Feature

HP kit gives 8Gb/sec FC a boost

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The new package supports Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 for its HBAs and switch. In the future, says Davenport, OS support will be expanded to include additional Linux distributions, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, VMware ESX v3.5, HP-UX, OpenVMS, Solaris and NetWare, but HP won't say when the additional OS support will be released.

Davenport claims the FC SAN, using installation wizards, can be "set up in minutes." The management software lets a storage admin configure and zone the switch and HBAs, and provision the EVA or MSA storage arrays (map and mask LUNs, and create and expand virtual disks) within one GUI.

In addition to basic array housekeeping, the management software delivers useful SAN reports and views, including performance and health statistics, change tracking, device management, drag-and-drop zoning, event notification and a view of the SAN topology.

The HP StorageWorks 8/20q FC switch (OEM'd from QLogic) supports security and high-availability features such as CHAP, Radius authentication, SSL/SSH and port binding. It also supports multiswitch networks (up to three hops) and two switches can go in the SAN for redundancy. HP StorageWorks 81Q PCI-e FC HBAs (also OEM'd from QLogic) have several features that make them easier to work with in a virtualized server environment: multiple logical (virtual) connections

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to share the same physical ports, 256 queue pairs for intensive virtualization and the ability to prioritize queues to prevent conflicts.

The speed wars between 10Gb/sec Ethernet and 8Gb/sec FC have begun.

--Rich Friedman

This was first published in April 2008

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