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September 21, 1998

FIBER CHANNEL, HOPE FOR IP SPEC BY DECEMBER

By CBR Staff Writer

The Fiber Channel Association (FCA) has presented its specification for IP over fiber channel for approval by the Internet Engineering Task Force. The FCA does not expect much of a challenge to the specification, which was drawn up by a number of companies including Gadzooks Networks and Brocade Communications, as it faces no competition, according to Kumar Malvalli vice president of technology at Brocade. Currently there is not a pressing need for IP over fiber channel, which will allow for the management of applications across clusters of servers within storage area networks (SAN). But as the systems become more complex, companies will be less able to rely on the widely used SCSI protocol, for SANs, which does not address how IP addresses are resolved to IP addresses, Malvalli said. The association, which has the backing of companies such as Compaq Corp, IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co expects a December ratification of the specification, according to Malvalli. The setting of a standard for IP over fiber channel by the IETF should be accompanied by the release of network interface cards incorporating an IP driver for fiber channel.

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