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Wire-Speed 10 Gb iSCSI, Anyone?

NetApp and Microsoft saturated a 10 Gb Ethernet link - who else can claim this?

NetApp and Microsoft saturated a 10 Gb Ethernet link - can everyone else?

Along with many tidbits about storage advances in Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, this WinHEC presentation by Microsoft’s Suzanne Morgan demonstrated that the combination of the Windows iSCSI Initiator and NetApp FAS 3070 filer could saturate a 10 Gb Ethernet link. How many other storage arrays can do that?

The configuration tested was an IBM x3550 with dual 2 GHz CPUs, 4 GB of RAM, and an Intel 82598 adapter. This is not a special server – in fact, it’s pretty low-end! The connection was tuned with RSS, NetDMA, LRO, LSO, and jumbo frames and maxed out over 4 MCS connections per second. I’m not sure what kind of access they were doing (I’ll ask Suzanne), but it’s pretty impressive that the NetApp Filer could push 1,174 megabytes per second!

So I have a simple question for all of the storage vendors in the house: Can your array saturate a 10 GbE link? I am not asking for a complex performance test or maximum performance claims, just a simple yes or no, along with at least a bit of supporting data about the configuration and performance. Maybe duplicate the setup from that Microsoft slide.

I am not trying to suggest that this kind of performance is impossible, that NetApp is unique or special, or to trap anyone into a blog war. I am just curious about the performance capabilities of the various iSCSI targets out there!

About the author

Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett is an active participant in the world of enterprise information technology, currently focusing on enterprise storage, server virtualization, networking, and cloud computing. He organizes the popular Tech Field Day event series for Gestalt IT and runs Foskett Services. A long-time voice in the storage industry, Stephen has authored numerous articles for industry publications, and is a popular presenter at industry events. He can be found online at,, and on Twitter at @SFoskett.


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