Sunday, May 7, 2017

ESOS Certifies Support for ATTO Fibre Channel Gen 6 HBA's

Enterprise Storage OS (ESOS) by Parodyne is now certified for use with ATTO Gen 6 Fibre Channel adapters! On the ESOS target side, users can now use 16 Gb or 32 Gb Gen 6 ATTO Fibre Channel HBA’s for target interfaces. In addition to the target support, ESOS is also fully supported by ATTO’s MultiPath Director driver on the initiator side. The MultiPath Director software/driver is a full featured MPIO (mulitpath I/O) driver that supports Windows, macOS, and Linux initiators.

How to Get ESOS with ATTO

Parodyne customers / registered users can download the “ESOS with ATTO FC” installation package in the Parodyne Portal. This ESOS image contains the ATTO Celerity 16/32 Gb Gen 6 HBA driver, and the ATTO SCST target driver. Simply boot up your storage array that contains ATTO Gen 6 (16/32 Gb) Fibre Channel host bus adapters and you’re ready to push some serious I/O!

ATTO Adapters are Faster

Yes, vendors claim their products are faster than others, but this is the real deal. We tested the performance of the ATTO FC adapters vs. QLogic HBA’s in our lab. We used (4) Dell PowerEdge servers that each contained a dual-port QLogic 16 Gb FC HBA for our initiator systems to generate load (running ESOS 1.1.1). On the target side, we used a NVMe CiB from Advanced HPC with a dual-port QLogic 16 Gb FC HBA in each server node (2 total) running ESOS 1.1.1 as well. The initiator and target systems were connected via (2) 16 Gb Fibre Channel switches.

We then generated I/O from the (4) ESOS initiator systems using the ‘fio’ tool to generate a 100% random, 100% read, 4K I/O size load to several “null I/O” devices that were configured on the ESOS target side. We ran the fio tool for (30) seconds concurrent on each initiator system and here is what we got:
  • Initiator Host 1: 284,957 IOPS
  • Initiator Host 2: 293,485 IOPS
  • Initiator Host 3: 261,098 IOPS
  • Initiator Host 4: 261,005 IOPS

Total IOPS across all 4 hosts: 284,957 + 293,485 + 261,098 + 261,005 = 1,100,545 IOPS

Okay, so 1.1M 4K IOPS is very nice! Now, we kept our same setup, except on the ESOS target side, we swapped the QLogic adapters for ATTO Celerity 32 Gb dual-port cards (still 16 Gb FC SAN). The QLogic cards in the initiator systems stayed the same for this test, we only swapped the QLogic for ATTO in the ESOS target systems (the Supermicro CiB). Same tests running for (30) seconds concurrently on all four initiator systems:
  • Initiator Host 1: 335,105 IOPS
  • Initiator Host 2: 332,412 IOPS
  • Initiator Host 3: 304,175 IOPS
  • Initiator Host 4: 314,794 IOPS

Total IOPS across all 4 hosts: 335,105 + 332,412 + 304,175 + 314,794 = 1,286,486 IOPS

That’s nearly a 200K IOPS performance increase, just by using ATTO adapters on the target side! Imagine if we were able to swap QLogic for ATTO on the initiator side as well…

ESOS and ATTO MultiPath Director

When using ATTO Fibre Channel adapters on the initiator side, you get to use ATTO’s MultiPath Director on the initiator systems, for free (comes with ATTO FC adapters)! The MultiPath Director is a MPIO driver for your initiator systems, and includes a nifty GUI utility for status/configuration. For the Linux users out there, MultiPath Director is a direct replacement for dm-multipath / multipath-tools. No more messing with or tweaking the multipath.conf configuration file… with ATTO MultiPath Director, it just works!

There is one special configuration change needed on the ESOS target side in order for the ATTO MultiPath Director driver to properly identify the LUN’s (mapped devices). For each SCST device, you’ll need to set the “naa_id” attribute value to a unique NAA ID (Network Address Authority). The ID value must be formatted according to T11 Network Address Authority (NAA) Naming Format (see this page for more information) which is typically a 8 or 16 byte long hex string, which is unique among the other SCST devices. By default, SCST generates a EUI-64 ID for each device, but when setting the “naa_id” attribute, this will cause a NAA ID to be sent in the SCSI INQUIRY response instead.

You can easily set this attribute using ESOS Commander (the ESOS GUI). Browse to the Devices & Mappings tab for a selected host or node. Then select the SCST device that you’d like to set a NAA ID value for. After selecting the device, the device attribute editor appears on the right, browse to the “naa_id” line, and set the value, then click apply. Repeat for each SCST device, and ensure the NAA ID values used are unique among these devices.


ATTO Fibre Channel adapters are an excellent fit for ESOS storage arrays, and easily outperform standard QLogic HBA’s. In addition to being supported on the target side, ATTO HBA’s used on the initiator side with ATTO’s MultiPath Director fully support ESOS-based disk arrays.

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