QLogic: STIRRING A STORM IN THE NETWORKING INDUSTRY
Date: Friday , January 10, 2014
A typical Monday morning comes clubbed with businesses pending over the weekend. In such a scenario, imagine an application service provider who provides innovative solutions to a wide range of enterprises that are currently trying to manage business growth. At the peak business hour, the company\'s website is over-flooded with unpredictable server workload leading the server to slow down. This is due to the storage and I/O performance bottlenecks that occurred at the server due to lack of I/O interconnect bandwidth such as an overloaded PCI interconnect, storage device contention, and lack of available storage system I/O capacity. The direct impact of data center I/O performance issues, that include general slowing of the systems and applications, results in a loss of valuable productivity and possibly profitability.
This is precisely what Payformance, an application service provider focusing on a proprietary web-based application, underwent. The company had a dramatic increase in customer demand which resulted in I/O bottlenecks that slowed the application response time. To overcome this, Payformance needed to upgrade its infrastructure while preserving service level agreements, speeding response time and cutting costs. Their concerns were eliminated by QLogic\'s Converged Network Adapters QLogic 8100 Series which deliver multiprotocol and traffic prioritization support for enterprise applications within a consolidated and virtualized service-oriented environment. The equipment increased the maximum throughput from 200MB to 1.5GB improving storage efficiency and helping Payformance to save 30-50 percent on network fabric costs. Furthermore, Payformance implemented data de-duplication to reduce data by 50 percent and eliminated the need to purchase additional disks saving upto $60,000 and extending useful life of existing storage arrays.
This is how QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC) has been surprising their customers and helping OEMs like Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, Oracle and others to address their customers\' needs through, high performance storage I/O solutions. The company also serves small-to-medium sized businesses & large enterprises globally through a comprehensive network of channel partners, gaining their loyalty since their inception in 1992 after being spun off by Emulex. The company\'s original business was disk controllers but this division was sold to Marvel in 2005. Since then QLogic has crossed several milestones to introduce innovative products and become an acknowledged market leader of data, server and storage networking infrastructure solutions.
The Technology Breakthrough
QLogic understands the deeply rooted concerns affecting the performance of today\'s data centers where servers with more powerful multi-core processors are running more virtual servers and require fatter pipes to access the ever increasing amount of data. The problem today is compounding as legacy mechanical storage cannot keep up with the increasing demands applications have for data, thus creating an I/O performance gap. Flash and solid state drives help to address the limitations of legacy mechanical storage and the I/O performance gap by caching frequently accessed hot data on SSDs and placing critical data closer to the applications. However, these solutions are limited in many ways. First, server captive cached data cannot be shared so it cannot accelerate the vast number of applications that are often virtualized in clustered and require highly available shared data on the SAN.
Another problem that is associated with these solutions is the added complexities of additional drivers and software that sit in the virtual servers that are non-transparent and introduce OS and applications dependencies. This is especially painful in an environment that has a growing number of virtual servers running I/O intensive business critical applications. To solve the captive cache, clustering and server virtualization issues, QLogic engineers integrated three functionalities; acceleration, caching and storage connectivity transparently into the server by introducing the QLE10000 storage adapter which is based on the innovative Mount Rainier technology. This unique solution reduces cost and complexity, and increases cache efficiency by allowing support for clustered applications without disrupting or any changes to the existing infrastructure.
The company\'s leadership in technology integration, maturity of software stack, and advantage in time-to-market have made QLogic the top choice to address I/O requirements of Enterprise data centers. Today, from the heart of the data center to the workgroup to the edge of the enterprise, QLogic delivers a comprehensive portfolio of adapters and switches across Fibre Channel, Ethernet and iSCSI networks. They have acquired several companies including Ancor, Little Mountain Group, PathScale, SilverStorm and NetXen. In the journey of around 20 years, QLogic solutions have been recognized by industry media experts and IT professionals alike. Last year alone Storage Magazine named FlexSuite, QLogic\'s 2600 Series dual personality Fibre Channel and Ethernet adapter, the 2012 Networking Equipment Product of the Year. IT professionals selected QLogic as the 2013 Market Leader for Fibre Channel HBAs in the IT Brand Pulse Brand Leaders Survey. QLogic swept top honors for all six categories within the designation, which marked the fourth consecutive year QLogic received the IT Brand Pulse Market Leader Award for Fibre Channel HBAs. Other awards included IT Brand Pulse 2013 PCIe SSD SAN Adapter Award, and were recognized in CRN\'s 5-Star Partner Program Guide for second consecutive year.
