SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roberto Medrano, Dmitriy Stepanov, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Sean Houghton

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: Blog Post

Coraid and ATA-Over-Ethernet Technology

The Key Technology Enabler for Coraid’s Resilient Scalable Architecture

Data server admins are always on the lookout for changes in the industry that will help do their job better, keep their data safer, and speed up file access. The old standbys in recent years have been iSCSI and Fibre Channel. These high-speed technologies have been good matches for storage applications like database use and management where use can be intense. They can, however, be quite costly to keep up and running properly and they require a lot of care and maintenance. A new alternative to iSCSI and Fibre Channel is ATA-Over-Ethernet (AoE).

This open-source connectionless storage networking protocol was originally developed in 2003 by California company, Coraid. It connects servers and storage in a less complex fashion than iSCSI and Fibre Channel. The AoE Layer 2 design works to find the most efficient way to transmit raw disk I/O commands over raw Ethernet. The more connects that are added, the more bandwidth that is made available, the more resilient the pathways. It is important to note that AoE is not iSCSI. The only commonality between AoE and iSCSI is that they both use Ethernet for transport. iSCSI uses TCP/IP at Layer 4 and AoE Layer 2.

Like Fibre Channel, iSCSI is a connection-based topology, which requires sequenced serial delivery of the data packets of the network. No matter how many iSCSI ports you have on your servers and storage, only one can be used at a time to transmit data due to the connection requirement. Other ports can be used in "round robin" to increase throughput.

When transmitting data in an AoE network, jumbo frames should be enabled as it allows each 8K block to occupy a single Ethernet frame for maximum transfer speed. AoE uses all available ports automatically and does not require sessions or sequence numbers. Frames can arrive out of order without an issue.

There have been questions from the admin community as to how secure AoE is as compared to other protocols. Some worry that is isn't as secure as iSCSI since there is no authentication. This, however, is not the case. As AoE is not accessible via a router and must physically connect to the local Ethernet switch, thus greatly reducing the possibility of unauthorized access. You are simply not able to route the packets so people outside don't see your data.

Generally speaking, an AoE setup is two to four times more efficient than iSCSI. And as mentioned previously, it is important to remember that AoE is not simply a variation on the theme of iSCSI. It is its own separate transfer protocol.

So what does this all mean when it comes to day-to-day data management?

It means AoE is a valid alternative to iSCSI and Fibre Channel. With fewer protocol layers, AoE is fast and easy to implement. It provides scalability along with performance.

More Stories By Sara Williams

Sara Williams is a consultant at Coraid. Coraid is a leading provider of network storage solutions. Coraid delivers scale-out performance, Ethernet simplicity, and an elastic storage architecture to handle massive data growth. Designed from the ground up for virtualization and cloud architectures, Coraid's platform has been deployed by more than 1,700 customers worldwide.

Latest Stories
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo fl...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big D...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
Fundamentally, SDN is still mostly about network plumbing. While plumbing may be useful to tinker with, what you can do with your plumbing is far more intriguing. A rigid interpretation of SDN confines it to Layers 2 and 3, and that's reasonable. But SDN opens opportunities for novel constructions in Layers 4 to 7 that solve real operational problems in data centers. "Data center," in fact, might become anachronistic - data is everywhere, constantly on the move, seemingly always overflowing. Net...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.