Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP or FC/IP, also known as Fibre Channel tunneling or storage tunneling) is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based storage networking technology developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). FCIP mechanisms enable the transmission of Fibre Channel (FC) information by tunneling data between storage area network (SAN) facilities over IP networks; this capacity facilitates data sharing over a geographically distributed enterprise. One of two main approaches to storage data transmission over IP networks, FCIP is among the key technologies expected to help bring about rapid development of the storage area network market by increasing the capabilities and performance of storage data transmission.
FCIP Versus iSCSI
The other method, iSCSI, generates SCSI codes from user requests and encapsulates the data into IP packets for transmission over an Ethernet connection. Intended to link geographically distributed SANs, FCIP can only be used in conjunction with Fibre Channel technology; in comparison, iSCSI can run over existing Ethernet networks. SAN connectivity, through methods such as FCIP and iSCSI, offers benefits over the traditional point-to-point connections of earlier data storage systems, such as higher performance, availability, and fault-tolerance. A number of vendors, including Cisco, Nortel, and Lucent have introduced FCIP-based products (such as switches and routers). A hybrid technology called Internet Fibre Channel Protocol (iFCP) is an adaptation of FCIP that is used to move Fibre Channel data over IP networks using the iSCSI protocols.