by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Emulex LPe16202 Dual-Port CFA Review

The Emulex LPe16202 dual-port Converged Fabric Adapter (CFA) is based on the same hardware as the LightPulse Gen 5 Fibre Channel (FC) cards we reviewed in December of last year, with the addition of supporting Ethernet as well as FC modes. The LPe160202 provides the flexibility to run Gen 5 (16Gb), Advanced-8 (8Gb) Fibre Channel, or 10GbE Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) connectivity with one adapter. The new Gen 5 Fibre adapters (as well as the LPe16004 quad-port Gen 5 (16GFC) FC HBA and LPe15004 quad-port low-profile Gen 5 (8GFC) HBA) can be used as either host initiators or storage targets in order to achieve superior latency. Additionally, with its claimed reliability and maximized I/O performance and bandwidth, it has the ability to fully realize the power of virtualization, private cloud, and emerging flash cache solutions in servers, arrays, and appliances.

The LPe16202 comes with Emulex’s enterprise-class management application, OneCommand Manager, featuring a multiprotocol, cross-platform architecture that provides centralized management of all adapters provided by Emulex. This handy feature gives people like IT administrators the ability to manage network connectivity with only one tool for maximum efficiency. OneCommand Manager also provides a plug-in for VMware vCenter Server, which gives users a good deal of control over Fibre Channel HBAs and network (FCoE, iSCSI and TCP/IP NIC) Emulex connectivity solutions from VMware’s vCenter Server management console. Additionally, the plug-in for VMware vCenter Server is compatible with the new VMware vSphere 5.1 Web Client as well as the VMware vCenter Server desktop client with an identical feature-set (regardless of the client).

General Specifications

  • The LPe16202-X CFA is powered by the Emulex XE201 converged fabric controller which is capable of running FC and Ethernet and consists of an eight-lane (x8) PCIe 3.0 bus (backward compatibility to PCIe 2.0 supported)

Architecture

  • Supports up to two FC ports at 16GFC or 8GFC, or two 10GbE FCoE ports
  • Dual-port 16GFC optics supports 16GFC, 8GFC and 4GFC link speeds, automatically negotiated(optics purchased separately)
  • Dual-port 8GFC optics* supports 8GFC, 4GFC and 2GFC link speeds, automatically negotiated (optics purchased separately)

Ethernet/NIC Feature Support (driver support varies by Operating System)

  • Jumbo frames support for frame sizes of at least 9 Kbytes
  • Hardware TCP/UDP checksum generation
  • Hardware IPv4/IPv6 checksum offload
  • Hardware Large Segmentation Offload
  • Hardware Header and Data Split
  • Full duplex operation is supported
  • Up to 128 MAC addresses
  • Unicast/Multi-cast address filtering
  • VMware Netqueue
  • Packet Filtering based on MAC address or VLAN tag
  • Microsoft Receive Side Scaling (RSS)
  • NIC Teaming (NOTE: Enabled via host-side drivers)
  • PCI hotplug
  • PXE Boot
  • FCode
  • Priority Flow Control 802.1Qbb Ver 0
  • DCB Exchange Protocol (DCBX) Ver 1.01
  • Enhanced Transmission Selection 802.1Qaz Ver 0
  • T11 FCoE Initialization Prototcol (FIP) Rev.2.0, T11/09-056v5

Fibre Channel / Fibre Channel over Ethernet Standards

  • Topologies supported include FC-SW switched fabric (N_Port), Point-to-point (N_Port) and FC-AL Arbitrated Loop (NL_Port)—on 2GFC/4GFC/8GFC speeds
  • Dual port FC Over Ethernet
  • FC & FCoE Compatible with:
  • Fibre Channel Physical and Signaling (FC-PH, FC-PH2, FC-PH3)
  • Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL-2)— on 2GFC/4GFC/8GFC speeds
  • Fibre Channel Generic Services (FC-GS-3)
  • Fibre Channel Framing and Signaling (FC-FS)
  • Fibre Channel Physical Interface (FC-PI)
  • Fibre Channel Tape and Medium Changers (FC-Tape)
  • Fibre Channel Switch Fabric (FC-SW-4)
  • Fibre Channel Protocol for SCSI Support (FC-FCP, FC-FCP2, FCP-3-SCSI)
  • FMA support
  • T10 DIF or T10 PI native support
  • Fibre Channel interface compliant with appropriate T11.org specifications
  • Fibre Channel General Services (FC-GS, FC-GS-2, FC-GS-3)

