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High Performance SANs
Simplified Management


QLogic's 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters resolves data center complexities by enabling a storage network infrastructure that supports powerful virtualization features, application-aware services, and simplified management. This provides a next generation storage networking infrastructure capable of supporting the most demanding virtualized and cloud-enabled environments while fully leveraging the capabilities of high-performance 16Gb Fibre Channel and SSD storage. This allows for a next generation storage network capable of achieving the full potential of the most demanding virtualized and cloud-enabled data centers while fully leveraging the capabilities of high-performance 16Gb Fibre Channel and SSD storage. These features help reduced cost and complexity while providing new levels of raw performance with the highest available transaction rates to exploit the performance potential of new server and storage platforms. This will immediately benefit today’s critical business applications, such as mail messaging platforms, databases, and data warehousing. Growing virtualized environments and cloud-based solutions will also benefit from the significantly higher bandwidth through sustainable scalability and performance levels that can guarantee Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in dynamic environments. Additionally, QLogic 16Gb Fibre Channel Adapters eliminate potential I/O bottlenecks provided by 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel storage arrays and the increasing use of SSD flash array technology.


QLogic is the undisputed leader in Fibre Channel Adapters, with more than 17 years of experience and six generations of Fibre Channel products that have been qualified by all major server OEMs in multiple form factors. QLogic owns the most established and proven Fibre Channel stack in the industry with more than 16 million ports shipped to enterprise data centers around the world, more than any other vendor. Leadership, confidence, and trust: the underlying QLogic Fibre Channel stack is proven in more than 16 million ports shipped to enterprise data centers around the world.

  • Leading provider of data center connectivity solutions for more than 25 years
  • Ended 2014 with almost 59% market revenue share; 18 point lead
  • 11 consecutive years of Fibre Channel market leadership
  • Market exhibits strong end-user brand preference for QLogic
  • More than 16 million Fibre Channel Adapter ports shipped, with 3 million mezzanine ports
  • New entrants have gained little market share over past 5 years

Network and Storage I/O

New server technologies, such as next-generation multi-core processors and PCIe Gen3, offer more performance to drive denser compute environments. The arrival of 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel offers the largest storage I/O pipe with data rates of 1600MB/s and more than 1.2 million IOPS to overcome limitations of deploying too many I/O-intensive VMs on a single physical host. Gen 5 Fibre Channel's credit-based flow control delivers data as fast as the destination buffer is able to receive it, without dropping frames or losing data and without the need for upper-layer retries. This is one of the exclusive features of Gen 5 Fibre Channel that make it so well suited for block-level storage data networks and interconnects. Also, problems with underlying data path management issues can be resolved with the addition of NPIV and QoS to eliminate network congestion and maximize efficiency and performance. QoS allows for better delivery of requested data within a vitalized server and network by optimizing throughput to guarantee that bandwidth is available when needed. This streamlines operations and can eliminate any wait states for mission-critical applications.

Gen 5 16Gb Fibre Channel E-to-E; Server and Storage Design Wins

Recently, QLogic has been announcing 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel server design wins. With the announcement of Dell's 12th Generation PowerEdge™ rack, tower and blade servers, and Dell Compellent Storage, QLogic became the first to provide native 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel connectivity at both critical ends—the server and the storage array. With this announcement, QLogic began to offer the industry's first complete, end-to-end solution based on 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel—from servers to storage—doubling bandwidth for business-critical applications and highly virtualized data center environments. QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel technology has allowed Dell to deliver first-to-market, end-to-end Gen 5 Fibre Channel storage network solutions from host to storage, with no bottlenecks in between. Dell's end-to-end 16Gb Fibre Channel solution drives unprecedented application performance and provides the perfect I/O companion for state-of-the-art Intel and AMD-based servers, virtualized data centers, and cloud computing environments.

Gen 5 Fibre Channel Provides True Enterprise Reliability – Port-level Isolation

True enterprise reliability is ensured by port-level isolation to fully segregate Gen 5 Fibre Channel functions of each port on a dual-port adapter. QLogic‘s dual-port design has separated processor, memory, and firmware for each port on the adapter. With these independent components in the QLogic design, activity such as high I/O loads, resets, recoveries, and errors that occur on one port do not impact the other port. Each port on the QLogic Host Bus Adapter is able to achieve full line rate independent of the activity of the other port, unlike competitive offerings.

