Storage server drivers support FC-NVMe standard

21st August 2017
Source: Cavium Inc
Posted By : Alice Matthews
Storage server drivers support FC-NVMe standard

Provider of semiconductor products that enable secure and intelligent processing for enterprise, data centre, cloud, wired and wireless networking, Cavium, has announced support for the newly ratified NVMe over Fibre Channel (FC-NVMe) 1.0 standard. Cavium’s QLogic 2700 series Gen 6 and 2690 series Enhanced Gen 5 Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs) support connecting NVMe storage over Fibre Channel networks concurrently with the existing storage by using the updated firmware and drivers.

The new Cavium FC-NVMe drivers are targeted towards customers connecting flash-based storage arrays to servers over Fibre Channel networks. Pre-release software for the Linux OS is available for download by contacting Cavium Sales. Three usage scenarios are supported:

  • Initiator mode: Drivers and firmware for hosts containing initiator mode QLogic 2700 series Gen 6 or 2690 series Enhanced Gen 5 HBAs
  • Target mode: Drivers for storage servers or array controllers containing target mode QLogic 2700 series Gen 6 or 2690 series Enhanced Gen 5 HBAs
  • Target mode (SPDK): Drivers (based on user mode SPDK technology) for storage servers or array controllers containing target mode QLogic 2700 series Gen 6 or 2690 series Enhanced Gen 5 HBAs

INCITS/T11 committee for Fibre Channel Interfaces recently approved the standard ensuring concurrent support and interoperability for FC-NVMe and the existing Fibre Channel protocols. Craig Carlson, Chairman of the T11 standards committee on FC-NVMe, said: “Cavium was a leading contributor to the definition and development of the FC-NVMe standard. Cavium actively participated by contributing resources and talent to the effort, and when the committee was investigating the new technology, Cavium engineers took many of the ideas and created POC code and provided valuable and timely feedback.”

Workloads that demand higher throughput, IOPs and lower latency are moving to flash. The NVMe protocol has been designed from the ground up for flash, and features deep parallelism, random access, and allows access to flash over PCI Express (PCIe) to maximise bandwidth. FC-NVMe extends these benefits over a Fibre Channel fabric. The low latency, lossless and efficient data handling capabilities of Fibre Channel are suited to extend the performance and latency advantages of NVMe over a network.

Key benefits of adopting Cavium Fibre Channel HBAs for Flash environments include:

  • Technology leadership: Cavium chairs the T11 committee working group that developed the FC-NVMe standards, and contributed significant resources to work with ecosystem partners to develop this technology.
  • Innovation: Cavium is driving innovation in software defined storage platforms with target mode drivers for the Storage Performance Developer Kit (SPDK) project, which provides high-performance, user-space device drivers enabling the next generation of storage platforms.
  • Performance: Cavium’s QLogic Fibre Channel adapters have shown to deliver performance of up to 2.6 million IOPS, and low latency, enabling the most demanding enterprise workloads.
  • Standards compliance: Cavium QLogic solutions meet IT standards for interoperability and support. This ensures that customers can deploy Fibre Channel storage of their choice without worries about vendor lock-in or limited choice.
  • Investment protection: With Cavium technology, FC-NVMe workloads can be seamlessly introduced into existing FCP-SCSI fabrics. With QLogic 2700 and 2690 series FC HBAs, FCP-SCSI and FC-NVMe protocol traffic can run concurrently without requiring any rip and replace of existing infrastructure.
  • Advanced SAN fabric management: Cavium QLogic StorFusion technology delivers a full suite of diagnostics, rapid provisioning and Quality of Service (QoS) throughout the fabric which automate and simplify SAN deployment and orchestration.

“NVMe is a great advancement for the storage industry, driving down latencies and increasing IOPs. And FC-NVMe is an ideal storage protocol to take advantage of this technology transition. We believe Fibre Channel is the right choice for NVMe storage because of its deterministic performance, resiliency, reliability and ubiquitous presence in the data centre,” said Vikram Karvat, Vice President and General Manager, Cavium Fibre Channel Storage Group.

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