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Demartek Evaluation of Gen 6 Fibre Channel Adapter from QLogic

3 May 2016

Databases are among the most critical services deployed in the data center. Many important enterprise applications leverage one or more databases to store and process business information. Database application owners who are serious about performance have already invested in flash storage. The problem is that flash is faster than most storage area networks (SANs). Previous generation Fibre Channel (FC) technology is holding back high-end storage and this hinders database performance.

Current attempts at solutions include replacing SAN storage with local flash, but this sacrifices the flexibility and reliability of networked storage and is expensive when widely deployed. The other option is increasing the number of ports across the SAN. This increases the complexity and management costs of the SAN and does nothing to address latency added by older networking technologies.

Gen 6 (32Gb) Fibre Channel (FC), released March 1st of this year, doubles the bandwidth of Gen 5 (16Gb) FC to 32GFC for a single lane of traffic while reducing latency compared to previous generations. These advances should be attractive to any enterprise looking to increase the value of high-end storage. However, data center managers and application owners will certainly weigh the cost of a SAN upgrade with the return on investment (ROI) delivered through increased infrastructure usage and the business advantage realized by stronger application performance.

QLogic commissioned Demartek to evaluate the advantages that Gen 6 FC — in the server and at the switch — would bring to common database workloads. We deployed the QLogic QLE2742 Gen 6 FC HBA and a Brocade G620 Gen 6 FC switch with existing high-speed storage devices to compare performance metrics of transactional and data mining applications, plus a database maintenance activity, against older Gen 5 FC technology. In each use case, identical workloads showed a clear benefit to upgrading host HBAs and switching to Gen 6 FC.

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Improving Database Performance with QLogic Gen 6 (32Gb) Fibre Channel

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(PDF, 1126 KB)

Demartek Evaluation of QLogic Gen 6 FC HBA