Emulex Blogs

Storage with Intense Network Growth and the Rise of RoCE

Posted February 4th, 2015 by Mike Jochimsen

Last month, the Entertainment Storage Alliances (www.entertainmentstorage.org) held the 14th annual Storage Visions conference in Las Vegas, highlighting advances in storage technologies utilized in consumer electronics, the media and entertainment industries. The theme of Storage Visions 2015 was Storage with Intense Network Growth (SWING), which was very appropriate given the explosions going on in both data storage and networking.

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Unleash Your Application Performance with Fibre Channel and Software-defined Storage

Posted January 28th, 2015 by Mike Jochimsen

Today, Emulex and DataCore announced that DataCore SANsymphony-V10 will provide support for Emulex Gen 5 (16Gb) Fibre Channel (FC) adapters as targets in SANsymphony servers.  The joint solution is available from DataCore and its channel partners.

Software-defined storage (SDS) solutions, such as DataCore SANsymphony-V10, turn industry standard servers into full-fledged storage arrays.  Typically, these servers are higher end x86 servers with lots of internal storage, lots of PCI Express (PCIe) slots for added flash storage, or SAS attached local storage.  While these storage arrays are fully functioning and can be used for primary shared storage, the typical use case for SDS and SANsymphony-V10 is to accelerate application performance as an in-line storage resource pool.


SANsymphony-V10 comes complete with a Random Write Accelerator engine, which can dramatically boost performance by caching data into DataCore’s RAM cache and later de-staging to back-end disk. This can improve I/O Operations Per Second (IOPS) by up to 3.6X for solid state disk (SSDs) and 33X for SATA disks.


When coupled with the low latency and high throughput of the Emulex Gen 5 FC HBA, this is a lightning fast solution for accelerating enterprise applications, virtualized servers and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) implementations. Emulex is working with DataCore to implement this solution in a number of environments where performance matters.

For more details on how you can unleash the performance of your enterprise applications with Emulex and DataCore, view the webcast here.

Catch a Rising Star – Nimble Storage and Fibre Channel

Posted November 18th, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

Today, Nimble Storage announced its foray into Fibre Channel (FC) storage with support for Gen 5 (16Gb) FC in the Nimble CS-series Adaptive Flash arrays.  Wait, what? Why is Nimble, who cut their teeth on iSCSI attached hybrid storage, where they are blowing out huge numbers, moving into a “dying” market?  After all, Nimble blew past its own revenue guidance by 89% last quarter, so obviously they are doing something right.  The fact is, there are large deals to be had in FC storage and 16GFC is coming on strong, having doubled share in the last quarter to 10% of the total FC market. (Crehan Research, Sept. 2014 report, slide 13) So, maybe the rumors of FC’s death have been exaggerated.

Nimble was leaving money on the table.  Many of the world’s largest data centers run their mission-critical workloads on FC and will continue to do so due to its reliability, security and scalability.  Recently, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) launched a campaign discussing FC as a trusted foundation for storage, showcasing such customers as AOL, Rackspace and Symantec.

Nimble Storage has been increasing its presence in large enterprises and this offering allows them to provide these customers with the suite of products to meet their needs across mission-critical enterprise applications, disk-based and in-memory databases, virtual/cloud environments and data analytics. The combination of FC with flash-based storage gives customers ideal conditions for a high performance, reliable storage architecture. With this release, Nimble is taking its business to the next level.

Emulex is proud to have partnered with Nimble Storage to enable FC support in these arrays.  Our many customers can now enjoy one more enterprise-class array, which supports Emulex performance leading Gen 5 FC technology end-to-end.  We look forward to catching the Nimble rising star and riding with them.  The combination of Emulex and Nimble Storage offers customers a very high performance and reliable option for running these mission-critical applications.

What Happens When You Cross an Open Source Tool with an Enterprise Data Center?

Posted November 3rd, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

expressconfigThe emergence of new technologies and frameworks, many open source, has created a plethora of opportunities for customers to build innovative architectures for cloud computing, big data and new data storage paradigms.  We are seeing this with frameworks such as OpenStack, repositories such as Hadoop, and object storage technologies such as Ceph, that customers are hungry for solutions, and even more hungry for knowledge on how to implement them.  Each framework or technology brings with it a whole new opportunity for vendors, such as Emulex, to educate our customers with design guides, best practices and reference architectures.

To facilitate this, Emulex today introduced a new line of solutions called ExpressConfigTM.

