By Cliff Grossner, Ph.D.
The transmission of Ethernet frames at 25 Gigabits per second (25GE) is making its entrance in the converged network adapter market. IHS (NYSE: IHS) projects around 2,500 25GE ports will ship in the fourth quarter of 2015, growing to 9 percent of all adapter ports shipped worldwide in 2019, according to the IHS Infonetics SAN and Converged Data Center Network Equipment report.
"With its higher bandwidth, the 25/100GE architecture is attractive to large cloud service providers and enterprises looking to migrate from 10GE switching and server connectivity to 100GE switching and 25GE server connectivity in the data center," said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director for data center, cloud and SDN at IHS. "QLogic continues to prepare for the launch of 25GE, demonstrating interoperability with HP and Dell switches after doing so with Broadcom."
"At the same time, the Fibre Channel SAN market is seeing weaker demand for flash drives, negatively impacting revenue expectations for 2015," Grossner said.
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DATA CENTER REPORT SYNOPSIS
The quarterly IHS Infonetics SAN and Converged Data Center Network Equipment market research report tracks chassis and fixed Fibre Channel switches; Fibre Channel HBAs; converged data center switch ports-in-use for storage (iSCSI, FCoE, FC-to-FCoE); and converged data center network adapters (iSCSI, CNAs). The research service provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2019, analysis and trends. Vendors tracked include ALE, Arista, Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Emulex, HP, Huawei, Intel, Juniper, Lenovo, QLogic, others. To purchase the report, please visit www.infonetics.com/contact.asp.
Maddalena SpA, a water meter and measuring instruments manufacturer, leverages EonStor DS storage systems from Infortrend Technology, Inc. with its VM datacenter environment for better reliability, performance and capacity to achieve BC for their 24/7 production facility.
Located in Northern Italy, Maddalena SpA produces and distributes high tech and quality measuring instruments around the world for the past 95 years. To expand and to maximize utilization of its facility to fulfill market demands, Maddalena replaced the existing storage system with a more reliable and better performing system that would sustain the 24/7 facility operations and support future integration with FalconStor Software, Inc.'s NSS HA appliances - their choice for the new storage solution was EonStor DS storage systems.
With over 20 VM servers under vSphere 5.1 cluster environment, EonStor DS storage systems are linked by Qlogic 8Gb FC switches as the primary storage systems for mission critical applications such as SQL, email and file sharing.
This new solution was introduced by NT Nuove Technologie S.r.L., a consulting agency and system integrator in Italy.
"Starting from day one of implementation (June 2013), we have been enjoying non-stop operation for over 600 days. In addition, the performance of our VM infrastructure has improved," said Alessandro Franchi, head of IT, Maddalena.
By George Crump
Storage, the Bump in the 16Gb Road
16 Gbps (Gen 5) Fibre Channel (FC) has been available for several years and it is an ideal network choice for storage systems that count on flash to meet the performance demands of the data center. The problem is that most of these storage systems are running 8 Gbps FC, making it more difficult to tap into the full potential of flash storage. The lack of Gen 5 on the storage array itself leads to a more complex storage network design and consumption of more FC switch ports. A clean end-to-end connection provides a more simple, high-speed connection from the host to the storage system and promises to allow data centers to increase virtual machine density and overall storage response time.
Working Around The Storage Speed Bump
Prior to putting Gen 5 on the array most arrays counted on multiple 8Gb FC cards to connect into the storage network even if the rest of that network was already leveraging Gen 5 host bus adapters (HBA) and switches. To keep up, multiple 8Gbps cards in the hosts were trunked to aggregate bandwidth. While the FC protocol is highly efficient in its use of multiple segments, trunking is not as efficient as a single card running at maximum performance. Additionally the use of multiple 8Gb connections consumed twice as many switch ports. While this configuration was acceptable for many data centers, those looking to take full advantage of Gen 5 technology found it wanting, and were often forced to look to server-side technologies or back off on their plans for increasing the number of virtual machines per physical host.
