Enterprise System Connection Architecture (ESCON) is an IBM mainframe channel architecture which is commonly used to attach storage devices. In particular, it is a serial optical interface connecting IBM mainframe computers and peripheral devices like tape drives and other storage devices. This architecture is the very railroad system for data in a large enterprise storage system.
The ESCON can offer a communication rate of about 17 MB/second over distances of up to 43 kilometers using half duplex medium. This technological architecture was introduced around 1990 by IBM so that it could replace the much older and slower copper-based Bus & Tag channel technology of 1960-1990 era mainframes.
The copper-based Bus & Tag channel technology was very unwieldy as the shielded copper cable allowing a throughput of 4.5MB/s or 45Mb/s; approximately equivalent to a T-3 connection is being installed all over the data storage and processing center. Supplanting ESCON is the Fiber Connectivity (FICON) which is substantially faster as it runs over a fiber channel.
Light-weight fiber optic cables having multimode, 62.5 micron supporting distances of up to 3 kilometers and single mode, 9 micron that can support up to 20 kilometers are being used for the ESCON technology. It also uses signal regenerators such as the General Signal Networks CD/9000 ESCON Director or CX Converter.
The ESCON system takes care of the structure of a high speed backbone network used in a data storage and processing center. This center also saves a gateway to other networks attached which have lesser speeds. Some of the essential primary configurable elements of the ESCON network are the fiber optic links, the ESCON channels, the ESCON Director, and the ESCON control units.
On the other hand, the software support functions include the ESCON Manager program for ESCON Director and the ESON Dynamic Reconfiguration Management configuration control. With switches through the ESCON Directors, customers could create a high speed, switched, multi-point topology for dynamic connectivity of inter-data center applications.
The ESCON system was built to address some of the major concerns of the company related to interconnection of systems, control units, and channels are system disruption, complexity, cable bulk, cable distance, and the need for increased data rates. The general advantages from using ESCON are reduced cable bulk and weight, greater distance separation between devices, more efficient use of channels and adapters, higher availability, and having a axis for growth and I/O performance.
Hence, the ESCON has the capacity to permit operating systems and applications to run unchanged on computers as well as permit the in insertion of additional control units and systems into running configurations without having to turn off the power, thus avoiding scheduled and unscheduled outages for installation and maintenance.
ESCON can also improve the interconnection capability within the data processing centers which also embraces the intersystem connections and device sharing between systems. It can allow an increased number of devices to be accessible by channels which can be very useful for large companies with large enterprise storage needs and big data warehouse.
Since today’s companies could be said to be efficient if they are data-driven, many data storage are place strategically in different locations to complemented the business intelligence system. ESCON can allow the extension of the distance for direct attachment of control units and direct system-to-system interconnection in the enterprise storage environment. It can also provide significantly higher instantaneous data rates for simultaneous data consumer serving as well as data sources gathering.
As the data warehouse or enterprise storage system grows, so will the need for computer grow. Since ESCON uses optical interface, it can significantly reduce the bulk and number of cables required to interconnect the system elements of a data storage and processing complex.