For more details, please see ourCookie Policy.

Data Center

Ethernet fabric and iSCSI SAN– Do they go together?

by Rami.Rammaha on ‎08-09-2011 09:05 AM - last edited on ‎10-28-2013 08:56 PM by bcm1 (3,491 Views)

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.