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EMC World 2016 - Monday: IPEX Delivers the High Performance WAN!

By mdetrick posted 05-02-2016 07:00 AM


This is IPEX Blog 1 of 3


Another year already and here we are again, EMC World 2016! 



Come to my breakout session to learn more about IPEX:

Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM in Delfino 4001A entitled, Storage over Distance from SRDF to SyncIQ


Anyone remember my Brocade IPEX blogs from last year?

If not, take a gander to catch up on the new technology, here are the links…


What is IPEX?  Get up to speed, watch this 2 minute video...


After a great year of IPEX success, this year is all about why customers have decided to deploy IPEX in their environments.  This year’s “3 Days of IPEX” are dedicated to the most popular use cases.  Thank you to our customers who have found solid use cases for Brocade IPEX technology. 


Use Case 1: TCP Acceleration and High Performance WAN

IP Storage devices can only transmit replication data so fast.  One benchmark method for determining a device’s fastest possible speed is shown in the diagram below.  Two devices on the same data center floor connected by a cable cannot push data faster.  In this case, the maximum throughput rate is based on the IP storage application/platform itself.  The cable has no loss and no latency (it’s a short cable).  When the IP storage devices are separated over distance between data centers, there is some amount of latency, and obviously the more distance the more latency.  Additionally, the IP network between the data centers may be shared with other applications varying the amount of available bandwidth or causing intermittent periods of congestion.  Usually the IP WAN has a limited amount of bandwidth and of that bandwidth only a certain amount may be permitted for storage or particular IP storage applications.  It may end up that the amount of bandwidth available for storage is oversubscribed when considering all the different storage devices and applications using the WAN.


DC Devices with cable


Fundamentally, IPEX provides the same experience between distant data centers as if the two devices were connected to each other on the same data center floor.


Customers often ask me, “Can I now do synchronous at any distance with IPEX?”  Well, no.  The droop effects of latency and the dramatic back-off consequences of congestion and packet loss do go away or at least are dramatically reduced, nevertheless, the actual I/O latency presented to the applications does remain the same.  I other words, IPEX cannot increase the speed of light.


In many cases, IP storage applications do not operate at their maximum ability between data centers, IPEX makes that happen.



Use Case 2: Encryption

Is encryption a requirement or just a great way to stay out of the headlines?  Here’s Brocade’s philosophy on extension encryption, this goes for both FCIP & IPEX…  IPsec is part of the base unit (no optional license), strong hardware based encryption runs at full line rate and adds about 2µs of latency.  The added latency is insignificant compared to the WAN itself.


Running an encryption algorithm by way of instructions on a processor would be slow and limiting. Brocade does NOT perform AES 256 via instructions on a processor. Brocade encryption runs on an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), which is a sequenced array of gates (like AND, OR, XOR, NAND, NOR… gates) executing the algorithm with intense speed as if it was an ASIC.  The nice thing about FPGAs, if you need to make a change you can reprogram how the gates attached to each other via the firmware.  As far as extension goes, the utilization of such technology is unique to Brocade.


Since high speed encryption is available on the base Brocade 7840, there is no added license or cost to enable and use encyption.  Often implementing encryption in the IP network is costly and doesn't perform as well as Brocade's hardware implementation.


IPEX Encryption


Enabling Brocade IPsec protects all data in-flight between two Connectrix 7840B from intrusion and eavesdropping.


Thank you for taking a look at today's blog.  Please look for Tuesday’s IPEX blog, which has two more use cases. 

Be good!