CERN Fibre Channel News
September - December 1995

Genroco's controllers on the web

8 November 1995. Genroco is one of the first companies that has showed Fibre Channel controllers connected to Seagate Barracuda disk drives. Genroco has both S-bus and PCI-bus versions of their controllers of which a description can be found on the Genroco web pages.

Those magical numbers…

3 November 1995. Fibre Channel interfaces normally need a clock of 26.5625 or 53.125 MHz that generates the clock for the physical link. These values are used only for Fibre Channel, so crystal oscillator vendors normally don't have oscillators with those frequencies in stock. However, there are a few vendors that make a special clock oscillator with a select pin for both frequencies.

The Fibre Channel Group™ is online

31 October 1995. The Fibre Channel Group™, a company specialised in giving courses on Fibre Channel. These courses are offered by a team of industry professionals with expertise in the business, marketing, and development and technological aspects of Fibre Channel. These seminars are intended to provide participants with the information and tools necessary to develop Fibre Channel products, markets and businesses. You may find detailed information about the courses on the Fibre Channel Group web pages. You may find other companies giving courses on CERN's Fibre Channel Courses page.

Emulex announced LightPulse® product family

5 October 1995. Emulex Corp, an industry leader in developing Fibre Channel technology, has announced the LightPulse® product family. The first member, a full-featured Fibre Channel PCI bus adapter card, will support quarter-speed (266 Mbps), half-speed (531 Mbps), and full-speed (1.062 Gbps) Fibre Channel throughput, and will be compatible with point-to-point, arbitrated loop, and switched fabric topologies.

The suggested list price for the LightPulse PCI adapter is $1,995 per card for full-speed performance. It will be available on a limited basis through fourth quarter 1995, with volume shipments expected in early first quarter 1996.

For a full description of the board, read the press release.

AMCC FC-0 and FC-1 chips on web

5 October 1995. AMCC has made available a web page with an overview of their FC-0 and FC-1 parts. This type of part implement the physical layer of Fibre Channel. AMCC has stopped the development of FC-2 level chips. Other manufacturers do have those chips that handle higher level protocols.

Conference with FCS on web

2 October 1995. The High-Performance Connectivity Solutions conference is now on the web.

What's CERN doing now?

27 September 1995. CERN's Fibre Channel test lab has several workstations that are connected to an 16-port Ancor FCS switch with 266 Mbps ports. All interfaces we have now, run FC version 4.2 or 4.3. This is all rather old equipment, except for the IBM Micro Channel cards that were received recently. On those systems we have done performance tests. With the help of the KFKI/RMKI FC tester, we have done protocol tests to understand the implementation of the IP protocol on Fibre Channel. In those tests we found out that different implementations exists, some of which follow the FC-LE spec and IP over FC RFC, and others don't. We try to get the results of those tests on the web soon.

The next big step will be to acquire full speed FC interfaces that use newer generation Fibre Channel chips, such as the Tachyon from Hewlett Packard and the FireFly chipset from Emulex. The CERN experiment ALICE has recently ordered four Emulex PCI interface boards, which we expect by October/November. Two of those boards will be used in IBM RS6000/43P machines with PCI bus and the AIX operating system. Emulex will provide drivers for those. Two other boards from Emulex will be used on Motorola PowerPC boards (MVME160x), which are VME boards with an internal PCI bus and a PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC) extension slot. The boards from Emulex will be connected via an PMC to PCI adapter, developed at CERN. A driver for the CHORUS operating system will be written based on the source code for Windows/NT that Emulex provides us. This is a key point in any developments for CERN: either the vendor of the PCI or PMC cards must provide us a driver for the operating systems that we use (e.g. in the VME environment LynxOS and CHORUS), or they should provide us easily the source code of existing drivers so we can port them ourselves.

Our next goal will be to get real PMC cards that we connect directly on the Motorola PowerPC board or on similar boards from CES, called the RTPC8067 and RIO2. Many FC vendors are promising that PMC Fibre Channel interfaces will be available at the beginning of next year. The choice of card will be difficult for CERN, but fortunately it's only a luxury problem. It will depend much on the support of the vendors in respect to availability of the right drivers and access to source code of drivers.

High-Performance Connectivity Solutions

6 September 1995. From October 23 to 25, the High-Performance Connectivity Solutions conference will be held in San Jose, CA. During this conference Fibre Channel, ATM and SSA technologies will be compared. Both manufacturers of equipment and end users will give presentations, including presentations on performance comparisons and user's perspectives.

These are some of the benefits that you will receive by attending this conference:

For information about the conference, contact IBC USA conferences Inc. in Southborough, MA: Tel: (508) 481-6400, Fax: (508) 481-7911, E-mail:

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This is one of the CERN High Speed Interconnect pages - 19 February 1996 - Erik van der Bij