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  7. Fujitsu Develops SDN Technology to Accelerate Network Storage Access

Fujitsu Develops SDN Technology to Accelerate Network Storage Access

Promotes more effective use of networks in virtual and cloud platforms, improves system scalability

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.

Kawasaki, Japan, December 09, 2013

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has announced the development of technology for software-defined networking (SDN) that controls storage-traffic routing and improves throughput on networks with integrated LAN and SAN(1) networks.

With an increasing priority on efficient system operations in datacenters in recent years, network switches are being controlled remotely and externally through software controllers, and such SDN technology that uses virtualized networks has come into use. In addition, there has been a trend toward integrating LANs and SANs to reduce costs and simplify operations.

Existing SDN technologies have been designed for LAN switches and cannot be used to optimize SAN storage traffic. When applied to converged LAN and SAN networks, this has created a barrier to performance improvements for attempting to expand systems.

Fujitsu Laboratories has equipped a network switch with the functions needed to control storage traffic, and by controlling that switch from the external controller, has made it possible to control the routing of storage traffic by SDN while effectively virtualizing network resources. A development environment for a LAN and SAN converged network using this technology has demonstrated that performance roughly doubled.

In the future, this technology will make it possible for systems to expand flexibly in response to loads on converged LAN and SAN networks in vertically integrated platforms for virtualization and cloud computing.

Details of this technology are being presented at Management of Emerging Networks and Services (IEEE MENS 2013), being held jointly with IEEE GLOBECOM 2013, opening December 9 in Atlanta in the US.

Background

With the growing trend toward virtualizing servers and networks to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) of datacenters, SDN networks, which control virtualized networks in software, are coming into use (Figure 1). At the same time, the application of technology that integrates LANs and SANs, which used to be deployed separately, into a single network is progressing, with the goal of reducing costs and improving the efficiency of operations management work (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Routing control using network virtualization and SDNFigure 1: Routing control using network virtualization and SDN

Figure 2: An integrated LAN/SAN networkFigure 2: An integrated LAN/SAN network

Technological Issues

Most SDN technologies, as typified by OpenFlow(2), control LAN traffic using Ethernet addresses or IP addresses, but cannot handle storage traffic, which does not use IP addresses. For this reason, storage traffic on converged LAN and SAN networks cannot be controlled, posing an issue for ensuring the efficient use of the network.

The New Technology

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a technology that observes the flow of data for storage accesses, or storage flow(3) in a converged LAN and SAN network on FCoE(4) and controls storage traffic by SDN.

Key features of the technology are as follows (Figures 3, 4).

1. Implements storage-flow detection and storage-flow manipulation (packet transformation and packet forwarding) functions in an Ethernet switch

To allow for external control, storage-flow detection and storage-flow manipulation are split off from the functions needed for FCoE data relays and implemented in a prototype converged-fabric switch (Figure 3) created by Fujitsu Laboratories.

2. Applies a software-control interface to a centralized controller

Storage-flow detection and storage-flow manipulation can be controlled by an external controller.

3. External controller enables control of storage traffic on multiple switches

Routing of storage traffic can be controlled externally when configured as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3: Functions implemented in switchFigure 3: Functions implemented in switch

Figure 4: Network control using implemented functionsFigure 4: Network control using implemented functions

Results

Applying this technology to an Ethernet-switch-based system resulted in an approximately twofold increase in throughput. Appropriately distributing data traffic allows for a system that can expand flexibly in response to network loads on a LAN and SAN integrated network.

Future Plans

This technology is expected to improve scalability and enable efficient network utilization in cloud systems, such as vertically integrated platforms for virtualization and cloud computing.

Fujitsu Laboratories is continuing research on efficient network utilization, including the storage-traffic control technologies announced here, with the goal of commercial implementations during fiscal 2014.


  • [1] SAN

    Storage-area network. A dedicated network that connects multiple servers and storage devices.

  • [2] OpenFlow

    A centralized control technology that separates control and data transport in routers and switches.

  • [3] Storage flow

    A unit of communications traffic that can be controlled by SDN, indicated by a set of information such as sender and recipient addresses, between servers and storage.

  • [4] FCoE

    Fibre Channel over Ethernet. A technology that utilizes the Fibre Channel protocol, which is widely used in SANs, over Ethernet. FCoE enables converged LAN and SAN networks.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.4 trillion yen (US$47 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.

About Fujitsu Laboratories

Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials. For more information, please see: http://jp.fujitsu.com/labs/en.

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Company:Fujitsu Limited

Technical Contacts

ICT Systems Laboratories
System Platform Lab.

E-mail: E-mail: dc-stor-sdn@ml.labs.fujitsu.com
Company:Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.


All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Date: 09 December, 2013
City: Kawasaki, Japan
Company: Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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