QLogic's Gen 5 Fibre Channel isolated dual port designed architecture provides the following benefits, which are table stakes for key enterprise deployments with Fibre Channel SANs:

  • Independent Functionality – Reset or error recovery on one port does not impact performance of the other port
  • Higher Reliability – Firmware crash on one port does not crash the other port
  • Better Security – Isolation at the physical level; Physical Function (PF) for one port cannot access state information (registers, memory info, etc.) of another PF due to physical isolation
  • Predictable Performance – I/O spikes on one port do not affect the performance of the other port
  • Enhanced Scalability – The QLogic dual-port adapter scales more linearly than Emulex when traffic on the second port is added

Overlapping Protection Domains

Overlapping protection domains (OPD) provide critical data protection as data travels from the server, over the Fibre Channel network, and to the storage. QLogic OPD enhancements go beyond competitive offerings and protect both the data path and the control path for the highest level of reliability. This ensures not only that the correct data is written, but that the data is written to the correct location. Organizations that use QLogic’s Gen 5 Fibre Channel technology are provided with accurate data in a timely manner, thereby gaining a competitive advantage.

Quality of Service

QLogic's Gen 5 Fibre Channel offers industry’s unique quality of service (QoS), a way to simplify complex throughput and routing intelligence throughout a virtualized network. It helps to extend the benefits of virtualization by reducing cables and management complexities, simplifying bandwidth, and eliminating congestion by enabling virtual partitions with flexible bandwidth capacity allocation. This approach allows the application of fine-grain QoS to the virtual ports to improve I/O performance by enabling flexible bandwidth provisioning to applications. QoS has the capability to provide a different priority for applications, users, or data flows, and to guarantee a certain level of performance to a given data flow.

QLogic’s Gen 5 Fibre Channel features such as QoS guarantees are important if the network capacity is insufficient for the maximum workloads, especially for real-time streaming multimedia applications, such as voice over IP, online games, and movement of virtual servers and storage across a network that may require fixed bit rate and are delay sensitive. The guarantees are also important in networks where the capacity is a limited resource. Another significant advantage is in support of multi-tenancy within cloud environments, where a single piece of hardware may likely be used to access various virtual networks by multi-tenant applications. In these environments, QoS allows prioritization of I/O streams from a single piece of hardware. In essence, multi-tenant applications can now be guaranteed bandwidth.


QLogic offers the industry's only portfolio of Gen 5 Fibre Channel, 10Gb Intelligent Ethernet, and Converged Network Adapters backed by a five-year standard warranty. Raising the bar for reliability in data and storage networking, QLogic helps customers achieve a higher return on their investments with critical data center hardware that is ensured to be operational over a longer lifetime. All QLogic-branded FlexSuite Adapters are warrantied for three years at purchase; customers can extend their warranty to five years at no charge simply by registering their adapters.


Gen 5 Fibre Channel is the ideal SAN technology for hosting and servicing high-density virtual machines due to their requirement for extremely low-latency, highly deterministic storage technology. Gen 5 Fibre Channel can provide the largest I/O pipe for highly virtualized data centers and is used to allow for the greatest VM density.

Adoption of virtualization is being leveraged to make better use of server resources, including processor cores and memory to achieve economic savings and improve flexibility. However, virtualization efforts can generate dramatically higher I/O traffic rates and as virtualization density on servers grows, storage problems can quickly appear. Many organizations are now extending their server virtualization initiatives, potentially running up to twenty-five virtual machines per server. With more virtual machines being added to physical servers and with these servers running multiple disk I/O-intensive production applications, such as messaging and database, servers can easily generate more disk I/O than can be handled by even an 8Gb Fibre Channel environment. Therefore, a larger I/O pipe is required in heavy virtualized environments or performance levels can quickly escalate beyond the supported levels. 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel can enable virtual environments to scale well beyond what current infrastructure can support.

  • Heavy Virtualization – More and more data centers are beginning to run at least 25 virtual machines (VMs) per server
  • QLogic also offers time-saving management with vCenter Plug-In—a single pane-of-glass administration of Host Bus Adapters in VMware environments


With decreasing IT budgets and the high demand of server real estate, there is a drive to increase IT density and reduce server and application license fees. This puts extraordinary pressure on how data center administrators provision and control valuable resources, especially Fibre Channel storage, which is at the heart of virtualized and enterprise applications. The advent of cloud-enabling technologies within new server platforms, such as Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and VMware vSphere 5.1, are designed to help transform IT operations, reduce costs, and deliver the level of business value for which data center administrators are looking.

