COEN 180
Fibre Channel

Fibre Channel aims to provide inexpensive, yet scalable data transfer. Fibre Channel is a hybrid between a network and a channeling system; it is like a network in that it uses a flexible set of switches, called a fabric, but that Fibre channel ports have to manage simple end to end connections. Fibre Channel pioneered many of the protocol changes that are have now been implemented in Gb IP such as large packages. Fibre channel packages have a 2KB payload, much more than typical IP packages.

The switch connecting Fibre channel devices are called the fabric. The fabric can be a circuit switch, a hub, or a loop.

Fibre Channel is standardized using five layers:

Fibre channels upper layer protocols and its pioneering high transfer rates have made the technology vulnerable to competitors that use Gb IP as the connection. One such possibility is iFCP which provides Fibre channel fabric services to figre channel end devices over a high-speed TCP/IP network.

Figure 1: Fibre Channel Layers (Meggyesi)

Additional References

Meggyesi: Fibre Channel Overview
© 2003 Thomas Schwarz, S.J., COEN, SCU                                                                              SCU            COEN            T. Schwarz            COEN 180