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N_port ID virtualization (NPIV) is a technique that enables the sharing of a single fiber channel N_port between multiple N_ports. It is used in storage networking techniques that utilize fiber channel-based ports to send and receive data between virtual machines (VM) and virtual storage area networks (SAN).
NPIV is a component of the Fiber Channel Link Services (FC-LS) specification.
NPIV is used in virtual storage area networks (VSAN) that reside on a consolidated physical SAN server with limited fiber channel ports. NPIV allows a fiber channel and physical host bus adapter (HBA) port to be used with one or more worldwide port names (WWPN). These WWPNs are actually virtual WWPNs, each associated with a specific VSAN or VM.
The NPIV is typically implemented by the VM monitor or VSAN application that manages all the data communication ports of the consolidated SAN.