Ethernet 10gigE takes on Fibre Channel

BlueArc's newest product now has 10 gigabit Ethernet support

BlueArc's latest and largest Titan 2500 NAS/iSCSI product now has 10 gigabit Ethernet support, signalling the arrival of serious Ethernet competition to Fibre Channel.

Fibre Channel connects storage area networks (SANs) to servers at 2Gbit/s with a current transition to 8Gbit/s. It provides a guaranteed delivery of data blocks and this, together with its speed has limited the incursion of IP SANs, ones using iSCSI signals sent over Ethernet.

When Ethernet runs at 1Gbit/s it has a speed disadvantage to Fibre Channel that negates its low cost and simpler operation. It's possible to aggregate these Ethernet links to increase bandwidth, but this complicates matters. It means multiple devices, aggregated multiple network switches, or putting up with throttled back applications.

This disparity remains when customers upgrade to a 10Gbit/s Ethernet infrastructure while their storage infrastructure has no 10gigE support.

With end-to-end 10gigE networking, from storage to server, then the full bandwidth is available and iSCSI block storage, together with networked-attached (NAS) file storage, can have a truer comparison with Fibre Channel.

Greg Schulz, a senior analyst at StorageIO, said: "10 Gigabit Ethernet (is) becoming table stakes for iSCSI and NAS connectivity."

EMC's Chuck Hollis, VP of technical alliances, said in his blog: "There's nothing wrong with FC SANs. They work as advertised. And as the saying goes, 'don't fix it if it ain't broke.'" FC delivers the data goods with no latency whereas iSCSI is unpredictable. Server apps can fail if storage access latency is too long.

However, increased Ethernet speed can help to sort that out. If cost and green pressures on IT increase then Ethernet economics could start swinging SAN access in Ethernet's favor in enterprises. Hollis said: "Servers that use on-board Ethernet use less energy than those that use an add-on FC card (or two!), besides being smaller (think very dense blade servers). (I) don't know if the discussion will progress to that level, but it's possible."

"Going out a bit farther, I believe that further cost reductions in 10Gbit/s Ethernet technology will encourage people to take another look at an alternative to FC. Once it starts becoming standard on server motherboards, and port costs come down to near where 1Gbit/s technology is today, the discussion will open up again."

The arrival of end-to-end 10Gbit/s Ethernet storage networking may well herald the opening up of this FC or Ethernet discussion.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Mellor

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?