Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Microsoft Accelerates iSCSI Support

Microsoft today finally delivered its TCP Chimney Technology designed to alleviate a performance bottleneck on processors -- a move that IP SAN system and chipmakers hope will make 10-Gbit/s iSCSI a legitimate rival to Fibre Channel. (See Microsoft Dusts Off Chimney.)

Chimney support comes as part of the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Scalable Networking Pack (SNP) Microsoft said today at its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC). SNP is a service pack that lets Windows Server 2003 users take advantage of hardware-enabled TCP/IP offload. SNP also includes Receive Side Scaling (RSS), another feature that should give 10-Gbit iSCSI a boost.

TCP Chimney will offload CPU-intensive packet processing to TCP/IP offload engines (TOEs), providing a large performance boost over the Microsoft software initiator that handles offload on most current iSCSI SANs. Receive Side Scaling (RSS) lets the TCP stack run on multiple processors, which Linux and Unix allow but hasn't been possible on Windows till now.

While early IP SAN adopters find the Windows software initiator adequate for Gigabit Ethernet, it is not expected to be able to handle the full load of 10-GigE. (See 10G Supply Exceeds Demand.)

"This is critical to widespread adoption of 10GigE and iSCSI," analyst Bob Wheeler of the Linley Group says of SNP. "There's a huge performance benefit in being able to do TCP in hardware, especially with storage applications that deal with huge large blocks of data.

  • 1