Emulex To Demonstrate First 10 Gb Fibre Channel Technology

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Storage Networking HBA manufacturer Emulex today announced that it will be showcasing the industry’s first 10 Gigabit-per-second (10Gb/s) Fibre Channel technology during Fall Comdex 2002, which takes place next week in Las Vegas, NV.

The demonstration features the delivery of 10Gb/s protocol compliant data streams over optical cabling utilizing Emulex ASIC, firmware, and driver technology. Emulex’s demonstration was developed in conjunction with member companies from a leading 10Gb/s industry consortium, including Finisar Corp., Marvell, Quake Technologies and Xilinx.

“This demonstration is an excellent example of the kind of research and development investments Emulex is making to create next-generation SAN technologies that will be critically needed in just a few years,” said Mike Smith, Emulex executive vice president of worldwide marketing. He continued, “Our work in this area, as well as our efforts in developing standards with other industry leaders, will insure that our customers have access to world-class technologies for their data center storage needs.”

Ten Gb/s is the next generation technology for both Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage area networks (SANs), providing five times the bandwidth of today’s 2Gb/s Fibre Channel SANs, and 10 times the bandwidth of gigabit Ethernet-based iSCSI. The 10Gb/s data rate is the only Fibre Channel speed beyond 2Gb/s that is specified to support switched fabrics, which is a critical requirement for SAN deployment.

The deployment of 10Gb/s host bus adapters is expected to begin in 2004, and will account for 20 percent of both iSCSI and Fibre Channel HBAs shipped in 2006, according to Gartner Dataquest. The demand for increased SAN connectivity bandwidth is being driven by a number of factors, including the continued increases in server CPU performance, the limited availability of server bus slots, and increases in disk drive density and performance.

“In response to the persistent demand for increasing I/O bandwidth 10Gb/s SAN products will begin to emerge in the 2004 timeframe,” said James Opfer, Gartner Dataquest chief analyst. “Early demonstrations of basic 10Gb/s enabling technologies reinforce the perception that current Fibre Channel technology will be available to meet the market demand.”

Ten Gb/s Fibre Channel can use the same cabling and connectors as those used with today’s 2Gb/s Fibre Channel technology, enabling an evolutionary transition to this new, higher data rate. Distances of 82 meters are possible using the multi-mode cables popular in data centers today, and up to 10 kilometers using single mode cables. In addition, 10Gb/s Fibre Channel will use the LC connector that is used for 2Gb/s Fibre Channel.

“As a leader in 10Gb/s networking solutions, Cisco strongly believes in 10Gb/s Fibre Channel as the next evolution in SAN connectivity,” said Bill Erdman, director of marketing within Cisco’s Storage Technology Group. “Cisco has designed the MDS 9000 family of multi-layer directors and fabric switches to be 10Gb/s ready, ensuring seamless migration to this next generation interface.”

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