Enterprise Executive 2017: Issue 2 : Page 34

implemented flash-based storage arrays to replace and/or supplement their traditional spinning disk DASD technology. Technology marches on. Flash-based (AKA SSD) storage has always been attractive in comparison with spinning disk technology in terms of performance and availability. However, it has not been as attractive due to the acquisition cost. This cost differential has changed significantly in the past three to five years, and as the costs have come down, the performance gains have become more attractive. The last “turn of the crank” in terms of faster Fibre Channel speed was late 2011 with 16 Gbps (AKA Gen 5 Fibre Channel). At the time of its introduction, there were no storage devices, nor servers (z Systems or otherwise) that were 16 Gbps capable. The same is true today for 32 Gbps Gen 6 Fibre Channel. However, there is far more to these technologies than just faster speeds. Deployed in 90 percent of Fortune 1000 data centers, Fibre Channel (FC) is the de facto standard for mission-critical storage networking in the data center, and in the form of FICON, it is the standard for mainframe storage networking. Gen 6 Fibre Channel is the latest evolution in Storage Area Networks (SANs). Based on technology developed by the T11 technical committee that defines Fibre Channel interfaces, Gen 6 Fibre Channel is built to enhance the performance, reliability, scalability and security of SANs for flash-based storage technology, hyper-scale virtualization and new data center architectures. Gen 6 defines speeds of 32 gigabits per second (Gbps) with single lane, doubling Gen 5 1600 megabytes per second (MB/sec) to 3200 MB/ sec (32 Gbps) with Gen 6 Fibre Channel. The newly ratified 128 Gbps parallel Fibre Channel increases the data throughput of Gen 6 Fibre Channel links by 8X, from 1600 (MB/sec) in Gen 5 Fibre Channel to 12,800 MB/sec. Network Innovation for the Virtualized, All-Flash Data Center 34 | E n t e r pr is e E xe cu t i ve | are easy to understand. Data transfers are faster; fewer links are needed to accomplish the same task; fewer devices need to be managed and less power is consumed when Gen 6 Fibre Channel is used. Yet the question often arises of whether this higher level of infrastructure performance and throughput are essential to an organization’s network. The answer is a clear “yes.” Several server and storage technology advances are pushing up demand for greater storage area networking bandwidth, including application and storage capacity growth, high-density server virtualization, flash-based storage and NVMe over Fabrics. Gen 6 Fibre Channel enables enterprise data centers to unleash the full potential of these and other advanced technologies. Flash-based storage is driving exponential advances in storage, enabling faster block-and file-based storage performance for high-density virtualized workloads and traditional mission-critical applications. Thus, many enterprises are moving to an all-flash environment to eliminate performance issues and scalability challenges. This move, however, drives the need for higher I/O bandwidth performance and greater availability from the storage network. Next-generation NVMe over Fabrics will place even greater demands on the network. Higher throughput is important for keeping up with the many server and storage technology advancements, but the true value of Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel technology goes well beyond faster links. Higher reliability and innovative breakthrough technologies—such as integrated network sensors (I/O Insight) and Brocade Fabric Vision technology—provide powerful built-in monitoring, management and diagnostic tools that enable organizations to simplify management, increase operational stability and drive down operational costs. Maximizing Infrastructure and Solution Flexibility The benefits of faster networking technology 2017: Issue 2 The previous generation of Gen 5 Fibre Channel is the proven network infrastructure

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