Archive for the ‘Fibre Channel’ Category

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Next Evolution for Storage Networking: Self-driving SANs

By Todd Owens, Technical Marketing Manager, Marvell

and Jacqueline Nguyen, Marvell Field Marketing Manager

Storage area network (SAN) administrators know they play a pivotal role in ensuring mission-critical workloads stay up and running. The workloads and applications that run on the infrastructure they manage are key to overall business success for the company.

Like any infrastructure, issues do arise from time to time, and the ability to identify transient links or address SAN congestion quickly and efficiently is paramount. Today, SAN administrators typically rely on proprietary tools and software from the Fibre Channel (FC) switch vendors to monitor the SAN traffic. When SAN performance issues arise, they rely on their years of experience to troubleshoot the issues.

What creates congestion in a SAN anyway?

Refresh cycles for servers and storage are typically shorter and more frequent than that of SAN infrastructure. This results in servers and storage arrays that run at different speeds being connected to the SAN. Legacy servers and storage arrays may connect to the SAN at 16GFC bandwidth while newer servers and storage are connected at 32GFC.

Fibre Channel SANs use buffer credits to manage the prioritization of the traffic flow in the SAN. When a slower device intermixes with faster devices on the SAN, there can be situations where response times to buffer credit requests slow down, causing what is called “Slow Drain” congestion. This is a well-known issue in FC SANs that can be time consuming to troubleshoot and, with newer FC-NVMe arrays, this problem can be magnified. But these days are soon coming to an end with the introduction of what we can refer to as the self-driving SAN.

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Still the One: Why Fibre Channel Will Remain the Gold Standard for Storage Connectivity

By Todd Owens, Technical Marketing Manager, Marvell

For the past two decades, Fibre Channel has been the gold standard protocol in Storage Area Networking (SAN) and has been a mainstay in the data center for mission-critical workloads, providing high-availability connectivity between servers, storage arrays and backup devices. If you’re new to this market, you may have wondered if the technology’s origin has some kind of British backstory. Actually, the spelling of “Fibre” simply reflects the fact that the protocol supports not only optical fiber but also copper cabling; though the latter is for much shorter distances.

During this same period, servers matured into multicore, high-performance machines with significant amounts of virtualization. Storage arrays have moved away from rotating disks to flash and NVMe storage devices that deliver higher performance at much lower latencies. New storage solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure have come to market to allow applications to move out of the data center and closer to the edge of the network. Ethernet networks have gone from 10Mbps to 100Gbps and beyond. Given these changes, one would assume that Fibre Channel’s best days are in the past.

The reality is that Fibre Channel technology remains the gold standard for server to storage connectivity because it has not stood still and continues to evolve to meet the demands of today’s most advanced compute and storage environments. There are several reasons Fibre Channel is still favored over other protocols like Ethernet or InfiniBand for server to storage connectivity.

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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.

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Breaking Digital Logjams with NVMe

By Ian Sagan, Marvell Field Applications Engineer

and Jacqueline Nguyen, Marvell Field Marketing Manager

and Nick De Maria, Marvell Field Applications Engineer

Have you ever been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic? Frustrated by long checkout lines at the grocery store? Trapped at the back of a crowded plane while late for a connecting flight?

Such bottlenecks waste time, energy and money. And while today’s digital logjams might seem invisible or abstract by comparison, they are just as costly, multiplied by zettabytes of data struggling through billions of devices – a staggering volume of data that is only continuing to grow.

Fortunately, emerging Non-Volatile Memory Express technology (NVMe) can clear many of these digital logjams almost instantaneously, empowering system administrators to deliver quantum leaps in efficiency, resulting in lower latency and better performance. To the end user this means avoiding the dreaded spinning icon and getting an immediate response.

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How to Reap the Benefits of NVMe over Fabric in 2020

By Todd Owens, Technical Marketing Manager, Marvell

As native Non-volatile Memory Express (NVMe®) share-storage arrays continue enhancing our ability to store and access more information faster across a much bigger network, customers of all sizes – enterprise, mid-market and SMBs – confront a common question: what is required to take advantage of this quantum leap forward in speed and capacity?

Of course, NVMe technology itself is not new, and is commonly found in laptops, servers and enterprise storage arrays. NVMe provides an efficient command set that is specific to memory-based storage, provides increased performance that is designed to run over PCIe 3.0 or PCIe 4.0 bus architectures, and — offering 64,000 command queues with 64,000 commands per queue — can provide much more scalability than other storage protocols.

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