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Introducing the Fibre Channel Physical Interface for Enterprise SANs

In a recent attempt to standardize connectivity and facilitate new growth amongst next-gen data centers, the Fibre Channel Industry Association, or FCIA, recently unveiled the Fibre Channel Physical Interface (FC-PI-7) specifications for 64GFC. But what exactly is FC-PI-7 and how does it affect mainstream consumers of technology in the 21st century?

The 64G Fibre Channel

For starters, the average computer user isn't affected by FC-PI-7. Instead, it's primarily focused on SAN-based deployments feature 64G fibre channel and Gen 7 connectivity. For the unaware, 64G fibre channel, or 64GFC, is currently the fastest and most efficient networking speed available. With the potential of achieving full-duplex bandwidth of 12,800 MB/s, the protocol is meant for those who needed the highest enterprise performance available.

64GFC also features full compatibility with the previous benchmarks of 32GFC and 16GFC. In addition, it continues support for the SFP form factor that is common in many data center environments.

Mark Jones, president and chairman of the board with the FCIA and director of technical marketing and performance with Broadcom, Inc. spoke about the recent breakthrough by saying: "Completion of the FC-PI-7 standard is a trigger for companies in the Fibre Channel industry to begin development of components and test equipment which support deployments of 64GFC and Gen 7 solutions for the SAN market. Gen 7 Fibre Channel is the perfect combination of performance improvements and features that compliments the rapid evolution of all flash data centers."

It's safe to say that the FCIA definitely has the future of the industry as their topmost priority. Not only does the launch of the FC-PI-7 standard jumpstart further development and deployments amongst current enterprises, but it provides backwards compatibility and virtualization services to accommodate as many different use cases as possible.

Some of its key features include:

- The fastest speeds currently available. While FC-PI-7 encompasses 64GFC and speeds as high as 12,800 MB/s over a single lane serial SFP+ cable, Gen 7 features the FC-PI-7p standard – a four-lane parallel connection that boasts 256GFC and a whopping 51,200 MB/s of full duplex transfer speed.

- Support for virtual machines. FC-PI-7 accepts virtual machine identify information via the SAN, ultimately providing system admins with even greater insight and control.

- Increased automation. Given the recent push for automation in nearly every sector of IT and data management, it only makes sense that FC-PI-7 would include more automation than ever before.

Rupin Mohan, marketing chairman with the FCIA and chief technologist with SAN and HPE, spoke about some of the advanced features of G4GFC and Gen 7 by saying: "With 64GFC and Gen7 Fibre Channel, you’ll have the agility of virtualization and reduce the cost of allocated storage capacity, storage administration, and SAN infrastructure. The combination of the latest generation of servers and All-Flash arrays connected with Gen 7 FC will enable storage bandwidth starved applications to accelerate like never before."

To find out more information on the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA), the Fibre Channel Physical Interface (FC-PI-7) or any of the latest news and events, please visit the FCIA's official website at {{|}}.


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