Feeds

InfiniBand and 10GbE break data centre gridlock

Bandwidth bonanza in the data centre

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Analysis Data centre network pipes are getting choked up. Imagine Germany minus the autobahns or the US without interstate highways and you get the picture - cities trying to send goods and people by road to other cities and the single carriageway roads jamming up, consigning everybody to gridlock.

What were quaint little cottage industries in the data centre - Windows servers on slow Ethernet LANs - have turned into humming temples to automated IT mass production as bladed and virtualised and multi-core, multi-socket servers scream through their processing loads at Star Trek warp speed and then... wait... wait... for the slow network to cough up the next slug of server processor fuel: the data.

Even the high-performance computing (HPC) world is suffering. Although it has its own dedicated InfiniBand super-highways which make Ethernet look like snail mail compared to email, super-computers became addicted to processing cores and yesterday's 100-core model gave way to a 1,000-core model and multi-thousand-core super-duper-whooper-computers seem quite common these days. Dual-rate 20GBit/s InfiniBand (IB) isn't enough.

A network pipe delivering data to servers is just like a pipe bringing water to a shower head. If the same pipe has to serve two shower heads then each one gets half the water. Four heads means each gets a quarter of the pipe's water. Eight heads - you can see how it goes.

So data centre network pipe technology is getting upgraded as virtualised and bladed servers cry out for faster I/O to keep them busy. InfiniBand and Ethernet products from Alacritech, Mellanox and QLogic are bumping network speeds up two fold and tenfold respectively.

10GigE?

Mellanox has produced a Converged Network Adapter (CNA), a two-port 10GbE product that sits on a server's motherboard, the ConnectX ENt. Mellanox is primarily known for InfiniBand technology so 10GbE is a bit of a departure for it. The technology can support virtualisation acceleration features like NetQueue and SR-IOV, also I/O consolidation fabrics like Data Centre Ethernet (DCE), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and InfiniBand over Ethernet (IBoE). (With InfiniBand supporting Ethernet we could have an infinity of network recursion here.)

An eight-core server could use this product to deliver more than 1Gbit/s Ethernet bandwidth to each core. Mellanox says the ConnectX ENt cost is $200-300 per port vs $400-500 for a Fibre Channel HBA and $300-400 per port for a QLogic CNA. The product does not have a TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) on it or support iSCSI.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
A beheading in EMC's ViPR lair? Software's big cheese to advise CEO
Changes amid rivalry in the storage snake pit
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.