By Salvatore Salamone
April 23, 2008 | Server virtualization and storage consolidation are placing new performance demands on the switching infrastructure that ties these systems together.
For years, Fibre Channel has been the architecture of choice in high-performance settings, such as is common in many life science research environments where large volumes of data are analyzed and visualized. However, Fibre Channel’s cost and management complexity didn’t make it the best choice for many organizations.
This month, a group of storage vendors banded together to form the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Storage Alliance. The purpose of the alliance is “to increase awareness and enterprise deployments of 10 Gigabit Ethernet as the superior storage networking infrastructure for server virtualization and enterprise-wide storage consolidation given its proven interoperability, low cost, common management, and high performance.”
The group, led by Nimbus Data Systems, includes IP storage system, adapter, and switch vendors Arastra, Force10 Networks, Fujitsu, Fulcrum Microsystems, Mellanox Technologies, Neterion, and NetXen.
The alliance claims that 10 Gigabit Ethernet offers many benefits on its own, and some particular benefits when compared directly to 4 Gb Fibre Channel solutions.
Specifically, the group claims that companies using 10 Gigabit Ethernet storage solutions can:
- Reduce storage network infrastructure cost by 30 to 75 percent compared to 4 Gb Fibre Channel
- Reduce storage costs by 50 percent by combining block and file-level services (SAN and NAS) onto one network
- Simplify IT administration through uniform management across the LAN, WAN, and storage network
- Increase bandwidth by 2.5 times, compared to 4 Gb Fibre Channel, while minimizing latency
- Capitalize on multi-vendor interoperability of 10 Gb Ethernet switches, adapters, and storage devices
“10 Gigabit Ethernet brings versatility and simplicity to enterprises of all sizes through network consolidation, familiar management, more bandwidth without trunking, and multi-vendor interoperability,” said Thomas Isakovich, founder and CEO of Nimbus Data Systems, when the group’s formation was announced.