Dan asked this at a TechNet Event IT Camp a few months ago…

Dan's Questions

For those of you not familiar with it, ODX stands for Offloaded Data Transfer (or, I suppose, “X-fer”).  It is a capability that some storage vendor solutions have to offload the transfer of data.

“Um.. duh!”

Sorry.  The idea with ODX is that, if I’m, say, some server or service that wants to move data from point A to point B, and both of those points are managed by the SAN, then I can tell the ODX capable SAN “Move it”.  And it does…without any further interaction from me.

“Isn’t that basically what a file move does anyway?”

Old School StorageNot necessarily.  Usually the Operating System manages the move.  Read from A.  Write to B.  Read from A.  Write to B.  Read from A…

“I get it.”

Good.  But the benefit of ODX is that it offloads the processing so that the operating system doesn’t have to deal with it.  And it usually happens MUCH MUCH faster than it would otherwise if the OS had to manage it.

Windows Server 2012, and virtual machines running under the new version of Hyper-V, can and will take advantage of storage that has this capability.  End result: Great performance – Especially for operations such as doing a live storage migration (that’s “storage vMotion” for you VMware-heads out there), for which performance is an important factor.

To answer your first question, Dan… I know that many of the big players are providing support for ODX, or that they will be very soon.  There isn’t any one place I can currently point you to show you a list of vendors, but I know that many of the usual big storage names are doing it.  Check with your vendor of choice. 

And the answer to your second question about Fibre Channel is – yes.  Fibre Channel (and Fibre Channel over Ethernet)  is also a supported Transport/Controller protocol.