Technology Insight Series

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1 QLgic Ramps FCE Cnverged Netwrk Adapters Jhn Webster December 15, 2009 Technlgy Insight Series Evaluatr Grup

2 Cpyright 2009 Evaluatr Grup, Inc. All rights reserved

3 Tw prtcls, ne wire Fibre Channel ver Ethernet (FCE) expands the reach f Fibre Channel (FC) based strage netwrking int the mre ubiquitus realm f Ethernet. As such, it is different frm the mre familiar iscsi prtcl which encapsulates standard SCSI packets fr transmissin ver standard Ethernet LAN cmmunicatins links. With FCE, FC packets that cntain the SCSI paylad are encapsulated and sent ver a new, mre rbust versin f Ethernet referred t variusly as Cnverged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE), Enhanced Ethernet (EE), Data Center Ethernet (DCE) and lssless Ethernet depending n which vendr yu are speaking t 1. Figure 1: FCE Packet FCE prmises t simplify the administratin f data center cmmunicatins fabrics by cnverging bth Ethernet (LAN) data cmmunicatins with FC SAN I/O cmmunicatins between servers and strage devices. It als ffers administratrs the ability t utilize FC based strage netwrking with servers that are currently cnnected t an Ethernet LAN withut running an FC cable between servers and SAN switches. This paper is the first in a series f reprts aimed at strage administratrs wh are currently researching FCE with an eye t future deplyment. Here we prvide a brief examinatin f FCE and its ptential benefits, a lk at QLgic as a ptential surce fr FCE infrastructure cmpnents, and als prvide an abbreviated set f recmmendatins fr IT administratrs. We suggest that thse interested in researching FCE as a technlgy begin t cnsider the impact that a cnverged Fibre Channel/Ethernet fabric will have n data center peratins and staff rles. In the near future we will publish reprts n ther vendrs pursuing this pprtunity and add t ur research in this space. Is Cnverged Enhanced Ethernet in Yur Future? Befre yu try t answer whether r nt FCE is in yur future, perhaps yu shuld first lk at a prerequisite: Cnverged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) 1. CEE differs frm standard Ethernet in a number f ways, but fr ur discussin it is imprtant t knw at least three things abut CEE up frnt. 1. It is nt supprted n the same standard Ethernet LAN infrastructure that is ubiquitus tday. 2. It guarantees packet delivery (i.e. is lssless ). Standard Ethernet des nt. 3. Because f its lssless quality, it is a necessary prerequisite fr FCE deplyments. Therefre, new Ethernet infrastructure will be required t supprt FCE. While this will necessitate an investment in new data center cmmunicatins infrastructure cmpnents, the investment may well 1 Fr the purpses f this discussin, we will simply refer t Cnverged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) t describe Data Center Ethernet, Cnverged Ethernet, and Lssless Ethernet as these terms all refer t the same technlgy. Cpyright 2009, Evaluatr Grup, Inc. Page 1 f 6

4 pay future dividends beynd FCE supprt. CEE can als be used as a cnduit fr iscsi as well as NFS and CIFS prtcls. We believe that as time ges n, CEE will becme the predminant way t netwrk FC, iscsi, NFS and CIFS prtcls. Figure 2: Cnnectivity Cnvergence Ultimately, the deplyment f CEE will enable FCE, while enhancing the perfrmance f iscsi and NAScnnected strage as well. Thus, CEE will becme the predminant transprt fr all LAN and SAN prtcls in the future. Frm FC t FCE Due t the limited availability f native FCE strage systems, and the limitatin n the size f netwrks built using native FCE, the mst likely place fr early FCE deplyments will be fr server I/O cnslidatin. Practically, this invlves using Cnverged Netwrk Adapters (CNAs, described in mre detail belw) in place f HBAs, NICs and TOEs n servers, with FCE transprted ver CEE capable, edge switches. The majrity f prducts shipping tday supprt this deplyment mdel. As CEE equipment is enhanced and issues with transprting FCE and ther prtcls ver cnverged netwrks are addressed, the pprtunity will arise fr mre flexible end t end FCE deplyments as vendrs are rapidly adding supprt fr CEE and FCE. One driver that will help push the adptin FCE past this deplyment mdel is the additin f a virtual I/O layer that will likely be necessitated by the rampant grwth f server virtualizatin prjects. QLgic and FCE QLgic is well knwn in strage netwrking. Its prduct line spans the I/O chain frm FC based hst bus adapters t switches t adapter cards and switches embedded n strage devices. In additin t FCbased cnnectivity prducts, it als ffers cnnectivity slutins fr iscsi and InfiniBand users. We d Page 2 f 6 Cpyright 2009, Evaluatr Grup, Inc.

