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July 28, 2010


Dejan Ilic

First I have to congratulate you on being the first company to get the certification.

I hate to rain on your parade, but I have to comment this.

For a while during autumn I was really excited about FCoE and hoped to be able to drop the aging interconnect infrastructure (read : Fibrechannel) to our Networking group and at the same time go for 10Gb/s on ethernet side.
Then I found out that our Netapp (realy an IBM N-series), for some unknown reason only supports FCoE protocol on the card that uses Ethernet for transport!

Having only one slot to work with the decision was simple, we exchanged last weekend our 4x1G/s card with a standard 10G/s ethernet card and we will use ISCSI when high speed block access is needed. Annoyingly the card bought in 2010 doesn't do TOE offloading on our Netapp, again for unknown reasons looking at a fairly capable ethernet card in itself (manufacturer : chelsio).

This situation feels really strange, especially on the day Netapp announces support for Intel x520 cards capable of standard (TOE accelerated) IP ethernet, ISCSI and FCoE, giving the impression that you can do "triple play" with the same card on you Netapp.

Please correct me if I'm wrong regarding the FCoE cards on Netapp storage.

Vaughn Stewart

@Dejan - Thanks for the kudos and the questions.

You should be able have complete CNA functionality (FCoE Target & Ethernet I/O) with Data ONTAP 8.0.1 scheduled for release this fall. Now the N-Series release may be a few weeks behind the official NetApp release (seems to happen on occasion).

As for the Intel card, I've always been a huge fan of Intel's Ethernet chipsets, so I have high expectations of the x520. The 'triple play' as you put it, is exactly what a CNA is designed to deliver, all protocols on one wire.

Dejan Ilic

Nice to hear, even if it comes too late for us. Given the (regular) lateness of IBM releases it means at earlies during next spring then.

It might be a question to your Ethernetguy but you didn't comment the TOE remark.
I notice that we used about 50% less CPU on the Nseries 6040 (Netapp 3140) with our FC-card compared to our previous 4x1Gb/s card on similar thruput. Now we burn all our available CPU in the controller at about 3,0-3,5Gb/s @ about 6000NFSops so we can't realy use the available 10Gb/s in the current config.

How much is due to difference in frame size on Ethernet/NFS vs FC and how much is due to offloading on FC I don't know.

Given that the FCoE card can behave both as "FC" and "Ethernet" I feel it to be important to use available HW offload because the change of CPU would require controller change and that is out of the question. The way you use the card enables or limits its usefullness to us as current owners of Netapp systems.

There seems to be a lot of reasons to upgrade to v8.0.1 when it is released..


Can't seem to find it in the IMT. Can you provide the quick ref number to get to it directly?

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