Another choice for building storage networks

Although Fibre Channel is the most common, and highest performance interconnect for storage networks, they can also be built using traditional ethernet, or a combination of ether and Fibre Channel using bridging devices, or switches that bridge both interconnects.

Solaris 10 Update 1 will have an integrated iSCSI driver that sends SCSI commands and data over standard ethernet NICs. To applications, file systems, and volume managers, the iSCSI driver looks like the existing SCSI drivers so these layers will run the same on iSCSI/Ethernet as on parallel SCSI or Fibre Channel.

The disadvantage of the iSCSI driver is that more protocol execution is done by the processor, and more significantly, data is copied between user memory and ethernet buffers. Fibre, on the other hand, can DMA directly in and out of application memory as well as offload protocol processing to the HBA.

iSCSI offers at least two benefits though. One is lower cost. It runs on low cost NICs and ethernet switches. Second, the storage network can be managed, in part, using familiar ethernet protocols and tools.

We have customers who are planning to use Sun's rack-mount x64 servers in their data center and who plan to use iSCSI in the Solaris OS on these servers. They have evaluated the performance of these x64 servers and decided they have enough processing power to spare. They like that Solaris iSCSI is integrated (no adding extra patches) and have found it to perform very reliably when faced with a variety of hardware failures and storage network error scenarios. Most plan to bridge iSCSI to FC to access their existing consolidated SAN storage, and some are looking to use native iSCSI arrays.

So, data center administrators have another choice for building storage networks. Either way, the drivers are built-into the Solaris OS, they are highly available, extensively tested and, as always, open based on standards.

Comments:

Is Sun recommending trunking or IPMP alongside your iSCSI initiator?

Posted by Matty on April 06, 2005 at 10:15 PM PDT #

Yes. Sun Supports and recommends trunking and IPMP in specific configurations. iSCSI can have many different types of multipathing.

<dl> <dd>Networking Layer (802.3ad/trunking and IPMP) <dd>iSCSI Layer (Multiple Connections per Session MC/S) <dd>SCSI Layer (MPxIO via Multiple Sessions / Target MS/T) </dl>

In many cases it can even be recommended to use multiple types of multipathing in combination. To help solve customer questions and needs around iSCSI multipathing we are putting together a blueprint/whitepaper. This paper will be released soon.

Posted by David on August 15, 2005 at 01:29 AM PDT #

Post a Comment:
  • HTML Syntax: NOT allowed
About

kgibson

Search

Categories
Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today