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Full Duplex Gen 6 Fibre Channel Speed To Reach 25,600MBps

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) announced the adoption of Gen 6 of the high-speed Fibre Channel storage specification last week. The new 32GFC Fibre Channel protocol doubles the data throughput of the current 16GFC standard.

This Gen 6 standard was forwarded to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) T11 standards committee in December 2013 and with its adoption it is predicted that new devices incorporating the new specifications will be available as early as 2016.

[ CHECK OUT : Benchmarks Give Fibre Channel Significant Edge Over FCoE ]

Interlaced among storage area networks (SAN), switches, hubs, adapters, and other storage and communication devices, fibre is currently the most widely accepted method for moving large amounts of data quickly from one point to another. The new Gen 6 standard increases data throughput from 3,200 megabytes per second (MBps) to 6,400 MBps and using a full-duplex option can quadruple speeds to 25,600 MBps.

Gen 6 Fibre Channel is meant to address future performance and bandwidth requirements for medium to large enterprises and service providers as they continue to adopt virtualization, solid-state device (SSD) storage technology, and new data center architectures.

"Businesses continue to invest in Fibre Channel to power their most mission- and business-critical environment. The continued evolution of the Fibre Channel standard is important for supporting the huge global installed base, which continues to grow at a steady pace," says Ashish Nadkarni, research director, Storage Systems and Software, IDC. " With the development of Gen 6 Fibre Channel, enterprises should feel confident that their Fibre Channel investments are secure and that continued innovation from the vendor community will further optimize performance, security, reliability and operational simplicity to better optimize both flash and traditional storage infrastructures."

Besides being twice as fast as Gen 5, Gen 6 Fibre Channel will provide additional reliability improvements and features including:

  • Hardware refreshes may be incremental and data centers may wind up with multiple protocols in place so backward compatibility is important. Gen 6 will be backwards compatible to two protocol levels, in this case, to the 16GFC and 8GFC network standards. Additionally, Gen 6 will automatically adjust and connect at the fastest supported speed between any two-network points.
  • Fibre Channel is known for its reliability and near perfect transmission and recovery from noisy high-speed transmission channels. Gen 6 includes the use of Forward Error Correction (FEC), a technique that improves the reliability of links through the automatic detection and recovery from bit errors and minimizes or avoids data stream errors that can cause performance issues or outages.
  • The new Gen 6 standard will use less energy by allowing Fibre Channel optical connectors to operate in a stand-by mode multiple times each second.

Historically, adoption for new fibre technologies did not grow as fast as the incremental speed increases each generation of the technology provided. That was caused by introductory prices that were significantly higher than the prior generation of tech or simply because an organization did not have a need for the additional bandwidth. What has changed in recent years is the move towards increasingly higher use of virtualization and faster flash storage devices such as SSDs. If the trend continues, and as storage speeds up and data can be accessed faster from mobile devices, desktops, and servers, organizations may find the excess bandwidth pool is drying up quickly.