The family of Emulex ExpressConfig solutions enables IT professionals to optimize I/O connectivity for cloud, Web-scale and enterprise environments. Designed for use with the Emulex OneConnect® OCe14000 family of 10Gb and 40Gb Ethernet (10GbE and 40GbE) Network Adapters and Converged Network Adapters (CNAs), ExpressConfig solutions will help customers get the most value out of the pre-designed integrated system. The solutions will include:

  • Integrated software drivers for OpenStack Neutron, Cinder and Horizon modules
  • Multi-function feature validation confirming key features that work as expected, in combination with other components
  • Performance characterization for important I/O metrics
  • Solution design guides with configuration techniques and best practices
  • Solution specific technical services and support


Solution Blueprints for OpenStack

Working with its partners, Emulex created ExpressConfig Solutions for advanced storage, networking, and big data applications that will be included with upcoming OpenStack releases. These solution blueprints build upon current capabilities to increase tenant density and resource utilization while improving performance, end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) policy enforcement and overall power consumption.

The solution blueprints will address key pain points such as storage performance and scalability, virtualization and CPU overhead, tenant vulnerability to “noisy neighbor” effects that misallocate bandwidth and data protection and accessibility for database applications.


The series of ExpressConfig Solutions will include:

Advanced Networking

Incorporate bandwidth partitioning and traffic classification into global QoS policies and accelerate virtual networks with hardware offloads

Big Data and Analytics

Improve processing efficiency and resource utilization for Hadoop and NoSQL data analytics.

Bare Metal Provisioning

Provision physical and virtual I/O resources from a common orchestration framework and deploy SR-IOV bypass tenant services for maximum performance.

Cloud Storage

Increase the performance and scalability of block and object storage while reducing CPU overhead and power consumption.

These ExpressConfig Solutions bring with them some measurable benefits, such as:

  • Saving time: deploy quickly and efficiently
  • Lowering costs: Reduce infrastructure and operational expenses
  • Simplifying and enhancing the deployment of OpenStack solutions
  • Increasing confidence in scaling cloud and Web-scale environments
  • Accelerating open source cloud deployments with best practice guidelines
  • Increasing SLA attainment

Key Features include:

  • Integrated software drivers
  • Multi-function feature validation
  • Performance characterization for important I/O metrics
  • Solution design guides with configuration techniques and best practices
  • Technical services and support

Learn more about ExpressConfig solutions in our press release today, and stay tuned for additional solution blueprints in the future

RoCE goes horizontal! New IBTA specification enables application acceleration throughout the data center

Posted September 16th, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

Today, Emulex participated with the InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) in announcing an enhancement to the RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) specification, which will be known as “RoCEv2.”  The primary enhancement that RoCEv2 adds to the existing RoCE specification is routability, which breaks the boundary of Layer 2 networks and enables enterprises to use RoCE to accelerate applications anywhere in the data center.  This innovation enables data centers to expand the value of RoCE to multiple domains and physical locations.

RDMA enables more efficient communication by allowing data to be moved directly between memory on two servers without CPU involvement on either of the servers, also called zero copy networking.  This processing occurs on the RDMA-capable Network Interface Card (NIC) and bypasses the TCP/IP stack, accelerating the movement of data.  This allows the data to be directly delivered to the remote memory on the destination server and reduces the CPU I/O workload on both servers for other processing.

While RDMA originated as a feature of InfiniBand networks, efforts to support RDMA on Ethernet have been underway for a number of years.  The initial RoCE specification in 2010 brought RDMA to Ethernet, but required lossless networks that limited its applicability.  Today, one of the primary uses for RoCE is for high performance data transfers on Windows Server 2012 through Server Message Block (SMB) Direct, as well as being supported in various flavors of Linux.  The primary benefits of RoCE are due to the lower latency of offers, better network utilization and lower CPU utilization due to the TCP/IP bypass and hardware offload.  RoCE also furthers the concept of cable consolidation due to the convergence of another protocol onto a single wire from the server to the network.

However, with the continued growth in virtualization, cloud computing and dispersed big data repositories, the ability to accelerate data becomes a global data center issue rather than a local issue confined to a single Layer 2 network.  With routability, RoCEv2 bridges this gap and keeps pace with the expansion of traditionally localized data center functions as they disperse throughout the data center.   In order to accomplish this, the RoCEv2 spec replaces the InfiniBand network layer with an IP header and UDP header above the Ethernet link layer.  This allows RoCE to be routed across traditional IP-based routers.  The protocol stack comparison and frame formats are shown in Figures 1 and 2 below.

Figure 1: RDMA protocol stacks side by side

Figure 1: RDMA protocol stacks side by side


Figure 2: RoCEv2 frame format

Figure 2: RoCEv2 frame format

With this innovation, the industry is able to keep pace with the growing need for both high performance and scale-out architecture in the enterprise.  From traditional enterprise, such as Wall Street banks and hyperscale cloud data centers to large server and storage OEMs, RoCEv2 will enable the continuation of their path to convergence and very dense data centers.

Faster than the speed of SSD!