Learn more about achieving maximum VM density by watching our on-demand webinar "Maximum VM Density Requires Optimal Storage Networking and Operational Transparency"
The Value of End to End Gen 5
The value of an end-to-end Gen 5 design is realized when an all-flash or flash heavy hybrid array is the storage end-point. With an end-to-end configuration the storage network can perform at such a level that the difference in local vs. networked flash performance will be unnoticeable to most data centers. That means that these data centers can now benefit from the classic advantages that shared storage brings like efficient use of capacity, improved support of clustered environments like VMware, Oracle and Hyper-V, as well as improved data availability and protection from storage system level snapshots and replication. The result is environments can scale further “up” and/or “out” allowing for more virtual machines per host, and more users per database host, greatly reducing data center costs and floor space requirements.
Available Now – End to End Gen 5 Networking
While Emulex and QLogic battle it out for host connectivity dominance, Brocade and CISCO battle for switch supremacy, QLogic seems to be the company capturing plenty of the storage array design wins. In recent months we’ve seen them rack up OEM contracts with SolidFire, Violin Memory, EMC VNX, NEC and Huawei. These wins include a combination of both scale-out and scale-up storage designs.
QLogic Gen 5 FC solutions are designed to tackle high-bandwidth, I/O-intensive applications where reliability is critical. They reduce throughput bottlenecks from host to storage, giving users unprecedented application performance and optimum I/O. All QLogic Gen 5 FC solutions are backward-compatible with 8Gb and 4Gb FC networks, providing investment protection for existing FC SAN infrastructures. In fact even if the storage system is the first Gen 5 component implemented the user should experience improved performance since the storage HBA itself is designed to process more data more quickly, even on an 8Gb network.
An end-to-end Gen 5 architecture gives FC an advantage over IP in data centers that are looking for optimal bandwidth. A quick survey of storage manufacturers showed that none were prepared to move past multiple 10GbE ports for the iSCSI attached storage systems, while, as shown above, many are moving to Gen 5 FC. Raw bandwidth should not be the only judge for performance, capabilities like efficiency of link usage and quality of service controls should also be considered. A 10GbE IP SAN is suitable for many data centers, but for data centers looking for maximum performance with minimal latency as well as network efficiency and quality of service controls, an end-to-end Gen 5 network infrastructure deserves strong consideration
By Chris Lorenz
The storage and networking connectivity industry has recently experienced significant changes, driven primarily by large company acquisitions and new players entering the competitive landscape. Channel partners understandably feel that there are some unpredictable things happening, and wonder what will happen with products and prices in this category. While we can’t speak for other vendors, we know that at QLogic, we consistently support our channel through the three Ps: Products, Programs and Participation.
QLogic consistently provides best-in-class products for the channel. For example, we rolled out the QLogic FastLinQ 3400 series of OEM-proven Intelligent Ethernet adapters, which provide exceptional value in the form of industry-standard and innovative features that give businesses the ability to get the most out of their software-defined data center architecture. Authorized resellers now have access to the same 10Gb Intelligent Ethernet Adapters trusted by Tier-1 OEMs. Available with 10GBASE-T, short-range optic and direct attach copper connectivity, the 3400 series is the ideal choice for workload-intensive virtualized computing environments, providing a reliable, high-performance 10Gb Ethernet connectivity solution.
In addition, QLogic is a founding member of the 2550100 Alliance, an initiative addressing future customer needs and unifying the industry around faster 25, 50 and 100Gb Ethernet standards. Channel partners who join the Alliance will be uniquely prepared to help IT organizations navigate the migration to 25, 50 and 100Gb Ethernet. In support of these efforts, QLogic partners who sign up for the 2550100 Alliance will also receive special pricing on QLogic FastLinQ 10Gb Ethernet adapters.
Our award-winning partner programs have been researched and evaluated to ensure that the right level of benefits and requirements are included to ensure channel partners’ success. For example, we offer three levels of training certification so partners can match their expertise against the right level of product knowledge. Our QRewards program provides partner sales representatives and system engineers individual incentives for earning training certifications, identifying sales opportunities and closing deals.
