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Demartek provides real-world, hands-on research & analysis by focusing on industry analysis and lab validation testing of server, network, storage and security technologies in its ISO 17025 accredited test lab.

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Demartek Publishes Evaluation of Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520

8 November 2012

As the interest in converged networks grows, and as the vendors from the traditional Ethernet adapter and Fibre Channel adapter marketplaces produce converged products, questions arise about the capabilities and performance of Converged Network Adapters (CNA) that support storage over Ethernet protocols including NFS, iSCSI, and FCoE. Intel® commissioned Demartek to compare the performance of CNAs from two leading Fibre Channel adapter vendors and the Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520 in virtual server environments with various numbers of guest virtual machines.

A variety of application performance workloads were run on each of these three Converged Network Adapters connecting servers to storage targets using FCoE. These workloads were run with various numbers of guests running in a VMware vSphere 5.0 and 5.1 environment. The goal of this testing was to evaluate products in environments similar to actual customer environments. As a result, these tests were performed with well-known disk storage arrays with spinning disk drives in FCoE and iSCSI configurations similar to those typically found in customer data centers, rather than testing “micro-benchmark” performance with specialized hardware not typically found in customer environments.

In examining the results of these comprehensive performance tests, we found that for the most part, the performance of all three CNAs fell into a fairly narrow range. In some tests, one CNA had the highest performance; in other tests, a different CNA had the highest performance. Because the CNA performance was reasonably close in most of these tests, IT professionals need to consider the cost of these adapters, especially in environments where many adapters are required.

View the Demartek Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520 Evaluation

(PDF, 489 KB)

Demartek Evaluation of Intel X520 10GbE Adapter

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