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A storage area network (SAN) is a dedicated network that provides access to cons olidated, block level data storage.

SANs are primarily used to make storage devi ces, such as disk arrays, tape libraries, and optical jukeboxes, accessible to s ervers so that the devices appear like locally attached devices to the operating system. A SAN typically has its own network of storage devices that are general ly not accessible through the local area network by other devices. The cost and complexity of SANs dropped in the early 2000s to levels allowing wider adoption across both enterprise and small to medium sized business environments. A SAN does not provide file abstraction, only block-level operations. However, f ile systems built on top of SANs do provide file-level access, and are known as SAN filesystems or shared disk file systems. The SAN fabric is built from interconnecting elements, such as FC hubs, Fc switc hes, routers, bridges. A SAN fabric connects workstations and computers to stora ge devices in a storage area network (SAN). SAN fabrics are a set of interconnec ted fibre channel switches, amongst which data can be physically transmitted. It is similar in concept to a network segment in a local area network. A typical F ibre Channel SAN fabric is made up of a number of Fibre Channel switches. Storage routers differ from network routers in that the data being used uses sto rage protocols like FCP instead of TCP/IP. Fibre Channel hubs are used to connect up to 126 nodes into a logical loop. All connected nodes share the bandwith of this one logical loop. Fibre Channel Arbit rated Loop (FC-AL)protocol is the most widely accepted, cost effective alternati ve. Switches used for any-to-any connections: servers, storage systems, other switch es, FC-ALs. Zoning for this can be: -hardware: port based -software: WWN based Zoning: Grouping together of multiple ports to form a virtual private storage network. P orts that are memebers of a group or zone can communicate with each other but ar e isolated from ports in other zones. lsattr -El fscsi0 scsi_id 0212500 21: Domain ID (switch id) 25: port id 00: lpar id of vio client (if we have vio environment) (Fabric refers to a switched network (similar to ethernet) comparison to pt2pt ( point to point) and al (arbitrared loop)) In the Fibre Channel switched fabric topology (called FC-SW), devices are connec ted to each other through one or more Fibre Channel switches. This topology allo ws the connection of up to the theoretical maximum of 16 million devices FIBRE CHANNEL TOPOLOGIES: There are three major Fibre Channel topologies, describing how a number of ports are connected together. A port in Fibre Channel terminology is any entity that actively communicates over the network. This port is usually implemented in a de vice such as disk storage, an HBA on a server or a Fibre Channel switch. - Point-to-Point (FC-P2P): Two devices are connected directly to each other. Thi s is the simplest topology, with limited connectivity. - Arbitrated loop (FC-AL): In this design, all devices are in a loop or ring, si milar to token ring networking. The failure of one device causes a break in the ring. FC hubs exist to connect d evices together and may bypass failed ports. - Switched fabric (FC-SW): All devices or loops of devices are connected to Fibr e Channel switches.

Similar conceptually to modern Ethernet implementations. Advantages of this topology over FC-P2P or FC-AL include: - The traffic between two ports flows through the switches only, it is not trans mitted to any other port. - Failure of a port is isolated and should not affect operation of other ports. - Multiple pairs of ports may communicate simultaneously in a fabric. LAYERS: Fibre Channel does not follow the OSI model layering, but is split similarly int o 5 layers, namely: FC4 - Protocol Mapping layer, in which application protocols, such as SCSI or IP , are encapsulated into a PDU for delivery to FC2. FC3 - Common Services layer, a thin layer that could eventually implement functi ons like encryption or RAID redundancy algorithms; FC2 - Network layer, defined by the FC-PI-2 standard, consists of the core of Fi bre Channel, and defines the main protocols; FC1 - Data Link layer, which implements line coding of signals; FC0 - PHY, includes cabling, connectors etc.; PORTS: N_port is a port on the node (e.g. host or storage device) used with both FC-P2P or FC-SW topologies. Also known as Node port. F_port is a port on the switch that connects to a node point-to-point (i.e. conn ects to an N_port). Also known as Fabric port. E_port is the connection between two fibre channel switches. Also known as an Ex pansion port. EX_port is the connection between a fibre channel router and a fibre channel swi tch. (On the side of the switch it looks like a normal E_port, but on the side of the router it is a EX_port.)