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Protocol Analyzers

Fibre Channel

Fibre Channel continues to evolve as the preferred communications standard for mission critical and time sensitive Storage Area Network (SAN) applications. Fibre Channel supplies over 80% of the datacenter and enterprise interconnections where lossless delivery of data is required and will be used for many years to come. Gen 6 (32GFC), the latest speed offered, is rapidly being deployed across into key markets today. The industry is now focusing on the development of Gen 7 – 64GFC utilizing PAM4 signaling – and will continue to serve those applications needing higher bandwidth and guaranteed delivery of time and content sensitive data.

Explore Fibre Channel Explore Fibre Channel
SierraNet M648  The SierraNet M648 platform provides best in class traffic capture and manipulation for testing application or link characteristics. SierraNet M648 is the latest in the line of industry leading test and measurement tools from Teledyne LeCroy, designed for today’s high-speed storage and communications fabrics. SierraNet M648 supports examination of Ethernet and Fibre Channel links utilizing both Pulse Amplitude Modulation 4 (PAM4) and legacy Non-Return to Zero (NRZ) technologies.
SierraNet T328  The SierraNet T328 system provides 10/25/40/50/100Gbps Ethernet and Gen 6 (32GFC) Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification for developers & protocol test engineers in LAN, SAN, NAS and other Ethernet and Fibre Channel applications.? Available with eight SFP28 FlexPorts? for maximum configuration and utility, the SierraNet T328 offers world-class protocol analysis capabilities with an easy to use, customizable hardware & software interface, large capture buffers, and the most advanced T.A.P4 capture, triggering and filtering capabilities in the industry.
SierraNet M328  The SierraNet M328™ system provides 10/25/40/50/100Gbps Ethernet and Gen 6 (32GFC) Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification for developers & protocol test engineers in LAN, SAN, NAS and other Ethernet and Fibre Channel applications. Available with eight SFP28 FlexPorts™ for maximum configuration and utility, the SierraNet M328 offers world-class protocol analysis and error injection capabilities with an easy to use, customizable hardware & software interface, large capture buffers, and the most advanced capture, triggering and filtering capabilities in the industry.
SierraNet M328Q  The SierraNet M328Q™ system provides 10/25/40/50/100Gbps Ethernet and Gen 6 (32G) Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification for developers & protocol test engineers in LAN, SAN, NAS and other Ethernet and Fibre Channel applications.  Available with two QSFP28 FlexPorts™ for maximum configuration and utility, the SierraNet M328Q offers world-class protocol analysis and error injection capabilities with an easy to use, customizable hardware & software interface, large capture buffers, and the most advanced capture, triggering and filtering capabilities in the industry.
SierraNet M168  The SierraNet M168 is the most cost effective, advanced and fully integrated 10Gbps Ethernet and 16G Fibre Channel data capture and protocol verification systems available for developers and protocol test engineers.  The SierraNet M168 supports Ethernet protocol analysis and error injection capabilities in a single platform and provides engineers with 100% recording of all Fibre Channel and Ethernet related traffic at full line rates on all ports while maintaining the link integrity through non-retimed pass-through probe technology.

Fibre Channel provides a secure, bi-directional, physical or logical point-to-point, low latency connection between two devices at a time. Like other serial interfaces such as Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), in Fibre Channel data is transmitted over the physical medium in serial fashion as opposed to parallel methods, which are used in SCSI and ATA physical interfaces. Serial transmission enables much longer connection distances as compared to parallel transmission methods, because far fewer signal lines are required, thereby reducing noise created by multiple signal lines all switching at the same time (cross talk).

A primary use for Fibre Channel is in the transport of block oriented storage traffic in SAN (Storage Area Network) applications. There are also specialized upper layer Fibre Channel protocols that are used in Defense and Avionics applications, to transport video streams for heads-up displays, for example.

Fibre Channel is designed to work with either optical fiber physical medium or copper cables in many connector and cable type configurations. Copper cables are relatively inexpensive, but they are useable only for shorter distances, in the range of 5-meters at 16GbFC and 3-meters at 32GbFC. In general, the higher the transmission speed, the shorter the distance that can be reliably supported by copper cable technology. A variety of copper solutions are available, the most commonly used being Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cabling in both SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) and QSFP (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable) configurations. SFP and QSFP optical cabling solutions are also available, supporting reliable transmission distances greater than 10 meters, up to about 10 kilometers.

Architecture

Fibre Channel is a layered protocol, and is modeled loosely on the OSI model for networks. In the OSI model, and in the case of Fibre Channel, each layer provides specific services and makes the results available to the next layer.  Figure 1 below compares the defined OSI layer to the defined Fibre Channel layers.

OSI Model Fibre Channel
7 - Application  
6 - Presentation  
5 - Session FC-4 Protocol map
4 - Transport FC-3 Services
3 - Network FC-2 Framing
2 – Data Link FC-1 Data Link
1 - Physical FC-0 Physical
Figure 1, OSI Model and Fibre Channel Network Layers

The layers in the table represent different functions and services that exist within the Fibre channel protocol definition. As with the other communication standards, protocol level analysis is often focused at the link layer (FC-2) and above.

Fibre Channel, like any network architecture, transports blocks of application information, called data payloads. Before sending a payload over the physical link, additional Fibre Channel specific control bytes are added to both the start and the end of the payload data. The combination of the control bytes and the payload data is called a frame, which is the basic unit of information in Fibre Channel.

Fibre Channel transfers data through switched or direct point-to-point connections which work by creating session specific connections between the source and destination devices. These connections last only until the transfer is completed and can be temporarily preempted by higher priority transfer requests.

Connections are made on Fibre Channel systems through “interconnect components” such as switches, hubs, and bridges. The ability of Fibre Channel to use different interconnect devices makes it flexible and scalable depending on user needs. A fully switched Fibre Channel network is called a Fabric topology. Fabric topology permits multiple alternative paths to be established between any two ports in the Fabric.

Summary

ibre Channel protocol is designed to support very low latency and high data transfer rates. The currently approved standard supporting up to 32Gb/S is generally referred to as 32GFC. Server virtualization and storage virtualization are broad trends that are driving the need for higher bandwidth. The need for high bandwidth in the network infrastructure is just now beginning to drive the replacement of previous product generations of 4,8 and 16GFC by 32GFC and soon, 64GFC.

Fibre Channel is a good choice for any environment with many servers needing lossless access to centralized storage, computer data centers for example. Because of this, Fiber Channel enjoys over 80% market share as the network interface used in external storage systems such as SAN environments.

 

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