HP Labs Technical Reports

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Simulation Study of Fiber Channel Fabrics with Particular Emphasis on 64-Node Clusters

Cherkasova, Ludmila; Kotov, Vadim; Rokicki, Tomas



Abstract: The Fiber Channel (FC) standard was developed by ANSI X3T9.3 task group to define a serial I/O channel for connecting a number of peripheral devices to computer systems as well as interconnecting the computer systems themselves. In this report, we investigate the performance of an FC switch having 16 ports and a specific high-level architecture. First of all, the basic performance of a single Fiber Channel switch is analyzed. The evaluation of the switch is done for different types of workload: random and bursty traffic. We investigate how the FC switch performance depends on the class of service used. We also investigate the performance of a few basic topologies for cascading FC switches in order to connect approximately 64 nodes. Among these topologies are the star, house, envelope, and complete configurations. When connecting Fiber Channel switches with multiple trunk links, randomization might be thought helpful in balancing the traffic. The simulation results show that the deterministic routing strategy is slightly more efficient than the random one when FIFO scheduling is used inside the Fiber Channel switch, but the difference is slight. We discuss some typical problems that occur when FC switches are cascaded such as deadlocks and unfairness, and we present some potential solutions.

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