Building Fibre Channel SAN architecture has been well-known for over a decade. In fact, 90% of data centers depend on Brocade FC SAN equipment.
Let’s first examine the characteristics of why FC SAN has been so successful:
Designed from the ground up to support shared storage in a simple way
Deterministic packet delivery based on lossless transmission combined with low latency
Reliable and scalable architecture for all SAN sizes
To put it simply, it just works!
Now let’s switch gears for a moment to iSCSI SAN. This has been somewhat successful in smaller environments and tier 2/3 applications for different reasons. Why? It all comes down to low cost, and adequate performance and reliability.
The 10GbE speed and Data Center Bridging (DCB) standards for lossless transmission are enabling better adoption of iSCSI SANs. They address performance and the somewhat deterministic delivery issues, but not:
Reliability Instantaneous re-convergence of fabric due to link/port failure
Simplicity Easy to build a fabric without manual setup
Utilization Take full advantage of all links to move storage traffic more efficiently
Intelligence Storage traffic is moved around efficiently from point A to point B without complex protocol configuration or manual setup
Scalability Build an infrastructure that can easily scale for all sizes without compromise or lossy connections across fabric
Brocade Ethernet fabric based on VCS™ fabric technology builds on FC SAN attributes to address the shortcomings of current iSCSI SAN architectures. In addition to low latency wire-speed 10GbE performance and DCB support, it provides the ability to scale in a simplified way with built-in intelligence and reliability. Some of the capabilities that support building efficient iSCSI SAN include L2 multipathing for full fabric utilization and intelligent traffic switching, distributed control plane for high reliability and fast re-convergence, plug-n-play for building fabrics and scaling iSCSI SAN fabrics as needed.