Experimental and Theoretical Analysis of Storage Friendly TCP Performance in Distributed Storage Area Network
Suresh Muknahallipatna, Gayathri Sivasankaran, Joseph Miles, Timothy Brothers, Nagapramod Mandagere, Joseph L. White, Howard Johnson
Fibre channel storage area networks (SAN) are widely implemented in production data center environments. Recently the storage industry has moved towards deployment of distributed SANs (DSAN), geographically dispersed across large physical distances. In a DSAN, specialized gateway devices interconnect the individual Fibre Channel (FC) fabrics over IP networks using TCP/IP based protocols (iFCP or FCIP) or over metro to long distance optical networks such as Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) based networks that utilize native FC ports supporting large numbers of link credits. When using TCP/IP based storage networking protocols to interconnect local FC fabrics in a DSAN, the sustained throughput achievable depends upon the link characteristics and TCP/IP stack implementation. Sustaining maximum possible storage traffic throughput across the wide area network enables practical DSAN deployments by maintaining the required site to site service level agreements.
This study explores the effects of several TCP/IP modifications on sustained traffic throughput for a DSAN interconnected via iFCP gateways across an impaired network. The TCP/IP stack modifications, known as storage friendly, include changes to the window scaling, congestion avoidance, and fast recovery algorithms. The theoretical background and experimental results are presented to explain and illustrate these modifications.