Fibre Channel

computer storage networking technology

Fibre Channel, or FC is an architecture (and a set of protocols to attach disk drives to computers, like in a Storage Area Network. Networks today are done with 4 GBit/s and 8 GBit/s over fiberglass cables. This is enough to support data transfer rates of up to 800 MBit/s. Fibrechannel permits connecting the same disk subsystem to several computers. It typically uses the SCSI command set.

Different topologies

Basically, there are two topologies (ways to do this):

  • Arbitrated Loop: All the devices are connected in a logical bus topology (shown on the right in the picture above). The devices can be connected in a ring much like Token Ring. This avoids using the Fibre Channel Switches, which are very expensive.
  • Fabric All devices are connected to Fibre Channel Switches. This is similar to Ethernet. It is more expensive though, because Switches that support Fibre Channel are very expensive.