IP Storage and IP Storage Switch Basis

Updated on Sep 20, 2018 by

In the past, the most common storage media was a dedicated Fibre Channel network that connected computer data storage to servers. Now, as trends such as the Internet of Things, cloud, and hyper-converged infrastructure are emerging, IP storage networking and IP storage switch have evolved and are being adopted at an ever-increasing rate. What are IP storage networking and IP storage switch?

What Is IP Storage Networking?

An IP Storage Network is a storage infrastructure that utilizes Ethernet-based networks for the transport and management of storage data. It offers several key features and solutions to address various storage requirements and challenges. Let's explore some of these aspects:

  • Scale-Out Storage: An IP Ethernet Storage Network enables scale-out storage architectures, allowing organizations to seamlessly expand their storage capacity as their needs grow.

  • East/West Scalability: IP Storage Networks provide excellent scalability to handle the increasing demands of storage traffic within the network (east-west scalability), as well as support connectivity to external networks and devices (north-south scalability).

  • Incast: TCP Incast refers to the congestion that can occur in Ethernet networks when multiple devices simultaneously request data from a single server. IP Ethernet Storage Networks are designed to mitigate TCP Incast issues by utilizing techniques such as flow control and congestion management, ensuring smooth and efficient data transfer even in high-demand scenarios.

  • Storage and Compute Devices: IP Storage Networks support the connectivity and integration of various storage and compute devices. This includes traditional storage arrays, network-attached storage (NAS), storage servers, and even compute resources like servers and virtual machines.

  • Ethernet Storage Solutions: IP Storage Networks provide comprehensive solutions for storage requirements. These solutions include protocols like iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface), NFS (Network File System), and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet). Each protocol offers specific benefits and compatibility options for different storage architectures and applications.

  • Scalable Leaf/Spine Topology: IP Storage Networks often utilize a scalable leaf/spine topology. This architecture ensures efficient connectivity and communication between storage devices and compute resources, while also allowing for easy expansion and flexibility in network design.

    IP Storage Networking

What Is IP Storage Switch?

An IP storage switch is a specialized network switch designed for handling IP-based storage traffic. It facilitates the routing and switching of storage data within a network, allowing for efficient transfer of data between storage devices and servers. IP storage switches support storage protocols like iSCSI and FCoE, and offer features such as Quality of Service (QoS) and data integrity checks. They also provide advanced management capabilities for monitoring, performance optimization, and configuration. Overall, IP storage switches play a crucial role in ensuring the connectivity, performance, and reliability of IP-based storage systems in a network environment. It currently has the following two applications:

First, an IP storage switch can be used for connecting Fibre Channel assets over an IP network. For example, we can utilize FCIP technology to connect Fibre Channel switches over IP-based WAN. This is typically for disaster recovery applications. Moreover, we may use iFCP technology to connect either Fibre Channel switches or end devices over IP.

Second, IP storage switches play an important role in connecting IP-based SAN devices to Fibre Channel devices. This mainly refers to connecting iSCSI hosts to Fibre Channel storage targets. In this case, two of the three basic SAN components are IP based, while Fibre Channel belongs to the storage array or tape subsystem.

Note: Not all IP storage switches can support both of the above said applications at the same time.

What Are the Challenges in Implementing IP Storage Networking?

The distributed nature of scale-out IP/Ethernet storage architectures is driving a need to reevaluate the way networks are deployed today. Scale-out storage has a very different set of challenges from legacy storage transport. Here are the common challenges we face today:

  • Storage performance affects data center arithmetic: Storage read and write performance is a key factor affecting data center arithmetic, and can easily become a bottleneck in business performance. In order to fully release the arithmetic of data center servers, storage networks need to meet the requirements of no packet loss and low latency.

  • Network Security: IP storage networks need robust security measures to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, interception, or tampering. Implementing secure authentication, access controls, encryption, and intrusion detection/prevention systems are vital to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of stored data.

  • High investment: Traditional FC and IB networks are costly, and the overall construction and operation costs are about two times higher than Ethernet.

  • Low operation and maintenance efficiency: Traditional data center includes FC storage network, an IB computing network, and an Ethernet business network, but these three networks cannot be unified for operation and maintenance

FS IP Storage Networking Solution

In order to solve the major challenges mentioned above, FS has designed a set of efficient and reliable IP SAN storage solutions, providing a series of comprehensive products, such as servers, data storage devices and data center switches. Fs professional team can provide tailor-made services and support to ensure that customers receive comprehensive services during the construction and operation of the entire storage network. For instance, FS uses the NC8200-4TD as the spine switch, the N8560-48BC as the leaf switch, and the Storage 4200F as the storage device to meet customer's requirements for high-performance storage at lower cost, as the image below shows. In addition, the Fs professional team can also provide the same networking architecture with different device networking solutions.

FS IP Storage Networking Solution

  • High-performance storage: The entire network equipment can be deployed PFC, ECN, support RoCE, RoCEv2 traffic efficient forwarding, to meet the requirements of storage services without packet loss, non-blocking, low latency

  • High Network Security: FS IP Storage Networking Solution ensures data security through robust measures such as secure authentication, access controls, and encryption protocols. Features like SSH and SNMPv3 are utilized for secure management and monitoring of IP storage devices, ensuring secure communication and authentication. These measures safeguard sensitive data during transmission and storage.

  • Cost-effective performance: The IP Storage networking built with Ethernet technology replaces the traditional FC SAN network, including FC switches, NICs and cables, thus reducing the overall network construction cost by about 50%.

  • Unified operation and maintenance: The FS IP Storage Networking Solution is based on Ethernet IP, which provides a better user base, more employees, and better openness compared to InfiniBand (IB) or Fibre Channel (FC) technologies.


Although IP storage SAN is popular for cheapness and simplicity, it may not surpass Fibre Channel SAN in latency and throughput at present. To make the best of it, FS uses an IP storage switch to combine the best of Fibre Channel SAN and the best of mainstream IP storage networking. FS is devoted to providing cost-effective and high-performance network devices as well as efficient and reliable IP SAN storage solutions for data centers and enterprise networks. For detailed information and product availability, please visit our website at www.fs.com or contact us.

You might be interested in

See profile for Sheldon.
Decoding OLT, ONU, ONT, and ODN in PON Network
Mar 14, 2023
See profile for Irving.
What's the Difference? Hub vs Switch vs Router
Dec 17, 2021
See profile for Sheldon.
What Is SFP Port of Gigabit Switch?
Jan 6, 2023
See profile for Migelle.
PoE vs PoE+ vs PoE++ Switch: How to Choose?
May 30, 2024