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fikonfarm

fikonfarm is a software-defined Fibre Channel storage network. It will support FCP (SCSI) and FICON (ECKD and tape).

Translated from Swedish it means "Fig farm", and is pronounced something like feecon-farm. It is a play on words where the mainframe protocol FICON sounds like fig in Swedish. The farm part plays on that there is loads of FICONs.

How it works

There are three possible integration ways planned, all with pros/cons:

  • FCIP: Fibre Channel over IP is straight forward conceptually, but is implemented in proprietary ways and thus require reverse engineering
  • FCoE: Fibre Channel over Ethernet might work, but there is little to no precedence of running FICON over it.
  • FICON: Using an FPGA card like the DE5-Net it would be possible to send/receive FICON natively, but costs are higher to get the card

Right now the FCIP support for Brocade 7800 is looking promising, and it is planned that the DE5-Net card will be supported. FCoE will be supported as well, but possibly only for FCP - we will see what happens down the line.

An example integration would look something like this:

fikonfarm integration

Motivation

As a mainframe hobbyist FICON storage is a real bummer. I want to spend time tinkering with the mainframe hardware and OSes like z/OS and z/VM, not spend money and time finding old disk arrays in unknown state on eBay.

Given that Hercules has managed to emulate ECKD disks pretty well, hopefully this project is doable.

Non-goals

  • Do not expect enterprise grade performance
  • It will not be redundant, at least initially

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Software Defined FCP and FICON-compatible Fibre Channel fabric

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