Ethernet storage at Fibre performance

Chelsio has launched its third-generation 10GigE storage network interface silicon aiming to unify storage, cluster and local area networking.

The Terminator 3 (T3) ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) delivers wire speed of 10Gbit/s and combines clustering and storage networking with Ethernet interfacing. It means, Chelsio claims, that InfiniBand and Fibre Channel server applications can run across Ethernet through the T3 without any modification.

T3 also includes remote management, traffic management and classification, filtering, and virtualization. Chelsio claims all the features make it suitable for blade server and video server applications plus server and storage virtualization, storage area network (SAN) arrays and networked-attached storage (NAS) or filers.

Mike Rockwell, AVID Technology's CTO, said: "Acceleration of a single connection to line rate (10Gbit/s) has the potential to enable high-bandwidth workflows that are currently only possible using Fibre Channel." Kianoosh Naghshineh, Chelsio president and CEO, pitched in with: "The T3 technology effectively turns Ethernet into a traffic-managed, reliable fabric, with low CPU utilization." The technology delivers a "hyper Ethernet", the company said, adding that it hopes for fabric convergence with the T3 marking the point where 10GigE enters the mass adoption phase with Ethernet becoming the unifying fabric.

In the IP SAN iSCSI area, the T3 will mean faster access to storage arrays and easier integration of them into customer IT structures. But the T3 is only a component. For mass Ethernet use in this way it will need the iSCSI storage array vendors, such as NetApp, Lefthand Networks and EqualLogic, to adopt it. They need to convince customers that networked iSCSI storage is fast, affordable, reliable and doesn't slow down other LAN traffic.

T3 is sampling now and will volume ship in the fourth quarter of this year with a list price of US$295.

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