The March of Fibre Channel

Arthur Cole

A spate of new Fibre Channel systems is bringing high-speed storage connectivity solutions optimized for particular operating environments and targeted at specific uses, such as digital video production.


ATTO Technology has begun shipping the FastStream SC 7700 storage controller appliances sporting a 4 Gb FC interface for both host and drive connections. The company is pitching it for things like 2K and 4K digital film production, HD video post production, disk-to-disk backup, and transaction processing. With the ExpressNAV manager, the device can be configured and diagnosed remotely through a point-and-click interface.


Microsoft users should see improved SAN performance now that long-time collaborator QLogic has formally joined the Interop Vendor Alliance, which aims to enhance interoperability with Microsoft enterprise systems. The move is intended to smooth out many of the rough spots users encounter when integrating Microsoft systems into SAN environments through QLogic's broad array of Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Infiniband HBAs and switches.


Fibre Channel is also having a go at the small form-factor SAS market. Infortrend has released a new EonStor system outfitted with 2.5-inch SAS disks aimed at Fibre Channel-to-SAS arrays. The B12F-R/G1430 array can be used either as direct-attached storage or networked as a SAN. The 1U form factor system is available in single- or dual-controller models and can scale up to 1.8 TB.


Fibre Channel is also emerging as a key component in NetApp's strategy to remake itself as a SAN vendor. The company recently purchased Onaro, maker of the SANscreen Fibre Channel SAN management system, which many consider to be crucial in discovering network architectural flaws and other inhibitors to efficient SAN performance.


Fibre Channel will likely remain the storage network format of choice for the large enterprise for some time to come. With that in mind, it's good to know that there are many robust development efforts under way to carry the technology into the future.

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