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September 7th, 2021

Got Chemistry? Windows Server 2022 and Marvell QLogic Fibre Channel

By Nishant Lodha, Director of Product Marketing – Emerging Technologies, Marvell

Recently, Microsoft® announced the general availability of Windows® Server 2022, a release that us geeks refer to with its codename “Iron.” At Marvell we have long worked to integrate our server connectivity solutions into Windows and like to think of the Marvell® QLogic® Fibre Channel (FC) technology as that tiny bit of “carbon” that turns “iron” to “steel” – strong yet flexible and designed to make business applications shine. Let’s dive into the bits and bytes of how the combination of Windows Server 2022 and Marvell QLogic FC makes for great chemistry.

If you ask hybrid cloud IT managers and architects to identify the three things they need more of from their IT infrastructure, the responses would resoundingly focus on the following: improved security, scalability that does not break the bank, and an easy way to manage the hardest things. Based on the input from our customers on the challenges that they face in today’s demanding and evolving IT environments, Marvell has continued to enhance its QLogic FC technology to address these critical requirements. Marvell QLogic FC technology builds on the new features of Microsoft Windows Server 2022 and further extends the security, scalability and management capabilities to offer server connectivity solutions that are designed specifically with our customers’ needs in mind.

Better security and reliability: Security threats continue to evolve and increase, driving CIOs towards securing the server all the way down to the firmware at the lowest layers of the system platform, where attacks are the most difficult to detect. Advanced multi-layer security in Windows Server 2022 provides the comprehensive protection that business-critical servers must have. Secured-core servers offered by OEMs use hardware, firmware, and Windows capabilities to their fullest extent to provide protection against current and future threats.

In Windows Server 2022, Marvell QLogic 2770 Series Enhanced 32GFC HBAs incorporate an immutable hardware root of trust (RoT) and Secure Boot capabilities to prevent malicious firmware from hijacking the Fibre Channel HBA. QLogic 2770 Series RoT provides both greater integrity and immunity during firmware updates by validating firmware embedded signatures with hardware embedded keys to ensure authenticity.

Marvell FC HBAs provide complete port-level isolation across the FC controller architecture. This unique architecture provides an independent protocol handling function and firmware image for each physical HBA port. Complete port-level isolation prevents errors and security breaches from propagating across physical FC HBA ports, critical functionality for any containment strategy.

Scalability without surgery: Windows Server 2022 enables a flexible application platform for SQL Server and nested virtualization, with support of up to 48TB of memory and as many as 64 sockets. SQL Server workloads that demand higher throughput, IOPS, and lower latency are moving to flash/NVMe. NVMe enables deep parallelism, faster random access, and better flash access over PCI Express® (PCIe®) to maximize bandwidth. NVMe works best when coupled with a network that can provide lossless, low-latency, and high-performing transport. FC-NVMe extends these benefits over a Fibre Channel fabric. Marvell QLogic 2770 Series Enhanced 32GFC HBAs provide inbox support for FC-NVMe in Windows Server 2022, making access to scalable, high-speed storage a breeze for SQL Server applications.

At scale, SAN congestion, although rare, has the potential to quickly spread and significantly disrupt application performance, leading to lost business and productivity. Today’s SANs, specifically those with hundreds of nodes and with flash storage, can be prone to congestion. Utilizing standards-based Fabric Notification (FPINs), Marvell’s QLogic 2770 Series HBAs implement Universal SAN Congestion Mitigation Technology (USCM). USCM uniquely enables— with both Brocade® and Cisco® SAN fabrics—to keep applications running at peak performance by providing an in-band and zero touch SAN congestion detection, notification, and avoidance system.

Access to low latency NVMe storage and keeping congestion at bay means applications like SQL Server can scale without the pain that comes with growth.

Easy button management: For most IT professionals, server management is a task that is done regularly on a day-to-day basis. Core services run on servers and without proper management, things can become messy quite quickly. In Windows, historically the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) was the central point of managing the platform. In Window Server 2022, the Windows Admin Center (WAC) is a new 100% web-based preferred server management tool. WAC provides a modern-day UI that ensures access to server management from any device at any time. Marvell QLogic 2770 Series Enhanced 32GFC HBAs can be managed right from inside the WAC by deploying the Marvell QLogic FC QConvergeConsole® extension, expanding the familiar and robust interface to include Marvell QLogic FC HBA management. 

And, it gets even better. Powered by StorFusion™ technology, Marvell QLogic FC controllers can facilitate advanced management features and intelligent provisioning when deployed with supported Brocade and Cisco switches. By implementing these industry-leading solutions together, Windows Server 2022 Server and SAN administra­tors can take advantage of advanced diagnostics and software-defined provisioning that works automatically to improve availability and accelerate deployment. This easy button management means there is no need to even press a button.

In summary, with hardware root of trust for security, inbox FC-NVMe for SQL Server scaling and HBA management integrated into WAC, Marvell QLogic FC HBAs can be thought of as the “carbon” that enhances Windows Server 2022 and makes your apps shine like steel. It’s all about great chemistry.

Find out more at www.marvell.com/QLogic

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