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Bruce Little
single connection to server
on Dec 29, 2010 at 10:52:53 pm

I am curious if it is possible to connect a single Mac Pro to a Windows server via 10Gbit Ethernet to access
iscsi virtual disk images?
This windows server is currently serving other Mac Pro workstations via a managed Gigabit Ethernet switch with a 10Gbit CX4 connection between the switch and the server.
I was hoping to get 1 MacPro workstation operating with 10Gbit bandwidth and leave the others at 1Gbit
Would this be possible if I added a 10Gbit Ethernet card to the windows server and also the Mac Pro?
Are there any compatible mac/pc cards that would work nicely together?
thanks
Bruce


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Bob Zelin
Re: single connection to server
on Dec 30, 2010 at 12:19:47 am

I am curious if it is possible to connect a single Mac Pro to a Windows server via 10Gbit Ethernet to access
iscsi virtual disk images?

iSCSI is done via Gig ethernet - why do you want to use 10Gig ethernet ?

This windows server is currently serving other Mac Pro workstations via a managed Gigabit Ethernet switch with a 10Gbit CX4 connection between the switch and the server.
I was hoping to get 1 MacPro workstation operating with 10Gbit bandwidth and leave the others at 1Gbit
Would this be possible if I added a 10Gbit Ethernet card to the windows server and also the Mac Pro?

REPLY - yes. You could also get a switch (like an HP ProCurve) that has TWO 10 gig stacking ports, and use the second port to connect to your second computer with the CX4 card in it. Bear in mind, that there is only limited bandwidth on your drive array - don't expect miracles.

Are there any compatible mac/pc cards that would work nicely together?

REPLY - of course not. The only two 10Gig manufacturers that have MAC drivers are Small Tree and Myricom, and if you don't follow their rules EXACTLY, they will not give you tech support. This means that if you use "brand x", and buy one of their cards, and it does not work, THEY WILL NOT HELP YOU.

Tell me EXACTLY what switch you have right now, and what CX4 card you have right now.

Bob Zelin



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Bruce Little
Re: single connection to server
on Dec 30, 2010 at 9:45:38 pm

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the reply.
I have a HP ProCurve 2900-24G (J9049A) with the dual 10Gbit CX4 Stacking Ports connected
to my windows 2k3 server which is a supermicro X7DWE mobo with their UIO dual CX4 10Gbit card.

I'm currently using both CX4 ports in a trunked configuration to the windows server.
I am curious if I could install a transceiver into one of the other X2 ports on the ProCurve, and connect this to one of my Mac Pros somehow? Or would I need to use the CX4 port? If so what card would I use in the Mac Pro? and what is the max length for CX4?

The iscsi configuration I am running is working really great, and I currently have a few final cut suites and a few avid suites running nicely editing mostly xdcam and prores. But was hoping to get one machine working with more bandwidth to speed up the management process, and to work with some higher bitrate material.
I contacted HP and they said they would test a configuration for me, but they know of no Mac cards currently. I mentioned to them the smalltree card, and received no reply.
thanks
Bruce


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Bob Zelin
Re: single connection to server
on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:24:42 pm

Reply below to your questions and comments -


I have a HP ProCurve 2900-24G (J9049A) with the dual 10Gbit CX4 Stacking Ports connected to my windows 2k3 server which is a supermicro X7DWE mobo with their UIO dual CX4 10Gbit card.

REPLY - this is the switch that EditShare uses for their system when connecting multiple ethernet clients (they actually use the newer
ProCurve e2910al).


I'm currently using both CX4 ports in a trunked configuration to the windows server.

REPLY - you DO NOT HAVE TO DO THIS - you don't have to trunk the two 10gig ports. One 10Gig port will provide you with plenty of bandwidth for your ethernet clients - which means that you can do plenty of ProRes422HQ or DNxHD220 streams with a single 10 Gig port (no trunking) -



I am curious if I could install a transceiver into one of the other X2 ports on the ProCurve, and connect this to one of my Mac Pros somehow? Or would I need to use the CX4 port? If so what card would I use in the Mac Pro? and what is the max length for CX4?