5 nt believe that QLgic has sme hidden agenda with regard t the prmtin f ne strage netwrking prtcl, FC r Ethernet fr example, ver all thers. QLgic will address and cncurrently supprt a number f strage netwrking prtcls with mre r less equal veracity as lng as there is a defensible market fr them. The Cnverged Netwrk Adapter (CNA) is a critical link in the FCE I/O chain (see Figure 3). It essentially cmbines the functinality f a FC HBA and an Ethernet NIC nt a single server installed cmmunicatins adapter card. The FCE CNA allws IT administratrs t extend existing FC infrastructure t LAN attached servers withut having t supprt bth a FC HBA and an Ethernet NIC fr each server. This results in cutting in half the number f cables, switch prts and adapters required t bring servers int the FC wrld. Figure 3: Cnverged Netwrk Adapter QLgic was the first FCE CNA vendr t intrduce a single chip implementatin f FCE meaning that all essential FCE functins are implemented n a single chip rather than multiple chipsets. QLgic was able t d s partially because it pssessed a rbust and field prven FC sftware stack that has evlved frm delivering nearly 7 millin FC prts (n HBAs and switches) since 2001, and als because being first t market with an elegant slutin helps secure early design wins frm OEMs. QLgic has als been prminent in the interperability and standards arenas. It has participated in all f the FCE industry plug fests held t date, and has been instrumental in the develpment f the FCE prtcl standard within ANSI T11. Cpyright 2009, Evaluatr Grup, Inc. Page 3 f 6

6 QLgic s 8100 Series CNAs The mst recent release f QLgic s CNA, the 8100 Series, is based n QLgic s Netwrk Plus architecture. Netwrk Plus leverages APIs, sftware, and management tls that are cmmn t their FC HBA prducts t preserve interperability and a cmmn lk and feel as custmers transitin t FCE. The 8100 series features QLgic s single chip CNA implementatin with an integrated FCE fflad engine that that saves the applicatin hst frm devting prcessing cycles t supprt FCE cnnectivity a decided plus in virtualized server envirnments. We believe prtcl prcessing fflad is an imprtant requirement when I/O latency is a prime cnsideratin versus ther slutins that use sftware initiatrs running n the applicatin hst. The single chip design als draws significantly less pwer vs. multi chip FCE CNA implementatins. The 8100 series is presently cmprised f single and dual 10GbE prt mdels and vary by cnnectivity ptin (cpper twinax, LR ptics, r SR ptics). All mdels supprt the PCI Express Gen 2 standard. Additinal technical specificatins include: Cnnectivity Active & passive cpper Optical SR (300 meters max) Optical LR (10 Km max) Fibre Channel Prtcls SCSI FCP FC TAPE Ethernet NIC features IP, TCP, & UDP checksum fflads Large & giant send fflads (LSO, GSO) Receive Side Scaling (RSS) Header Data Split NetQueue Platfrm Supprt x86, x64, IA64, SPARC, PwerPC OS Driver Supprt (NIC & FCE) Windws, Linux, VMware, Slaris, AIX Bt Supprt LAN (PXE, UEFI, Fcde) SAN (BIOS, UEFI, Fcde) Management Tls SANSurfer fr LAN and SAN OS based netwrking tls Page 4 f 6 Cpyright 2009, Evaluatr Grup, Inc.

