Emulex Blogs

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:

schedule

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…

The Future of Fibre Channel webcast

Posted April 18th, 2014 by Emulex

By Jeet Nagda

What is the right connectivity “tool” for the right job? We plan to explore this very question as it relates to Fibre Channel and its future for next generation data centers, with Ben Woo, managing director of Neuralytix.

It’s no secret that Fibre Channel is the handy wrench that people keep around for years to solve the real problems of storage. It is a mature technology, well understood by the industry and already implemented in low latency, high performance environments. And it’s still alive and well. An excerpt from the research note authored by Ben on behalf of Emulex, entitled “The Future of Fibre Channel” states:

“The design of modern storage systems, with its multi-protocol architectures and software-definition, does not eliminate the dependencies on underlying block storage devices. To meet the demands of massively parallel high-bandwidth applications, storage systems depend on an even higher performing underlying subsystem (Fibre Channel) to sustain the performance.” Ben Woo, Neuralytix.

As Fibre Channel ports continue to grow, with flash arrays becoming more prominent in today’s data centers, emphasis on scale-up databases, dense virtualization and ultra-fast solid state disk (SSD) makes Fibre Channel the clear choice for preferred enterprise storage network. Join us on Tuesday, April 22 at 11 a.m. PT to learn more, register now!

Don’t Gamble With Your 4K Video Production! Emulex Shows How It’s Done at NAB.

Posted April 7th, 2014 by Mike Jochimsen

Today, I have the opportunity to walk the show floor at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas with more than 90,000 others viewing the wares from more than 1,500 companies. Why would I do this to myself after I just spent three days doing much the same thing at Interop in Las Vegas last week? I’m there to witness the explosion of 4K video along with a number of Emulex partners, including CacheIO, Echostreams and Studio Network Solutions (SNS).

With new 4K video cameras capable of offering outputs of 4,000 pixels wide, media companies now have the ability to provide content at 4x the resolution of current high definition standards. In order to meet the high I/O, bandwidth and latency needs of the video production, post-production and streaming processes, storage companies are turning to Emulex LightPulse® Gen 5 (16GFC) Fibre Channel (FC) technology to achieve the best performance for their customers.

Today we announced that we are working with CacheIO, Echostreams and SNS to deliver high performance storage and caching appliances for 4K and 8K media production, post-production and streaming. These companies have leveraged the Emulex OneCoreTM Storage Software Development Kit (SDK), a comprehensive solution for independent hardware and software vendors (IHVs and ISVs) and system integrators to create target side drivers in a custom, high efficiency environment, for storage, flash/solid state disk (SSD) and applications that require low latency and high performance I/O connectivity. The Emulex OneCore Storage SDK offers the widest range of storage applications and comprehensive back-end support, as well as support for all Emulex I/O connectivity solutions, including FC Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) and the newly announced OneConnect® OCe14000 family of  Ethernet and Converged Network Adapters (CNAs).

  • CacheIO (booth #SL10810): With SSD bandwidth of up to 140Gbps, and scaling up to 48TB SSD capacity, the CacheIO Flash Array is ideal for 4K/8K media production. The CacheIO FA140 Flash Array now incorporates Emulex LightPulse Gen 5 FC HBAs for optimized target connectivity for production and post-production workflow. The form factor of the LightPulse Gen 5 FC HBAs enables production workstations to access up to nine simultaneous uncompressed 4K streams form a single 2RU CacheIO array.
  • Echostreams (booth #SL10810): The FlacheSAN2 is a 2U high performance SSD flash storage appliance. With dense storage capacity and numerous I/O expansion slots, it is ideally suited for digital content streaming at the network edge. Emulex Gen 5 FC technology, using the Emulex OneCore SDK, provides an extremely high performance, low latency target for Echostreams.
  • Studio Network Solutions (SNS) (booth #SL10827): SNS EVO is a complete, networked storage server solution for video/film/TV, graphics, visual effects, animation, audio, and broadcast production environments. SNS EVO shared media storage server is a blend of simplicity and performance. By integrating a NAS and a SAN into one system, customers get the benefits of both file sharing and volume sharing.  Emulex Gen 5 FC technology brings the latency and performance requirements to meet the needs of these diverse customers.

This is the best bet you can make in Las Vegas today! Avoid busting in black jack, rolling snake eyes at the craps table and seeing that random line of apples, grapes and cherries, which result in you not getting that 95 percent payout the casino advertised on its slot machines. With Emulex and the storage partners who utilize our technology, you are going to make top dollar back on your investment.

Emulex OneConnect Adapters Are “Open” for Business

Posted April 1st, 2014 by Barbara Porter

…For data centers built on Open Compute Project (OCP) designs that is! The Open Compute Project Foundation is a rapidly growing community of engineers around the world whose mission is to design and enable the delivery of the most efficient server, storage and data center hardware designs for scalable computing. The OCP designs are maximized for total cost of ownership (TCO), energy efficiency, and reduced complexity in the scalable computing space. To that end, Emulex has released the OCm14000-OCP series of Ethernet and Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) for data centers utilizing OCP-based server designs.

By taking a quick look at the chart below, you will see that Emulex has packaged up some very nice advanced features for cloud and enterprise network use as well as for converged data centers–features that are above and beyond what you’ll find in other competitive products.