Posted September 15th, 2014 by Jeet Nagda

Emulex is pushing the boundaries and continuing to push Fibre Channel to new levels. We just released two new features for download on the 10.2 firmware on the Gen 5 (16Gb) Fibre Channel (FC) Host Bus Adapters (HBAs). The first, ExpressLaneTM, is a host side application Quality of Service  (QoS) that we first discussed at SNW Europe last fall.

Bringing queue management to critical applications ensures performance and Service Level Agreements  are met even in peak network traffic. Enterprises now implementing solid state disk (SSD) or flash technology in their fabric are enjoying the blazing fast performance it offers. However, when the Storage Area Network (SAN)-connected flash traffic gets stuck behind lower-priority traffic, users can experience latency and delays in application performance for mission-critical applications. Emulex ExpressLane™ works by highlighting a Logical Unit Number (LUN) on the SAN that has critical data being sent and creating a priority lane. The host side HBA ensures that the frames intended for that LUN will get out quicker and targets the priority LUN. This means that slower high throughput operations, such as backup, will not slow down mission-critical data flow leaving a flexible network. ExpressLane offers a digital ‘carpool lane’ to enterprise networks to meet today’s problems.

The second feature – Brocade ClearLink - adds support for Brocade’s diagnostic (D_port) feature. This Emulex supported feature enables HBAs with Gen 5 FC optics to perform a battery of diagnostic tests with Brocade switches to find errors before they impact communication and pinpoint faulty optics. Made by engineers for engineers, this feature helps save time and keeps the network running smoothly before critical crashes. Finding a single optic or faulty cable can take hours by testing one at a time. Automate the tests and sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee while the network diagnoses itself with Brocade ClearLink on Brocade switches and Emulex HBAs.

Check out this vlog Emulex senior vice president of marketing did recently with Brocade vice president of product management and product marketing, Jack Rondoni discussing the joint partnership between Emulex and Brocade. In the vlog, they talk about some of the changing needs in today’s data centers and how Emulex and Brocade together can solve those problems through Brocade ClearLink and ExpressLane technologies and Emulex and Brocade Gen 5 FC technology.

Intel Haswell launch takes servers to the next level of performance

Posted September 8th, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

Today, Intel announced the latest addition to the Xeon product line, the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600/1600 v3 product family, formerly codenamed Haswell.  Important? Well, important enough for many of the major server vendors to plan announcements around their next major server lines to coincide.  Emulex found plenty of cool new features in this product which, when combined with our features, provides some optimizations for next generation workloads for enterprises, telcos and cloud providers.

Continue reading…

Emulex Announces Bare Metal Provisioning and Other Cool VMworld Topics

Posted August 25th, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

Today at VMworld, Emulex announced our latest products, the Emulex OpenWorks Connector and the OneConnect® OCec14000 series of Cloud Adapters.  Together, these products continue Emulex’s relentless march towards opening up programmability of our adapters, by interfacing with third party applications.  In the case of the OpenWorks Connector, it is for configuration and management of the adapters by third party applications.

The first solution we announced today is the OpenWorks Connector Boot Manager integration with Egenera PAN Manager to allow for bare metal provisioning of rack servers.  You may be familiar with Egenera, who was an early provider of blade solutions in 2000.  Since that time, the company has specialized in automation and management solutions and today ships their Cloud Suite and PAN Manager product, which provisions and manages pools of compute resources.

PAN Manager 8.0, announced today, integrates with OpenWorks Connector Boot Manager to extend the automatic provisioning to rack servers.  With this solution, Emulex and Egenera will have the ability to stage large volumes of rack servers, divide them into pools of images, then automatically configure and image these servers through the Emulex OCec14000 Cloud Adapter without having to fully boot them.  This can easily scale to thousands of servers, allowing for mass deployment of bare metal servers into cloud, Web-scale, and enterprise environments.   This works across heterogeneous servers as well, so those thousands of servers do not need to be identical clones and can have different vendor’s vanity plates on the front.

The combination of the Emulex OpenWorks Connector and Egenera PAN Manager provides a unique solution in the market today, due to its ability to take what was once a blade-only capability and bring it the more popular rack server environment.  In the past, to get a rack server to a usable state required an operating system installation and minimum configuration of the network adapter to get the server network attached.  At that point, a gold image would be installed across the network.  The solution announced today automates that entire process, eliminating the manual steps to get the OS installed.  Because it can be done simultaneously across multiple servers, the ROI grows linearly with each server added to the pool.

Emulex sees this as the first of numerous solutions which will be released on the OpenWorks Connector platform.  Stay tuned for future announcements about support for additional provisioning tools and also additional points of integration to further manage server network connectivity through the Emulex OCec14000 Cloud Adapter.

