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Communication benchmarks with the Ancor Fibre Channel Fabric


This note is aimed at providing communication times for transferring data from memory to memory between HP/9000 workstations, and between a HP/9000 and an IBM RS/6000, via a 16 port Ancor Fibre Channel Fabric. Some similar measurements for communications between IBM workstations only have already been achieved and they are reported in [1]: therefore, they will not be addressed in this paper.

Figure 1 shows the experimental hardware configuration now available. The two HP machines are 700 series with a processor running at 100 MHz. The IBM RS/6000 workstation pool is composed of a 590 model with a Power2 processor running at 66 MHz, a 250 model with a PowerPC 601 at 66 MHz and a C10 model with a PowerPC 601 at 80 MHz. Two kinds of adapters, depending on the machine in which they are intended to be located, can be used to provide access to the Fibre Channel world:

Figure 1: Experimental hardware configuration.

The EISA CIM 250 interface to the EISA bus (HP 9000/700 workstations) is a 32 bit bus Master capable of data transfer rates up to 33 MBytes/s and it should not represent a bottleneck in this system, where the speed of each 50 micron optic fibre is 266 Mbits/s. Let us just recall the MCA CIM 250 interface to the MCA bus (RS/6000 IBM workstations) is a 32 bit bus Master capable of data transfer rates up to 40 MBytes/s. For more details about the Fibre Channel Standard, the Fibre Channel fabric and adapters, see [2], [3], [4] and [5].

The driver available for EISA CIM 250 adapters can only support today the TCP/IP protocol. The Direct Channel interface feature of the driver, which will allow the replacement of the TCP and IP levels of protocol with a direct connection to the driver, thereby achieving the highest possible bandwidth, is announced to be the next supported interface (no date on the availability). By the way, note that the driver available for MCA CIM 250 boards supports both TCP/IP and Direct Channel protocols.

Fabrice Chantemargue - 30 AUG 94
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