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FC-AL topology in a SAN environment

What is the FC-AL topology in a SAN environment?

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Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) is an early shared access, shared bandwidth topology with devices attached via a hub or connected via loop or ring, similar to a token ring network.

FC-AL for the most part has been replaced by switched Fibre Channel (FC-SW) for server attachment with some legacy storage devices still supporting loop attachment provided by some switches. Some storage systems still utilize loop attachment of disk drives to storage controllers with servers attaching via FC-SW. However the trend is to move from FC-AL based "back-end" storage to some form of switched "back-end" disk drives on storage systems.

This was first published in February 2007