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SAN Fabric Technology

The Fibre Channel protocol and Brocade have been closely connected since the development of the first Brocade Fibre Channel platforms over 15 years ago. Today, organizations worldwide rely on Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions in their mission-critical data centers to deliver unmatched reliability, simplicity, and 16 Gbps performance.

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Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) runs on the Brocade family of Fibre Channel and FICON backbones and switches—providing transparent interoperability between 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 Gbps devices for superior investment protection. Brocade FOS also provides the reliable, high-performance data transport that is critical for interconnecting thousands of servers and storage devices. The integration of innovative core Brocade FOS and SAN fabric technology uniquely enables Brocade products to provide the building blocks that solve today's challenges and act as a strategic foundation for next-generation data centers. Through delivering industry-leading technologies that help improve performance, efficiency, RAS, and optimization at an affordable cost, Brocade continues to lead the development of Fibre Channel standards and offer breakthrough products.

Brocade FOS features include:

Simplified deployment and scalability

  • Brocade UltraScale chassis connectivity provides dedicated, high-bandwidth optical Inter-Chassis Links (ICLs) that connect multiple Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone switches without consuming server and storage ports for simplified, scale-out network design.
  • ClearLink Diagnostics—part of Brocade Fabric Vision technology--leverages Brocade ClearLink Diagnostic Ports (D_Ports) to help identify and isolate optic and cable problems, reducing fabric deployment and diagnostic times.
  • Monitoring and Alerting Policy Suite (MAPS)—part of Brocade Fabric Vision technology—simplifies and automates deployment of threshold-based policies for proactive monitoring and alerting.
  • Brocade Access Gateway mode support seamlessly connects to any SAN fabric with improved scalability and no additional switch domains.
  • Fibre Channel over IP (FCIP) connectivity enables long-distance applications such as disk mirroring and remote tape solutions.
  • Integration of third-party storage management solutions with Brocade management solutions.
  • Dynamic Fabric Provisioning reduces or eliminates the need to reconfigure zoning and Logical Unit Number (LUN) masking when adding or replacing servers.
  • Integrated ISL compression and encryption optimize data center connectivity over distance.

Improved management

  • Brocade Fabric Vision technology provides innovative diagnostic, monitoring, and management capabilities to help administrators avoid networking issues, maximize application performance, and reduce operational costs.
  • Flow Vision—part of Brocade Fabric Vision technology--enables administrators to identify, monitor, and analyze specific application and data flows to maximize performance, avoid congestion, and optimize resources.
  • Frame-based trunking provides full bandwidth utilization while reducing congestion.
  • Non-intrusive and non-disruptive monitoring on every port provides a comprehensive end-to-end view of the entire fabric.
  • Critical diagnostic and monitoring capabilities help ensure early problem detection and recovery.
  • Forward Error Correction (FEC) recovers from bit errors in ISLs, enhancing transmission reliability and performance.
  • Virtual Channel-level buffers credit loss detection and recovery for improved resiliency and application performance.
  • Real-time bandwidth consumption by hosts/applications on ISLs easily identifies hot spots and potential network congestion.
  • Virtual Fabrics enables consolidation and better resource utilization while isolating traffic between different environments.
  • FICON and FICON CUP support for IBM System z environments.
  • Proactive fabric health and performance monitoring with threshold-based alerting capabilities helps ensure network availability.

SAN Fabric Technology Resources

Browse a complete listing of all Brocade resources. View All Resources


This tech brief provides best practices for implementation of advanced Brocade Fabric OS features that identify, monitor, and protect Fibre Channel SANs from problematic device and media behavior.


Evaluator Group’s benchmark testing demonstrates the superior performance of Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel vs FCoE for Solid State Storage environments.


This document provides guidance for selecting an ideal Brocade FOS code version for use on Brocade Fibre Channel switch platforms and when migrating from one Brocade FOS release to another. These “Target Path” release recommendations should be used in conjunction with advice from your Brocade switch vendor.


The Brocade DCX 8510 Backbone with Gen 5 Fibre Channel offers unique optical ICL connectivity, enabling massive fabric scalability while simplifying network topologies.


Brocade switches with Gen 5 Fibre Channel unleash the full potential of high-density server virtualization, cloud architectures, and next-generation storage, doubling the data throughput of 8 Gbps links, enabling organizations to fully leverage existing and new IT investments.