Tcards (a.k.a. "Tester Cards") are the building blocks of a low cost high performace Fibre Channel storage
subsystem! Individual Tcards can be used in a single-drive application and commonly used as test
equipment, especaially when the integrity of a hard drive is in question. Tcards may be "daisey-chained"
together to connect up to 126 drives to a Fibre Channel HBA (host bus adapter). Using the products shown
here, a Fibre Channel JBOD (just a bunch of drives) can be constructed for less than you ever thought
This completely modular Tcard design makes it easier than ever to create a fibre channel JBOD within your computer case, or in an external enclosure.
Fibre Channel devices use a loop topology. A twisted pair carries data from the HBA to the disc(s). A second twisted pair carries data from the disc(s)
back to the controller. Because the HBA initiates the I/O functions, this setup is referred to as a Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop, commonly abbreviated
FC-AL. To set up 2 or more drives, simply plug in the Send (TX) signal into the Receive (RX) port on the Tcard. The TX port on the first drive gets
connected to the RX port on the next drive. When you are done adding drives, connect the TX port of the last drive to the RX port on the HBA!
The final step in completing your Fibre Channel subsystem is the external cable. If you are using an Adaptec, Connectcom, Qlogic, or other Fibre Channel
HBA with a copper HSSDC interface, you will need a HSSDC-DB9 cable to connect the HBA to the Tcard or JBOD kit. The other copper connector that you will
find on a Fibre Channel HBA is the DB9 connector. These are found on older Adaptec HBA's, as well as Emulex, JNI, and Interphase HBA's. In this case
you will need the DB9M-DB9M "caseback" cable to connect your HBA to your Tcard or JBOD kit. If your HBA has a
SC fibre optic interface, you will need a set of fibre optic cables and a GBIC or MIA to convert the connection back to copper.
This 4-drive Fibre Channel backplane is ideal for building larger disc arrays. It is a simple alternative to using 4 Tcards and cables. The
SCA-40 connectors are spaced such that they will plug into drives that are mounted in adjacent half height bays.
The device shown below is a modified Sun Ultra storage device. It holds four low profile (LP) hard drives. This device originally accepted four 10,000rpm
80-pin SCA hard drives. A Tcard was custom designed to fit the form factor of the SCA adapters that were removed from the unit. The Tcards that replace
them mount to the enclosure using the same screw holes and tabs. Do you have a SCSI system that you would like to upgrade to Fibre Channel? Let us design
a Tcard for you!