Fiber Channel Storage Area Network

Why Trust Techopedia

What Does Fiber Channel Storage Area Network Mean?

A fiber channel storage area network (FC SAN) is a system that enables multiple servers to access network storage devices. A storage area network enables high-performance data transmission between multiple storage devices and servers.


FC technology is essential for SAN implementation and establishes connectivity according to requirements.

Techopedia Explains Fiber Channel Storage Area Network

In SAN terminology, fabric is the hardware that connects PCs and servers to storage devices.

The following are basic FC SAN components:

  • Platform devices
  • Fabric-attached end devices, including servers, hosts and storage subsystems
  • Devices connected to other SAN platforms via fabric facilities
  • One or more FC nodes, including host adapters, host bus adapters, storage controllers and one or more node ports controlled at levels of FC-2 or higher
  • Interconnected device fabric, including switches, hubs and bridges, and generic node port fabric references

FC SAN has logical and physical features, as follows:

  • Topology Views: Identify internal fabric configuration for management applications requiring device data interconnection type. Display operational data, such as assigned fabric path routing. Management applications use topology views to construct maps with interconnected platform routes, connections and devices.
  • Logical and Physical Topologies: Include end-to-end views. Logical topology enables interdependent platform device management, regardless of connection. Physical topology enables different device paths for performance and availability.
  • Path Tuples: Fabric names and endpoint associators, like platforms, nodes and ports
  • Logical components: Extents, data movers, platforms, fabric, nodes, FC and aggregators
  • FC Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) accounting is the most popular and scalable FC SAN configuration. FC-AL use expensive switched SAN fabrics, suits medium-sized configurations and is priced according to performance.

Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.