A Q&A on Fibre Channel Interoperability

Got questions about Fibre Channel (FC) interoperability? You’re not alone. At our recent FCIA webcast “Fibre Channel Interoperability” we received many great questions as our experts discussed the many dimensions of FC interoperability. If you missed the live webcast, it’s now available on-demand. We encourage you to watch it at your convenience before or after you digest these questions.

 

  1. Do you expect any FC-NVMe vs. RoCE performance comparisons in the future?

 

  1. Whereas there are often comparisons for similar traffic transiting an Ethernet vs. Fibre Channel SAN, direct comparisons of disparate protocols become very difficult, since RoCE and FC topologies are necessarily different and act differently at increasing scale. Nevertheless, we anticipate that over time there will be quite a few vendor or third-party analyst comparisons between various NVMe-oF transport types.

 

  1. Do all FC fabric switches support the FDMI database?

 

  1. Yes, switches support FDMI and FDMI2 database registration.  However, not all HBAs and storage gargets provide all the registration data.

 

  1. Does point-to-point (no switch) connectivity work with 16GFC and 32GFC since loop is no longer supported?

 

  1. Yes, the solution is called N-port to N-port.

 

  1. Can you provide a specific example of standards based innovation feature?

 

  1. The Fibre Channel standards are created to provide a mechanism of how to solve a problem, but deliberately avoid proscribing the manner in which that solution is implemented. In other words, think of them like Legos: you get the basic components that fit together, but you aren’t forced into putting them together in any particular way. This is how different vendors can create new and innovative methods for zoning, security, telemetry, and other features, and still be based upon standards principles available to everyone.

 

  1. I have an older tape backup device, with 4GFC port and would like to use it with my new 16GFC switches, do you think it will cause fabric problems?

 

  1. No, this device will interoperate within the 3 speeds supported. You should, however, check with your device manufacturer for best practices.

 

  1. Who were the two storage vendors that participated in the FC-NVMe plug fest?

 

  1. The FCIA press release regarding the recent plugfest lists the companies in attendance, however the specifics of the products tested is confidential and the FCIA is unable to provide that detail. The company names will give the reader a clear indication of the storage vendors though.

 

 

  1. How can a vendor participate in the next plugfest?

 

  1. We’ll be glad to have you! Join the FCIA Mailing List, where we will announce plugfests and other related events. You can also consult the FCIA calendar. Plugfests are open to both members and non-member organizations for the benefit of the Fibre Channel interoperability ecosystem.

 

 

We hope this clears up some of the confusion surrounding FC interoperability. Remember the webcast can be viewed on-demand and a copy of the presentation slides can be downloaded at the FCIA site. If you’re interested in more FCIA webcasts, registration is now open for our next one on October 10, 2018 “Protocol Analysis for High-Speed Fibre Channel Fabrics.” We hope to see you there!

2018-09-10T13:23:49+00:00 September 10th, 2018|

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