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On-Demand Webcast: Fibre Channel Zoning Basics

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  • Ed Mazurek – Cisco
  • John Rodrigues – Brocade
  • J Metz – Cisco

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In this back-to-basics Fibre Channel webinar, we talk about one of the most fundamental functions of the protocol and what makes it so reliable, predictable and secure: Zoning. The ability to separate and isolate traffic into its own channel, undisturbed by other traffic, is part of what makes Fibre Channel so powerful. The ability to secure those connections in zones adds built-in security to the connections.

In this webinar, you’ll find out:

  • What is Zoning
  • Why you’d want to Zone
  • The Different Types of Zoning
  • Consequences of Zoning
  • Zoning best practices for different types of applications


  • Yamini Shastry, Viavi Solutions
  • David Rodgers, Teledyne LeCroy
  • Joe Kimpler, ATTO Technology

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In the FCIA webcast “Protocol Analysis for High-Speed Fibre Channel Fabrics” experts covered the basics on protocol analysis tools and how to incorporate them into the “best practices” application of SAN problem solving.

Our experts return for this 201 course which will provide a deeper dive into how to interpret the output and results from the protocol analyzers. We will also share insight into using signal jammers and how to use them to correlate error conditions to be able to formulate real time solutions.

Root cause analysis requirements now encompass all layers of the fabric architecture, and new storage protocols that usurp the traditional network stack (i.e. FCoE, iWARP, NVMe over Fabrics, etc.) complicate analysis, so a well-constructed “collage” of best practices and effective and efficient analysis tools must be developed. In addition, in-depth knowledge of how to decipher the analytical results and then determine potential solutions is critical.

Join us for a deeper dive into Protocol Analysis tools and how to interpret the analytical output from them. We will review:

  • Inter switch links (ISL) – How to measure and minimize fabric congestion
  • Post-capture analysis – Graphing, Trace reading, Performance metrics
  • Benefits of purposeful error injection
  • More Layer 2-3 and translation layers debug
  • Link Services and Extended Link Services – LRR Link Ready Rests
Patty Driever – IBM
Howard Johnson – Broadcom
Joe Kimpler – ATTO Technologies

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Q&A Blog – Coming soon

FICON (Fibre Channel Connection) is an upper-level protocol supported by mainframe servers and attached enterprise-class storage controllers that utilize Fibre Channel as the underlying transport.  The FCIA FICON 101 webcast described some of the key characteristics of the mainframe and how FICON satisfies the demands placed on mainframes for reliable and efficient access to data. FCIA experts gave a brief introduction into the layers of architecture (system/device and link) that the FICON protocol bridges.

Using the FICON 101 session as a springboard, our experts dive deeper into the architectural flow of FICON and how it leverages Fibre Channel to be an optimal mainframe transport, discussing:

  • Brief review of FICON 101 concepts
  • How FICON (FC-SB-x) maps onto the Fibre Channel FC-2 layer
  • The evolution of the FICON protocol optimizations
  • How FICON adapts to new technologies
Dean Wallace – Marvell Technology Group
Barry Maskas – HPE

Click here to download a PDF of the webcast slides
Click here to view the webinar
Q&A Blog coming soon!

Fibre Channel’s speed roadmap defines a well-understood technological trend: the need to double the bit rate in the channel without doubling the required bandwidth.

In order to do this, PAM4 (pulse-amplitude modulation, with four levels of pulse modulation), enters the Fibre Channel physical layer picture. With the use of four signal levels instead of two, and with each signal level corresponding to a two-bit symbol, the standards define 64GFC operation while maintaining backward compatibility with 32GFC and 16GFC.