The man behind such profound technology innovation and award winning performance is none other than H.K. Desai, the Chairman of the Board and Executive Chairman of QLogic Corporation. Through their recently started QLogic India, Desai is infusing the best engineering talent in his company to provide the best technology products and solutions to their clients globally.
Established in 2007 in Pune, India, QLogic India (QIDL) has been a part of QLogic\'s effort to tap into the global engineering talent pool and create best-in-class engineering. \"The primary motivation was to rapidly grow our engineering teams by hiring the best engineers wherever a larger and relevant pool was available,\" reminisces Desai. What began as a team of 15 engineers today serves as an extension of QLogic\'s BU engineering teams and represents every function within the team with the exception of the Board Design/Signal Integrity group. This involves ASIC Design and Verification, Firmware Development and Verification, Software Development such as Device Driver Development for QLogic adapters, Mount Rainier technology, System Testing and others which enable QLogic to do more with less, stretching their available resources and providing literal 24/7 operation.
QLogic\'s global strategy helped the India Center to grow in quantity and maturity. Today QIDL has around 230 employees across Pune and Bangalore where all teams are functionally integrated with business units that allow teams across the U.S. and India to work as one global team. Engineers thus enjoy the opportunity to work on latest products and/or resolve customer issues.
Growing with the Team
Recognizing the changing workplace culture, QLogic has long embraced an open door policy at the management level and with the introduction of social media; employees feel more connected with company, product and technology updates now than ever before. Learning this, QLogic\'s leaders have already made a shift from communication through third-party and informal means to keep open communication through company newsletters, email alerts and shifted towards greater frequency more personal engagements with employees via one-on-one communication such as all-hands meetings.
Desai says, \"At QLogic, we believe this will not only build employee trust but more importantly set-forth a precedent that will transcend through regions, teams and establish a new type of precedent for loyalty that foster an attitude that will ripple throughout the organization\".
QLogic is committed to hiring the creme of the crop from experienced high technology backgrounds to new graduates from the classroom. They provide comprehensive benefit programs designed to help them maintain good health and plan for retirement. \"While the company understands how complex it is to retain the employees, we have put every effort to enhance the performance of the employee and ultimately the company. We host an intense as well as engaging new hire onboarding program for all the new employees the purpose of which is to provide new hires with strategic insight into the organization and culture, fortifying them with pertinent information and helpful tools to jumpstart their career at QLogic,\" says Ashutosh Parasnis, Managing Director, QLogic India.
According to a recent report from Aon Hewitt titled 2013 Trends in Global Employee Engagement, there are six macro drivers for employee engagement. QLogic strives to continually align with such trends. Realizing that there is a strong relationship between work-life balance, productivity & creativity, QLogic offers work flexibility that gives greater freedom to employees to grow professionally and intellectually through open communication and team work. While managers\' coach and lead employees to meet common goals for the organization, in the process they provide motivation to develop each individual\'s potential.
While providing traditional workplace amenities such as access to cafeteria, fitness & recreation, and several more, the company also has a few other creative programs for employees and quarterly employee events help in socializing. QLogic believes that workplace volunteering also helps in better engagement and hence has creative volunteer programs in place such as QSocial providing avenues to make contributions for social causes, QWellness focusing on employee health through health awareness talks, yoga sessions in the office premises, while QDifference connects employees to external agencies which can help them manage their personal needs in a cost effective way. Professional development is tied with company objectives and employees are provided with technical, soft-skills and leadership training through the best vendors as well as online resources.
QLogic\'s philosophy that everyone is on the same team regardless of where they work has helped to incentivize remote employees to work hard and has assisted in retaining team cohesion. Performance appraisals are a part of career development and consist of regular reviews of employee performance within the organization.\"At QLogic, we believe in providing a wholesome and challenging work environment. We believe this motivates employees, drives engagement and boosts productivity,\" says Parasnis. QLogic offers a QDos Award for exceptional achievement and a CEO Award for those that go above and beyond. This cultural environment has worked very well for QLogic as their individual employees have resulted in 234 registered patents propelling QLogic to be a top technology company. With QLogic\'s breakthrough innovations, the company envisions sustaining its leadership in high-performance data center connectivity that enables customer success.