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Brocade-funded study says Fibre Channel faster than FCoE

It still costs an arm and a leg, but that's the all-flash array world for you

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A study funded by Brocade has found that Fibre Channel provides faster access to all-flash arrays than Fibre Channel over Ethernet.

FCoE involves linking all-flash arrays to accessing servers via Ethernet instead of a Fibre Channel fabric. Testers from the Evaluator Group, who carried out the study on behalf of Brocade, hooked up blade servers to an all-flash array and compared data access speed, latency and consistency between 16Gbit/s FC and FCoE links.

They found:

  • A single 16Gbit/s FC connection outperformed two 10GBitE connections as measured by application latency
  • FC provided 2x to 10x faster response as workloads surpassed 80 per cent SAN utilisation
  • FC caused 20 - 30 per cent lower CPU utilisation than FCoE
  • AT 50 per cent load FCoE provided 50 per cent or more variance in response time predictability than FC at a 50 per cent load
  • As workload increased FCoE variance increased faster than FC response time variance and grew to 10X that of FC

The setup involved scaling to three NL Video rendering instances at 250MB/sec each, 126 virtual database applications, 126 email instances and 560 virtual desktop users. Blade systems from two vendors were tested.

Russ Fellows, a senior partner at the Evaluator Group, said: "For FCoE, there were 4 bonded, 10 GbitE links between the Cisco UCS chassis and the 6248UP fabric extender. Those links could run multiple protocols, including FCoE. The 6248 then bridged to two 8Gbit/s FC links, which were two 16 Gbit/s FC connections to the 100 per cent solid FC storage."

"For FC, there was one 16Gbit/s FC link between the HP/IBM blade chassis and the Brocade 6510 FC switch. From there, there were two 16Gbit/s FC connections to the 100 per cent solid state FC storage."

Fellows said: ”Our testing found that heavily utilised solid-state storage environments function at their highest levels with Fibre Channel connectivity.”

Brocade’s money was well spent. Get the report here (registration needed). ®

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