In addition to the OpenWorks Connector, Emulex will also be showing and talking about a number of other features and cool toys at VMworld, in booth #542:

  • We are showing how Emulex OCe14000 Series of 10 and 40Gb Ethernet adapters, with a turbo engine that supports overlay networks in VMware NSX, can increase throughput by up to 70% while decreasing CPU utilization by up to 50%.
  • We have a presentation, from one of our technical marketing engineers extraordinaire, Alex Amaya, which will show you how we can help deploy VMware Virtual SAN with half the network adapter ports of similar solutions.
  • We will show you how the Emulex OCe14000 Series is the “Swiss Army knife” of network adapters, providing hardware offload support for block storage protocols, overlay networks offload support, NIC partitioning support to divide Emulex NIC port into four separate NIC functions.
  • And finally, we are showing two cool servers from our partners Hyve and Quanta, with Emulex adapters inside.

Here’s the schedule of presentations at the show, every hour from 12-5 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:


Like every year, this promises to be a VMworld full of high octane events and lots of new products introduced.  At Emulex, we believe our products are right in the forefront of innovation and efficiency.  We provide real data center solutions, which allow our customers to scale from physical, to virtual, to cloud, while optimizing the use of your compute resources, to get the most efficiency out of your servers and network.

Cisco Broadens the Portfolio to Meet Customer Needs – From Low to High

Posted July 31st, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

Today, Cisco announced that they are broadening their MDS portfolio.  The importance of this announcement is really in the breadth of the offering.  With this new suite of offerings, Cisco has addressed the entry level all the way to the scale-out cloud environment.  This was driven by the explosive growth of storage, led by video applications, the Internet of Everything (IoE), big data and private clouds.

  • The Cisco MDS 9148S Multilayer Fabric Switch starts with a default of 12 16Gb Fibre Channel (16GFC) ports and, utilizing a “pay as you grow” model, scales to 48 ports.  With hot swappable redundant power supplies and integrated fans, this offering brings an affordable, entry level option to smaller SAN deployments.
  • In addition, Cisco announced the new MDS 9706 Director with high performance, high available fully redundant components and a fault-tolerant architecture.  The MDS 9706 is design to seamlessly scale storage deployments for private cloud and converged infrastructures.
  • Finally, Cisco added a Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) module to its MDS 9700 Director class, for the first time bringing multi-protocol support to the MDS 9700 line.  This provides Cisco Director customers with a direct bridge to their FCoE environments.

We have seen similar trends with customers extending the use of their installed Fibre Channel SANs for these new storage needs.  At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in April, I visited with a number of our FC storage partners who are building Gen 5 (16GFC) flash-based storage appliances to media companies for the creation and storage of 4K and 8K video.  The 4K video format, which offers 4000 pixel-wide output, quadruples the resolution of high-definition video and consumes a LOT more storage.  One can only imagine what the emerging 8K video standard will require. Big data and IoE continue to be hallway and tradeshow conversations, but more importantly customers are actually feeling the impact in their storage environments. These buzzwords simply describe the type and sources of this new data.  Companies are beginning to exploit the value of this data through analytical applications which can combine intelligence with traditional sources of enterprise data.  This drives the big data repository from science experiment to production capability pretty quickly. The need to combine analysis of this new data with traditional data drives these customers to look for way to combine these repositories on their existing SAN. Finally, as customers exploit the promise of virtualization to become internal service organizations private clouds are becoming more prevalent.  Once again, these customers are finding ways to leverage current FC SAN infrastructures as the back-end data stores for their private cloud offerings to their internal customers.  Even OpenStack, which is emerging as a private cloud infrastructure option, provides support for FC-attached storage from Nova compute is available now and the community is discussing support for FC within Cinder. We applaud Cisco for recognizing these needs and extending the MDS product line to address them.  Customers are clearly valuing their FC SANs as they enter the new world of big data and private clouds.  We expect this trend to continue and we will work with the industry to enable it.

Learn more in Cisco’s blog here.

NFV Performance & ROI Rockets With New Features on Emulex 10Gb & 40GbE Adapters

Posted June 11th, 2014 by Barbara Porter

Telcos around the world have long recognized the value of Emulex I/O solutions but today, Emulex has announced planned advanced features that will enable them to more quickly develop and deliver quality network services to customers. The new features include packet processing enhancements and enhanced programmability for the Emulex OneConnect® OCe14000 series of 10Gb and 40Gb Ethernet (10/40GbE) Network and Converged Network Adapters (CNAs). The new features enable telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) and telecom operators to accelerate the deployment of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solutions. 6WIND and Emulex have partnered to develop the Emulex Poll Mode Driver (PMD) for increased packet processing and performance updates to the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), a set of data plane libraries and network interface controller drivers for fast packet processing on industry standard servers. These updates are based on the new Emulex open SURF application programming interface (API) which speeds performance and deployment of NFV workloads.

The Benefits for Telcos: Continue reading…

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