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Fibre Channel Releases BB-6 to Encourage High Performance in Lesser Costs Network

By CIOReview | Thursday, October 30, 2014

FREMONT, CA: Fibre Channel (FC) releases next generation iteration FC Backbone-6 (FC-BB-6) that will be used to connect storage area networks (SAN). This standard enhances the capability of SAN with more efficient network designs for FC over Ethernet (FCoE) compared to the earlier standard FC-BB-5. T11 Technical committee, comes under the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), has been verifying FC-BB-6 standard for rating T11.3.

The previous version FC-BB-5 works on the concept of Fibre Channel Forwarder (FCF) – domain ID for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) that encapsulates FC frames over Ethernet networks. The FC-BB-6 improves these capabilities by introducing ‘Distributed FCF’ or ‘Distributed-Switch Architecture’ where control and data planes are separated out in the new switch architecture.

Control plane will control FCFs and FCoE Data Forwarders (FDFs) sharing one or more single virtual domains that gives similar functionality to FC domain. Within this plane, FC-BB-6 acts like FC-BB-5 FCF connected to physical switches. Also, BB 6 FCF will have firmware update that gives investment protection at end nodes (Enodes). FDFs receive routing and zoning information from control plane. Single FC domain can be shared by Controlling FCF and FDFs.

FC-BB-6 is supposed to achieve few specific goals and objectives such as virtual-node-to-virtual-node (VN2VN) support, establishing virtual links between FCF’s and FDF’s, and Domain ID scalability issue by reducing the number of Domain IDs in a SAN designs. The new version also supports point-to-point and multipoint storage network designs and removes unnecessary bottlenecks for high performance solutions, as reported by Rupin Mohan from Infoworld.