Representing the world’s fastest industry standard networking protocol, Gen6 Fibre Channel provides datacenters with greater consistency, predictability and performance

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., June 27, 2016   Demonstrating the continued innovation of the Fibre Channel (FC) standard and reinforcing its status as the industry’s reliable and robust storage networking protocol, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) today announced the completion of the first Plugfest to ensure both interoperability and configurability of Gen 6 32GB FC products. The event also featured the industry’s first proof-of-concept of NVM Express® (NVMe) over Fabrics using datacenter-proven FC technology.

The Plugfest was held during the week of June 20th, 2016 at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL) with 11 companies participating.

“The FCIA and UNH-IOL have conducted more than 36 Plugfests over 18 years to test the continued development of FC technologies,” said Mark Jones, president and chairman of the board, FCIA, and director, Technical Marketing and Performance, Broadcom Limited. “The successful conclusion of this event provides assurance to the FC SAN community that the latest FC Gen 6 specification meets the needs of flash storage technologies.  The event was also notable as providing the first multi-vendor proof-of-concept testing for FC over the new NVMe over Fabrics storage interface standard, highlighting the adaptive architecture of FC that has more than 50 million installed ports in operation in the world’s leading datacenters.”

Key test accomplishments from the Plugfest include:

  • Gen6 FC:
    • Physical conformance to FC Physical Interface-6 (FC-PI-6)
    • Gen6 32GFC, 16GFC and 8GFC interoperability and backwards compatibility
    • Multi-topology use case conformance; including 10km ISLs and direct connect
    • Multi-vendor N_Port Virtualization (NPV) and N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) interoperability
    • Large multi-vendor and high availability redundant fabric conformance
    • Improved data protection and security
      • Gen6 – 32GFC and 16GFC forward error correction (FEC) interoperability
      • T10 Protection Information (PI)
      • FC port-security, also referred to as port binding
    • Low-cost high-reliability 32/16/8G FC active-optical-cable(AOC) and DAC interoperability
  • FC-NVMe – first Industry-wide multi-vendor proof of concept:
    • FC Fabric connectivity to a variety of market available NVMe PCI Express-based drives
    • Multiple vendor FC-NVMe initiator and target interface operations
    • I/O validation over direct-connect and switched fabric topologies
    • Concurrent NVMe and legacy SCSI traffic
    • Backwards compatibility with previous FC speeds, fiber optics, and fiber cables
    • Packet inspection using updated industry tools
  • FCoE over 25GbE and Gen 6 converged fabric interoperability and backwards compatibility
    • 25GbE FCoE server to converged Gen 6 FC and FCoE core switches and storage
    • Multi-topology use-case conformance

The 11 participating companies were:

  • Amphenol Corporation
  • Broadcom Limited
  • Brocade
  • Data Center Systems (DCS)
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd
  • Molex Inc.
  • QLogic Corporation
  • SANBlaze Technology, Inc.
  • Teledyne LeCroy, Inc.
  • Viavi Solutions Inc.

“FCIA-sponsored Plugfests continue to allow participants to validate interoperability of FC products including backward compatibility of FC products at 8GFC and 16GCF to new Gen6 32 GFC and 128 GFC products,” said Barry Maskas, FC Plugfest chair and Technical Staff senior member at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “With continued innovation such as the FC-NVMe configurations tested at this Plugfest, we can see that the methodology for interoperability and compatibility that has been proven successful by the participating FC companies, allows customers to grow their storage infrastructure and take advantage of speed and functional improvements while leveraging current investments.”

“We are pleased to see the rapid adoption of the NVMe over Fabrics specification,” said Amber Huffman, president of NVM Express, Inc. “The FC Plugfest shows interoperability across NVMe over Fabrics targets and initiators giving confidence for the FC-NVME standard to be finalized and products delivered.”

About FCIA

The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) is a non-profit international organization whose sole purpose is to act as the independent technology and marketing voice of the Fibre Channel industry. We are committed to helping member organizations promote and position Fibre Channel, and to providing a focal point for Fibre Channel information, standards advocacy, and education. FCIA members include manufacturers, system integrators, developers, vendors, industry professionals, and end users. Our member-led working groups and committees focus on creating and championing the Fibre Channel technology roadmaps, targeting applications that include data storage, video, networking, and storage area network (SAN) management. For more info, go to

About NVM Express

NVM Express (NVMe) is the optimized, high-performance, scalable host controller interface with a streamlined register interface and command set designed for non-volatile memory based storage. NVM Express was developed to reduce latency and provide faster performance with support for security and end-to-end data protection. The first NVM Express products began shipping in 2014 and have demonstrated up to six times greater 4k Random and Sequential Read/Write performance, and lower latency than SATA solid state drives. NVM Express specifications are owned by NVM Express, Inc.