Enterprise IT organizations are moving toward consolidating storage and servers into large data center deployments by converting direct-attached storage (DAS) into storage area networks (SANs). The value of the data consolidated into these data centers is driving demand for business continuance applications such as disk mirroring and remote tape backup over geographically dispersed sites. The Cisco Fibre Channel over IP Port Adapter Interface, using the industry standard Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) protocol, delivers connectivity between these data center SANs over a WAN infrastructure at speeds as low as fractional T1 up to OC3 (155 megabits per second [Mbps]).
Many IT organizations have been tasked with delivering business continuance solutions for their most critical business applications. Many of these business continuance requirements involve the replication of data resources across geographically dispersed sites. Replicating data resources involves a variety of applications that provide disk mirroring, snapshots, or remote tape backup capabilities. By using the Cisco Fibre Channel over IP Port Adapter Interface, SAN administrators can extend these mission-critical storage backup services over a WAN or MAN.
SAN Extension Application with the Fibre Channel Port Adapter
Unique among SAN Extension solutions, the Cisco Fibre Channel over IP Port Adapter Interface provides advanced networking services such as data compression, encryption, access control lists, firewalls, and quality of service using Cisco IOS® Software to enable highly available and secure SAN extension solutions. These services can be provided in software features in Cisco IOS Software or by using the Cisco Fibre Channel over IP Port Adapter Interface in combination with the Cisco VPN Acceleration Module, which provides high-performance, hardware-assisted encryption, key generation, and compression services.
The FCIP protocol encapsulates Fibre Channel packets within an IP datagram allowing Fibre Channel SANs, Fibre Channel attached storage arrays, or Fibre Channel attached tape libraries to communicate across an IP network. FCIP is different from the Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) specification in that it allows connectivity across an IP data network to applications that use nonstandard SCSI commands. Applications that use nonstandard SCSI commands include common applications for disk or volume replication provided by leading storage array vendors. The Cisco Fibre Channel over IP Port Adapter Interface uses FCIP as the base protocol for SAN extension. FCIP is on the IETF standards track as a standard for SAN-to-SAN connectivity across an IP infrastructure.