Fibre Channel Sees Healthy Growth

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If iSCSI was supposed to spell the end of Fibre Channel, someone forget to tell the network storage community.


New research from the Dell'Oro Group shows a 30 percent increase in year-on-year third quarter sales of FC switch ports. And even while FC host bus adapter (HBA) shipments remained the same, it's still a strong indicator that Fibre Channel shows no signs of giving ground to iSCSI any time soon, particularly now that 8G platforms are starting to hit the market.


The upswing in FC activity coincides with increased sales of iSCSI technology as well, offering further proof that there is room for both formats in the burgeoning SAN market, with a fair number of enterprises deploying mixed environments.


There's clearly no shortage of vendors willing to embark on cutting edge Fibre Channel technologies. Yesterday we mentioned PMC-Sierra's new Quad 8G FC controller, offering four 8G FC ports and eight lanes of 5G PCIe 2.0 bandwidth. But there is also a lot of activity on the 4G level, with a number of firms looking to tap into the SAN offerings of the major storage vendors.


ATTO is one of them. It recently received qualification from HP to integrate its Celerity HBAs into the StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA). The move provides a high-availability solution for Mac users featuring path failover capabilities, as well as continuous data protection and multiple workstation scalability.


And QLogic recently offered up its line of Fibre Channel HBAs to the OpenSolaris storage community, allowing third-party developers to build Solaris-based SAN applications.


Fibre Channel may be the more expensive SAN option, which puts it out of reach for many small businesses, but larger firms benefit by keeping storage traffic off the IP network, freeing up bandwidth for voice communications and ever-expanding e-mail loads.


In an industry as large and diverse is IT, there's plenty of room for multiple storage network solutions.