Cloud architectures place a higher demand for bandwidth, faster transactional response times and new requirements for environments that can truly scale to deliver capacity on demand, and provide inherent multitenant infrastructures. The underlying storage network must be reliable, stable, and highly scalable with support for multi-tenancy. Incorporating QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters into the storage architecture will enable the host servers to meet the high performance and multi-tenant requirements to service cloud environments.

The demand for high IOPS and low latencies are a necessity to avoid I/O bottlenecks and maintain customer Quality of Service (QoS). Within cloud environments, where a single hardware adapter will be used to access various virtual networks by multi-tenant applications QoS is essential. QLogic's QoS feature allows prioritization of I/O streams from a single QLogic 16Gb adapter. In essence, multi-tenant applications can now be guaranteed bandwidth to deliver capacity on demand as required.

QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel helps in consolidation efforts and in building a high-performance, dynamic, multi-tenant infrastructure. QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel with QoS helps secure workloads through sustainable scalability and performance levels that can guarantee Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in dynamic cloud environments. Networks that build on QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel can truly scale—and do it quickly—to deliver the capacity on demand that enterprises need to overcome the inherent limitations of current multi-tenant cloud infrastructures.

  • Fine-grained Quality of Service (QoS) and the ability to dynamically allocate bandwidth through increased support for N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV). This enables cloud deployments to provide guaranteed bandwidth with fine-grained metering.

Backup and Recovery

Frequent backups are time consuming when using slower networks and less powerful severs, but failure to backup can often be disastrous, resulting in downtime and loss of revenue. Growing amounts of storage mean backups are larger and occur more frequently. In addition, large backups generally mean larger recovery times. Powerful server platforms and high-speed throughput, such as from 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel can not only shorten backup windows and facilitate faster recovery, but improve the underlying data integrity.

Another use case for 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel is links between data centers and the cloud. During data center consolidation, disaster recovery, and equipment changes, users often need to migrate terabytes or even petabytes of data between storage arrays. The time to transfer large blocks of data is limited by the speed of the links connecting the devices, rather than processors or controllers that typically limit throughput during normal processing. Gen 5 Fibre Channel offers a credit-based flow control that delivers data as fast as the destination buffer is able to receive it, without dropping frames or losing data and without the need for upper-layer retries.


The deployment of QLogic16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel provides an opportunity to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the entire SAN infrastructure. The increase in bandwidth allows for a reduction in the quantity of Host Bus Adapters, which has a trickle-down effect, reducing necessary cabling within each server rack and decreasing the total number of Gen 5 Fibre Channel ports on switches and end devices.

QLogic Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters provide performance to match next-generation Intel and AMD servers with very large multi-core configurations. QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters, along with the added support of PCIe Gen 3, increase the total bandwidth from a single slot, allowing the number of required Host Bus Adapters to be reduced and freeing up valuable server real estate. Due to the performance and bandwidth improvements, QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters can be used to create very dense servers and highly virtualized data centers by allowing greater VM density, a requirement for shared public and private cloud deployments.

  • Reduced TCO as power, cooling, cabling, and management costs are lowered
  • 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel speed doubles the effective bandwidth, so the core SAN infrastructure requires fewer links, resulting in a reduction of equipment


The ability to move to a higher performing 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel SAN will provide investment protection for organizations that have spent the time, money, and effort to build out and manage a robust Gen 5 Fibre Channel SAN in support of their virtualized server environments. Not long ago, VMware only supported Gen 5 Fibre Channel SANs, and, to take advantage of advanced mobility features, a network storage environment was required. Hypervisors like VMware allow consolidation of applications onto fewer servers, reducing hardware, power, cooling, and administration costs.

QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters feature the following scalability capabilities:

  • NPIV (N-Port ID Virtualization) technology to extend physical port connectivity
  • Windows Server 2012 – 255 virtual ports per port
  • VMware vSphere ESXi – 255 virtual ports per port

Database and Data Warehousing

The majority of servers that run large enterprise-class database applications use Gen 5 Fibre Channel for storage. Database servers are designed for demanding requirements, such as data mining for decision support systems or data warehousing for business analytics, where to get answers for business-critical operations, queries of large volumes of data are necessary. These mission-critical databases perform millions of transactions per second and every record may be copied, creating an environment with a high degree of complexity. Due to this, 100 percent data integrity is required to avoid data corruption, which makes Gen 5 Fibre Channel ideal for these environments.

High-performance connectivity is essential to enable the fastest database query times and the highest database transactions, resulting in faster business decisions and greater competitive business advantages. To identify Host Bus Adapter performance in real-word applications, QLogic deployed a third-party test facility, Demartek, to test 8Gb and 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters from QLogic and competing products from Emulex. To test the performance of these adapters in a real-world environment, the tests were performed using a data warehousing workload on Microsoft SQL Server in a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 environment. The test showed the value of the 16Gb Gen 5 Host Bus Adapter relative to the previous-generation 8Gb Host Bus Adapters under a real-world database workload as well as the ability of the QLogic adapters to outperform Emulex 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters in broad business intelligence database environments. Furthermore, the QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Host Bus Adapters demonstrated outstanding performance using its separate processor, memory, and firmware for each port on the adapter (port-level isolation). Unlike competitive offerings, the high-availability architecture of QLogic Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters provided a secure, deterministic, and predictive scalability that data center administrators demand.

16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel and Flash-Based Storage

Storage arrays based on flash-based technology in the form of SSDs, with lower latency and higher bandwidth and IOPS than traditional storage arrays, are enabling a new level of performance. SSDs are expected to improve bandwidth density and are being used in many high bandwidth applications, such as online gaming, database, OLTP, virtualization, and cloud computing, where applications have reached bandwidth requirements of 50GBps. As requirements for networks that deliver the lowest possible latency and the highest IOPS increase, and use cases where performance is more important than capacity and price continue to grow, adoption of SSD technology will continue to expand.

A single QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel interface to SSDs can double even the throughput of the fastest 8Gb Fibre Channel ports and supports more than 1.2 million I/O transactions per second. Furthermore, to handle this capacity and I/O, these SAN infrastructures will have requirements for the next evolutions of I/O interconnects. QLogic has updated its Gen 5 cards to support the next generation of the PCIe architecture, PCIe 3.0, which complements the latest high-performance Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor-based server platforms. For the highest bandwidth, no other storage interconnect compares to Gen 5 Fibre Channel. QLogic Gen 5 adapters deliver the best performance while consuming the fewest CPU cycles to drive storage traffic at line rate across all ports.

  • Database and OLTP – Access time to database queries, reports and batch jobs can be dramatically improved by using QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel to connect a minimal number of enterprise SSDs within the storage environment.
  • E-mail and Messaging Servers – QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel and SSD in a mail server can improve response time, reduce wait-states, and ultimately increase user productivity and satisfaction.
  • Virtualization – Virtualization dramatically increases the I/O demands on the storage networks through consolidation of multiple applications onto one physical server. When QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel is deployed with SSDs, high I/O demands are supported without unnecessary delays, translating directly to a reduction in boot and log-in storms and faster movement of VMs.
  • Cloud Computing – Cloud computing architecture demands faster transactional response times and environments that can truly scale to deliver capacity on demand, and deliver inherent multi-tenant infrastructures. The incorporation of QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel and SSDs into the storage architecture will enable the host to meet the high performance and multi-tenant requirements to service cloud environments.

Lower Cost per Bit Transferred

QLogic's introduction of 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters, doubled the data throughput rate from 1,600MBps to 3,200MBps per port. The results of this increased data transfer rate are fewer links required, fewer devices to manage, less power consumption, and less required cooling per bit transferred. The higher speed of Gen 5 Fibre Channel may also eliminate multiple ports, compared to an 8Gb infrastructure of comparable bandwidth. This savings applies equally to ports at the host, fabric, and storage array. Due to fewer ports being required, the number of Host Bus Adapters, switches, and end device ports can be decreased.

  • Gen 5 Fibre Channel has significant improvements over previous generations, including reduction of device ports, cabling, management, and power consumption for transferring bits over the link, resulting in a lower cost per bit transferred.
  • When the cost of cabling and operating expenses (OPEX) such as electricity and cooling are considered, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is less for QLogic Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters.


