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Broadcom Rolls Out Emulex HBAs, Gen 6 Fibre Channel Hits The Datacenter

By - Source: Broadcom Limited

Broadcom Limited's ever-expanding empire includes the Emulex family of Fibre Channel HBAs, and the company is moving quickly to ensure its continued viability with the launch of its Gen 6 products. Gen 6 products are obviously ready for primetime, as QLogic also announced its new products today.

Fibre Channel continues to be the most widely deployed storage protocol in the datacenter, which runs counter to popular perception due to the endless tales of its demise. Surprisingly, it is also projected to continue to lead other protocols (on a storage capacity basis) in external storage applications for the foreseeable future (according to the IDC WW 2015 external storage forecast).

The new Emulex LPe32000-series comes in both single- and dual-port models with 32GFC and 16GFC optics, and is 32 Gb-ready. All five Fibre Channel products come in the low-profile form factor, feature SFP+ connectors, and connect via the PCIe Gen3 slot. The models are all upgradeable to 32 GFC with Emulex-branded optical transceiver ports. Emulex also provides support for NVMe over Fibre Channel implementations.

The high-end 32GFC model offers up to 1.6 million IOPS on a single port, which is an important distinction, while the Gen 6 16GFC model also offers 1.6 million IOPS, but doesn't offer quite the performance of the 32GFC offering in SQL Data Warehouse performance measurements. Both Gen 6 products offer a tangible performance improvement in comparison to the Gen 4 and Gen 5 products listed at the bottom of the chart.

Emulex also provided a slide that characterizes the performance disparity between its models and the competing QLogic models. Emulex claimed that its limit in a 50/50 benchmark weighs in at 800,000 IOPS per port, or a maximum of 1.6 million IOPS. It claimed that the QLogic products trail with 1.3 million IOPS in the same configuration.

The company also contends that because the majority of HBAs are deployed into active-standby configurations, in which one port is essentially idle during use, that its single-port performance advantage provides real-world benefits. The Emulex HBAs, according to the copmany, offer 1.6 million IOPS per port due to its Dynamic Multi-Core Architecture, which allows the controller to provide maximum IOPS performance through a single port. Emulex claimed this provides more performance in comparison to the competing QLogic HBAs in single-port mode, which top out at 650,000 IOPS.

The Emulex LPe3200-series 1 and 2 port models are available this month, and the four port version comes to market in May 2016.

Paul Alcorn is a Contributing Editor for Tom's IT Pro, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.