FC-SW-2 Switch Delivers Interoperability to SAN Customers

The Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) announced that the technical standards for multi-vendor Fibre Channel switch interoperability, FC-SW-2, have been approved by an overwhelming majority of T11 members.

The FC-SW-2 is a joint effort between the FCIA and the T11, the committee within the National Committee for Information Technology Standards (NCITS) responsible for Fiber Channel device interfaces.

“The overwhelming acceptance of the FC-SW-2 clearly demonstrates the Fibre Channel community’s commitment to open standards. Interoperability is the hallmark of a mature, widely deployed technology, and by approving the latest standard for Fibre Channel switch fabrics we continue to deliver consistent, proven benefits to our customers while protecting their current and future investments in Storage Area Networks,” said Skip Jones, chairman of the FCIA.

“The acceptance of the FC-SW-2 standard proposal by T11 signals a new level of service and interoperability for the Fibre Channel industry,” said Kumar Malavalli, chairman of the T11 technical committee. “This is a major technology achievement in establishing multi-level interoperability in building Fabric-based SANs, all the way from providing link level communication between the switches to allowing scalable configuration, routing and management services throughout the Fabric.”

The FC-SW-2 enables Fibre Channel switches to communicate with each other at multiple levels including: connectivity and configuration, path selection and routing as well as management and event services. Approval of the FC-SW-2 creates an open standard for switch-to-switch communication, allowing end-users to choose best-in-class products with the assurance that these products will work together and to deploy Storage Area Networks (SAN) that truly meet their needs.

Each of the six Fibre Channel switch vendors is currently shipping FC-SW-2 compliant products. Switches from Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., Gadzoox Networks, INRANGE Technologies, McDATA, QLogic and Vixel containing the FC-SW-2 can communicate across the three specified levels, enabling end-users to deploy products that best suit their needs.

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