Fiber Channel Hardware Emporium
Fibre Channel (FC) is a high-speed data transfer protocol (commonly running at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128 gigabit per second rates) providing in-order, lossless delivery of raw block data. Fibre Channel is primarily used to connect computer data storage to servers in storage area networks (SAN) in commercial data centers.
Fibre Channel networks form a switched fabric because the switches in a network operate in unison as one big switch. Fibre Channel typically runs on optical fiber cables within and between data centers, but can also run on copper cabling.
There are various upper-level protocols for Fibre Channel, including two for block storage.
Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) is a protocol that transports SCSI commands over Fibre Channel networks.
The Fibre Channel storage market includes multiple classes of hardware that help organizations to build and enable Storage Area Networks (SAN) deployments.
Fibre Channel is not one single piece of technology, rather it is a highly resilient protocol that enables data storage transfer. There are several generations of Fibre Channel, with most recent specification being the Gen 7 standard. Also referred to as 64 GFC, Gen 7 provides up to 64 Gbps of bandwidth.
The Gen 7 standard was formally announced in November 2018. Most current Fibre Channel deployments are based on what is referred to as Gen 6 or 32GFC, which provides 32 Gbps.
Fibre Channel hardware components
Within the Fibre Channel markets are several key hardware components that are typically part of a SAN deployment.
- Host Bus Adapters (HBA).
- A Fibre Channel HBA is much like an Network Interface Card (NIC) is for an Ethernet network, enabling connectivity between a host system and a Fibre Channel SAN. A collection of these can be found here.
- Fibre Channel Switch.
- A Fibre Channel Switch is multi-port hardware chassis that enables connectivity across a SAN. An example can be found here.
- Fibre Channel Director.
- A Fibre Channel Director is a larger type of Fibre Channel switch, with a higher port count and a modular chassis that supports multiple slots for Fibre Channel port connectivity. You can find an example here.
Figure 1: A sample diagrammatic representation of a Fibre Channel (FC) SAN architecture; whose individual hardware components we stock at Tekmart Africa.
In this section, you will find all Fiber Channel parts and hardware components for your data centre equipment.