Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Broadcom backing Multi-link distribution (MLD) for 40 GigE

According to this article, Nick Ilyadis, Broadcom CTO for its Ethernet Networking group mentioned that Broadcom will be supporting the multi-link distribution (MLD) proposal for 40 GigE which is expected to be the solution adopted by the IEEE high speed ($0 Gig and 100 Gig) task force. A brief overview of MLD is available from the IEEE 802.3ba public area here.

I have not been following up much on the activities of IEEE 802.3ba, could anyone from the committee or outside could comment on this?

Monday, April 28, 2008

News from Chelsio and Neterion

Lots of news coming in from Chelsio today. Chelsio announced that its 10 GigE card will be supported by Citrix XenServer which is based on the open source Xen virtualization code base. Moreover Chelsio also announced SGI and HP as its customers. HP will supply Chelsio's T3 10GbE adapter for its Integrity server line.

It also seems (according to this article) that Chelsio will be coming out targeting Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). FCoE is extremely latency sensitive, and Chelsio may have an important advantage in this space because of its hardware supported TCP stack, which may be able to provide more guaranteed latencies. (Edit: As a reader correctly pointed out, FCoE does not use the TCP stack, so my argument of Chelsio having an advantage for FCoE is incorrect. Thanks for pointing this out.)

Neterion, the other prominent 10 GigE vendor also announced that its driver will be released part of Windows Server 2008.

It seems to be time that 10 Gig Ethernet is entering a high volume market. 10 GigE adapters are being increasingly deployed in servers, and they seem to be just ready to enter the storage market. Technologies such as Virtualization and IOV will help increase the volume of 10 GigE. It will be interesting to see how these two startups (which have actually been in business for over 5 years now), evolve over the course of the next two years.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chelsio releases TOE support for Windows Chimney

Found about this a little late... Chelsio released a TCP/IP Offload Engine (ToE) driver for Windows Chimney, Microsoft's network stack architecture which allows offload of the TCP stack to supported ToE hardware. Here is the press release.

Another nice article about adoption of ToE in the storage world is here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

10 GigE Storage Alliance formed

In an interesting development, Nimbus Data Systems, in partnership with Arastra, Force10 Networks, Fujitsu, Fulcrum Microsystems, Mellanox Technologies, Neterion, and NetXen, have formed the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Storage Alliance. The purpose for now is to promote industry awareness of consolidating 10 Gig Ethernet in storage platforms. Although the press release mentions various advantages of 10 Gig Ethernet consolidation such as reducing storage network infrastructure cost by 30-75% compared to 4Gb Fibre Channel, having more interoperability that 10 GigE provides, it doesn't mention technologies such as FCoE which other vendors such as Cisco are promoting. I wonder if they plan to use any competing protocols for 10 Gig E in the storage space. Any comments on this will be helpful.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

1 Gig EPON reference designs available from PMC-Sierra

PMC Sierra now has reference designs for its IEEE 802.3av (syet to be standardized) compliant 10 Gig EPON with a capacity to handle 128 ONUs and the capability to simultaneously operate with 1 Gig EPONs and have backward potability of Dynamic Bandwidth Assignment (DBA) algorithms. See this link for details.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Big waves in FCoE

Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) is a technology which aims at I/O consolidation over Ethernet (mainly 10 Gig Ethernet) by encapsulating Fiber Channel frames over Ethernet. FCoE's success will ensure 10 Gig Ethernet's penetration into the Storage Area Network (SAN) market which has been till now mainly dominated by Fiber Channel and iSCSI. The main challenges to FCoE are (i) Encapsulating Fiber Channel frames over Ethernet (ii) Turning Ethernet into a lossless medium just like fiber channel is and (iii) Extending the Ethernet concept of MAC to fiber channel. To understand more about the technical Details about FCoE, I would recommend the following whitepaper.

FCoE is currently undergoing standardization at the T11 standardization body and a standard is expected towards the latter half of this year.

Today there was a lot of activity in FCoE. Cisco, Intel, and Brocade, Emulex, and Netapp jointly made product announcements in Storage World Conference. Cisco decided to completely acquire Nuova Systems, a startup that it had invested earlier in, and which has been working on FCoE switches for the last two years. Cisco also announced its Nexus 5000 switch which supports FCoE, a collaboration between Cisco and Nuova, and said it will have a price of $900 per port.

On the adapter side of things, Emulex introduced the LightPulse LP21000 platform of converged network adapters that support FCoE, Qlogic launched its 8000 series of FCoE-compliant converged network adapters, and Intel said its 10-Gigabit Ethernet adapters now all support FCoE while Brocade will be partnering Intel to deliver FCoE adapters using Intel 10 Gig cards.

It will be interesting to see how the FCoE market grows. It seems still a little premature to make a prediction since the 10 Gig Ethernet adapter market is still lacks volume penetration primarily owing to high costs. Similarly it will be exciting to see how FCoE contributes to the general consolidation market that technologies such as virtualization are driving.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ethernet Expo and Provider Backbone Transport

LightReading is showcasting PBT in Ethernet Expo at London, April 14-16 this year, and had a nice summary article about PBT being in the spotlight today. Here is the link to the news article.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools Pranks

Here is a story from Lightreading about Google going nuclear.

And here is a video of a prank played on Sun Microsystems' CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Well done.