Fibre Channel Hardware

What are these?

Fibre Channel hardware interconnects storage devices with servers and forms the Fibre Channel fabric. The fabric consists of the:

  • physical layer,
  • interconnect devices 
  • and translation devices.

The physical layer consists of copper and fiber-optic cables that carry Fibre Channel signals between transceiver pairs. Interconnect devices, such as hubs, switches, and directors, route Fibre Channel frames at gigabit rates.

Translation devices, such as Host Bus Adapters (HBA), routers, adapters, gateways, and bridges, are the intermediaries between Fibre Channel protocols and upper layer protocols such as SCSI, FCP, FICON, Ethernet, ATM, and SONET.

Storage devices at one end of the fabric store trillions of bits of data while servers on the other end distribute the data to hungry users. Fibre Channel hardware stores and distributes data across the work group and the enterprise.

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Physical Layer

The Fibre Channel fabric is connected at the physical layer by fibre, a term coined by the Fibre Channel industry to mean optical fiber and copper wires.

  • The physical layer and transceivers use the same cable infrastructure that is used in other networks such as LANs and telecommunications.
  • Thus, cables can be installed once and used for any of these networks.The distance over which a Fibre Channel link operates depends on the type of media used and what transceivers are attached to the media.
  • Each physical medium uses a transceiver that has been optimized for that medium.

Interconnect Devices
Fibre Channel interconnect devices consist of:

  • hubs
  • switching hubs
  • switches 
  • and directors

Translation Devices
Translation devices connect the Fibre Channel network to outside networks or devices.

  • Key points  to note:-
    • The most common translation device is the HBA or Fibre Channel Adapter.
    • An HBA connects the Fibre Channel network to the server’s host bus, which can be PCI or SBus.
    • A bridge connects legacy SCSI or ESCON storage devices to the Fibre Channel network.
    • An adapter connects FC to IP networks such as Ethernet or Token Ring.
    • A gateway (sometimes referred to as a router or director) interfaces to telecom networks, such as ATM or SONET.
    • Multi-function routers connect multiple Fibre Channel ports to multiple protocols such as SCSI, ATM, or Ethernet.

Storage Devices Storage takes many forms and comes in a variety of configurations, such as disk drives, JBODs, RAIDs, storage subsystems, tape drives and tape libraries. These storage devices store gigabytes in a single disk drive, terabytes in a storage subsystem, and petabytes in a tape library.

At Tekmart Africa, we stock most of these  parts from different manufacturers. Feel free to contact us on 0861 711 712 (within RSA) if you need assistance with your Fibre requirements and our consultants will gladly assist with your purchase.

Alternatively, mail our fibre hardware team and our support technicians will guide you on the correct fibre hardware you may need for your project.