QLogic Unveils NICs, CNAs for Converged Networks
QLogics latest offerings upon the altar of network convergence include a pair of board-level products and a chip, all operating at 10Gbps speeds. The newest members of the QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC) converged network adapter (CNA) family support IP/Ethernet, iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) concurrently, with full hardware offload for all protocols, according to sister site InfoStor.
Continuing its converged networking focus, QLogic today announced two board-level products and a chip, all operating at 10Gbps speeds: the 8200 Series converged network adapters (CNAs), 3200 Series Ethernet NICs, and 8200 Series converged LAN-On-Motherboard (cLOM) chips, which are targeted at server manufacturers and are the same chips used in the 8200 adapters.
The 3200 NIC supports only IP/Ethernet, while the 8200 CNA supports IP/Ethernet, iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocols. One key differentiator with QLogics CNAs is that they support all of those protocols concurrently on a single chip. This is in contrast to CNA vendors that require different adapters or chips for different protocols.
As part of its Adaptive Convergence strategy, also announced today, QLogic introduced four interconnect capabilities -- VMflex, ConvergeFlex, FlexOffload and SecureFlex -- related to adapter functionality.
VMflex enables administrators to carve up (partition) each physical 10GbE port into up to four virtual ports, and to assign guaranteed bandwidth to each of the virtual ports. That feature is not unique, but VMflex also provides the ability to perform switch-agnostic VM-to-VM communication within physical machines.
The adapters also support emerging virtualization standards/technologies such as SR-IOV, NPAR, NIV and VNtag, and VEPA/VEB (see sidebar at the end of this article for brief explanations of these acronyms).
ConvergeFlex, another service introduced with QLogics CNAs, merely refers to concurrent support of IP, iSCSI and FCoE. However, unlike other CNAs, QLogics cards enable users to dynamically shift protocols (and workloads) on the fly, without the need to reboot servers or wait for outage windows.
FlexOffload refers to full hardware offload of TCP/IP, iSCSI and FCoE. (QLogics predecessor 8100 Series CNAs only had FCoE offload.) The key benefit of hardware offload is that it decreases CPU utilization.
SecureFlex refers to the ability of QLogics CNAs to protect data in flight over the network (between the adapters and storage devices).
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