LARGE FABRIC STORAGE AREA NETWORKS: FABRIC SIMULATOR DEVELOPMENT AND PRELIMINARY PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS

S. Muknahallipatna, J. Miles, J.C. Hamann, and H.L. Johnson

Keywords

Storage area networks, FCP, FC4, FC2, fabric, hardware, simulatorList of AbbreviationsAbbreviations DefinitionsFC Fibre channelSAN Storage area networkLAN Local area networkWAN Wide area networkNAS Network attached storageDAS Direct attached storageHBA Host bus adapterN_Port Node port∗ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wyoming, USA; email: {sureshm, pbguru,hamann}@uwyo.edu∗∗ Brocade Communications Systems, Inc; email: hjohnson@Brocad

Abstract

The increasing demand for large electronic data storage repositories has led to implementation of large fibre channel (FC) storage area networks (SANs) or fabrics. Large fabric implementations experience scaling problems with fabric services. Fabric services, such as link state records, name server distribution and zone server actions put increasing demands on the switch processor. In this paper, the development of a fabric simulator used to study large FC fabric performance is discussed. As the simulator runs on a proprietary FC card developed by Brocade Corp. as embedded software, the simulator is capable of satisfying stringent timing issues associated with FC SANs. The simulator replicates the state transitions of a physical FC switch to create a large fabric behind one physical port on a physical switch with multiple virtual switches. The simulator has the capability of creating up to 239 switches in a fabric, with a maximum of 256 nodes per switch. The simulated switches can be interconnected in core edge or full mesh fashion, and generate FC level-2 traffic of each simulated switch.

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