Data Integrity

  • Supports T10 PI / Data Integrity Field (T10 DIF) standard per T10 working group with high performance offload
    • Simultaneous 512-Byte and 520-Byte block support
    • Simultaneous 4096-Byte and 4104-Byte block support
    • DIF Error Reporting
  • End-to-End CRC (ECRC) support per PCIe 3.0 specification
  • GMAC support

Ethernet and NIC Standards

  • IEEE 802.1Q VLAN, IEEE 802.1P and 802.1D, IEEE 802.3x, IEEE 802.1Qbb, IEEE 802.1Qaz, IEEE 802.3ab/802.3z, DCBX

Comprehensive OS and Hypervisor Support

  • Windows Server, Linux, Solaris, VMware vSphere, Windows Hyper-V

Physical Dimensions

  • Short, low profile MD2 form factor card
  • 167.64mm x 68.91mm (6.60” x 2.71”)
  • Low profile bracket
  • Standard bracket ships in the box

Power & Environmental Requirement

  • Power supply: 1.8V, 1.2V, 0.9V
  • Volts: +3.3, +12
  • Operating temperature: 0° to 58°C (32° to 131°F)
  • Storage temperature: -43° to 73°C (-40° to 158°F)
  • Humidity:
  • Operating: 10% to 90% RH, non-condensing, 27°C max wet bulb
  • Non-operating: 93% RH, non-condensing, 38°C max wet bulb

Design and Usage

The Emulex LightPulse LPe16202 is a dual-port card, compatible with 8/16G FC as well as 10GbE. It boasts up to 1.2 million IOPS on a single-port, making it one of the fastest FC adapter on the market and ideal for connectivity from multi-core servers, cache-rich enterprise arrays, SSDs, flash-based storage, and big data appliances. 

The LPe16202 supports PCIe Generation 3 with an 8x interface, with ECC protection of high density RAM. It also offers both full-height and half-height brackets to work in many environments. For on the spot diagnostics it also includes green and yellow LEDs through openings in the CFA's mounting bracket with the green LED indicating firmware operation and the yellow LED indicating port activity.

In our environments we leverage dual Emulex LPe16202 CFA's in our Windows Server 2012-based platform that uses FIO to measure synthetic performance of storage arrays. With many dual-controller All Flash Arrays leveraging eight 8Gb FC ports total, matching bandwidth on our server is required to test the full performance of the storage system, which 4 16Gb FC ports lets us do. We also leverage the LPe16202 and FC-only LP16002 in our VMware infrastructure for 16Gb FC connectivity. The CFA model allows us to easily swap modes in slot-constrained systems by changing out transceivers only and getting the benefits of either network connectivity type depending on the task at hand. The only mild complaint we've had with the CFA is unlike the FC or Ethernet-only Emulex adapters that are recognized by stock drivers built into VMware, the CFA requires a separate driver pack for both modes. Not a huge problem but it does add one more step in the setup process over other cards.

Performance

In the StorageReview test lab, the Emulex LPe16202 CFA has been the workhorse behind many of our highest performing benchmarks. We've used it extensively with all-flash arrays (AFAs), including the Huawei OceanStor Dorado2100 G2 that measured over 400kIOPS 4K random read and up to 380kIOPS 4K random write.

In our SQL Server application benchmark, the LPe16202 CFA has also been used as the primary host interface for FC tests, where low latency is key.

Conclusion

The LPe16202 is an easy to deploy CFA (or CNA if you like) with a heavy emphasis on performance. It also provides the flexibility to run Gen 5 (16Gb), Advanced-8 (8Gb) Fibre Channel, or 10GbE Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) connectivity with one adapter in order to meet current and growing connectivity needs of all types of businesses making a perfect addition to our Enterprise testing environment. 

As seen from the performance charts included above, The LPe16202 has found its way into many of our test routines. The Emulex card is a key component to synthetic and SQL testing of Fibre Channel arrays, while providing the flexibility to switch to 10GbE for comparison data on the same card if needed. Ultimately the driver support and ease of use makes the LPe16202 as close to set it and forget it as possible. 

Pros

  • High-performance results over both 16Gb FC and 10GbE
  • Automatically switches modes based on transceivers installed (no BIOS changes)
  • Great driver development across many operating systems

Cons

  • Requires different drivers than FC-only or Ethernet-only Emulex adapters

Bottom Line

The Emulex LPe16202 is based on proven technology and provides the flexibility to handle Fibre, FCoE or Ethernet, without sacrificing performance, based on the needs of the storage environment. 

Emulex LPe16202 Product Page

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