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QLogic

QLogic (Nasdaq:QLGC) is a global leader and technology innovator in high performance networking, including adapters, switches and ASICs. Leading OEMs and channel partners worldwide rely on QLogic products for their data, storage and server networking solutions. QLogic is a NASDAQ Global Select company and is included in the S&P 500. For more information, visit www.qlogic.com.

See also:- QLogic - editor mentions on Zsolt@StorageSearch.com, early FC SAN SSDs, SAN SSD news


who's who in SSD? - QLogic

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - March 22, 2013

Given the markets it was engaged in (QLogic is one of the two companies which have dominated the fibre-channel adapter interface market in the past decade) and given the threats and opportunities posed by SSDs to traditional server and enterprise storage designs - it was surprising in some ways how late QLogic was in entering the SSD market. Its first products were launched in March 2013.

QLogic's SSD products are PCIe based SSD ASAPs.

In one respect QLogic's new SSDs compete with every other company which makes PCIe SSDs, and they compete with related SSD virtualization and caching software and with server makers too.

However, by positioning the product as a value-added application specfic SAN IOPS accelerator which uses existing FC HBA drivers as the API - QLogic can also make a case for presenting this a natural progression from what was done before.

One of the ironies of QLogic's new SSD solution - is that it inherently relies on the very advances in PCIe chip technology (the ability to share data across many apps servers at high speed and with low latency) which could reduce the need for so many FC nodes in datacenters in the future.

My view is that being able to run old SAN-like data architectures faster by using SSDs will still be a useful thing to do in the next 5-10 years.

Having said that - it still remains to be seen if QLogic's approach to SAN caching is now - or will be the most efficient way of doing this.

editor's earlier comments:- September 2012

Traditionally QLogic used to design adapters, chips and boxes for connecting, routing or switching fibre-channel, iSCSI and the niche InfiniBand market. But in January 2012 QLogic agreed to sell its IB business and assets to Intel.


The company hs been a member of the SSD Form Factor Working Group which is working to standardize PCIe SSDs.

You would have thought that acompany this closely involved with high speed storage fabric which gets close to the apps server would have got its act together with an SSD product line years ago.

But it's only recently - in September 2012 - that QLogic announced its intention to enter the SSD ASAP market.

Details released so far are too vague to make an assessment of how useful or competitive this product will be when it sees the light of day.

In March 2013 - QLogic enterered the enterprise SSD market - with a 2 card set PCIe SAN IOPS caching accelerator. The FabricCache has upto 400GB flash, and 2x 8Gbps FC ports and can deliver upto 310,000 initiator IOPS and supports upto 2,048 concurrent logins.
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selected QLogic milestones - from SSD Market History.

In March 2013 - QLogic entered the enterprise SSD market (in the PCI SSD and SSD ASAPs segments) with the launch its first product - the FabricCache 10000 Series adapter (pdf) - which provides transparent sharable and clusterable caching for FC SANs in a 2 card set (upto 400GB flash, and 2x 8Gbps FC ports) which can deliver upto 310,000 initiator IOPS.
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don't all PCIe SSDs look pretty much the same?
When you look at the photos and headline specs for high speed PCIe SSDs - it's easy to come away with the impression that they all look the same and have about the same performance.

After all - how different can they be?

But don't let the experience of the 2.5" SSD market - in which clusters of consumer SSD vendors use the same or similar controllers and hover close together inpopular (consumer) performance rankings - give you the wrong idea about PCIe SSDs.

In this market the performance limits and capabilities of the SSD aren't set by an old hard disk interface and package limitations.

In the PCIe market the products you get are limited only by the imagination of the designers - tempered by the guesses of marketers who are trying to predict the optimum (most salable) features for an ideal SSD.
click to read the article And because server apps vary - so too do those idealized designs too. ...read the article
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QLogic enters the enterprise SSD market - with SAN IOPS caching accelerator
Editor:- March 22, 2013 - QLogic yesterday entered the enterprise SSD market (in the PCI SSD and SSD ASAPs segments) with the launch its first product - the FabricCache 10000 Series adapter (pdf) - which provides transparent sharable and clusterable caching for FC SANs.

