Virtualization Technology News and Information
Solarflare Announces SR-IOV Support for Redhat Linux Kernel-Based Virtual Machine and Citrix XenServer 6.0
Solarflare, the leader in high-performance, low-latency 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) server adapters and software, announced today the extension of its scalable vNIC architecture to include support of single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) for Redhat Linux kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) and Citrix XenServer 6.0. Solarflare’s support of SR-IOV enables maximum 10GbE performance by reducing CPU utilization, increasing bandwidth and lowering latency. Solarflare’s SR-IOV solution enables customers to deploy virtualized applications without suffering from performance degradations while maintaining access to the flexibility and feature richness of the hypervisor.

An industry first, Solarflare’s SR-IOV solution offers IT and data center managers the ability to improve their virtualized network I/O performance, while maintaining seamless support of the critical functions provided by the hypervisor, such as virtual machine (VM) migration, VLANs, high availability and fail-over, and VM management. Solarflare accomplishes this by the unique implementation of a plug-in model that supports the ability to accelerate while maintaining access to the hypervisor.

Solarflare’s SR-IOV solution also supports more virtual functions than any other solution on the market. Its dual-port 10GbE server adapters support two physical functions (PFs) and 254 virtual functions (VFs), while providing as many as 2,048 direct memory access (DMA) channels (or vNICS) per adapter. Moreover, since both Linux KVM and Citrix XenServer are aware that SR-IOV VFs are virtual and not hardware PCIe devices, each guest operating system is also SR-IOV aware, allowing the PFs and VFs to be properly detected and initialized.

With Solarflare’s solution, multiple vNICs can be exposed through a single virtual function to a guest virtual machine or guest application. This allows a guest VM to have multiple transmit and receive queues. Solarflare’s unique Smart Flow Management feature supports the smart allocation of network traffic across these multiple guests to help scale performance over the available server CPU cores, enabling unsurpassed core-scaling capabilities. Its Smart Flow Management and its scalable vNIC architecture are implemented with multiple patented inventions, including, but not limited to, a DMA engine, event batching of transmissions, management of deep queues and rate pacing, which enables Quality of Service (QoS) provisioning in hardware at Layer 2/3/4 for vNICs.

“Our enhancements to IOV provide our customers the performance and flexibility they need to build scale-out clouds and other virtualized solutions while maintaining ease of use and deployment,” said Russell Stern, CEO at Solarflare. “The Solarflare SR-IOV solution enables IT and data center managers to virtualize high-performance applications without any performance degradation because our plug-in model maintains access to all the functionality of the hypervisor. With Smart Flow Management and scalable vNICs, each virtualized application gets its own dedicated DMA queue between the server CPU core and the adapter hardware. Our customers can now do what was previously impossible – virtualize and scale high-performance applications.”

Solarflare’s 10GbE server adapters feature a hardware-assisted, scalable, virtualized architecture that supports cloud networking, server virtualization and next-generation data centers and other Web 2.0 applications. This scalable vNIC architecture supports up to 2,048 DMA channels (or vNICs) per adapter, offers the ability to parse traffic at Layer 2 or Layer 3, and provides quality of service to optimize application performance and network resource utilization.

The software and architectural features of Solarflare’s OpenOnload application acceleration middleware also leverage the scalable vNIC platform. Solarflare’s adapters support all major virtual operating systems, including VMware, XenSource, Citrix XenServer 5.x and Microsoft Hyper V, and now specifically includes SR-IOV support for Redhat Enterprise Linux KVM and Citrix XenServer 6.0.

Pricing and availability
SR-IOV support for Citrix XenServer 6.0 and Linux Redhat Enterprise Server KVM will be released this month. For pricing contact,
Published Tuesday, May 10, 2011 5:47 AM by David Marshall
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