REPLY - You can take the second 10Gig CX4 port (get rid of the 2 trunked ports - just use one to the 2900 switch), and use the second port to communicate to another 10Gig CX4 card that will reside in a computer. You MUST understand that because you are not buying a complete solution, the two vendors that make 10Gig CX4 cards (Small Tree and Myricom) will NOT help you - they are not going to sit there and figure out why you might have issues connecting to a HP switch 10Gig CX4 port - if things don't work out. But yes, this should work without any support. How the MAC communicates with the PC server is up to you (because Apple SMB sucks), you should use Thursby DAVE smb protocol on your MAC Pro.




The iscsi configuration I am running is working really great, and I currently have a few final cut suites and a few avid suites running nicely editing mostly xdcam and prores.

REPLY - I have NO IDEA how you have AVID suites on this type of shared storage system without a metadata controller. A simple SAN/NAS without a metadata controller will ERASE the .msm files on an AVID volume - if a second AVID opens up on the same volume, your .msm file from the first system gets erased/replaced. I have no idea of how you are getting this to work. This "trick" is exactly what makes EditShare and FAcilis unique products (in addition to AVID Unity).



But was hoping to get one machine working with more bandwidth to speed up the management process, and to work with some higher bitrate material.

REPLY - follow what I said above (get rid of the trunk, and direct connect from the switch 10Gig port to a single port 10Gig card in your MAC Pro) - and you will get what you want. BUT BUT BUT - I have never ever tried to hookup a PC server via a HP 2900 switch to a MAC Pro with a Myricom or Small Tree card - so if it does not work - you are ON YOUR OWN, and they will not help you.


I contacted HP and they said they would test a configuration for me, but they know of no Mac cards currently. I mentioned to them the smalltree card, and received no reply.


HP could not give a crap about Small Tree or Myricom -they will not help you. You are on your own - these companies want you to buy a SYSTEM, and you are "rolling your own" - this is the consequence that you pay when doing it yourself.

Bob Zelin



thanks
Bruce



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Bruce Little
Re: single connection to server
on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:41:29 pm

Hi Bob,
Thanks for all the helpful information, I figured the redundancy of the dual 10Gbit trunk might save me one day!
I am using Starwind as a windows iscsi target, and SNS GlobalSan for Mac initiator and SNS SANmp for read/write client access to the SAN.
Is 15 meters the longest CX4 cable I could use? I see on the smalltree site they state -
Supports up to 100m with IntelĀ® Connects Cable. Have you used these cables?
many thanks
Bruce


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Bob Zelin
Re: single connection to server
on Dec 30, 2010 at 11:56:29 pm

CX4 can only go 15 meters. CAT6A (RJ45) can go 100 meters, but you need a CAT6A switch, which is $15,000.

Bob Zelin



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Bruce Little
Re: single connection to server
on Dec 31, 2010 at 2:57:22 am

Ok thanks, will let you know if I give it a go.
cheers
Bruce


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Bruce Little
Re: single connection to server
on Jul 8, 2011 at 7:53:46 am

Hi Bob,

I finally got my hands on that 10Gbit smalltree cx4 card for the Mac and now have it hooked up to
the HP 2900 10Gbit CX4 port.

I can access my iscsi drives and have noticed performance increase from approx 120MB/sec (single 1Gbit ethernet) to approx. 300MB/sec read/write when performing the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

Yet if I run jperf using a single connection from the client side I can get closer to 600MB/sec. with my TCP window size set to 512kbits on both sides. If i increase the number of connections to 5 or over i can get it to top out at around 700MB/sec.

I thought that this decrease in speed would be a drive array speed issue, but If i benchmark my drive array locally I can get over 700MB/sec average read speeds with it bursting to over 900MB/sec.

I have enabled jumbo frames to the maximum frame size in the os x network setup for the 10G adaptor as well as on the intel card in the windows server as well as enabling Jumbo frames in the switch.

I have tested with flow control off and on. I get better speeds with it on.

I have played around with some tcp/ip settings tx/rx buffer as well as increasing the tcp max frame size on the windows server as well as adjusting tcp send and receive size in osx and can't seem to get it any faster.

Do you have any thoughts on how to increase this speed?
Thanks
Bruce


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