Additionally, we are continually looking for ways to do more. In July, QLogic will launch the Ethernet Pro badge designation under the banner of its foundational Signature Partner Program. The Ethernet Pro badge identifies those QLogic channel partners who have demonstrated competency and capability related to networking technology solutions. Resellers who earn the badge will gain access to additional benefits and incentives made available through Signature Partner. Look for an official announcement on the Ethernet Pro badge opportunity in the early July timeframe.
Finally, QLogic participates in its partners' enablement via the Partner Portal, which offers the latest promotions as well as complete training, MDF joint marketing funds and other support. The portal, called Partner Connection, is a “one-stop shop” for QLogic authorized resellers who want easy and rapid access to the resources and tools that help them bring our solutions to market and generate new business opportunities. Partners who want access to Partner Connection can visit https://connection/qlogic.com.
The Ethernet Alliance's latest interoperability test event will be held June 22 – 25, 2015 at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) in Durham, N.H. The consortium says its largest-ever multi-vendor plugfest represents a complete testing ecosystem for 40 Gigabit (40G) and 100 Gigabit (100G) Ethernet. Additionally, a technical feasibility event on 25 Gigabit per second (25 Gb/s) technologies will be held to assess the state of these technologies, and provide input into standardization and development to optimize future interoperability of the 25 Gigabit Ethernet (25GbE) family.
"Ethernet's continued growth and expansion into new markets and applications is driven by its intrinsic interoperability. The seasoned level of maturity of 40G and 100G Ethernet dictates the need for a broad-scale testing event of this magnitude. These are real technologies being deployed in real-world situations every day," comments John D’Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance, and chief Ethernet technologist, Dell. “As demonstrated by the 25 Gb/s technical feasibility testing, interoperability is something that the industry considers from the very beginning of any Ethernet standardization activity."
Dating back to its inception, the Ethernet Alliance notes that it has worked with the UNH-IOL to host interoperability test events aimed at advancing Ethernet technologies. The current, largest interoperability event hosted by the Ethernet Alliance to date brings together 23 companies representing a diverse array of 40/100G Ethernet technology vendors, including cabling, chip, connector, optics, system, and test equipment manufacturers. The plugfest event provides a rigorous environment enabling the testing of 40 GbE and 100 GbE operation over hundreds of different scenarios, including the various optical and copper solutions that define these two families. Further, as the IEEE 802.3 25 GbE Project is nearing entry into the next development phase, the event's broad testing agenda will enable valuable input to be obtained from vendors for that phase, says the consortium.
"The UNH-IOL contributes a rich history in Ethernet testing to its collaborative partnership with the Ethernet Alliance and together, through interoperability plugfests and ongoing initiatives, we are helping companies bring products to market faster and increasing customer confidence in the reliability and functionality of those products," comments Jeff Lapak, associate director, UNH-IOL.
The Ethernet Alliance 40/100G plugfest will be hosted at UNH-IOL’s 32,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art network and data communications testing facility. Among the companies and organizations taking part are Amphenol Corporation; Arista Networks, Inc.; Avago Technologies Ltd.; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Cube Optics AG; Dell, Inc.; FCI; Hitachi, Ltd.; Intel Corporation; Ixia; JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU); LUXSHARE Precision Industry Co., Ltd.; Marvell Technology Group Ltd.; Mellanox Technologies Ltd.; Molex Incorporated; Oclaro, Inc.; Panduit Corp.; QLogic Corporation; Semtech Corporation; Spirent Communications Plc.; TE Connectivity Ltd.; Teledyne LeCroy, Inc.; and Xilinx, Inc.
The 25Gb/s technical feasibility event is being held concurrently with the 40/100G plugfest. Participating companies include Amphenol Corporation; Arista Networks, Inc.; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Cube Optics AG; Dell, Inc.; FCI; Hitachi, Ltd.; Intel Corporation; Ixia; LUXSHARE Precision Industry Co., Ltd.; Marvell Technology Group Ltd.; Mellanox Technologies Ltd.; Molex Incorporated; Oclaro, Inc.; Panduit Corp.; QLogic Corporation; Spirent Communications Plc.; TE Connectivity Ltd.; and Xilinx, Inc.