by Lyle Smith

Emulex OneConnect OCe11102-NT Review

The OneConnect OCe11102-NT is a high performance, dual-port 10GbE network adapter and a member of the Emulex OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapter (UCNA) family; this 10GbE card was most recently used in our NETGEAR ReadyNAS 716 review. OCe11102-NT adapters are designed to support protocol offloads for TCP/IP and TCP Chimney Offload, allowing for maximum bandwidth all the while using minimum CPU resources. In addition, OneConnect protocol offloads to facilitate more virtual machines per server in virtualized server deployments, in which OneConnect claims that this will result in efficiency and optimized return on investment.

Mainstream adoption of 10 gigabit Ethernet has been a slow process, especially when compared to previous iterations of Ethernet, such as the 1 gigabit platform. This is a bit surprising as the price per gigabit of bandwidth offered by 10 gigabit Ethernet is already about one-third of the bandwidth cost of its predecessor. That said, we hope to see products like the OCe11102-NT push the agenda of mainstream adoption.

As far as features go, the OCe11102-NT is certainly chalk full of them. This includes OneConnect’s Universal Multi-Channel (UMC), which allows multiple PCI functions to be created on each adapter with each port having the ability to present four Network Interface Card (NIC) functions to the operating system or hypervisor. Additionally, the OCe11102-NT supports NetQueue for VMware and Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V in order to optimize performance and maximize virtualization ratios. Emulex also indicates that the OCe11102-NT is future-proof, with the option to enable Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) or iSCSI support with high performance protocol offloads.

The OneConnect OCe11102-NT goes for roughly $545 and is backed by a 3-year warranty.

Specifications

Controller:

  • BladeEngine 3

Standards:

  • PCI Express base spec 2.0, PCI Bus Power Management Interface, rev. 1.2, Advanced Error Reporting (AER)
  • IEEE 802.3ae (10Gb/s Ethernet)
  • 802.1q(VLAN)
  • 802.1p (QoS/CoS)
  • 802.3ad (Link Aggregation)
  • 802.3x (Flow Control)
  • PHP hot plug-hot swap

Architecture:

  • Dual-port, 10Gb/s Ethernet Link speed
  • PCIe Express 2.0 (x8, 5GT/s), MSI-X support
  • Integrated data buffer and code space memory

Ethernet Features:

  • IPv4/IPv6 TCP, UDP checksum offload; Large Send Offload (LSO); Large Receive Offload; Receive Side Scaling (RSS); TCP Segmentation Offload (TSO); IPv4 TCP Chimney Offload
  • VLAN insertion and extraction
  • Jumbo frames up to 9000 Bytes
  • Priority Flow Control for Ethernet traffic
  • Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) 2.0 network boot support
  • Interrupt coalescing
  • Load balancing and failover support including adapter fault tolerance (AFT), switch fault tolerance (SFT), adaptive load balancing (ALB), teaming support, VMW NetQueue v2 and IEEE 802.3ad, VT-d / IOMMU support

I/O Virtualization:

  • PCI-SIG SR-IOV compliant
  • On-chip VM to VM switching
  • Quality of Service (QoS) across each Virtual and Physical Function

OS Support

  • Windows Server
  • VMware ESX
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server
  • Novell SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server
  • Oracle Solaris
  • CentOS
  • Ubuntu
  • FreeBSD
  • View OS versions and available drivers

Hardware Environments:

  • x86, x64 and PPC processor families

Interconnect:

  • Copper Twisted Pair
    • 10GBASE-T
    • Cat 6 cables up to 55m, Cat 6a cables up to 100m

Physical Dimensions:

  • Short, low-profile form factor card
  • 167.64mm x 68.91mm (6.60” x 2.71”)
  • Standard bracket (low profile available)

Environmental Requirements:

  • Operating temperature: 0°C to 55°C (32°F to 131°F)
  • Storage temperature: -40°C to 70°C (-40°F to 158°F)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing

Design and Build

The supported PCIe connector for the OneConnect OCe11102-NT is x8 and is also compliant to the PCI Express Base Specification 2.0.

At the front and center of the OCe11102-NTis the BladeEngine 3 controller, which is covered by a large silver heat sink and a fan at the center that is powered by the card itself. This offers the distinct advantage where the card can be used in both server platforms with heavy chassis airflow or desktop/workstation scenarios where case airflow is limited.

The BladeEngine 3 controller has two 10 GbE interfaces that support XAUI, CX-4, KR and KX-4 physical interfaces, as well as an x8 PCI-Express Gen2 host bus interface. Dual 10GbE network ports can be configured as active/active or active/passive modes of operation. BladeEngine 3 also supports quad-port Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and a mix of dual-port 10GbE and 1GbE.

The outward-facing panel of the card has two RJ45 10GbE ports, labeled Port 0 and Port 1. Each port connector has two LEDs: an amber LED and a green LED.

Performance

The OneConnect OCe11102-NT is leveraged in the StorageReview test lab as the host-side network interface in our VMware/Windows Server 2012 LoadGen setup. Most recently it was used in the following NAS reviews that offered 10Gbase-T support.

​As such, we will be looking at all of the 8k sequential and 128k sequential tests from those reviews that show the strongest performance improvement using a 10GbE interface

In our Thecus N8810U-G review we noted strong iSCSI performance over 10GbE, with throughput measuring as high as 65kIOPS read and 36kIOPS write with a RAID10 volume made up of 8 Micron P400m SSDs.

In our 128k large block sequential test we measured peak transfer speeds of up to 927MB/s read over a single 10GbE port through an iSCSI volume and up to 763MB/s write from a CIFS share.

Moving on to the QNAP TurboNAS TS-470 we noted exceptional performance over 10GbE leveraging a four-drive RAID10 group of Micron P400m SSDs sharing an iSCSI volume, with read throughput just under 82kIOPS and write throughput pushing nearly 62kIOPS.

In our 128k large block sequential test we noted strong read performance of 990MB/s and 984MB/s in our iSCSI and CIFS tests respectively. Peak write speeds measured 868MB/s over iSCSI and 547MB/s from our CIFS share.

Finally, we move on to the Netgear ReadyNAS 716 NAS. Our 100% 8K throughput tests measured peak sequential throughput of 69kIOPs over both CIFS and iSCSI, with write throughput measuring 59kIOPS over CIFS and 44kIOPS over iSCSI.

The Netgear ReadyNAS 716 boasted the best performance in our 128k test, peaking at over 1GB/s read and 833MB/s measuring CIFS performance. iSCSI measured slightly lower with 963MB/s read and 789MB/s write.

Conclusion

OneConnect's OCe11102-NT is a high performance, dual-port 10GbE network adapter, sitting at the top of the Emulex OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapter (UCNA) family. The OCe11102-NT adapter supports protocol offloads for TCP/IP and TCP Chimney Offload, which gives it the ability to boast maximum bandwidth while using the lowest amount of CPU resources possible. The OneConnect protocol also offloads to facilitate more virtual machines per server in virtualized server deployments, in which Emulex claims that this will result in efficiency and optimized return on investment. 

The Emulex OneConnect OCe11102-NT 10GbE NIC is used extensively in the StorageReview test lab, most recently in several of our NAS reviews including the Netgear ReadyNAS 716QNAP TurboNAS TS-470 and Thecus N8810U-G NAS which all offer 10Gbase-T support. We chose the NIC for its excellent platform compatibility, including built-in driver support for environments such as VMware ESXi 5.x. Combining high-performance networking with a strong feature-set and extensive OS support, the OneConnect OCe11102-NT is a great option for buyers wanting to add 10GbE support to their infrastructures.

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