Emulex ships fabric application platforms

Posted on April 01, 2007

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By Dave Simpson

At the CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany, last month, Emulex introduced the first systems-level products resulting from its acquisition of Aarohi last year. Emulex’s Intelligent Services Platforms, which are fabric-based virtualization devices that can host storage applications, are available in two versions.

  • Designed primarily for OEMs, the model 765 is a 1U appliance with four Fibre Channel ports. Emulex provides APIs that enable OEMs to link applications, or services, to the 765 hardware; and
  • Targeted at resellers and end users, the model 765-S includes agent software that enables it to work with LSI/StoreAge’s Storage Virtualization Manager (SVM) platform and storage services. (LSI acquired StoreAge Networking Technologies earlier this year.) The 765-S includes the same hardware as the model 765.

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The fabric-based application platforms are based on a split-path architecture (as is LSI/StoreAge’s SVM), which Emulex contrasts with “shared-path” architectures exemplified by products such as IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC). Other vendors that use a split-path architecture for fabric-based applications include EMC (Invista) and Incipient.

Emulex officials are anxious to shift the discussion away from the old in-band versus out-of-band virtualization argument.

“It’s no longer an in-band vs. out-of-band issue; it’s split-path vs. non-split-path,” says Amar Kapadia, senior director of product marketing at Emulex.

Essentially, a split-path architecture separates the control path from the I/O data path (see diagram on p. 8), and takes advantage of platforms with hardware acceleration (as opposed to general-purpose processors). In other words, the architecture separates data movement functions from management functions.

Emulex’s Intelligent Services Platforms provide hardware-based acceleration for SAN-based storage management applications, such as virtualization, replication, continuous data protection (CDP), virtual tape library (VTL) applications, and others.

In the case of the model 765-S working with LSI/StoreAge’s SVM platform, those applications include StoreAge’s multi-View (low-capacity snapshots), multiCopy (full-sized clones), multiMigrate (online data migration), and in the future, multiMirror (mirroring).

To take advantage of the combination of Emulex’s fabric-based platforms and the LSI/StoreAge platform and applications, resellers or end users would have to purchase the Intelligent Services Platform from Emulex and the SVM platform and applications from LSI’s channel partners.

The model 765 is based on Emulex’s AV150 processor and AD1500 adapter board. The company claims a 20Gbps application processing engine, up to 1.2 million I/Os per second (IOPS), and 1,400MBps of aggregate throughput. For interoperability with existing SANs, the device supports N_port Fibre Channel connectivity.

Emulex’s model 765 competes most directly with archrival QLogic’s SANbox 8000 series of Storage Services Platforms which, interestingly, also support LSI/StoreAge’s SVM applications. To a somewhat lesser degree, the Emulex appliances will compete with intelligent switches from vendors such as Brocade and Cisco and their application partners.

According to Emulex officials, MSRP for the model 765-S is expected to be less than $10,000.


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