Blade.org Collaboration Involving BLADE Network Technologies, Chelsio Communications and NetApp Proves that 10 Gigabit Ethernet Delivers Large-Scale Business Application Throughput at Near Wire-Speeds

Santa Clara, Calif. - October 16, 2007 -- Members of Blade.org - BLADE Network Technologies Inc. (BLADE), the leading provider of network switching infrastructure for blade servers; Chelsio Communications (Chelsio), a leading provider of 10GbE network interface cards for servers and storage; and Network Appliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) (NetApp), a leading provider of storage and data management solutions - announced the completion of a collaborative study through Blade.org demonstrating that blade servers equipped with embedded 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) networking can support large-scale business applications at near wire-speeds in consolidated blade server architectures using NetApp Ethernet and IP networked storage.

The study, conducted on the IBM BladeCenter platform, found that by supporting multiple protocols, workloads and integrated data management across a 10GbE network, customers can protect their investment, lower IT infrastructure costs, prevent datacenter equipment sprawl, and implement consolidation and virtualization without sacrificing flexibility.

"Ethernet has a very good reputation for its stability, flexibility and longevity. Customers expect these same characteristics, in addition to the increased bandwidth that 10 Gigabit Ethernet brings, for their Next Generation Data Centers," said Joel Reich, General Manager for the NetApp SAN and iSCSI Business Unit. "Our intent with this study of 10 Gigabit Ethernet networked storage is to demonstrate the viability and readiness of blade server architectures integrated with scalable storage in order to simulate environments that are 'production-ready.'"

"The collaborative effort between BLADE and NetApp is indicative of the type of community-driven model that customers expect from the IT industry and, specifically, Blade.org, the industry group driving innovation in blade-based solutions," said Vikram Mehta, President and CEO of BLADE Network Technologies. "Customers can use the results of our study to improve the performance of their computing, network, and storage infrastructures using blade servers equipped with our embedded 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches, network interface cards from Chelsio, and 10GbE storage subsystems from NetApp. Our solution can simplify fabric topology in today's datacenters without compromising reliability."

"Chelsio's Unified Wire technology on the server side and the filer side of this topology demonstrates the benefits of fabric convergence on Ethernet. Not only can the unmodified storage, clustering, and networking applications be run concurrently, they can do so with higher performance than Fibre Channel and InfiniBand and at no incremental cost to the customer," said Kianoosh Naghshineh, president and CEO of Chelsio. "Additionally, the fact that this convergence is routable will enable a whole new class of applications and usability for the enterprise installations."

The primary focus of the study released by Blade.org, BLADE, Chelsio and NetApp is to demonstrate and validate the throughput potential of 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking in a blade environment with an actual database workload. The test bed consisted of a three-node Oracle RAC database configured on an IBM BladeCenter with HS21 high density, dual and quad core blades. IBM BladeCenter is the broadest portfolio of blade offerings in the industry, with a common architecture that allows clients to mix and match offerings to suit their specific needs.

Each node had a single 10GbE or 4Gb Fibre Channel path to the NetApp storage system depending on the test configuration. Each node generated database queries typical of read-intensive Decision Support System (DSS) workloads with the goal of maximizing the throughput generated across the respective 10GbE and Fibre Channel interconnects.

The study showed that:

  • 10GbE is a viable alternative to Fibre Channel for mission critical workloads.
  • 10GbE environments deliver more than 2x greater throughput compared to 4Gb Fibre Channel and 10GbE will outperform 8Gb Fibre Channel technology.
  • 10GbE is positioned as a better storage interconnect compared to InfiniBand.

These results prove conclusively that:

  • Deploying 10GbE simplifies customers' datacenter fabric, reduces equipment footprint, will dramatically lower power consumption and cooling requirements through consolidation, and reduces Total Cost of Ownership for IT infrastructure.
  • Blade server platforms are an ideal way for enterprises, large and small, to consolidate their compute, network, and storage infrastructure without compromising performance, functionality, and availability.

Blade servers, when combined with storage systems that can support essential data management services, such as boot from SAN, non-disruptive data protection, and secure data archive, allow customers to benefit from the flexibility and increased bandwidth of a "unified wire," all-Ethernet datacenter fabric.

10GbE is ready for mission critical, storage intensive applications and offers significant cost benefits when compared to Fibre Channel.

To receive a copy of the full report, contact: 10gbe-storage@blade.org.

About Blade.org
Blade.org is a collaborative organization and developer community focused on accelerating the development and adoption of blade server solutions. The organization provides leadership to the blade market and fosters a thriving industry ecosystem focused on delivering valuable solutions to blade computing customers. For more information, visit the organization online at www.blade.org.

About Network Appliance, Inc.
Network Appliance is a leading provider of innovative data management solutions that simplify the complexity of storing, managing, protecting, and retaining enterprise data. Market leaders around the world choose NetApp to help them reduce cost, minimize risk, and adapt to change. For solutions that deliver unmatched simplicity and value, visit us on the Web at www.netapp.com.

About Chelsio Communications
Chelsio Communications is leading the convergence of networking, storage and clustering interconnects with its robust, high-performance and proven unified wire technology. Featuring a highly scalable and programmable architecture, Chelsio is shipping 10-Gigabit Ethernet and multi-port Gigabit Ethernet adapter cards, delivering the low latency and superior throughput required for high-performance computing applications. For more information, visit the company online at www.chelsio.com.

About BLADE Network Technologies
BLADE Network Technologies is the market-leading supplier of Gigabit and 10G Ethernet, IP, and Application Switches for blade server systems globally. BLADE is the first vendor to focus exclusively on serving the network infrastructure needs of the rapidly growing blade server market. The company's end-users include Fortune 500 companies across 26 different industry segments. As the number-one supplier of network switches for blade servers, BLADE boasts an installed base of more than 133,000 blade switches (representing approximately 3 million switch ports) around the world. In 2006, BLADE was established as a fully independent company when it purchased certain assets of Nortel's Blade Server Switch Business Unit. For more information, visit BLADE at www.bladenetwork.net.

Press Contacts:
Roger Villareal
Network Appliance
Roger.Villareal@netapp.com

Tim Helms (Helms Communications)
Chelsio Communications
925-606-6936
timhelms@comcast.net

Tim Shaughnessy
BLADE Network Technologies
(408) 850-8963
press@bladenetwork.net

Judy Plummer
ZNA Communications
(831) 425-1581
BLADE@zna.com