FAQs: Coraid Ethernet Storage Solutions

What Hypervisors does EtherDrive work with?

In addition to VMware, EtherDrive works with Microsoft Hyper-V, Xen and KVM.

Which VLAN tagging method is supported by Coraid EtherDrive storage?

EtherDrive supports the IEEE 802.1Q networking standard.

From a performance point of view, how many and what disks cause saturation on 10 GbE?

Coraid EtherDrive SRX and VSX appliances provide up to 4 ports of 10GbE connectivity. We rarely see workloads and applications that are able to completely saturate the network. In a benchmarking scenario, we can get close using Sequential Read workloads. Assuming that each modern disk can generate over 100MB/s, it takes about 10-12 disks to saturate a single 10GbE link.

Do you have comparative read/write figures of AoE and iSCSI/FCoE/FC?

Because of our low-latency design, performance in VMware environments, AoE is up to 2-3x faster than iSCSI or Fibre Channel.  Third-party reviewers like ESG Labs have documented 1800 MB/s with our EtherDrive SRX 4200, a 36-drive 4U chassis with 1TB SATA 7200-RPM drives. The unit had 410GbE interfaces totaling 40Gbps of Ethernet bandwidth.

The workload generator was a high end single server using a pair of dual-port 10GbE Coraid HBAs. The test involved a 100% sequential workload with multiple worker threads, each with many outstanding IO requests.   You can read the complete report by going to our resource page and downloading the "Coraid EtherDrive Storage is ESG Lab Proven" report.

Does EtherDrive support virtualizing SQL databases?

Ethernet SAN storage is a great solution for virtualizing Microsoft SQL Server databases.  Virtualized server environments need shared block-level storage that is easy to scale and highly performant.  EtherDrive storage meets both these requirements.

Is Coraid EtherDrive an alternative to iSCSI?

Coraid EtherDrive SAN storage is a great alternative to iSCSI storage.  Because of our low-latency design, Coraid storage can be 2 to 3x faster than iSCSI solutions.  Another key benefit with Ethernet SAN is that its packets are automatically sent over every available network path between the server and storage and do not require an MPIO driver as does, iSCSI storage.  Not only does Coraid provide the enhanced reliability of redundant data paths, but unlike MPIO (which is typically active-passive) this also means that as you add more HBAs, more data paths are available over which to transmit data, increasing performance.  Our HBA driver automatically aggregates multiple HBAs in a host and Ethernet switching takes care of rest.

Has Coraid EtherDrive been tested with Cisco Nexus switches?

Coraid EtherDrive appliances and HBAs are compatible with most Enterprise Ethernet Layer 2 switches with jumbo frame support.  We work with Avaya, Cisco, Juniper, Arista, HP, Blade Networks, and many more.

How do you guarantee security of access in a multi-tenant environment, or is this expected to be handled through the application part of the stack?

Coraid utilizes VLAN tagging, LUN masking, and a variety of other methods to deal with multi-tenant environments. Again, due to the flexibility of Layer 2 and its inherent inability to route natively, we have a lot of unique advantages over traditional protocols in terms of guaranteeing security of the traffic.

Are Coraid drive shelves and LUN managers administered via a web interface or are they strictly command line?

EtherDrive SRX shelves offer a full-featured command-line interface to manage LUNs.  In addition, administrators can use Coraid EtherCloud Storage Manager, a comprehensive management and automation platform, to manage EtherDrive storage at scale with relative ease.  The Storage Manager offers a feature-rich GUI as well as a complete set of REST APIs that enable storage workflow automation.

Can EtherDrive integrate with legacy file systems?

The Coraid EtherDrive HBA driver is available for a range of operating systems and platforms. EtherDrive appears as locally attached storage to the file systems on the OS. All legacy file systems available on supported OSes will work with EtherDrive storage as well.

Does Coraid work with Hadoop?

Hadoop can use Coraid EtherDrive storage with no gotchas. Hadoop handles file locking at the server layer. Hadoop leverages shared network storage. EtherDrive is a perfect fit.

What RAID levels can be used with EtherDrive?

Coraid EtherDrive shelves can be configured to use a number of different RAID levels natively, including RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10. Interestingly, they can also be set up in JBOD mode, in which case they can leverage any technology provided by the application layers.

Does Coraid EtherDrive support multipathing?

A key benefit with EtherDrive is that data packets are automatically sent over every available network path between the server and storage and do not require an MPIO driver, like iSCSI and Fibre Channel.  Not only do you get redundancy, but unlike MPIO (which is typically active-passive) this also means the more HBAs you add the more data paths are available to transmit data for increased performance.  The Coraid HBA driver automatically aggregates multiple HBAs in a host and Ethernet switching takes care of rest.  With Coraid EtherDrive, concepts like MPIO and multi-pathing software are ancient history

Can you use EtherDrive with Citrix XenServers?

Yes, Coraid EtherDrive supports Citrix XenServer 5.6.0.

Is EtherDrive supported by VMware?

Coraid EtherDrive is supported by VMware and included in the VMware searchable compatibility listing.  The link below will take you to the VMware compatibility guide web page.

Is 10GbE required for EtherDrive?

Coraid EtherDrive storage arrays support both 1 GbE and 10 GbE.  10 GbE is not a requirement, but it is recommended for maximizing performance throughput.

Is AoE Layer 2 only, no IP addresses and no router hops? Can it go over a routed network?

AoE is a Layer 2 based network protocol.  It runs directly on top of Ethernet, instead of an intermediate protocol such as TCP/IP. This reduces the significant CPU overhead of TCP/IP.   Without an AoE gateway, this would mean that routers cannot be used to route a packet across disparate networks (such as the Internet).  However, with the Coraid VSX appliance, storage from one Ethernet SAN can be transmitted across a WAN or the internet to a client anywhere in the world.

Is AoE a proprietary protocol; is it a standard or specific to Coraid?

The AoE (ATA over Ethernet) protocol is an open standard.  It is not specific to Coraid.  AoE has been part of the open-source Linux operating system since 2005, and is used by computer software and hardware companies around the world.