Reliability is a key requirement in the data center. When systems don’t work or information is compromised, nothing else matters. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all the deployed components are built with enterprise-class reliability in mind. QLogic Gen 5 Fibre Channel safeguards best-of-breed, enterprise-class reliability by several means, including port-level isolation and overlapping protection domains, backed by the industry’s only 5-year warranty.


Fibre Channel continues to remain the dominant storage networking architecture for next-generation enterprise workloads, server virtualization, and cloud architectures, and Fibre Channel is known for its ultra-reliability in mission-critical, high-performance environments in enterprise data centers. Large IT organizations have made huge investments in Fibre Channel technology to meet their high availability storage and reliability needs. The move to QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel will not only enable organizations to extend their investments, but will also deliver a significant performance enhancement at a time when it is really needed. Today’s storage administrators are under pressure to decrease costs and improve efficiency. With increasing data storage requirements due to applications such as streaming video, backup and recovery, database applications and virtualization, there is a driving need for faster access and higher bandwidth.

16Gb Fibre Channel provides the additional I/O bandwidth required by mission-critical applications to improve performance over 8Gb Fibre Channel. QLogic 16Gb Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters deliver the highest bandwidth and reduced latency by leveraging two next-generation storage technologies—PCIe 3.0 interconnect and Gen 5 Fibre Channel, while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing Fibre Channel investments. The process of offloading I/O requests to the adapter conserves precious CPU cycles for applications, services, and virtual server environments, allowing the QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel adapters to support linear scalability, which drives storage traffic at line rate across all ports.

QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel can improve performance for I/O-intensive applications by enabling an increased number of virtual machines running on physical servers, delivering three times the transactions, doubling the bandwidth compared to an 8Gb adapter in real-life database environments, delivering capacity on-demand, and fulfilling multi-tenant feature requirements of cloud applications. In addition, the deployment of Gen 5 Fibre Channel provides the opportunity to reduce the number of cables required within server racks. It can also play a role in consolidating the total number of Fibre Channel Switch ports required in a SAN, because of the increased bandwidth available.

Server Refresh Cycle

The new Intel® motherboards designed for Xeon® E5-2600 next-generation processors are driving expanded requirements for network I/O infrastructure. QLogic's 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters provide new levels of raw performance with the highest possible transaction rates to exploit performance potentials of new server platforms. The existing QLogic Gen 5 product portfolio complements Intel-based server systems and Xeon processors by enabling virtual servers to reach new levels of compute density that in turn drive expanded requirements for enterprise I/O performance. QLogic's Gen 5 technology further enhances data center efficiencies and increases ROI by delivering full hardware offload and QoS for maximum bandwidth utilization and dynamic provisioning, particularly in the virtualization-dominated IT landscapes where performance is crucial.

With the powerful Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 chipset currently available, system manufacturers have released new models of rack and blade servers. QLogic has entered the market with new OEM versions of QLogic’s 16Gb Fibre Channel Adapters and 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel storage array-based target technology to meet the demands of business-critical applications. The new generation of server platforms with multicore processors and PCIe Gen3 slots has added bandwidth to drive more throughput and will benefit from QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel technology.

Server Sprawl and Oversubscription

Storage architects must constantly monitor resource usage and re-architect or even overhaul the storage infrastructure, due to the impact of an increasing amount of VMs on their servers. As virtual environments reach 25 or more VMs per physical server, an oversubscription tends to occur at the Host Bus Adapter. Compounding this problem is server sprawl, or the configuration of multiple underutilized servers. Oversubscription occurs due to not having enough bandwidth per physical adapter, while server sprawl occurs due to the ease with which virtual servers can be built and deployed. Because of the random I/O that is characteristic of storage in virtualized environments, oversubscription and server sprawl are ripe for causing storage issues. All of this can be resolved with an upgrade to QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters—they enable more applications and VMs to run on a single server and Fibre Channel port and provide the necessary bandwidth to handle the increased traffic of heavily virtualized environments.

  • Server sprawl can consume resources from a physical host, and the additional bandwidth of QLogic 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel Adapters can delay and even avoid storage issues
  • Oversubscription can max out bandwidth of a 4Gb or 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter, while 16Gb Gen 5 Fibre Channel will provide the added bandwidth required to avoid oversubscription