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World Wide Name

World Wide Name

(also WWN, World Wide Identifier, WWID)

World Wide Name definition

A World Wide Name is a unique 64-bit or 128-bit identifier assigned to a storage device based on its manufacturer. World Wide Names are used in storage area networks (SAN) (such as Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) environments) to properly identify and address devices.

World Wide Names are assigned to manufacturers by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In turn, manufacturers are required to add their World Wide Name to every network device they produce.

See also: storage area network server, network access control, network administrator

World Wide Name uses

The main purpose of World Wide Names is to allow devices in a SAN to identify each other for communications. This functionality extends to network scaling — as new devices are added to the network, their World Wide Names help old devices discover them and integrate them into the existing configuration.

SAN administrators are also able to use World Wide Names for security purposes — for example, by creating access controls so that only authorized devices can get to specific storage resources. In the event of an incident or network error, the World Wide Name helps IT professionals track down the source of the problem.

Main World Wide Name types

  • World Wide Port Name (WWPN): Analogous to a MAC address in Ethernet networks. A WWPN identifies a specific port (physical or virtual) on an FC device.
  • World Wide Node Name (WWNN): Comparable to a device’s IP address in an IP network. A WWNN identifies the entire device or node within the SAN.

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