FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Questions about fitlet Function And Connectivity Extension T-Cards.
Wish list about FACET functionality.
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Arwen
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:43 pm

FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by Arwen »

It may seem strange to request a 10Gbps Ethernet on such a tiny PC.

But, if you take into consideration that a flash drive on a SATA 3.0 port, (which is 6 Giga-bits per second), can do 550MBps, (MegaBytes per second), that's about 5 x 1Gbps Ethernet ports. (And yes, today you can get a Samsung 1TB mSATA drive with that performance.)

Most people don't realize that with in-expensive / home equipment today, you can easily exceed 1Gbps Ethernet. When I took my DVD & Blu-ray collection, (all my own discs), and extracted them to a media server, it took a long time to copy them around. Worse, my old media server was a fit-PC1, which had only 10/100Mbps Ethernet. Between my desk top and faster server, I could saturate a Gigabit Ethernet connection. But still took a long time to copy 1 to 10GB files around.

Even if we only get 2 or 3Gbps due to CPU & memory speed limitations, that's still MUCH higher than single Gigabit Ethernet. It's better that we use a single Ethernet because LACP / Trunking with multiple ports does not always work the way we want. Specifically, between 2 points, you won't get the combined speed. Only between multi-points...

Of course to support that speed, an eSATA port, (preferably one with SATA expander support), would be helpful.

So, this is what I suggest for a FACET card:
  • 2 x PCIe lanes to a 10Gbps Ethernet controller chip, with copper port
  • 1 x PCIe lane to a SATA controller chip that supports a SATA multiplier
  • Pass the USB 2.0 through for the eSATAp, (eSATA with power)
Initially such a card might be expensive, more than the fitlet it's installed in.
But, if the speed numbers hold up, (2-3 times more performance than a single Gigabit port), it would be worth it for me.

P.S. I work in major data centers, and we too have growing pains getting 10Gbps Ethernet on our, (expensive), servers.
Last edited by Arwen on Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, Middle Earth

betaflame
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Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by betaflame »

USB 3.0 is like 5GBps and there are 2 ports... so if you run 2 4-bay enclosures it's not that odd.

Also 10gbit is trivial to hit if you're running kernel mode scst (iscsi).

SMB might be a little shaky, but NFS should be possible too.

Arwen
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:43 pm

Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by Arwen »

betaflame wrote:USB 3.0 is like 5GBps and there are 2 ports... so if you run 2 4-bay enclosures it's not that odd.
...
Thanks for reminding me about USB 3.0. I had forgotten that the fitlet comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports. So even if a FACET 10GBaseT card is made without an eSATA port, I'd still be able to get high speed access to external drives.

My long term planning does include 10GBaseT for home. For example, I have a FreeNAS Mini and while it has dual 1Gbps Ethernet, the disks in it can exceed 2Gbps, (200MBps). It also includes a half length, half height, 8 lane PCIe 2.x slot which I plan on filling with a 10GBaseT card before the end of the year.
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, Middle Earth

irads
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Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by irads »

Thank you for presenting the case for 10G so well.
fitlet may not be the first choice for implementing 10G. More storage capacity, higher performance, less tight thermal envelope and space for the large connectors would be beneficial.
We have upcoming platforms at other form factors that could be more suitable.
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Arwen
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Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by Arwen »

Actually, looking at the industry, it would appear new Ethernet standards are just around the corner. Specifically these 2 speeds;

2.5Gbps
5Gbps

Both over copper and requiring 1Gbps backward compatibility. They are referred to as NBase-T. Here is a web page;

http://www.nbaset.org/

It appears that Intel's Atom Avoton 8 core processor chip has quad 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports. I don't know if they can be combined into a single 10Gbps port. Or not. It's all still so new to me.

Broadcom has announced chipsets on this new standard, (though I don't know if it's a complete solution).

http://investor.broadcom.com/releasedet ... eID=887615

Single-chip integrated single Ethernet transceiver-MAC to magnetics:
  • 10GBASE-T IEEE 802.3an
  • 5GBASE-T (MGBASE-T Specification)
  • 2.5GBASE-T (MGBASE-T Specification)
  • 1000BASE-T IEEE 802.3ab
  • 100BASE-TX IEEE 802.3u
  • BCM84860 and BCM84861 (single-port) packaged in 11mm x 11mm FBGA
  • BCM84864 and BCM84868 (quad-port) packaged in 23mm x 23mm FBGA
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, Middle Earth

irads
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Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by irads »

I find NBase-T to be a very interesting direction that makes perfect sense. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I expect adoption cycle to start from 802.11ac access points, rackmounts and PCIe cards. It may take a few years for 2.5Gbps ports to show up on motherboards.

Will definitely keep an eye on the technology.
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Arwen
Posts: 145
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Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by Arwen »

Agreed. I think the new speeds will take a while to get onto motherboards.
Unless the companies making 10GBase-T chip sets, make new chip sets
that are fully backward compatible with their current offerings. Thus, very
little engineering to be done. Simply drop in the new chip and magnetics.

Oh, I also read somewhere that 25Gbps & 50Gbps may also come out. But
probably not copper anytime soon. Except their are working on 40GBase-T
right now...
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, Middle Earth

Arwen
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:43 pm

Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by Arwen »

Intel just came out with the X550 dual 10Gbps Ethernet over copper chip.
It's a bit power hungry unfortunantly, up to 11 watts. But it does include
100Mbps, 1Gbps, 10Gbps plus the pre-standard 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps
speeds. Since it's a dual chip, it would work good for fitlet-i or -H models
which includes dual ports as standard features.

Other included features on the X550 chip, are virtualization, FCoE, protocol
off-load engines, and jumbo packets.
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, Middle Earth

irads
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Re: FACET suggestion - 10GBaseT & eSATA

Post by irads »

Interesting. Thanks for the tip.
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