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Understanding How a SAN Works
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2 target. In order for this event to occur, one level of redundancy is put in place whereby there are dual initiators, dual switches, and mirrored disks. Figure 2-1 depicts an entry-level HBA. Figure 2-1 depicts a basic SAN with HBAs.
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Figure 2-1 Entry-level HBA
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Figure 2-2 Basic SAN
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Understanding How a SAN Works
Protocol Basics to SAN Services
Like networking, Fibre Channel uses a layered approach in its architecture. The five layers in the Fibre Channel architecture are FC-0, FC-1, FC-2, FC-3, and FC-4.
FC-0 Layer: Physical Layer
FC-0 defines the basic physical link, including fiber, connectors, and optical/electrical parameters for a variety of data rates.
FC-1 Layer: Transmission Encode/Decode Layer
FC-1 defines transmission protocols, including serial encoding and decoding rules, special characters, timing recovery, and error controls.
FC-2 Layer: Framing and Signaling Layer
FC-2 performs basic signaling and framing functions and defines the transport mechanism for data from upper layers of the stack.
FC-3 Layer: Advanced Features
FC-3 defines generic services available to all nodes attached to a SAN fabric. Some of the services include login server, name sever, management server, and time server, among others, depending on the vendor.
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Understanding How a SAN Works
FC-4 Layer: Protocol Mapping
2
FC-4 specifies mapping rules for several legacy upper-layer protocols and allows Fibre Channel to carry data from other networking protocols and applications. This hierarchical structure is depicted in Table 2-2.
Table 2-2 Hierarchical structure of the five layers in Fibre Channel architecture
Layer FC-4
Purpose Upper-level protocol mappings
Typical Use SCSI III, IP, ATM, HIPPI, VI (a clustering protocol) Login server, name server, management server, time server Dedicated connections with acknowledgment of delivery
FC-3
Generic fabric services
FC-2
Identifies type of flow control to use for movement of data by sending correct primitives to kick start and stop data transfers.
Connectionless with acknowledgment Connectionless with no acknowledgment Fractional bandwidth for virtual circuits FC-1 Encode and decoding incoming data Physical media type Filtering of characters into data or the correct primitives for transfers Specs for transmitting and receiving signals at different transfer rates
FC-0
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Understanding How a SAN Works
Fibre Channel Topologies
The available options in Fibre Channel topologies are
Point-to-Point Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) Fabric Switched
Point-to-Point
Fibre Channel point-to-point is a simple dedicated connection between two devices. It is used for minimal server and storage configurations. Considered a starter or beginner SAN, point-to-point cabling typically runs directly from one device to another without an intervening hub using a subset of FCPs between the two devices. For additional devices, storage managers can extend the point-to-point cabling scheme. The medium is no longer under the exclusive control of two nodes, so the Arbitrated Loop protocols must be introduced to negotiate access. Figure 2-3 illustrates the point-to-point topology.
Arbitrated Loop
Of the available options, Arbitrated Loop uses twin-axial copper and offers the lowest cost per device; hence it is often the preferred choice. FC-AL is a shared gigabit medium for up to 126 ports connected in a circular daisy chain (one of which may be attached to a switched fabric). Arbitrated Loop is analogous to Token Ring or FDDI. The two communicating nodes possess shared media only for the duration of a transaction; then they yield control to other nodes. Data are transferred from one device to another within the chain. In a typical arbitrated loop with a single initiator and several target devices, the outbound cable from each device becomes the inbound
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