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Fujitsu unveils SDN tech to speed up network storage access

Posted: 11 Dec 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Fujitsu Laboratories  network storage access  software-defined network  SDN  switch 

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd has developed a technology for software-defined networking (SDN) that the company said controls storage-traffic routing and claims to roughly double the throughput on networks with integrated LAN and SAN networks. The firm has equipped a network switch with the functions needed to control storage traffic, and by controlling that switch from the external controller, has made it possible to control the routing of storage traffic by SDN while effectively virtualizing network resources.

With an increasing priority on efficient system operations in data centers in recent years, network switches are being controlled remotely and externally through software controllers, and such SDN technology that uses virtualized networks has come into use. In addition, there has been a trend toward integrating LANs and SANs to reduce costs and simplify operations.

Existing SDN technologies have been designed for LAN switches and cannot be used to optimize SAN storage traffic. When applied to converged LAN and SAN networks, this has created a barrier to performance improvements for attempting to expand systems.

In the future, this technology will make it possible for systems to expand flexibly in response to loads on converged LAN and SAN networks in vertically integrated platforms for virtualization and cloud computing.

With the growing trend toward virtualizing servers and networks to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) of data centers, SDN networks, which control virtualized networks in software, are coming into use (Figure 1). At the same time, the application of technology that integrates LANs and SANs, which used to be deployed separately, into a single network is progressing, with the goal of reducing costs and improving the efficiency of operations management work (Figure 2).

Network virtualization and SDN

Figure 1: Routing control using network virtualization and SD.

Integrated LAN/SAN network

Figure 2: An integrated LAN/SAN network

Most SDN technologies, as typified by OpenFlow, control LAN traffic using Ethernet addresses or IP addresses, but cannot handle storage traffic, which does not use IP addresses. For this reason, storage traffic on converged LAN and SAN networks cannot be controlled, posing an issue for ensuring the efficient use of the network.

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a technology that observes the flow of data for storage accesses, or storage flow in a converged LAN and SAN network on FCoE and controls storage traffic by SDN.

Functions implemented in switch

Figure 3: Functions implemented in switch.

Network control

Figure 4: Network control using implemented functions

Applying this technology to an Ethernet-switch-based system resulted in about twofold increase in throughput. Appropriately distributing data traffic allows for a system that can expand flexibly in response to network loads on a LAN and SAN integrated network.

This technology is expected to improve scalability and enable efficient network utilization in cloud systems such as vertically integrated platforms for virtualization and cloud computing.

Fujitsu Laboratories is continuing research on efficient network utilization, including the storage-traffic control technologies announced here, with the goal of commercial implementations during fiscal 2014.

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