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Storage Networks

Fibre Channel, a Foundation for Private Cloud Storage?

by Scott Shimomura on ‎05-24-2012 12:50 AM - last edited on ‎10-28-2013 08:21 PM by Anonymous (5,852 Views)

I found this tweet while doing a search on Fibre Channel:


Full disclosure, I created the marketing messaging for the launch of our 16 Gbps platforms around private cloud storage. Guilty of “cloud washing”? Perhaps, but it was based on reasonable assumptions and backed by capabilities. This inspired me to relive the internal debates we had around rationalizing whether Fibre Channelwas a foundational technology for cloud-based storage architectures.


The first of many assumptions was that private cloud architectures would be based a large amount of infrastructure virtualization. The next assumption was that the majority of data center server and storage virtualization customers leverage Fibre Channel SANs for it's inherent reliability and performance. The final assumption was that Brocade’s next-generation Fibre Channel would be able to address many of the new and evolving storage-related requirements around hyper-scale, distance connectivity (metro and geo), operational simplicity, and performance.


According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”


A variety of bloggers and sites have tried to define private cloud storage Choosing the Right Private Cloud (Network Computing) and Defining Cloud Storage: Nine Cloud Requirements to Know ( maybe it’s as simple as and old friend put it in this article, "“Cloud is in the eyes of the beholder for the most part,” noted Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting in Beaverton, Ore."


It's like every other industry debate with no definitive answer, but we chose to move forward with aligning Fibre Channel capabilities (new and existing) with private cloud storage requirements. We assumed that much of the overall management and orchestration (for self-service, metering, and billing) would be addressed by cloud management applications.

  • Maximize infrastructure consolidation and virtualization of storage through the deployment of storage area network technology
  • Adapt to rapid growth and change in storage infrastructure through new scalability and server/storage provisioning capabilities
  • Simplify distance connectivity via native Fibre Channel or Fibre Channel of IP (FCIP) between data centers for transparent access to data anywhere
  • Automate management and integrate with orchestration with VMWare and Microsoft hypervisor platforms through new capabilities built into Brocade Network Advisor
  • Increase storage performance for emerging workload, highly virtualized environments, and new storage technologies


According to a variety of analysts and customer surveys, Fibre Channel is the most widely deployed storage networking infrastructure for server and storage virtualization. So were we being “funny” or staking a reasonable claim that Fibre Channel is the foundation for private cloud storage?