You can use cheaper ethernet components for NVMe-oF – and here’s how, says Toshiba

There’s no need to use expensive RoCE-class Ethernet for NVMe-over Fabrics, according to Toshiba.

Toshiba’s Kumoscale software delivers an aggregated multi-SSD block storage pool across an NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) connection and it works with the NVMe over TCP protocol. Toshiba has tested this using Marvell FastLinQ 100GbitE network interface cards (NICs), which employ a TCPOffload engine.

The company says NVMe-oF on TCP enables a good price/performance balance because standard Ethernet components can be used instead of  data centre class versions required by, for example, RoCE-based NVMe-oF, as well as existing Ethernets.

Tosh has roped in IDC’s research VP Eric Burgener to provide a supporting quote: “Solutions like Toshiba’s KumoScale which use TCP as a transport give customers an NVMe over Fabric option that requires no custom hardware or software on the server side, making this higher performance host connection available to any and all servers without additional cost.”

So there is, Tosh implies, no need to go down the RoCE road. It says the NVMe organisation is actively working on a binding specification for NVMe-oF over TCP, and it is ready for the upcoming certification process.

Tosh and Marvell will jointly demonstrate KumoScale with TCP acceleration at Flash Memory Summit booth #307 (Hall A) in the Santa Clara Convention Centre from August 7-9.