HPE: C-Series SN6620C Fibre Channel Switch Review

The HPE C-series SN6620C Fibre Channel Switch is a next-generation 48-port, 32 Gbps piece of networking hardware. It offers high availability and is designed for environments in which downtime is unacceptable.

The switch provides high-speed Fibre-Channel connectivity from the server rack to the SAN core and allows a seamless transition to Fibre Channel Non-Volatile Memory Express (FC-NVMe) workloads.

The switch is used for small to large enterprises, which are rapidly deploying cloud-scale applications that provide a greater bandwidth, scale, and consolidation. It can be provisioned, monitored, managed, and troubleshooted using Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM).

There are three models of HPE C-series SN6620C Fibre Channel Switch:

  • HPE SN6620C 32 Gb, 24-port, 32 Gb SFP+ Fibre Channel Switch
  • HPE SN6620C 32 Gb, 48-port, 32 Gb SFP+ Fibre Channel Switch
  • HPE SN6620C 32 Gb, 48/24 Fibre Channel Switch

Features

The HPE C-series SN6620C Fibre Channel Switch is designed with rich features set to provide high availability and reduce the cost of ownership. The key features of the switch include:

High performance for AFA and virtualized workloads

The switch provides up to 1,536 Gbps of aggregate bandwidth in a 1 rack unit (RU) and up to 48 auto-sensing Fibre Channel ports with 4/8/16/32 Gbps capability. It is powered by the same high-performance 32 Gbps ASIC that powers the 32 Gbps Fibre Channel Director portfolio.

Intelligent network services for modern SAN

The SN6620C uses N-Port ID Virtualization technology to provide independent management. The N-Port Virtualization and fabric-port channeling features of the switch enable scaling of SANs without reaching Fibre Channel domain ID limits.

Representational State Transfer (REST) and NX-API capabilities of the SN6620C enable flexible and rapid programming of utilities for the SAN.

High availability platform

The switch provides high availability, offering non-disruptive software upgrades, dual hot-swappable power supplies, hot-swappable C-series SFP and SFP+ optics, hot-swappable fans, VSANs for fault isolation, Port Channels for Inter-Switch Link (ISL) resiliency, and online diagnostics.

Simplified management

The SN6620C supports SAN plug-and-play capability. It offers a centralized management tool with task-based wizards that simplifies the management of a stand-alone switch or multiple switches and fabrics. HPE C-series SAN Insights provides deep visibility into I/O traffic between compute and storage infrastructure.  

HPE and the switch market

More than $100 billion will be spent on campus switches over the next five years in the telecommunications, networking, and data center markets, according to the recent report of Dell’Oro Group. Multi-gigabit switches (2.5/5/10 Gbps) are expected to comprise nearly 20% of the sales by 2026.

The top three campus switch vendors by market share are Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Huawei, according to Boujelbene.

“It’s not going to be easy, but I actually believe we’re going to be in a much better shape after the summer of 2022,” said Antonio Neri, president and CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

“We are becoming smarter about how we build products, the composition of the building materials, the ability to substitute components along the way.”

Differentiators

The HPE C-series SN6620C Fibre Channel Switch delivers high availability and scalability, and it is perfect for networking environments where downtime is unacceptable. Some of the key areas of differentiation for the switch include:

Cost-effectiveness

The SN6620C comes standard in a compact and cost-effective design. The series simplifies the deployment and administration of small to medium-scale SANs and as an edge switch in a larger enterprise. The switch also reduces the total cost of ownership.

FlexAttach and quality of service (QoS)

The FlexAttach feature offers SN6620C switch users the flexibility to add, move, or replace servers easily without reconfiguring SAN switches or storage arrays. The Quality of Service feature of the switch allows traffic to be classified into four distinct levels for service differentiation.

Scalability and interoperability

The switch offers an option to deploy as few as 24 ports with 32-Gbps Fibre Channel in the entry-level variant and allows it to grow in increments of eight ports to 48 ports. The SN6620C provides compatibility with a broad range of Hewlett Packard Enterprise servers and operating systems, which differentiates them from others.

User reviews

HPE networking switches receive mostly positive reviews from several user review sites:

“We use a range of HP switches across all of our companies, from our data centers, remote office locations, and to network manufacturing equipment,” says Jeff Allen, director of IT, Beavers Holdings.

“HP provides a quality, dependable, affordable solution that gives us the needs expected of a network today, without the burden of a heavy expense or proprietary training.”

Price

The HPE C-series SN6620C Fibre Channel Switch price starts at $18,915.99.

In addition, Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers pay-as-you-grow flexibility in increments of eight ports with on-demand port activation licenses and allows users to deploy them with 8 Gb, 16 Gb, or 32 Gb optics to accommodate their budgets.

Al Mahmud Al Mamun
Al Mahmud Al Mamun
Al Mahmud Al Mamun is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. He earned his B.S. in computer science and engineering from Prime University, Bangladesh. He attained more than 25 diploma courses and 100 certificate courses. His expertise and research interests include artificial intelligence (AI), artificial neural networks, and convolutional neural networks.

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