This advanced technical session will cover the T11 standards which define 64GFC serial Fibre Channel, backwards speed auto-negotiation compatibility, and compatible form factors:
•New physical layer and specification challenges for PAM4, which includes eye openings, crosstalk sensitivity, and new test methodologies and parameters
•Transceivers, their form factors, and how 64GFC maintains backward compatibility with multi-mode fibre cable deployments in the data center, including distance specifications
•Discussion of protocol changes, and an overview of backward-compatible link speed and forward error correction (FEC) negotiation
•The FCIA’s Fibre Channel speed roadmap and evolution, and new technologies under consideration

Roadmap Illustration

Fibre Channel has a laser-focus on speed and continues to progress at a blistering pace. Fibre Channel is continually evolving to higher speeds to meet the high bandwidth needs of storage applications. When large blocks of data are moved between servers and storage, the performance of the application is directly dependent on how fast the data can fly. The storage industry has come to rely on Fibre Channel to deliver superior performance and reliability for mission-critical applications.

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Fibre Channel is at the heart of the data center connecting servers to storage, and relied upon for the most strenuous workloads. For example, Fibre Channel is deployed in many high-end applications in financial and governmental institutions where reliability and scalability are paramount. Fibre Channel consistently delivers greater than “five 9s” or 99.999% uptime as measured by vendors and customers in data center deployments worldwide. Fibre Channel storage area networks are often completely redundant to ensure constant service and uncorrupted data without single points of failure.

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Solutions Guide

It’s 2018, and Fibre Channel continues to remain the dominant SAN fabric protocol in today’s data centers. Fibre Channel is deployed in 90 percent of the Fortune 1000 data centers in the world and 80 – 90 percent of all All-Flash storage arrays are connected to servers via Fibre Channel. The fact that Fibre Channel was built from the ground up, and with an intense focus on enterprise storage array connectivity, gives the technology a unique edge over other networking technologies in terms of rock-solid reliability, unmatched performance and massive scalability…

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The heart and soul of any technology, and the industry association that stewards the technology, is its technology roadmap. Just like the term suggests, a roadmap shows not just the history of a technology, but also is a guide to where it is going and when it is going to get there…

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When companies invest in a technology, they want to know that they will get a return on their investment for years to come. Fibre Channel has had a very accurate roadmap for over a decade and this document shows the past, present and future of the Fibre Channel physical layer. Fibre Channel has been progressing since 1996 by doubling the data rate every few years and this roadmap shows that the progression will continue far into the future. Fibre Channel continues to outpace other physical layer technologies like Ethernet and will continue to surpass them in speed…

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The availability of the NVMe standard has radically changed the landscape for solid-state storage, driving commoditization of the media along with aggressive competition for density and performance. This media revolution is causing a secondary pair of disruptions in the storage array space. The first disruption is the move toward NVMe-based SSDs (rather than SAS- or SATA-based SSDs) as the media of choice on the All-Flash array back end. The second disruption is a move toward NVMe over Fabrics, and particularly NVMe over Fibre Channel, as the emerging high-performance protocol for accessing enterprise storage…

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The IT world is moving toward Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure. Customers in large numbers are choosing applications that need to be deployed on premise but need some interactions and/or compute/data mobility with the cloud. Most tech savvy IT managers are aware of pros and cons of on-prem versus the cloud. Tier 0 and tier 1 applications with sensitivity to application up-time, failover disaster recovery, storage replication requirements continue to be deployed on premise in order to reduce business risk. Cost of downtime for most businesses continues to be very high. The cloud has certainly…

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Since its introduction in 1994, Fibre Channel has become well recognized as the leading technology choice for storage attachment – it delivers superior scale, reliability, dependability and manageability. That much is pretty obvious. What’s not so obvious is that in the late 1990s, when Fibre Channel was evolving, the S/390 mainframe architects realized that this technology would provide an excellent “next” underlying transport for mainframe I/O, replacing the technology being used at that time known as ESCON…

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The choice between using Fibre Channel (FC) or other protocols is dictated by several factors, one of them being whether a dedicated SAN is required and/or desirable. Ethernet SANs are implemented in the context of a converged network or at the minimum sharing of switch ports for multiple use cases. Although, we see a rampant use of dedicated iSCSI fabrics also. FC networks are always utilized as dedicated SANs. For some use cases a dedicated SAN is not an option. In others, the mission critical nature of the application alone justifies a dedicated SAN…

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