The IBM zEnterprise® input/output (I/O) connection to Fibre Channel attached storage devices via industry-standard Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs) has been significantly enhanced in zEnterprise compared with its predecessors. A new FICON® Express adapter is introduced delivering significant performance improvements for Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) and System z® high-performance FICON (zHPF) through the use of hardware-based FCP and zHPF virtualization offload engines (or data routers), bringing I/O starts and bandwidth in line with 8-Gb and 16-Gb Fibre Channel HBAs. zHPF is a major new I/O architecture designed to deliver high I/O rates and bandwidth required for current and future generations of IBM System z processors while preserving all of the qualities of service provided by previous architectures. FCP reliability, availability, and serviceability improvements have been made in the form of T10 data-integrity-field end-to-end data protection. Innovative methods of “shift-left” hardware and firmware co-verification were employed to ensure high quality and timely delivery of these new capabilities. The paper describes these innovations and their architecture, implementation, and synergy with other initiatives in the zEnterprise I/O system.
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