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FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

Hi all,

The long awaited mid-range refresh has finally, officially materialised in the form of 3200 series boxes:

http://www.netapp.com/us/products/storage-systems/fas3200/

The new platforms do offer a lot of goodness, no doubt about it, yet with my usual grumpiness I will ask (rather obvious IMHO) question:

What has dictated the decision to use 4Gbit, not 8Gbit onboard FC ports? If the 3200 series was designed to be 'future ready' (http://www.netapp.com/us/company/news/news-rel-20101109-future-ready.html), then in my view someone overlooked this 'tiny' detail.

I am well aware of an old argument that this is actually very unlikely to saturate even a 2Gbit link under usual circumstances, yet my point is:

4Gbit FC looks, hmm, old school, not future ready I am afraid...

Kind regards,

Radek

11 REPLIES 11

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

I'll take a guess: to differentiate between the fas32x0 and fas62x0 lines ?

4Gbit/s FC and 1Gbit/s ethernet onboard vs. 8Gbit/s FC and 10Gbit/s ethernet onboard.

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

The original specification I saw was 8GB but then was surprised to see the release was 4GB... I don't think it will be a huge hurdle, but I agree it would be easier to not have to answer the speeds and feeds FUD competitors will give... although we can always add an HBA in the 6 new slots we get with 2 onboard and IOXM   One other thing I noticed is the 3200 IOXM is PCI 8x GEN1.0 and the 6200 IOXM is GEN2 (both models onboard are GEN2)..

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

The FAS6200 family does support 8Gb FC and 10GbE onboard. 

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

FAS3200 is 1 ½ U per controller  and hence has limited power budget and IO subscription.  In the case of FAS3200 we were able to fully subscribe all onboard IO including the IOXM.  But if 8Gb FC would have been used we could have either undersubscribed them so they performed more like 4Gb or given something up like onboard SAS or the IOXM.  The other downside is we burden everyone’s COGS when not everyone needs 8Gb FC ports.

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Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

Agree 100% with your comments  - even products like HP EVA  4400 and  EMC CX-4  have 8 Gb/s Fibre Channel, its not a matter of  if people need it  or will ever use it, its the fact the  perception that 4 Gb/s Fibre Channel is old  technology  and deffinietly NOT "Future Ready".   (last week Brocade announced 16Gb/s Fibre Channel).

This then allows compeditors sales team have a free hit and  sit there and  say - look they don't even have  8Gb/s Fibre Channel

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

I'm pretty sure you can put an 8Gbit FC card in them....

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

HP EVA4400 is actually 4Gbit only, whilst in EMC CX-4 onboard ports could be optionally 8Gbit. However HDS AMS range is just 8Gbit.

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

The original specification I saw was 8GB but then was surprised to see the release was 4GB...

Yes, this is exactly what I've heard initially about a year ago. Then in June someone else from NetApp showed me updated spec with 4Gbit ports

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

Hi,

Many thanks for your answer - it does make some sense technically now.

The problem is more of a commercial nature though: it is how the product is perceived by an average reader of basic speeds & feeds.

Regards,

Radek

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

I'm pretty sure you can put an 8Gbit FC card in them....

Yes, you can - but that's not the point.

Many times the product will be judged by its basic datasheet where 4Gbit is prominently listed.

Re: FAS32x0 onboard FC ports - why 4Gbit??

After recently receiving my new 3270 controller pair I had a few suprise's...

There is an additional issue which I either missed when reviewing the documentation or is possibly not mentioned at all.  The issue I speak of is that with the new 10GbE interconnect (HA Active/Active) change there is no longer 4 onboard fibre channel ports available per controller.  If you wish to cluster a pair on 3200's series arrays you will only have two 4GbS FC ports per controller pair.  While I understand that an FC card can easily be added to expansion ports this seems like a glaring issue for those of us who wish to use our new 3200 as a multi-purpose SAN/NAS box.  Plus this goes against existing best practices which state that FC target traffic should be isolated to either a single card or the local FC ports but not both.

I'd also like to get feedback on how others are planning on using the two local SAS ports built into each controller.  With the cabling diagrams I've reviewed as well as the best practice documents I see no real use for them unless I wish to build out a non-redundant SAS stack.  In my environment this is not an option since uptime and performance is my main concern.

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