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Fibre Channel basics

Learn about the pros and cons of FC, new developments in low-cost FC and comparisons with other storage protocols in this Fibre Channel basics guide.

If you are considering adopting Fibre Channel (FC), this Fast Guide is for you. You'll learn everything you need to know to get started with FC, from the latest news to expert advice on implementation to how it stacks up against similar technologies.

FC is used to transmit data between computer devices at data rates of up to 4 Gbps. It has been widely reported that FC will offer data transfer rates of 8 and and 10 Gbps in the near future, but some analysts remain skeptical about these claims. Regardless, its speed and reliablility have been the major factors driving FC's adoption, and it has begun to replace the Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) as the transmission interface between servers and clustered storage devices in many storage networks (FC is three times as fast as SCSI).

Learn whether FC is right for your organization by browsing the links below.

   Beginner's Fibre Channel
   Evaluating network protocols
   Pros/cons of Fibre Channel
   The new wave: Low-cost Fibre Channel
   Latest Fibre Channel news/developments
   Library of SAN/NAS tips

  Beginner's Fibre Channel  Return to Table of Contents
  • Glossary Definition: Fibre Channel

  • Whatis FCIP?

  • Whatis the FCIA?

  • SAN School Lesson 3: What makes a SAN go?
    Understanding the performance aspects of a SAN can help you begin to see where the benefits lie. This lesson is devoted to the inner workings of a SAN, such as latency issues, Fibre Channel protocols, WWN and how the SAN fabric works.

   Evaluating network protocols  Return to Table of Contents
  • Storage Smarts Quiz: FCIP vs. iFCP
    Are you familiar with the pros and cons of FCIP and iFCP? Both can be used to route FC data over IP networks, but which is more easily implemented and which one reduces overall availability? Every protocol has its ups and downs so take our quick FCIP/iFCP quiz and see which one stacks up.

  • Expert Advice: How to decide between Fibre and SCSI SANs

  • Test, test, test. That's the advice from expert Chris Poelker whenever evaluating any product you plan on bringing into your data center. In this tip, Chris lists 10 things you must consider before you make your choice.
  • Featured Topic: Evaluate network protocols

  • To help make your research a breeze, has gathered the best news, expert Q&As, tips and quick guides on the various network protocols. This Featured Topic is geared to help you evaluate each protocol.
  • Article: The difference between SCSI and FC protocols

  • Storage expert Chris Poelker tackles this important and common question.
  • Expert advice: Fibre Channel vs. iSCSI for SANs

  • Storage expert Greg Schulz compares and contrasts FC and iSCSI.
  • Expert advice: SATA, Fibre Channel and ATA disks on the same array?

  • Storage expert Randy Kerns discusses the problems associated with using FC and ATA disks on the same array.
  • Expert advice: The slow move toward faster Fibre

  • Fibre Channel vendors have been talking up a move to 4 Gbps, with possibilities of 8 Gbps or 10 Gbps shimmering on the horizon, but some analysts remain skeptical.

   Pros/cons of Fibre Channel  Return to Table of Contents

   The new wave: Low-cost Fibre Channel  Return to Table of Contents

   Latest Fibre Channel news/developments  Return to Table of Contents
  • Article: Future is fuzzy for Fibre drives

  • The Fibre Channel-connected disk drives that populate midrange arrays may soon give way to a new generation of SAS drives.
  • Article: InfiniBand makes a comeback

  • Engenio will unveil today the first storage array to offer native InfiniBand support promising users high-speed connectivity without the complexity of Fibre Channel.
  • Article: New SAS products spark debate

  • Recently announced SAS products have renewed the debate over whether SAS will push out Fibre Channel or SATA in the data center.
  • Article: Mixing Fibre Channel and SATA drives

  • Randy Kerns, a senior partner at Evaluator Group, offers his recommendations for mixing Fibre Channel and SATA drives in a single midrange array.
  • Article: What will 4 Gbps Fibre Channel mean to you?

  • Do organizations really need 4 Gbps technology, when many of them aren't taking full advantage of 2 Gbps?
  • Article: Overseas IT powerhouse bails on Fibre Channel

  • A large IT service provider in Europe running systems for over 80 banks has deployed an EqualLogic iSCSI SAN and is retiring Fibre Channel.
  • Article: Fibre committee guarantees users more speed

  • The FCIA has approved 8 Gbps Fibre Channel, but are they going too fast?
  • Webcast: Where Fibre Channel is headed

  • The near future will see a lot of confusion in FC bandwidth options, with 4, 8 and ultimately 10GB coming on the market. At the same time, HBA prices are under pressure. And what's being done to improve HBA manageability and interoperability? Marc Staimer, Founder of Dragon Slayer Consulting, examines these issues.

   Additional resources  Return to Table of Contents

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