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Flash Forward with the HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 32Gb SAN Portfolio



Looking for faster storage networking infrastructure for flash-based storage?

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Developments in latest generation servers are delivering breakthrough performance and virtualization capabilities. At the same time, widespread adoption of flash-based storage and emerging technologies like NVMe are causing the FC SAN fabric to deliver more performance than ever before. The HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 32Gb FC portfolio provides a reliable storage networking foundation for enterprise data centers and private cloud storage that can handle today’s performance requirements while delivering future-proof investment protection.

Faced with explosive data growth, organizations need to deploy and scale up applications quickly. As a result, many are moving to higher Virtual Machine (VM) densities and deploying flash storage to help those applications scale to support thousands of users. New-gen technologies like more capable servers, increased server virtualization density, adoption of flash-based storage, and emerging technologies like NVMe, are causing IT organizations to consider their SAN fabric and whether it is able to deliver the performance required by the aforementioned new-gen technologies. By treating the network as a strategic part of a highly virtualized environment, you can increase optimization and efficiency even as you rapidly scale your environments.

To help meet that need, we’re introducing the next-generation storage networking portfolio with HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 32Gb FC SAN Directors (SN8600B), Switches (SN6600B) and Host-Bus Adapters (SN1600B). The HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 32Gb portfolio provides greater performance with 32 Gbps links, improved manageability with more granular insights and diagnostics, along with long-term investment protection and lower overall cost of ownership.

What 32Gb is all about

HPE StoreFabric 32Gb FC SAN Director and Switches feature an industry-leading Gen 6 ASIC which enables up to 1 billion IOPS and increases performance for demanding workloads across 32 Gbps line-speed links and up to 16.2 Tbps of chassis bandwidth per HPE8600B SAN director. This breakthrough performance speeds up response time for data-intensive applications, allows more transactions in less time and enables IT managers to meet SLAs like never before.

In addition, the HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 products increase scalability with double the throughput for high-density VM deployments and larger fabrics. This allows you to support more storage devices and meet bandwidth requirements using the same number of Fibre Channel links. The HPE StoreFabric portfolio including both mid-range switch and enterprise SAN Directors have QSFP ports that are capable of 128 Gbps parallel Fibre Channel or ISL connectivity, enabling administrators to consolidate and simplify cabling infrastructure.

Demartek weighs in on the HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 32Gb portfolio


Demartek gained early access to the newest Gen 6 products and subjected them to a series of SQL Server data warehousing application tests. They found that the new Gen 6 HBAs and Gen 6 switches provide the performance needed to alleviate network bottlenecks that can be caused by all-flash arrays and dramatically improve data warehousing application performance.

Demartek found that:

  • Gen 6 products provide the powerful combination that can be used today to accelerate applications even when coupled with existing 8GFC and/or 16GFC storage arrays.
  • The Gen 6 HBA reduced Microsoft SQL Server 2014 data warehouse workload query times by almost 50% compared to 16GFC and reduced it to 25% compared to 8GFC connected servers.
  • Reduced latency for both target and initiator by 50% when compared to the Gen5 HBA.

These tests show that even with all-flash arrays that have 8Gb FC target ports, substantial improvements in performance can be achieved by upgrading the host adapters and switches to the 32GFC technology without changes on the target storage system.

Read more from Demartek: Evaluation of Gen 6 Fibre Channel Products

More on the benefits that come with the Gen 6 32Gb portfolio

The HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 32 Gb portfolio provides simplified management with unprecedented insight and visibility across the storage network. It is integrated with HPE Smart SAN for 3PAR for greater visibility into your SAN fabric and addresses configuration related inefficiencies in the area of zoning. HPE Power Pack+ Software and HPE SAN Network Advisor provides SAN administrators with the necessary tools to monitor the health and performance of the network with greater visibility. This now includes the newly introduced IO Insight Software for monitoring IO level information and diagnostics. It obtains I/O latency, response time and IOPS metrics for the storage and server devices to diagnose I/O operational issues to ensure predictable performance and service-levels. In addition, VM Insight software for StoreFabric Gen 6 provides visibility down to the VM level.

The portfolio provides better energy efficiency compared to previous generation of products with higher port density reducing the overall cost of ownership. HPE StoreFabric 32Gb Directors and Switches provide connectivity to 8 and 16 Gbps Fibre Channel products. Furthermore, it supports future Fibre Channel technologies such as NVMe and Gen 7-ready storage networking platforms. The SN8600B SAN Director allows for current Gen 6 and future generation director blade modules to be added within the chassis giving IT managers a powerful solution today and a flexible solution for tomorrow.

HPE StoreFabric Gen 6 32Gb FC Switches and SAN Directors provide a reliable, scalable and high-performance foundation for enterprise data centers, private cloud storage, highly virtualized environments and all-flash storage. Data center modernization requires faster fabric infrastructure with deeper visibility into the fabric performance – and that’s what you get now with Gen 6 Fiber Channel.

Demartek has more details: Evaluation of Gen 6 Fibre Channel Products

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Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Ankit Jain, Sr. Product Manager, HPE Storage.



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