Feeds

Neterion's NICs are virtually there

Spring kicks off with virtual migrations

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

10Gig Ethernet specialist Neterion is announcing its third generation of virtualisation-aware network adapters at VMworld Europe this week, with a claim that these NICs will greatly speed up network-intensive tasks such as migrating virtual machines (VMs) from one server to another.

The cards offload work normally done in the hypervisor - in most VMs, the network driver routes I/O to a virtual network within the hypervisor, which then controls the physical network interface.

In contrast, Neterion's X3100 series card behaves like multiple physical network cards, allowing each VM to have its own network interface.

"By offloading many of the hypervisor tasks from host to the X3100 adapters, virtualised applications on VMs can achieve over four times the performance levels of virtualised servers without the offload features," Neterion boss Dave Zabrowski said.

There are other ways to get around the problem of virtualising the network within the hypervisor. One is to allow the VM to cut through to the physical network card, but then the guest OS has to be virtualisation-aware. Or you can simply put in multiple network cards, one per VM - but that breaks the virtual model as your VMs are no longer hardware-independent.

So virtualising network cards from Neterion (and rivals such as Intel, NetXen, NextIO and Solarflare) offload the virtualisation work into hardware. For example, the new Neterion X3100 has 17 hardware-based bidirectional I/O paths, each of which can run at line rate. The idea is that this will match to a 16-core server, with one extra path for management.

The devices are compatible with VMware's ESX Server 3.5 and its NetQueue I/O virtualisation (IOV) spec, and can reduce CPU utilisation by up to 50 per cent via a new Large Receive Offload feature, Zabrowski said.

He claimed they are also the first of their kind to support the PCI-SIG's new SR-IOV (single-root IOV) standard, which allows one adapter to behave like multiple physical adapters in a virtualised server.

"This product is a watershed for the industry," he declared. "With the X3100 series supporting full IOV compliance with a silicon-based I/O path architecture, all applications become candidates to run on a virtualised server."

Dave Malcolm, engineering veep at US-based software developer Surgient, said Neterion's virtualising adapters have enabled his company's ESX 3.5 servers to run at more than 80 per cent utilisation.

"And with the 10Gig line rate performance, we have eliminated the I/O bottlenecks for server-to-server and server-to-storage networking applications," he added. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.