Mellanox Technologies has teamed up with Micron to introduce a 40 Gigabit (40 Gb) Ethernet flash storage solution to accelerate storage in virtualized data centers using VMware's ESXi 5.1 hypervisor architecture, which is part of the vSphere platform. The company didn't say when this solution will support the newer ESXi 5.5 platform launched earlier this week.
According to Mellanox, this new storage solution consists of Mellanox's ConnectX-3 40 GbE network interface cards using the iSCSI over RDMA (iSER) protocol, and Micron's 1.4 TB P420m PCIe SSD cards. By using the iSER protocol, the Micron solution supposedly provides virtual machines on a single ESXi 5.1 host with an aggregate bandwidth of 11 GB/s or 527,000 IOPS, using only two interconnect cards in a 3U box.
"Selecting the right interconnect technologies is vital when selecting Flash-based storage in a virtualized infrastructure. The performance benefits of Flash can easily get trapped behind slow interconnects," said Jared Hulbert, SW Research Manager at Micron. "Mellanox's 40GbE with the iSER protocol gives virtualized applications access to higher bandwidth and excellent 4KB random throughput that only Flash can provide."
As an example of how this configuration will work, the company demonstrated this week during VMworld 2013 a solution consisting of Supermicro's SYS-6037R-TXRF SuperServer that supports ten PCIe Gen3 x8 slots. The server was packed full, playing host to two Mellanox 40 GbE RDMA NICs and eight Micron 1.4 TB P420m PCI SSDs.
"The combined solution of Mellanox's 40GbE NICs with iSER and Micron's P420m PCIe SSD enables higher performance and accelerates storage applications running in virtualized environments," said Yaron Haviv, vice president data center solutions at Mellanox Technologies. "In addition, by consolidating compute and storage traffic over a single-wire infrastructure reduces data center complexity and cost."
The company didn't reveal specific details about how this solution will be deployed, when, and how much it will cost. However the company did reveal in a separate statement that itsConnextX-3 40 GbE driver has been successfully integrated into VMware vSphere 5.5 to enable a new price/performance record for virtualized data centers. That means this Mellanox/Micron solution should in theory be compatible on the newer vSphere platform if the Micron drivers are also updated and integrated.
Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware,Tom's Games and Tom's Guide. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.
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