QLogic sues over video of chip frying egg
Slaps Emulex after storage network breakfast claim
Storage networking outfit QLogic has sued archrival Emulex for posting a web video that shows an egg frying on a QLogic converged network adapter.
As noticed by The Street, QLogic filed suit on Monday in a California Superior Court, claiming the Emulex video is intentionally deceptive.
"Emulex's video purporting to show an egg frying on a QLogic semiconductor chip is misleading and intended to deceive potential customers of QLogic products," the suit reads.
The suit also alleges that during a recent quarterly earnings call, Emulex made "completely and utterly false statements" intended to harm QLogic's business. Among other things, the suit says, Emulex claimed that QLogic's competing converged network adapter lacked a "certified and hardened Ethernet stack to support demanding server requirements."
In the Emulex video - posted to YouTube and an Emulex blog in late January - a company engineer tells viewers he wants to help them avoid an "actual crash and burn in the data center," before claiming that the QLogic QLE8152 converged network adapter has an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, "as much as 70 degrees higher" than the Emulex OCe10102.
He then says that higher temperatures "can be directly correlated to lower performance and lower reliability." And "to prove his point," the engineer presents what he calls an unconventional test. "Instead of going into the lab," he says, "we're going into the kitchen."
The video then cuts to a miniature frying pan sitting atop the chip at the heart of the QLogic QLE98152. "This time lapse video shows that [the chip] gets so hot, you can actually fry an egg on it," the engineer says. "Would you want this in your server? No way."
Yes, the video is time-lapsed. And the egg is squeezed onto the miniature frying pan with a syringe.
"In fact, it's not just the [chip] that's at risk," the Emulex engineer continues. "The heat has to go somewhere and it happens to be right into your server. A server failure can have a huge impact on your operations, employee productivity, or customer satisfaction, depending on your applications."
And you've guessed the punchline. "If you want the lowest temperatures, the best performance, and proven reliable products, come to Emulex," he says, "if you want breakfast, go to QLogic."
QLogic's suit insists the video's claims are unfounded. "Emulex has no basis to support its 'datacenter failure' claims, and as a result, its claims are false and misleading and intended to deceive potential customers of QLogic products," the suit reads.
The doesn't say one way or another whether a QLogic converged network adapter can fry an egg - though it does say that "Emulex's focus on a point heat source on a QLogic product and equating that with reliability" is misleading as well.
For your enjoyment, we've embedded the video below. ®
Thanks to Reggie for the tip.
Physics by smoke and mirrors...
Point 1 is that egg is clearly not being fried - simply you cannot fry an egg at those temperatures. Typically you need oil to be up around 180 degrees C or so, not a miserable 190 Fahrenheit. So that's not even a boiled egg - more one that has congealed through a combination of being gently warmed and throroughtly bored by a long wait (hence the time lapse).
Secondly, the claim that sticking heatsinks on the chips reduces heat soak into the server. Well there is a slight point in that a cooler semiconductor will be slightly more efficient so there may be a tiny effect at the margin. A more likely reason is to improve reliability of operation as the chip is unstable at higher temperatures (and, at extremes, it will improve longevity). Hyperclockers know this sort of stuff. However, festooning a board with heatsinks is, as often as not, a sign that it's using a lot of power. Think of all those high performance graphics cards stuffed with fans and heatsinks due to the silly power consumption numbers.
If you are worried about heat soak into your server and datacentre, simply read the board specs on the power consumption (and you can guarantee that server builders pay attention). Choose the one that uses the least power that delivers the performance levels and has a decent reliability reputation (OK - there's not actually that much choice in this case) and don't worry about frying eggs (which they can't). In general, boards with fewer, and smaller, heatsinks (and fans) use less power.
As it is, that video is a joke and treating customers like idiots and is more in the line of the sort of pseudo-science that is used by celebrities to flog over-priced "wonder" cosmetics to the fairer sex ("and now for the science bit"). Just a play on psychology. In this case they haven't realised that they are trying to sell to a bunch of IT nerds, many of whom have a training in science.
Great demo, bad physics...
OK, the egg frying was a fantastic storyboard...but the physics is deceptive at best, and possibly badly enough to warrant litigation.
Certainly, having a massive board-covering heatsink a la Emulex is a good design practice, and it _may_ help increase chip life. But that is a POINT heatsource, and while it is true that the Qlogic board has the highest temperature point heatsource, there is NO WAY you can generalise that into saying their board - OVERALL - runs hotter and has more thermal impact to your server and data centre. The only way to draw that conclusion is by comparing the watts of power consumed by each board - and I notice that Emulex doesn't say anything about that...which leads me to believe (too lazy to look up the specs on each board) that they are roughly comparable - which you would expect, as they both are roughly the same performance, and probably both built on the same transistor sizes on die.
So it would appear that Qlogic may very well have a point to litigate...although I can't blame Emulex for trying - it was a great ad.
Emulex engineers ?
- don't know the difference between molecules and atoms.
- data does not 'flow' . Electrons flow !
i switched it of after that.
Besides, electrons become more mobile as heat increases.
If that is the quality of engineers at Emulex i'll take my breakfast at Qlogic anytime.