The 2 card set (upto 400GB flash, and 2x 8Gbps FC ports) can deliver upto 310,000 initiator IOPS and supports upto 2,048 concurrent logins.

QLogic says - FabricCache uses just a single standard adapter driver per OS, the same QLogic field-proven adapter driver stack that has shipped with more than 13 million FC ports. The FabricCache adapter appears logically to the server as a single QLogic HBA which integrates seamlessly into current enterprise server and infrastructure environments.

Editor's comments:- from the business and marketing perspective QLogic's new Mt. Rainier branded SSD is a tardy, pragmatic and cunning response to the threats and challenges posed by SSDs to traditional storage ecosystems vendors.

Tardy - because the first SSD ASAP appliances - which used SSDs to automatically and transparently accelerate access to SAN storage first shipped in 2009. And the first enterprise PCIe SSDs started shipping in 2007.

Pragmatic - for a bunch of reasons
  • Pragmatic - because QLogic's new products provide a credible way for the company to participate and get customer experience in the crowded high value PCIe SSD market - by recycling IP from (what would otherwise soon be downgraded to) a commodity IP base (FC SAN physical adapters).

    In my 2011 article - don't all PCIe SSDs look pretty much the same? - SSD ASAPs (like QLogic's FabricCache ) were discussed as one of the many options for market differentiation.
  • Pragmatic - for another reason too - because with 50 or more different flavors of auto-caching/tiering software schemes already in the market - QLogic has neatly side-stepped the issue of participating as yet another new SSD software company which user have got to learn about - and instead has cleverly positioned its product as needing no new software. (The FabricCache adapters learn everything they need to know from being acticated by standard FC HBA drivers.)
Cunning - because the implied message to users here is:- "if you want to fool around with SSD auto-accelerating your SAN storage - you can do it without haveing to learn about new software. - All the software you need to know about is already running your interface HBAs."

This is kind of sneaky - because in reality - if users are investing in this product - they will soon start to care about the internals of the software - and to ponder on the ability of QLogic to continue delivering good market roadmap symmetry across upcoming new generations of back end SAN storage systems as these SAN racks themselves change their internal make-up from hard drives to flash.

Another consideration is that - accelerating data I/O between a traditional server SAN stack and storage on the SAN - may give better results than without any flash - but may not be as good an ROI as the competing alternative of accelerating apps performance using similar flash capacity but with an interface agnostic bunch of algorithms.

Nevertheless - QLogic's new SSDs provide a "low perceived risk" way for users - who don't want to plunge deeply into the mystical and changeable details of SSD acceleration - to experiment and fool around with the benefits of SSD SAN acceleration.

Before I get any emails from investors asking - is this good for QLogic? or - is it bad for Fusion-io (or Virident)? Here are my thoughts.

Companies in the server SAN infrastructure market have no future without an SSD core. So having a plausible SSD product - even at this late stage of the enterprise SSD market development game- upgrades QLogic from a future as a mere commodity interface chip supplier to a plausible player.

I doubt if any PCIe SSD makers feel in anu way threatened by QLogic's new product.

See also:- QLogic's informative white paper - QLogic Mt. Rainier Integrates SSDs with SAN Connectivity (pdf)
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QLogic signals intention to enter SSD ASAP market
Editor:- September 7, 2012 - QLogic yesterday announced its intention to enter the SSD ASAP market.

The company says its so called Mt. Rainier technology will support industry standard PCIe SSDs and SAS SSDs - and will connect via the company's HBAs and drivers.
read the article on SSD ASAPs The 1st product in this family will connect via traditional Fibre Channel HBA. Details released so far are too vague to make an assessment of how useful or competitive this product will be when it sees the light of day.
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