[Review] ATTO Celerity Fibre Channel Gen 6 Host Bus Adapters

Product Review: ATTO Celerity Fibre Channel Generation 6 Host Bus Adapters (HBAs)

Working for an enterprise company in 2017 means you are going to have a lot of data to manage. To meet your business targets, your data needs to be stored and accessed as quickly as possible. ATTO Technology, Inc. has been providing a wide range of storage connectivity solutions to help customers better store, manage and deliver their data for nearly 30 years, but their newest Celerity™ Fibre Channel Gen 6 host bus adapter (HBA) line is a real standout.

Fibre Channel Technology’s block-level protocol means very little overhead, making products extremely fast with very low latency and high reliability. This is especially true of Celerity 32Gb and 16Gb Gen 6 Fibre Channel HBAs. They cover the full performance spectrum from enterprise to workgroup and server to storage arrays. This highly integrated family of adapters is engineered to optimize data transfer using a combination of features that enhance the data delivery process while remaining fully scalable.

Celerity’s superior throughput provides up to 137% faster writes and 13% faster reads than competitive HBAs, which is crucial when multiple virtual machines (VMs) are sharing the same HBA. They support up to 2.5 times more input/output operations per second (IOPs) in active standby mode thanks to a multi-core architecture. This allows them to sustain maximum performance = up to 1.6 million IOPs on a single port, compared to single port performance of up to 650K IOPS for competitor’s products.

Advanced Data Streaming (ADS™) technology reduces latency to provide controlled acceleration for smooth data streaming and the highest consistent performance. The proprietary MultiPath Director™ handles failover and load balancing flexibly and is touted by ATTO as the industry’s only solution to allow workstations and servers shared workflow access to high-availability, high-performance and enterprise-class storage.

Workgroups that require extremely high bandwidth for their desktop applications can rely on Celerity to support this process as it allows Mac® and PC workstations to connect directly to high-power storage arrays, instead of through an application server. Combining drivers that support workstation to storage connectivity (Mac OS and Windows®) with multipathing technology creates a fully redundant, highly available storage solution for workgroups.

Multipath Director also works across all major operating systems for workstations and servers, so system administrators can have a single pane of glass via ConfigTool™ to view, configure and manage all HBAs in workstations and servers on a heterogeneous storage area network (SAN). System administrators no longer have to use separate utilities for each operating system to configure the HBA. This improves efficiency and visibility, saving time and money. In comparison, ATTO’s competitors, like Cavium’s QLogic, tout the connectivity of their HBAs with no mention of workstation support.

Not all Fibre Channel tools are created alike. ATTO’s HBAs are engineered with distinctive intelligence and core architectural features that make them the premier choice for transferring data with greater speed and reliability. Eleven different Celerity products provide transfer rates between 8Gb to 32Gb per second and are equipped with one to four ports (SFPs included), all with low power consumption. With faster reads and writes than previous generations and greater throughput, ATTO’s Celerity Fibre Channel 32Gb and 16Gb Gen 6 HBAs support twice the number of commands in flight, providing maximum performance for flash arrays and digital media.

Celerity HBAs also unleash the full potential of the latest workstations, servers and storage arrays and are compatible with Mac OS, Windows, Linux®, VMware® and more. They support point-to-point and direct fabric or switch attach for virtual fabric including N-Port ID Virtualization (NPIV). Whether you need connectivity for direct-attached or networked storage, Celerity offers proven interoperability, ease of use, customization (original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, only), advanced drivers and technical support.

Of the many benefits of Celerity, its distinction for connecting to workstations thanks to its MultiPath Director feature-rich driver makes it quite suitable for work with media files such as physical and virtual data centers, tape streaming and backup, rich content delivery, server clustering and other demanding environments. It can enhance your video and rich-media applications with fast, reliable and flexible high-end storage connectivity and automatic path failover and failback for uninterrupted access to storage with performance-tuned solutions, such as on-site tape backup and stretch clusters for downtime avoidance. Workstations can share storage, enabling collaborative workflows and real-time access to content to meet pre- and post-production needs and demanding project deadlines.

In December 2016 ATTO announced that it partnered with Quantum StorNext® to provide  technology to connect Mac, Windows and Linux workstations and servers to the NetApp E-Series. The successful testing and certification of its new Celerity 32Gb and 16Gb Gen 6 Fibre Channel HBAs in Quantum StorNext®/Xcellis Workflow Storage and Scalar tape libraries enable high-throughput and uninterrupted access in a variety of environments including big data, data backup and recovery, archiving and virtualization.


YourDailyTech: A diagram of how ATTO Celerity™ 16Gb Fibre Channel Gen 6 HBA works with NetApp E-Series
YourDailyTech: A diagram of how ATTO Celerity™ 16Gb Fibre Channel Gen 6 HBA works with NetApp E-Series

ATTO’s other big news was that in September 2016, the Celerity 32Gb Gen 6 Fibre Channel HBAs were included in the Facilis TerraBlock shared storage system which halved the time it had previously taken users to access to more than 140TB of storage. In an article for Marketwired, Jim McKenna, vice president of marketing for Facilis, praised ATTO’s Celerity HBAs, saying, “When we upgraded to 16Gb Fibre Channel, it allowed us to work with uncompressed 10bit 4K DPX. Now with 32Gb, we’re solidly into several GBs per second to a single desktop. No other technology can do that with our system.”

Currently, Celerity Fibre Channel HBAs are available for purchase on the ATTO Store, but you can also contact ATTO’s sales team.  To learn more or for customization options. You can request a consultative proposal by completing ATTO’s contact form. You can also visit with them in person during either Avid Connect or NAB, both in April of this year.

Additional Resources

Press Release:  ATTO Technology to Introduce 32Gb Fibre Channel Portfolio

Where to visit ATTO live
Avid Connect –  April 22-23, Wynn Las Vegas
NAB – April 24-27, Las Vegas Convention Center

Kelsey Leljedal

Kelsey Leljedal is a web strategist from Philadelphia. She has enjoyed learning about changes in technology since her first web job in 2012. When she isn’t doing research she takes classes, creates art, reads, travels, and takes in the food and culture in the City of Brotherly Love. Contact Kelsey at [email protected]