on SCSI, RAID and Fibre Channel, and in Data General's Aviion division for three years before they were acquired by EMC.

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This was first published in January 2003

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