Emulex's Fifth-Generation FC Tech Selected for EMC VMAX

By Pedro Hernandez

Emulex is providing customers of EMC's high-end VMAX storage line with an I/O boost and ways to assure the data integrity of their storage area networks (SANs).

The Costa Mesa, Calif.-based storage networking specialist announced today that EMC has chosen its Emulex Engine 201 I/O Controller technology, which features in the company's LightPulse host bus adapters (HBA), for target side connectivity. The ASIC, said the company, enables VMAX customers that are running virtualized data centers to leverage fast, end-to-end 16Gb Fibre Channel (FC) links across their IT infrastructures for responsive apps.

The partnership bodes well for Emulex, predicted Stifel analysts. In a research note, Aaron C. Rakers, Joseph Quatrochi and Andrew Shinn said that the analyst firm expects "new target opportunities to begin to materialize over the coming quarters as we continue to see 16Gbps FC adoption gaining momentum."

Hinting at solid-state storage's disruptive effect on SANS and the data center at large, Emulex's Shaun Walsh, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development, said in a statement that the companies are "delivering a true 16GFC end-to-end infrastructure that addresses the new demands of the data center for flash, I/O caching, server virtualization and big data."

As fifth-generation (Gen 5) FC solutions take hold in enterprise IT environments, he predicted Emulex will "provide next-generation management, application optimization, virtualization and scalability, providing more than just a speed bump in performance." Emulex's Gen 5 FC products can help Microsoft SQL Server deliver up to 41 percent more transactions per second and provide VMware ESXi with 75 percent more throughput, according to company estimates.

Based on the company's XE201 I/O Controller, Emulex's LightPulse LPe16000 and LPe16002 host bus adapters (HBA) provide a glimpse of the performance gains VMAX customers can expect. The HBAs supports over 1.2 million IOPS on a single port, a 7x improvement over current HBAs being offered by the closest competitor, boasted the company. In addition, it offers built-in protection against data corruption.

The HBAs support the T10 Protection Information (T10 PI) standard, a technology that prevents silent data corruption. When used in conjunction with EMC VMAX 10K and 40K storage arrays and supported operating systems, data integrity is retained "from the OS all the way to the disk array," asserted Emulex.

By offloading data integrity checks to hardware, the HBAs achieve a 30 percent performance gain over software-based T10 PI solutions. Alleviating concerns about the product's longevity, Emulex highlighted LightPulse's 10 million-plus hours mean time between failure rating, and noted that they have fewer moving parts than competitive hardware.

Isabelle Guis, VP of Marketing for EMC's Enterprise Storage Division, said in company remarks that the HBAs dovetail neatly with the needs of her company's enterprise customers. Emulex's tech "complements our mission-critical offering for many customers in the EMC Select program with needs for reliability, data integrity, high performance, and ease of use, thanks to seamless compatibility and upgrades," she stated.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

This article was originally published on October 21, 2013