Gen 6 Fibre Channel Announced, Providing Speeds of up to 128GFC

The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) has announced Gen 6 Fibre Channel. At 32GFC, Gen 6 Fibre Channel doubles the data throughput of the current 16GFC Fibre Channel standard. Gen 6 also provides an option to quadruple 32 GFC to 128GFC throughput.

Fibre Channel, switched fabric

Gen 6 Fibre Channel is the next generation of Fibre Channel designed to address performance, reliability, and scalability requirements for hyper-scale virtualization, SSD storage technology, and new data center architectures. Solutions are expected to be broadly available in 2016.

Gen 6 doubles the 16GFC data throughput of 3,200 megabytes-per-second (MBps) to 32GFC, which enables 6,400 MBps full-duplex speeds. Gen 6 also provides an option to quadruple 32 GFC to 128GFC throughput, thereby achieving full-duplex speeds of 25,600 MBps, based upon inter- and backward-compatibility of Fibre Channel technology.

In addition to faster speeds, key features of Gen 6 Fibre Channel include:

  • Forward Error Correction (FEC) – Improves the reliability of links through the automatic detection and recovery from bit errors that occur in high speed networks. FEC helps minimize or avoid data stream errors that can lead to application performance degradation or outages.
  • Energy Efficiency – Lower energy consumption is achieved by allowing the Fibre Channel optical connectors to operate in a stand-by mode (or “nap”) multiple times each second.
  • Backward Compatibility – 128GFC and 32GFC Fibre Channel supports complete and total backward compatibility to 16GFC and 8GFC networks.  Ensuring complete investment protection, Gen 6 automatically configures to the fastest supported speed between any two network points, and requiring zero user intervention.

“Continued innovation for the Fibre Channel standard is designed to extend its position as industry’s most reliable and robust storage networking solution, which is used for today’s most mission-critical enterprise applications,” said Skip Jones, FCIA Chairman. “Enterprises as well as web hosting and data center service providers can look forward to new innovations from the community of compute, network and storage vendors that will develop next-generation solutions in 2016 based on the Gen 6 standard in order to leverage its advanced feature set.”

Furlow consulting