Fibre Channel is the only purpose-built and proven network for storage designed to meet the demands of enterprise data center that require non-stop availability, maximum performance, and seamless scalability. With current performance up to 16GFC, it is the most widely deployed storage network infrastructure for virtualization, could architectures, and mission critical applications.
Gen 6 Fibre Channel is the next generation of Fibre Channel designed to address performance, reliability, and scalability requirements for hyper-scale virtualization, SSD storage technology, and new data center architectures. With performance up to 128GFC and a variety of features designed for next-generation data centers, it is expected to be broadly available in 2016.
Gen 6 Fibre Channel incorporates the following six features:
- 32GFC and 128GFC unleashes performance for SSD storage
- Forward Error Correction (FEC), ensures higher reliability for high speed networks
- Energy Efficient Fibre Channel, drives lower power consumption
- N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), simplifies deployment of high density server virtualization and enables scale-out SANs
- Backward compatibility, provides investment protection for legacy SAN infrastructure
- Enhanced security, enables compliance with worldwide standards and governance bodies
- Gen 6 doubles 16GFC to 32GFC and also provides the option to quadruple to the performance of 128GFC, all based upon the seamless inter-and backward-compatibility of Fibre Channel technology that data center customers expect. The newest innovation includes parallel Fibre Channel which stripes four simultaneous lanes of 32GFC to create a single link with speeds up to 128 Gbps, initially expected to provide the perfect ISL (Inter-Switch Link) connectivity for 32GFC edge connectivity.
- Forward Error Correction (FEC): improves the reliability of Fibre Channel links through the recovery from bit errors that occur in high speed networks. FEC helps minimize or avoid data stream errors that can lead to application performance degradation or outages.
- Energy Efficiency: incorporates protocol features that may be used to improve the energy consumption of the Fibre channel network. Electrical copper links can be turned off during inactive usage, saving up to 100% of the link power. Whilst the laser must remain active in optical links, power savings can also be achieved by allowing the port logic to “nap” multiple times per second, thereby reducing power usage by an estimated 40% to 60% in optical links as well.
- N-Port ID Virtualization (NPIV): simplifies the deployment of server virtualization and enables massive scale of SAN fabrics. NPIV simplifies the deployment and mobility of virtualized servers due to the offloading of management of WWNs from the hypervisors to the Fibre Channel protocol. In addition, NPIV eliminates switch and domain count considerations, enabling greater scaling of SAN fabrics.
- Backward Compatibility: supports complete and total backward compatibility to 16GFC and 8GFC, networks. GEN 6 automatically configures to the fastest supported speed between any two network points, and requires ZERO user intervention. This feature ensures total investment protection in Fibre Channel networks.
- Enhanced Security: Gen 6 implementations may enhance Fibre Channel’s well-known secure and protected environments through a variety of standards such as FC-SP, FC-SP-2 and FC-SP-2/AM1. This ensures Fibre Channel’s continued compliance with technology standards and governance bodies such as the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), European Union (EU) standards, as well as other national bodies around the world.