We recently announced that we had published a new set of industry certifications with Ixia, the Finisar of the IP world for all of you storage folks. The test results are called the “Black Book.” IBM has the “Red Book,” and I am sure that there are other color-coded books out there. However, this is significant because it is the first non-OEM derived third-party testing and validation of our new 10GbE OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapters (UCNAs). It is also the first time a test equipment manufacturer from the Ethernet world has publicly tested and supported a new 10GbE converged network adapter.
Share and Share Alike
The joint venture also was Ixia’s first venture into the storage world, and we were able to help them develop a testing suite that not only validated our 10GbE protocol capabilities, but also extended their product to help test IOPS and bandwidth in new ways required by today’s storage administrators and vendors. In turn, they helped us see the market and networking through the eyes of an IP administrator. Just like in kindergarten, learning to share was the first lesson in building a better solution for our respective markets.
What Is in the Ixia Black Book?
A primer on the technology and testing of CNAs, the Black Book begins with an introduction to CNA technology, the developments that led to the Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol and data center network convergence. It includes detailed test plans using Ixia’s leading benchmark tool, IxChariot™, which guides the reader through key tests required to thoroughly measure the performance of a CNA. Step-by-step instructions include measurements for Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) throughput, User Diagram Protocol (UDP) throughput, latency and storage input/output (I/O) performance in virtualized and non-virtualized environments. (Download the Black Book from Ixia’s Web site)
The book outlines the basics of network convergence, what makes Enhanced Ethernet special and how it can be used to support IP, FCoE, RDMA, NAS and iSCSI on a single network. Next, it reviews IxChariot, the IP industry’s leading benchmark tool for measuring network interface card (NIC) performance since 10Mbps Ethernet adapters were first introduced on PC platforms. We have learned through this partnership how to use the advanced scripting language to test every kind of endpoint in your network:
- Basic Throughput – Using the simplest methodology for measuring TCP throughput on networks and devices to establish a TCP connection from Endpoint 1 (E1) to Endpoint 2 (E2). Then test performance using the system default of 8KB to 32KB per block.
- High-performance Throughput – the high-performance throughput script may be used to enable Winsock’s overlapped I/O mechanism to increase the efficiency of network transactions by allowing an application to queue multiple requests. The high-performance throughput script has a default file size of 10MB and a default send buffer size of 64KB. This script is ideal for testing TCP throughput on 100Mbps, 802.11n and 1Gbps networks.
- Ultra-high Performance Throughput – The ultra-high performance throughput script is designed for testing in the world of 10Gbps Ethernet and beyond. This script uses overlapped/asynchronous I/O as in the high-performance throughput script, but increases the default settings for socket buffers, file sizes and send buffer sizes in order to maximize the benefit of TCP offloading technologies.
- UDP Throughput – The UDP throughput script was added in IxChariot 7.0 in order to provide an optimized method for measuring peak UDP throughput on the network. This script will stream UDP datagrams from E1 to E2 as quickly as the sender can put them on the network. There are a few key items that should be noted for UDP throughput testing.
- Latency – The IxChariot response time script implements a classic ping-pong measurement of machine-to-machine roundtrip time. E1 sends 100 bytes of data in a single small packet to E2, which immediately responds with another 100-byte packet back to E1. By measuring the time it takes to send a few thousand ping-pong transactions, the average roundtrip latency between two endpoints can be estimated.
- Application Performance – IxChariot includes more than 100 scripts based on modern Internet and enterprise network applications. These scripts can be used to measure the typical performance of these applications over a network between any E1 and E2. For example, customers who are building application servers will use application scripts matching their expected profile to understand how a specific server and network adapter combination will perform on their network. Database applications are a prime example in this category, since they are so heavily transactional in nature; a minor difference in overall system latency can translate into large amounts of idle time observed by end-users.
- VoIP and Video – Finally, IxChariot has unique simulation capabilities for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video traffic. IxChariot was the first tool on the market to implement accurate measurements of call quality based on the ITU G.107 E-Model specification. To measure the impact of network quality on call scores, IxChariot uses its UDP/RTP streaming capabilities. It sends simulated media frames in order to measure the jitter, latency and loss, which play a significant role in users’ experience.
The tests have a dedicated section on testing done on virtual machine (VM) performance in server virtualization environments. Needless to say, the IxChariot testing covers the gambit of performance scenarios and provides a solid basis to evaluate the OneConnect UCNA and how it will help your 10GbE network performance today and in preparing for network convergence in the future.
Picking the Right NIC
In my last blog, we discussed the importance of picking the right NIC to enable network convergence. The Ixia Black Book testing results are a good indication that the Emulex OneConnect UCNA is the right NIC to start your network convergence transition.