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Understanding How a SAN Works
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Figure 2-3 The point-to-point topology
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Server Transmits Storage Array Transmits Server Receives MBA equipped Server Storage Array Transmits
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cable for the next device within that loop. FC-AL has become the most widely endorsed open standard for the SAN environment. In addition to high bandwidth and high scalability, FC-AL has the unique ability to support multiple protocols, such as SCSI and IP, over a single physical connection. This enables the SAN infrastructure to function as a server interconnect and as a direct interface to storage devices and storage arrays. FC-AL topology is illustrated in Figure 2-4.
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Switched topology uses switches to establish many concurrent connections between different nodes. Each connection has its own dedicated bandwidth. A switched fabric enables movement of large blocks of data. It is scalable from small to very large enterprise environments and can support high levels of availability. A switched fabric is more costly to purchase but generally has a lower cost of ownership than hubs in any mission-critical environment. Although switched fabrics require some infrastructure implementation, and management software can create some interoperability problems, they offer the greatest connectivity capabilities and the largest total combined throughput. Each device is connected to a switch. Each receives a nonblocking data path to any other connection on that switch. Figure 2-5 illustrates a Fabric Switched topology.
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Understanding How a SAN Works
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Figure 2-4 The FC-AL topology
Disk array 1
Disk array 2 NtWeb Server
Disk array 3
Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop
Disk array 7 Disk array 4
Disk array 5
Disk array 6
Fibre Channel Architectures by Design
An architecture can be defined as the arrangement and selection of hardware to use to facilitate the demand of the storage applications, its traffic patterns, and the customers degree of obtaining ever-increasing availability. Brocade, a major SAN switch vendor, classifies building blocks of its SANs with four basic design architectures. Attributes of architecture that you should become familiar with are redundancy and resiliency.
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Figure 2-5 A Fabric Switched topology
2
Web Server 3
Web Server 4
Silk worm 2800/ 16
Silk worm 2800/ 16
Silk worm 2800/ 16
Silk worm 2800/ 16
Disk array
Disk array
The following defines and illustrates the four basic design architectures (edge switches, core switches, and ports):
8/2/96 Architecture
Explanation Eight edge switches
Two core switches Three 96 ports A total switch count of 10 A 3:1 ISL oversubscription rating Figure 2-6 illustrates the 8/2/96 architecture.
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Understanding How a SAN Works
Figure 2-6 The 8/2/96 architecture
16/4/192 Architecture
Explanation Sixteen edge switches
Four core switches 192 ports A total switch count of 20 A 3:1 ISL oversubscription rating Figure 2-7 illustrates the 16/4/192 architecture.
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Figure 2-7 The 16/4/192 architecture
2
Hub Hub
16/2/224 Architecture
Explanation Sixteen edge switches
Two core switches 224 ports A total switch count of 18 A 7:1 ISL oversubscription rating Figure 2-8 illustrates the 16/2/224 architecture.
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Understanding How a SAN Works
Figure 2-8 The 16/2/224 architecture
12/2/160 Architecture
Explanation Twelve edge switches
Two core switches Ninety-six 160 ports A total switch count of 14 Figure 2-9 illustrates the 12/2/160 architecture.
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Understanding How a SAN Works
Figure 2-9 The 12/2/160 architecture
2
Other Emerging Technologies
While Fibre Channel is the technology of choice for many SANs in today s market, the Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI), pronounced iscuzzy, is a technology that uses Ethernet as a medium to connect servers to storage, and it is gaining considerable attention. One reason is because Fibre Channel is a fairly complex technology. As such, most IT staff have limited, if any, Fibre Channel expertise. Therefore, installation of a Fibre Channel SAN can be a bit challenging. When using SCSI protocols mapped onto
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