Specifically, data centers built upon OCP designs that utilize Emulex OCm14000-OCP series adapters can now take advantage of a powerful set of features and capabilities, including:

  • Open Enablement of Software-defined Networking (SDN): The recently introduced Emulex SURF open API, provides the tools needed to implement SDN technology that can be optimized for next generation applications and new industry standards, such as OpenStack, CloudStack and OpenFlow.
  • High-Performance Virtualization: OCm14000-OCP adapters uses highly efficient and scalable hardware offload technology to transfer the overhead of virtual networking, providing up to 50 percent better CPU utilization1 compared to standard NICs when used for VMware VirtualWire connection, thereby increasing the number of VMs that can be supported per server. In addition, the OCm14000-OCP adapters deliver a fundamental 4x performance increase in small packet network performance,2 which is required to scale transaction-heavy and clustered applications.
  • Rapid, Secure and Scalable Cloud Connectivity: Emulex Virtual Network Exceleration (VNeX) offload technology provides up to 70 percent better performance1 vs. software-only implementations of emerging overlay network standards such as Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) used by Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) used in VMware NSX. These overlay network standards enable virtual and cloud environments to scale beyond the limitations of Layer 2 networks and support seamless migration from anywhere to anywhere.  
  • Optimized Application Delivery with Advanced RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) Architecture: The OCm14000-OCP adapters are based on a low-latency RoCE architecture that help enterprise IT and cloud data centers optimize unstructured and file-based storage environments, which are based on Windows Server SMB Direct and Linux NFS protocols.
  • Increased Block Protocol Performance: The OCm14000-OCP adapters increase total block protocol I/O operations per second (IOPS) by 50 percent over previous generation CNAs2 and build upon the proven history of enterprise-class storage reliability at Emulex.

Available configurations include single and dual-port 10GbE SFP+ Ethernet Network Adapter models and a single-port 40GbE Ethernet[KL3] Network Adapter model, as well as a dual-port 10GbE QSFP+ CNA model. The OCm14000-OCP- series of adapters adhere to the mezzanine card specification for OCP v2.0 motherboards.

The OCm14000-OCP series of adapters will be available starting in calendar Q3 2014.

  1. Based on Emulex Implementers Lab blog
  2. Based on Emulex Labs testing

Place Your Bets, Then Visit Emulex at Interop Las Vegas

Posted March 28th, 2014 by Emulex

By: Rick Trujilio, product marketing manager, Endace division of Emulex (blog cross posted from Endace on Network Visibility blog)

I just love this time of year. Not only is it finally warming up outside after this unseasonably cold winter, but we are in full swing with March Madness and the Final Four is shaping up for a thrilling conclusion. Yeah, and my NCAA tournament bracket picks didn’t make me a billionaire either, but there is still a chance to win big as I just happen to be heading to Las Vegas. Yes, that’s right, it’s that time again for Interop, where there is an opportunity to learn about the latest IT technology innovations.

We are exhibiting at Interop in booth #1158, scheduled from Tuesday, April 1 through Thursday, April 3 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

We will be giving presentations in our booth theatre every hour on the half hour on a variety of topics, including our OneConnect® network connectivity products and Endace® network visibility products. Learn about how Emulex products are used in overlay networks, software-defined networking (SDN), as well as improving response times for security incidents. And, just for listening to our presentations, all of our attendees will receive a promotional giveaway and a chance to win an iPad Air. Don’t miss out!

Here is a rundown of the sessions we’ll be presenting:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2:30 p.m.: Emulex OneConnect Open Compute Project (OCP) 10 & 40GbE Adapters, Barbara Porter, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Emulex

3:30 p.m. : What? Who? When? How Network Visualization Can Help You Answer the Difficult Questions that Arise from Security BreachesSonny Singh, Channel Marketing & Alliances Manager, Emulex

4:30 p.m. : Overlay NetworksBrandon Hoff, Director of Product Marketing, Emulex

5:30 p.m. : Emulex OneConnect Open Compute Project (OCP) 10 & 40GbE AdaptersBarbara Porter, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Emulex

6:30 p.m. : What? Who? When? How Network Visualization Can Help You Answer the Difficult Questions that Arise from Security BreachesSonny Singh, Channel Marketing & Alliances Manager, Emulex

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

11:00 a.m : Overlay NetworksBrandon Hoff, Director of Product Marketing, Emulex

12:00 p.m. : Software Defined SANsScott Ruple, Marketing, Jeda Networks

1:00 p.m. : What? Who? When? How Network Visualization Can Help You Answer the Difficult Questions that Arise from Security BreachesSonny Singh, Sr. Channel Marketing & Alliances Manager, Emulex

2:00 p.m.: Emulex OneConnect Open Compute Project (OCP) 10 & 40GbE AdaptersBarbara Porter, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Emulex

3:00 p.m. : Software Defined SANsScott Ruple, Marketing, Jeda Networks

4:00 p.m. : Next Generation EndaceDAG™ Data Capture Card, Rick Trujillo, Product Marketing Manager, Emulex

Thursday, April 3, 2014

11:00 a.m.: 12:00pm: Software Defined SANsScott Ruple, Marketing, Jeda Networks

12:00 p.m.: Next Generation EndaceDAG Data Capture Card, Rick Trujillo, Product Marketing Manager, Emulex

1:00 p.m.: Emulex OneConnect Open Compute Project (OCP) 10 & 40GbE AdaptersBarbara Porter, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Emulex

1:00 p.m.: What? Who? When? How Network Visualization Can Help You Answer the Difficult Questions that Arise from Security BreachesSonny Singh, Channel Marketing & Alliances Manager, Emulex

In addition, for the second year running, Emulex has been selected to provide its EndaceProbe™ Intelligent Network Recorders (INRs) to record all of the activity on the Interop network, otherwise known as InteropNet (read our related blog here for all of the details). We are proud to provide a critical service to such a modern and cutting-edge network!

Don’t gamble on your network visibility infrastructure (or your network connectivity, for that matter!). Come by and learn how we can help you gain full visibility into your network and help you resolve your most critical network and security issues while reducing your network downtime and outages.

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