7 Rutes t acquiring QLgic CNAs QLgic CNAs are currently available thrugh OEMs and resellers. Vendrs currently ffering QLgic 8100 Series CNAs include: Resellers QLE8150 CU CK Single Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Cpper QLE8152 CU CK Dual Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Cpper QLE8140 SR CK Single Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Optical QLE8142 SR CK Dual Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Optical EMC QLE8150 CU E SP Single Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Cpper QLE8152 CU E SP Dual Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Cpper QLE8140 SR E SP Single Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Optical QLE8142 SR E SP Dual Prt 10 GbE Ethernet t PCIe, Optical EMC lab qualified fr Symmetrix V Max, DMX, and CLARiiON CX3/CX4 IBM QLgic 10Gb CNA fr IBM System x (Marketing part number 42C1800) QLgic 10Gb CNA fr IBM POWER Systems (Feature 5708) QLgic 2 prt 10Gb Cnverged Netwrk Adapter (CFFh) fr IBM BladeCenter (Marketing part number 42C1830) NetApp QLE8152 Dual Prt 10Gbps Enhanced Ethernet t PCIe Cnverged Netwrk Adapter (qualified fr NetApp FAS3040, FAS3070, and FAS3100 series; the FAS6000 series; the FAS2050; the V6000 series; and the V3100 series, as well as any server qualified with these NetApp strage systems.) Recmmendatins fr Users In cnversatins with enterprise level strage administratrs and Evaluatr Grup user clients, we have fund an increasing awareness f this new strage netwrking intercnnect. While nt all see FCE n their data center rad maps, rughly mre than half say they will embark n at least a pilt prject within the next twelve t eighteen mnths. A handful, generally frm large financial services IT departments, are eager t get started right away. If yu currently use FC SAN technlgy exclusively t intercnnect yur strage and server envirnments, it may nt make much sense t spend a lt f time investigating FCE at this pint. Why inject a new strage transprt layer if the ne yu use nw is perfectly adequate and will remain s fr the freseeable future? Cnversely, the same can be said if yu use Ethernet (NAS and/r iscsi) fr strage netwrking. Hwever, if yu nw use bth and/r can see a pint in the future where the data center fabric is predminantly Ethernet based, then nw is the time t at least research this new technlgy with an eye t kicking ff a pilt prject in the near t very near future. Why? The required cmpnents are Cpyright 2009, Evaluatr Grup, Inc. Page 5 f 6

8 available nw t structure an end t end FCE SAN cmpnents that will becme mre available and mre widely supprted within the next twelve t eighteen mnths. Start nw and yu will be that much further dwn the rad t having t supprt nly ne fabric fr all data center cmmunicatins. We nte that there are at least tw types f prjects that lend themselves t ptential FCE deplyment: Scale ut server virtualizatin prjects with high I/O requirements where CEE and FCE can be deplyed at the edge f the fabric Additinal server I/O cnslidatin prjects where leveraging CEE and FCE makes sense fr additinal strage that can supprt native FCE attachment as these strage platfrms becme available. Currently NetApp is the nly vendr ffing native FCE strage arrays. SMB rganizatins that d nt require significant infrastructure imprvements may delay investigatin int FCE and CEE equipment fr anther year r s. Fr SMBs wh already have a significant investment in FC equipment, new strage deplyments shuld cntinue t utilize FC cnnectivity. Additinal enhancements t FC infrastructure, including upgrading t 8 Gb FC equipment, is recmmended ver the next ne t tw year perid. Fr SMBs wh predminantly utilize Ethernet cnnected strage such as NAS r iscsi, Evaluatr Grup recmmends these firms cntinue t invest in standard Ethernet infrastructure. New CEE Ethernet infrastructure investments are unlikely t prvide quantifiable benefits until CEE prices begin t apprach pricing parity with standard Ethernet in tw t three years. Finally, if yu d plan t embark n a path that leads t data center fabric cnvergence, yu shuld at least start thinking nw abut the ptential impact t data center peratins, plicies, and prcedures. Wh within the data center peratins grup will manage the cnverged fabric? A cnverged fabric will require at least sme cnvergence at the IT and data center staff level as well. Are yu cmfrtable with that? Cnclusin The strage vendr cmmunity is squarely behind FCE because it represents an pprtunity t cnverge LAN and SAN data traffic and further leverage their investments in I/O technlgy. Vendrs are lking t transitin the physical and data link layers frm Fibre Channel t Ethernet with minimal csts. The gd news is that in this case, minimal cst will translate t lwer adptin csts fr users deplying a new technlgy than wuld nrmally be the case. (Remember the cst f initial FC SANs years ag?) Initially, prices fr FCE capable CNA s and CEE switches will be rughly equivalent t current 8 Gb FC technlgy. Hwever, as shipments ramp up, and mre array vendrs ffer native FCE supprt, increased cmpetitin will result in lwer prices fr users. By standardizing n Cnverged Enhanced Ethernet as a data transprt, cmpanies f all sizes will be able t supprt FC strage, and ther prtcls such as iscsi, NFS and CIFS. The result is a future prfed data infrastructure. Page 6 f 6 Cpyright 2009, Evaluatr Grup, Inc.

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