What Does the Future Hold For Fiber Channel?

a fiber channel cord with fiber optic threads coming out of it

Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2019

As software-defined storage gains market share, you would be forgiven for thinking that fiber channel was dead. The reality is that the technology is still in very good health. 

People are still buying fiber channel. Lots of it.

According to statistics published by the Fiber Channel Industry Association (FCIA), more than 11 million FC ports and 11 exabytes of FC storage ship every year. The market was worth more than $120 billion in 2018. Clearly fiber channel is not only popular, but also a big seller. 

Fiber Channel Gen 7 was released to manufacturers in December last year, offering nominal transfer speeds of up to 64Gb/s using a serial lane SFP module. A Gen 7 Quad Small Form Factor pluggable (QSFP) module now delivers up 256Gb/s.

Clearly this is impressive, but the FCIA isn’t stopping. The technology roadmap outlines several future milestones, seeing data throughput doubling with every new generation. The plan is to reach terabit speeds– 1,000 Gigabits of data per second—before 2025.

More than raw speed

Crucial to the ongoing success of fiber channel is industry commitment to backward compatibility. By ensuring that previous generation FC SANs work with the latest hardware, OEMs are helping clients to maximize value from their existing investments.

Like every technology, fiber channel’s days are numbered – but the existence of a definite development roadmap shows that vendors are not yet ready to give up on it. But even if support for arrays and SANs using fiber channel was withdrawn tomorrow, CDS has you covered. 

To learn more about third-party support for your SANs and fiber switches, please get in touch.

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