Emulex touts do-it-all 10Gig Ethernet card
'We don't just do storage any more.'
By Bryan Betts | Techworld | Published: 06:00, 20 February 2009
Storage networking specialist Emulex wants to recast itself as a data centre networking specialist, via a push into converged 10Gig Ethernet. It claimed that its latest 10Gbit/s converged network adapter (CNA) does just about everything a physical or virtual server might need.
"This is Emulex saying 'We don't just do storage any more'," said Shaun Walsh, the company's VP of corporate marketing.
"Our first-generation CNA last year was focused on FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet), this one covers all the IP bases too."
The new card, called OneConnect, provides a 100 percent server offload of all IP protocols, including iSCSI and the RDMA clustering scheme, and supports the SR-IOV spec for I/O virtualisation, Walsh said.
He added that it is essential to have everything offloaded in order to get as many virtual machines as possible onto each server, as that's how you consolidate servers most efficiently.
"We expect more converged networks with storage running over IP, but data centres doing virtualisation now want all the clock cycles, where previously they could let the network soak some up," he said.
He acknowledged that other suppliers already offer virtualising 10Gig CNAs able to offload IP protocols, including Neterion and Chelsio, but claimed that only OneConnect also supports the Fibre Channel stack.
"With bladeservers you have to decide what balance of Ethernet and Fibre Channel ports you need, but with OneConnect that decision goes away," Walsh said.
He added that Emulex was also setting up a new partner programme and opening up its APIs and its management framework, new renamed OneCommand. The aim is to make it easier to get devices such as OneConnect working with other hardware and software.
Emulex is not abandoning storage though - it also announced an 8Gbit/s Fibre Channel HBA with built-in encryption, based on technology from RSA Security.
This could mean organisations no longer need to use CPU power to handle encryption, or if they do it in the SAN, to maintain two storage pools, one for normal data and the other for secure data, Walsh claimed.
"It means data is protected where it's created - in the host, plus the encryption stack is at the VM level, so each VM has its own key," he said.