IT Management

Generation 5 Fibre Channel (Gen 5 FC) is the latest evolution in Storage Area Networks (SANs). Based on technology developed by the T11 technical committee that defines FC interfaces, Gen 5 FC doubles the data throughput of 8 Gbps links from 800 MB per second (MB/sec) to 1600 MB/sec with Gen 5 FC.

The benefits of faster networking technology are easy to understand. Data transfers are faster, fewer links are needed to accomplish the same task, fewer devices need to be managed and less power is consumed when Gen 5 FC is used. Several server and storage technology advances are increasing the demand for greater SAN bandwidth, including application and storage capacity growth, high-density server virtualization, new Gen 5 FC storage arrays and Solid State Drive (SSD) storage. Gen 5 FC enables enterprise data centers to unleash the full potential of these and other advanced technologies.

The advantages of Gen 5 FC, however, extend beyond performance and higher throughput. Gen 5 FC delivers several important capabilities that take SAN reliability, availability and management simplicity to the next level, reducing operational costs. These advantages are driving the unprecedented adoption rate of Gen 5 FC.

Overview of Gen 5 FC

Deployed in 90 percent of Fortune 1000 data centers, FC is the de facto standard for storage networking in the data center. Gen 5 FC is the proven, purpose-built network infrastructure for data center storage, delivering unmatched reliability, scalability and 16 Gbps performance.

Gen 5 FC offers:

• Unmatched performance for critical and virtualized applications
• Hardware and software reliability, consistently delivering six nines availability
• UltraScale chassis connectivity, providing 64 Gbps parallel Gen 5 FC to drive massive infrastructure consolidation and simplification
• Fabric Vision technology, an advanced hardware and software architecture that maximizes uptime, optimizes application performance and simplifies SAN management through innovative diagnostic, monitoring and management technology.

Directors and switches with Gen 5 FC unleash the full potential of high-density server virtualization, cloud architectures and next-generation storage. This enables organizations to fully leverage existing and new IT investments as they solve their most difficult business challenges and address the evolving requirements of today’s data center.

The Need for Gen 5 FC

Emerging and evolving critical workloads, higher-density virtualization and cloud-based architectures are continuing to push the limits of SAN infrastructure. In addition, new technologies, such as SSD-based storage and new Gen 5 FC storage arrays, are shifting the focus from storage to interconnect. This trend is driving ever higher Input/Output (I/O) and bandwidth requirements, increasing the need for higher speeds as well as more reliable networks. Multiple server and storage trends and technology advances are driving the need for Gen 5 FC, including:

• Increased number and size of applications
• High-density server virtualization
• SSDs and Flash-based storage
• New 16 Gbps disk arrays.

Application Growth

The big growth in all computing environments is the increasing size and number of software applications. The digitization of information and growing use of rich media and interactive Web 2.0 applications drive greater storage capacity and bandwidth requirements. From mobile access to email to cloud computing, data needs to be transported over longer distances at high speeds. In addition, databases and other mission-critical applications are growing rapidly, yet continue to require non-stop availability. With shrinking or non-existent maintenance windows, performance issues or downtime that impact data access simply aren’t acceptable. The storage network must be prepared to handle increased capacity, greater throughput and higher levels of resiliency.

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