Trebia Ups the iSCSI Ante

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Trebia Networks is the latest company to deliver Fibre Channel-like
performance for an iSCSI chip, claiming a blistering 309,000 I/Os per
second and 450 megabytes per second of Ethernet bandwidth for its
SNP-1000 product.

“These numbers just smoke anything we’ve seen,” gushes Steve Duplessie,
founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. “Performance
results like these definitely settle the question as to whether Ethernet
is an appropriate and viable alternative for block storage network

Silverback Systems got the ball rolling with a 92,000
IOPS benchmark
last month.

iSCSI, the new
IP storage protocol
, defines a mechanism for hosts (initiators) and
disks (targets) to exchange block storage data via TCP/IP networks,
enabling the use of existing networking infrastructure when building
storage area networks. IP storage reduces the total cost of ownership
(TCO) of storage networks by reducing the need for Fibre Channel-Storage
Area Network (FC SAN) expertise.

“FC SANs are predominately deployed in the enterprise data center, but
it’s rare that any organization would use Fibre Channel to network smaller remote
offices or departmental groups,” according to Nancy Marrone, senior analyst at
Enterprise Storage Group. “That is where we see iSCSI taking off — in
the remote office, departments, and small-to-medium businesses. Users do
not have to install a new networking technology and incur the additional
support costs that go along with FC SANs if they deploy iSCSI in these
environments. But for now, in terms of performance and availability, FC
will still be the dominant storage networking technology in the data

Trebia Says Rates Will Get Even Better

Trebia claims the announced rates come “just midway through Trebia’s
performance work, with higher numbers anticipated as infrastructure is
enhanced to drive more traffic.”

“This is just the first of several performance announcements that will
set the bar even higher,” asserts George Harper, Trebia’s director of
product marketing.

Trebia said its test configuration consists of industry-standard
hardware components from a variety of storage suppliers, including
commercially available initiators, targets, and switches. The computers
driving I/O are the standard “white label,” x86 variety with PCI-X
capability. And, to ensure performance accuracy, an I-TECH Satellite-8MP
analyzer sits between all the initiators and targets to measure I/Os,
thereby eliminating any possibility of false performance results
reported by software-based performance tools which might be compromised
by I/O caching.

“The result demonstrates that connecting SAN islands with FCIP tunnels
powered with Trebia Networks SNP technology maintained 99.5% of the
natively achieved performance,” according to a company technical paper.

The SNP-1000 controller is a single-chip solution for iSCSI and FCIP
protocol mediation with embedded TCP offload. The results were measured
by counting the number of command frames entering the SNP-1000’s Fibre
Channel ports, which are then converted to FCIP/iSCSI and transmitted
over IP Ethernet links.

This first series of testing highlights the chip’s FCIP tunneling performance for both small and large block I/O
flows. Small block I/Os represent the typical workload for many data center applications and place a greater processing burden on the iSCSI
and FCIP engine than large block I/Os, the company states.

For standard Ethernet frames, a single SNP-1000 controller was shown to
sustain 309,000 I/Os per second, along with 394 MBps at the device’s
Fibre Channel interface, and cumulatively 452 MBps at the device’s two
Gb Ethernet interfaces.

“While these numbers might seem incredible, in fact the test scenario
does not exercise the SNP-1000 at maximum load,” the company reports. “As
our testing continues using an enhanced test bed, we expect to
disclose even more impressive numbers as the controller’s maximum
bandwidth and processing resources are fully challenged.”

“We’re very impressed with the numbers demonstrated by Trebia’s
SNP-1000,” says Bill Burger, McDATA’s director of emerging technologies.
“These performance levels set the bar for the integration of IP storage
capabilities into SAN directors.”

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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