Evaluator Group Benchmarking Shows Superior Performance for Fibre Channel Vs. FCoE for Solid State Environments

Tuesday, February 4th 2014

Full results are detailed in a report comparing FC with FCoE on the basis of performance, manageability and high availability.

PRWeb: Boulder, CO, February 4, 2014:  As enterprise storage users move forward with solid-state storage to accelerate business applications, questions regarding which storage networking technology provide the best results have arisen.

To answer these questions, Evaluator Group recently completed testing of storage networking connectivity between blade servers and solid-state storage, evaluating Fibre Channel (FC) versus Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).  Full results are provided in a detailed validation report, comparing the performance and manageability features in high performance environments.

Testing focused primarily on network performance and its impact with solid-state storage environments.  The goal was to understand the impact of storage connectivity on high-performance, enterprise applications as customers adopt solid-state storage, particularly in virtual server environments. The resulting validation found the FC environment provided 2 to 10 times faster responses as workloads surpassed 80% SAN utilization and 20-30% less CPU utilization than FCoE.

Evaluator Group testing also noted differences between the predictability of response times of FC and FCoE with increased SAN saturation. Response time predictability is important for many applications and particularly for transaction processing applications.  Results showed that at a 50 percent load, FC provided twice the level of response time consistency, or 50% less variance than FCoE.  As workloads increased beyond 50%, the variance continued to grow at a faster rate for FCoE than it did for FC, growing to more than ten-fold compared to FC.

“Solid-State Storage has become a strategic purchase, with businesses demanding high-performance storage to deliver predictable application results.  Storage networks and protocols continue to play a significant role in delivering application performance,” said Russ Fellows Senior Partner, Evaluator Group. “Our testing found that heavily utilized solid-state storage environments function at their highest levels with Fibre Channel connectivity.  Additionally, Fibre Channel delivered superior availability, while reducing cabling, complexity and other management costs.”

Evaluator Group’s IOmark suite of workload tools were used to generate application storage workloads that recreate actual storage workloads.  The workload environment scaled to three NL Video rendering instances at 250 MB/s each, 126 virtual database applications, 126 Exchange email instances and 560 virtual desktop users. These workloads were run on blade systems from two leading enterprise vendors, using either FCoE or FC storage connected to 16 Gbps FC flash storage. Within this multi-vendor environment, it was possible to isolate the storage networking protocols, including targets and initiators, as the primary factor for any differences in performance and other results.

All testing was done by Evaluator Group at the Evaluator Group lab in Colorado, independent of vendor participation.  Technical support was provided by the respective equipment manufacturers via their support lines.  The project was funded by Brocade.

The full report entitled “Comparing Enterprise Storage Networking Options FC vs FCoE” details the testing environment is available at , with registration.  Optionally, qualifying IT end users can receive a complimentary 30 minute analyst consultation to further understand the results and solid state deployments.

About Evaluator Group

Evaluator Group Inc. is a technology research and advisory company covering Information Management, Storage and Systems. Executives and IT Managers use us daily to make informed decisions to architect and purchase systems supporting their digital data.   We get beyond the technology landscape by defining requirements and knowing the products in-depth along with the intricacies that dictate long-term successful strategies.  

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