RDMA enhancements for ISCSI


Guest post by Noam Shendar, VP Business Development, Zadara Storage

Just Punch It:  Accelerating Storage the Easy Way

Architecting storage solutions means being on the hunt for bottleneck after bottleneck and removing them to eliminate latency wherever possible. With the availability of storage media such as Flash and high-performance disk drives, the bottleneck has often moved away from the storage medium itself and onto the interconnect.


When building our enterprise storage as a service offerings, we’ve had to overcome several bottlenecks – from reinventing the proprietary, purpose-built controllers of traditional arrays that caps the speed and expandability of an array, through the performance of the controllers, to using flash cache acceleration, it was clear that to deliver applications with even better efficiency our award-winning Virtual Private Storage Arrays (VPSA) need to take advantage of new technologies for the datapath.


What is iSER technology?

iSER is an interface that uses Ethernet to carry data directly between server memory and storage devices. The protocol eliminates memory copies (a.k.a. memcpy) and the operating system TCP/IP stack, and bypasses the CPU of the target system entirely.  As such, it is lossless, deterministic, with low overhead, and delivers far better CPU efficiency by freeing up resources.

Most importantly, iSER uses standard Ethernet switches and comparably priced NICs, which means it’s low cost, yet its performance ratio is far beyond contemporary Ethernet protocols and its throughput approaches wire speed, 40Gbps and even 100Gbps.


The First Vendor to Offer Next-Gen Ethernet-based Transport

Last year, Zadara Storage teamed up with Mellanox Technologies to implement iSER – iSCSI Extensions for RDMA – using Mellanox’s 40 Gigabit Ethernet technology. And at VMworld US 2014 we launched the Zadara iSER VPSA solution.


Zadara’s iSER VPSA works by delivering iSCSI storage traffic over 40GbE directly to applications’ memory buffers, which minimizes latency and increases throughput at every step. This means that block-based storage will see significant improvements, and particularly latency-sensitive databases, which will see improvement in their transaction-per-second (TPS) count.


We’re proud that our software-defined storage technology enabled us to be the first vendor to offer a storage array supporting this next generation Ethernet-based transport. Every one of our Storage Nodes is interconnected using multiple, redundant 40Gb connections using this advanced protocol.


Helping Customers Do More with Less

Businesses are continuously challenged to do more with less. This is one example of how new technology can enable end-users do exactly that. The first win for our customers is a performance boost for an existing solution. With iSER, VPSA can deliver lower latency which means better application performance. Furthermore, if the applications’ servers are iSER-capable, there is yet a further boost to performance.


The second win is that all these improvements come with low-cost ethernet, meaning customers can take advantage of greater performance and a deterministic interface without the costs of Fibre Channel or InfiniBand. And customers can continue using their existing switches, assuming they support lossless connections. With iSER VPSA, we can now deliver more performance to our customers and potentially save them money.


Two Innovative Technologies Make for a Breakthrough Solution

The Zadara iSER VPSA was developed in and made possible by a close collaboration with Mellanox, leveraging their technology and their excellent support. We’re thrilled to partner with Mellanox and lead innovation in the storage industry as it shifts to cost-effective, elastic infrastructures aimed at delivering to our customers the greatest benefits and foremost flexibility.




To learn more about the combination of Zadara VPSA and Mellanox’s iSER technology, join us for a webinar Wednesday, January 28th, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. PST.   Click here to register.


Noam Shendar







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