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Building Enterprise-class Storage Networking Environments with Port-level Isolation
Todd Owens|Thursday, December 06, 2012
Marketing Manager, HP

Reliability and security are the key requirements in the data center. When systems don’t work or information is compromised, nothing else matters. It is important to ensure that all the deployed components are built with enterprise-class reliability and security in mind.

At QLogic, our engineers go the extra mile to ensure our products are as reliable as they can be. QLogic FlexSuite 2600 Series 16Gb Fibre Channel adapters are the latest proof point of the rigor we put into our design. Attention to detail ensures customers are getting the best possible solutions. This is why QLogic, with the world’s largest installed base of Fibre Channel adapters, is the market leader and why OEM suppliers such as HP have chosen to make these products part of their industry-leading storage portfolios.

The HP StoreFabric SN1000Q 16Gb Fibre Channel Adapter is based on QLogic 2600 Series technology. In addition to high performance, like 1.2 million IOPs and PCIe Gen3 support, the StoreFabric SN1000Q offers best-of-breed, enterprise-class reliability by fully isolating the Fibre Channel functions of each port on its dual-port adapter. Other vendors have chosen to move away from isolated port design. I don’t know why they have chosen to deviate from traditional enterprise design, but by doing so they have opened themselves up to potential reliability issues.

The HP SN1000Q is based on a QLogic ASIC that utilizes dedicated compute and memory resources for each port on a dual-channel adapter. This is a physical isolation within the ASIC design, guaranteeing that any issues affecting one port, such as a reset or routine error recovery, do not affect the adjoining port. Other vendors have chosen to share compute and memory resources across both ports within the ASIC design. This means if there is an issue with Port 1, Port 2 is automatically affected. Is that something you want to design into your data center environment?

Why is port-level isolation a big deal? It’s all about reliability, availability and scalability. Here are some scenarios and the impact they can have on isolated versus non-isolated port designs:

  Non-isolated Port Design QLogic Port-level Isolation Design
Port reset Both ports reset Only reset port impacted / Other port stays functional
Error Recovery Both ports impacted Only recovered port impacted
Security Logical isolation only Physical isolation ensures access isolation across physical functions
Hot Firmware Load Brings all ports down One port does not affect the other
Predictable Performance I/O spikes on one port affect the other One port performance is independent of the other
Maximum Throughput Reaches saturation when one port is fully utilized Scales linearly and delivers twice the performance of a single port

As you can see, port-level isolation is critical for true high availability. Make sure you know what is really under the hood of your hardware before you implement it in your data center. It’s all about doing the research and asking the right questions.

With HP and QLogic, you are assured the best-of-breed when it comes to Fibre Channel adapters such as the HP StoreFabric SN1000Q. Interested in a test drive? Send us an email at and let us know how we can help you build the most reliable Fibre Channel network available.

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