Help with Fibre-Channel and connection setup

Posted on 2003-10-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
Hi all,

I work with a digital video editing company. I need to get large digital files from
clients and also offer them the ability to get the finished files from me faster
than snail mail or courier.

It has been suggested to me to setup an On-line server for FTP access(,
that way clients can upload and/or download. This seems like a good idea, though I'm
trying to figure out the best way as far as hardware (storage) and network
connection speed.


 I'm thinking to setup a main unit with win2k and ftp software, install an HBA
and buy a Fibre-Channel enclosure on Ebay to connect to it(RAID 5). That way I can add  
if needed. I'm going to also install an HBA into my editing unit and attatch through
a FC HUB so I can get the files to my other machine.

Network connection:

 I have an ADSL connection to the net right now. I know I'm going to need more, I
just don't know what connection I should get. ie: ADSL 640kb upstream/4MB down, T1 etc.


 This all seems straightforward in theory, What do I really need to do here in order for this to work?

Also would anyone have comments on getting this all setup for this to work properly?

I really need some guidance here, any and all suggestions would be really appreciated.

Question by:mrlink

Assisted Solution

durindil earned 125 total points
ID: 9657100
If you are doing this at home or a small busines, you would be better off using gigabit ethernet over copper instead of Fibre Channel.  Most affordable Fibre Channel devices are still going to be 1 gigabit, so you will still get the same throughput.  Plus, you can now get IDE to SCSI arrays and 10,000 rpm Serial ATA drives much cheaper than SCSI.  Although I work mostly with EMC, IBM, and HP SAN equipment, I have set up a few small office SAN's using gigabit ethernet, and they are less expensive, work very well, and are very reliable.  You can then tweak your TCP window and MTU sizes for the large file transfers to get better performance.

Your DSL choice will depend largely on how much upstream and downstream traffic you expect.  If you expect more of your clients to be FTP'ing data from your site than you getting data, then you will want to look at SDSL, but that is more expensive.

Author Comment

ID: 9660055
Thanks for your reply,

If I understand you correctly, a Fibre Channel setup will be more expensive than setting up a Gigabit Ethernet over copper setup. Unfortunately I don't have the great skills to put this together, I'm confident with PC hardware and configuration on 10/100 w/hubs, though, giga ethernet is something new for me.
This is a really small setup (3 machines) so far and the FTP/storage server will be seperate.

To start off this new idea, we do have a 3.0 GHZ machine sitting around here that can take an SATA RAID card and some drives.

starting from our ADSL modem what would we need here?
Could you give me an outline of the components I would need to have/buy in order to start this giga ethernet.


Accepted Solution

mapledrums earned 175 total points
ID: 9660999
durandil has a point. Gigabit will be easier for you to transit over. It's the same as 10/100 ether, just 10x faster. Although FC is more efficient compared to ether, but in your case, the bottleneck would probably be your Internet uplink anyway.

Please note that SATA drives have a lower MTBF compared to SCSI drives, one of the reasons why it's cheaper, so do backup your data daily.

Since you do digital editing, your files would probably be huge, so you'll probably want a upstream pipe that is bigger.

As mentioned by durandil, SDSL is something you'll definitely want to consider. Of course there will be other factors such as running costs, or even whether your clients will be patient enough to wait. T1s are guaranteed bandwidths, but they cost a lot more & will require a decent router (more cost).

In this case, you'll need a Gigabit switch  & as many Gbit NICs as systems you want to connect to. A SDSL modem (which probably would be provided by your ISP or packaged in) and a router.

Expert Comment

ID: 9662301
Thanks for the grade.

Expert Comment

ID: 9676297
Dear User,
I favor the FC choice, due to its scalability. Although your bottleneck remains your A(symetrical)DSL for Upload.
If you choose the right FC components it is plug and play. Looks like conceptualy you find the FC solution easier,
and righty so. Its ironic cause majority of us  have more experience with Ethernet. Compatabiliy and price is key in FC.
I find QLogic HBAs and Managemnt tools easy to play with. I would also use a cheap FC Switch instead of hub, McData for new
Switches would be my choice. Sphereon 4300.  Used Brocade 1GBs would also do the job, given you get all the licenses. Also used Qlogic/Ancor Swtiches can found for cheap. They are less compatible with all the Storage, but you don't need to worry about
having the correct licenses. A cheap SATA to FC raid provides cheap FC Raid solution with SATA disks.
Keep in touch. Have you tought about Load balancing between cable and DSL to get cheap upload bandwidtch, specialy at night.

Best Regards.


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