News | May 7, 1999

N+I 1999: Fibre Channel Community Interoperability Tests to Focus on SANs

The next round of Fibre Channel equipment interoperability testing—to be held in Dallas, July 18-23 by the Fibre Channel Community—will introduce advanced concepts that include storage area networking (SAN) management and application layer characteristics. The Fibre Channel Community (Saratoga, CA), an international non-profit organization of more than 100 Fibre Channel vendors.

Numerous multivendor Fibre Channel demonstrations will be on display at Networld+Interop 99 at the Fibre Channel Solutions Showcase Booth # 1212.

Multivendor topologies
With Fibre Channel emerging as a mainstream enterprise networking architecture, many organizations are deploying Fibre Channel devices from competing vendors within the same topology. As a result, multivendor interoperability is necessary to insure equipment compatibility as information technology managers build storage-centric network architectures based on Fibre Channel.

Interoperability testing is intended to isolate manufacturer-specific anomalies that may affect multivendor configurations, and to identify any ambiguities of the Fibre Channel specification that may impact the ability to build SAN networks with equipment from several different vendors. To date, the Fibre Channel Community has sponsored six formal interoperability testing periods that typically include between 30 and 40 Fibre Channel vendors.

Next round of testing
The July testing will be conducted at the Interoperability Lab at Interphase Corp. located in Dallas. Staff members of the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Lab (Durham, NH) will provide oversight, coordination, and supervision. An interdisciplinary team of technical personnel will provide integration and support from Fibre Channel Community member companies.

Results from Fibre Channel Community interoperability tests are submitted to the ANSI T11 Committee, the standards body that governs Fibre Channel specifications, when relevant issues are identified.

More information about the upcoming testing can be found at the Fibre Channel Community Website at