The explosive growth in visualization is leading to an increasing demand for network performance. With more Virtual Machines (VMs) running on each multi-core server, networking traffic is dramatically increased, with each VM competing for available I/O bandwidth. Intel's family of Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520 addresses networking bottlenecks in virtualized environments. These adapters enable network-intensive applications to achieve the performance expected in a virtualized environment.
The Intel Ethernet X520 family of adapters provides the best networking performance available in the industry, whether the physical port is configured in an emulation mode using the virtual switch in the Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM), or is directly assigned to a virtual machine. In the emulation mode, Intel's I/O technology. Virtual Machine Device queues (VMDq) optimizes network performance by offloading data sorting and copying from the software Virtual Switch in the VMM to the Intel Ethernet 82599 10 Gigabit Controller. This configuration is best suited for a large number of VMs running standard applications that have limited bandwidth and latency requirements.
For mission-critical applications, where| dedicated I/O is required for maximum network performance, users can assign a dedicated virtual adapter port to a VM. Using the PCI-SIG SR-IOV capability on an Intel Ethernet X520 adapter provides direct VM connectivity and data protection across VMs. SR-IOV technology enables the data to bypass the software virtual switch and provides near-native performance. It assigns either physical or virtual I/O ports to individual VMs directly. This technology is best suited for applications that demand the highest I/O throughput and lowest latency performance such as database, storage, financial and other applications.
PCI-SIG SR-IOV is a mechanism for devices to advertise their ability to be directly assigned to multiple virtual machines. SR-IOV enables the partitioning of a PCI Express* (PCIe) function into many virtual interfaces for the purpose of sharing the resources of a PCIe device in a virtual environment These virtual interfaces are called Virtual Functions. Each virtual function can support a unique and separate data path for 1/0-related functions within the PCIe hierarchy. Use of SR-IOV with a networking device, for example, enables the bandwidth of a single port (function) to be partitioned into smaller slices that can be allocated to specific VMs, or guests, via a standard interface.