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Storage Protocols

ATA, SATA, SCSI, FC, iSCSI

ATA
Advanced Technology Interface

Designed for data transfer b/w motherboard and Mass storage device
Up to 2 devices per bus ATA is used in Storage subsystem, not in SAN

Also referred as PATA (Parallel ATA)

SATA
Serial ATA Higher speed Hot swapping Thinner cables (7 lines instead of 40) Used ATA and ATAPI(AT Attachment Packet Interface) command-set as legacy ATA devices SATA is used in Storage Subsystem, not in SAN More reliable

SATA cable and connectors

SCSI
Small Computer System Interface.

Defines commands, protocols, electrical and optical interface.


Used to interface HDDs, Tape Drives, CD Drives, scanners, etc. Current standard is SCSI-3.

Upto16 devices per bus.

SCSI-3 Architecture Model (SAM)

SAM Layers

SCSI Interconnect Layer


- Electrical signaling methods, transfer modes etc. - Also called physical layer

SCSI Transport Protocol Layer


- Rules for communication - Allows different devices to work together

SCSI Command Layer


- Common commands for all devices - Devices specific SCSI commands - SCSI commands can be transported over different media using different protocols. (FCP protocol over Fiber channel, iSCSI over Ethernet, etc)

www.t10.org

Some SCSI terms

SCSI Devices
- A device connected to a SCSI interface
- Ex. SCSI Hard disks, SCSI Tape Drives

SCSI Initiator/Client
- Is a device which sends out a SCSI command. - Ex. SCSI Controller

SCSI Target
- Responds to SCSI commands - Ex. SCSI Hard disk

SCSI terms (Cont.)

Logical Unit (LU)


- Subset of the target device
- All SCSI commands are intended for the LU - The Logical Units are numbered and are known as LUN (Logic Unit Number) - What iss the size of LUN? - LUN0 is mandatory and should support Report LUNs command.

- Context sensitive (So two computers that access the same disk volume may know it by different LUNs)
- SCSI Device ID, universally unique.

SCSI Operation

SCSI Operates in client server mode.

It allows devices distributed on a network.(SCSI Distributed Service Model)

SCSI Commands

SCSI commands are vendor independent. Independent of underlying transport protocols/interconnect.(FC, iSCSI, SAS) Commands contains CDB (Command Descriptor Block), defines the operations to be performed.

Example SCSI Commands

- Inquiry command (Basic Information, eg. Device type) - Test unit ready (To check whether unit is ready for operation) - Mode Sense (Current Information from mode pages. eg.) - Read(6), Read(10) - Write(6), Write(10)

Advantages of SCSI

Single interface to hold wide range of devices.

More intelligent compared to IDE


Most SCSI devices have own processing chip, less burden on CPU. Provide backward compatibility

- Task scheduling, Task Queuing

- Can connect SATA drives to SCSI sub system.

Parallel SCSI

Also known as SCSI Parallel Interface (SPI).

SPI is an interconnect with parallel electrical bus.


In SCSI-1, speed was 8MB/sec. Ultra SCSI 320, max speed, 320MB/sec

Limitations of Parallel SCSI

Can support only max. 16 devices.

Parallel bus needs termination to avoid bouncing.


Timing issues due to parallel communication. Bulky cables (50 or 68 pins).

- Bigger the cable, bigger the issue.

Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)

Speed in the range of 3-6 Gbps.

No timing issues.
Can support up to 128 devices. 16K devices with expanders. Thinner form factor connectors. Thinner cable.

SAS Devices

End Devices & Expanders SAS Controllers (Initiator), SAS Disk (Target) Each SAS device has a World Wide Name (WWN), also known as SAS address. Initiators, Expanders, and Targets together form a domain. Expanders connects an initiators to multiple targets.

- Edge expanders can connect up to 128 targets - Fanout expanders can connect up to 128 Edge expanders

SMP (Serial Management Protocol), manages expanders.

Benefits of SAS

Hight speed (3Gbps, 6Gbps), can go up to 12Gbps. More devices can be connected Interoperability with SATA SAS and SATA uses same physical connectors.

Thinner cables.

Fiber Channel
A serial I/O interconnect and support multiple protocols (FCP, TCP/IP, FICON etc) Standardizes by T11 committee Currently in 2Gbps and 4Gbps (8Gbps and 16Gbps in roadmap) Can be implemented using optical fiber cables or copper wires

FC Topologies
Point to point (FC-P2P)
Two devices connected to each other
Simple topology Limited connectivity

FC-AL
All devices connected in loop

Loop is reinitialized when a device is added or removed.


Failure of one port will affect all Allows up to 126 nodes FC-AL given way to FC Switches Now used mainly inside JBODs to connect disks

FC-Switched Fabric
Switch based implementation are also called Fabric All devices connected to FC switch

FC-SW Advantage
Switches can be connected to one another

Easily scalable
Devices can be added or removed without disruption Port failures can be localizes Preferred over P2P and AL

FC Protocol Layers

Identifying devices in a fabric


Each port is identified by a WWN (World Wide Name) WWN is universally unique It is an 8byte number Expressed hex format 21:00:00:e0:8b:08:a5:44

IEEE assigns Organizationally Unique Identifier

FC Flow Control
Buffer to Buffer flow control
Happens b/w all intermediate devices/switches
During login both ports communicate their receive capability(Buffer to Buffer Credit) each other.

End to End flow control


The two end devices will communicate their receive capability (End to End Credit) each other.

Fabric Services
Login server (port 0xFFFFFE) Responds with devices assigned domain and area values Name server (port 0xFFFFFC) Maintains a directory of all connected devices

Synchronized frequently b/w switches


Fabric/Switch controller (port 0xFFFFFD) Notifies the devices about fabric topology/state changes when ever any happens Managing server (port 0xFFFFFA) Accessed by fabric management applications Time server (port 0xFFFFFB)

Zoning in FC
Reduced interference

Higher security
Two types
Port based (based on port address) Name based (based on WWN)

Zoning in FC

FC - Strength
High speed

Combines benefits of channel and network technologies


Can support millions of devices (8 million) New standards like FCoE

FC - Weakness
High cost Maximum distance 10km

iSCSI
Internet SCSI

Provides block oriented storage over TCP/IP n/w


Will work with existing SCSI devices using existing TCP/IP networks No special cabling like in FC

iSCSI topology

Initiator & Target


Initiator sends command over IP n/w

s/w initiators (device drivers) or hard ware initiator (iSCSI HBAs)


Target does not initiate any connection, responds to requests

iSCSI Names
Every iSCSI device will have universally unique node name A node will have an iSCSI address too. This is not globally unique, but should be unique with in a domain. <domain name>:<port> eg. 10.40.1.2:3260 diskarrays.xyz.com

iSCSIFeatures
Device Discovery

Multipathing
Load balancing Failover iSCSI Redirect

iSCSI network BOOT Current speed 1Gbps

With 10Gig Ethernet, speed can go up to 10Gbps

iSCSI Advantages
Less cost

Easy to install, can be integrated into existing Ethernet n/w


No distance limitation Good for applications like remote backup

iSCSI vs FC
FC has high cost and distance limitation, hence iSCSI is catching up popularity in SMBs FCoE is an FC modification to support FC over internet, but FCoE does not uses TCP, instead used FC itself as transport protocol. Hence need change in the existing Ethernet spec. to support it.

Coming years will decide which protocol will dominate over the other.