Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Despite being declared dead, Fibre Channel continues to evolve with FC-BB-6

Despite being declared dead, Fibre Channel continues to evolve with FC-BB-6

By Greg Schulz

Despite being declared dead, Fibre Channel continues to evolve with FC-BB-6

Like many technologies that have been around for more than a decade or two, they often get declared dead when something new appears and Fibre Channel (FC) for networking with your servers and storage falls into that category. It seems like just yesterday when iSCSI was appearing on the storage networking scene in the early 2000s that FC was declared dead yet it remains and continues to evolve including moving over Ethernet with FC over Ethernet (FCoE).

Recently the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) made an announcement on the continued development and enhancements including FC-BB-6 that applies to both "classic" or "legacy" FC as well as the newer and emerging FCoE implementations. FCIA is not alone in the FCIA activity as they are as the name implies the industry consortium that works with the T11 standards folks. T11 is a Technical Committee of the International Committee on Information Technology Standards (INCITS, pronounced "insights").

FCIA Fibre Channel Industry Association

Keep in mind that a couple of pieces to Fibre Channel which are the upper levels and lower level transports.

With FCoE, the upper level portions get mapped natively on Ethernet without having to map on top of IP as happens with distance extension using FCIP.

Likewise FCoE is more than simply mapping one of the FC upper level protocols (ULPs) such as the SCSI command set (aka SCSI_FCP) on IP (e.g. iSCSI). Think of ULPs almost in a way as a guest that gets transported or carried across the network, however lets also be careful not to play the software defined network (SDN) or virtual network, network virtualization or IO virtualization (IOV) card, or at least yet, we will leave that up to some creative marketers ;).

At the heart of the Fibre Channel beyond the cable and encoding scheme are a set of protocols, command sets and one in particular is FC Backbone now in its 6th version (read more here at the T11 site, or here at the SNIA site).

Some of the highlights of the FCIA announcement include:

VN2VN connectivity support enabling direct point to point virtual links (not to be confused with point to point physical cabling) between nodes in an FCoE network simplifying configurations for smaller SAN networks where zoning might not be needed (e.g. remove complexity and cost).

Support for Domain ID scalability including more efficient use by FCoE fabrics enabling large scalability of converged SANs. Also keep an eye on the emerging T11 FC-SW-6 distributed switch architecture for implementation over Ethernet in final stages of development.

Here are my perspectives on this announcement by the FCIA:

"Fibre Channel is a proven protocol for networked data center storage that just got better," said Greg Schulz, founder StorageIO.  "The FC-BB-6 standard helps to unlock the full potential of the Fibre Channel protocol that can be implemented on traditional Fibre Channel as well as via Ethernet based networks. This means FC-BB-6 enabled Fibre Channel protocol based networks give flexibility, scalability and secure high-performance resilient storage networks to be implemented."

Both "classic" or "legacy" Fibre Channel based cabling and networking are still alive with a road map that you can view here.

However FCoE also continues to mature and evolve and in some ways, FC-BB-6 and its associated technologies and capabilities can be seen as the bridge between the past and the future. Thus while the role of both FC and FCoE along with other ways of of networking with your servers and storage continue to evolve, so to does the technology. Also keep in mind that not everything is the same in the data center or information factory which is why we have different types of server, storage and I/O networks to address different needs, requirements and preferences.

Additional reading and viewing on FC, FCoE and storage networking::

  • Where has the FCoE hype and FUD gone? (with poll)
  • More storage and IO metrics that matter
  • Why FC and FCoE vendors get beat up over bandwidth?
  • Is FCoE Struggling to Gain Traction, or on a normal adoption course?
  • Has FCoE entered the trough of disillusionment?
  • More on Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) which points to this PDF
  • Will 6Gb SAS kill Fibre Channel?
  • From bits to bytes: Decoding Encoding
  • How many IOPS can a HDD, HHDD or SSD do?
  • Can we get a side of context with them IOPS and other storage metrics?
  • Server Storage I/O Network Benchmark Winter Olympic Games
  • Is FCoE Struggling to Gain Traction, or on a normal adoption course?
  • SAN, LAN, MAN, WAN, POTS and PANs - Network servers and storage beyond the cable (BrightTalk webinar)
  • Networking With Your Servers and Storage: Cloud, Virtual and Physical Environments (BrightTalk webinar)
  • Cloud and Virtual Storage Networking (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
  • Also check out these tips and articles, industry trends perspectives commentary in the news along with past and upcoming event activities.

    Ok, nuff said (for now)

    Cheers gs

    Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
    twitter @storageio

    All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2014 StorageIO All Rights Reserved
  • Read the original blog entry...

    More Stories By Greg Schulz

    Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

    In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

    Latest Stories
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search an...
    DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
    @GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
    All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
    In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
    With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
    20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
    Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
    Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
    Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
    With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
    In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.