Broadcom Combines FCoE, iSCSI


Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) is making a splash in the storage networking market this week with a new high-performance converged network adapter (CNA) that combines Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), iSCSI and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

The news comes just five months after the company abandoned its takeover bid for Emulex (NYSE: ELX) — and gives both Emulex and QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC) a new rival in the CNA market.

At its analyst event today, Broadcom said it "will demonstrate complete convergence of standard Layer 2 (L2) Ethernet with Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI storage traffic over a single 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) port."

Broadcom said the 10GbE NetXtreme II controller demonstration will show "network and storage processing convergence over an existing Ethernet infrastructure at a performance level of 500K IOPS for FCoE host bus adapter (HBA) functionality."

Broadcom claims those performance numbers can be maintained regardless of the mix of FCoE and iSCSI traffic.

The 10GbE NetXtreme II controller offers hardware-based acceleration and offload technology that supports HBA functionality for both FCoE and iSCSI using on-chip protocol processing, and it also offers concurrent network attached storage (NAS) functionality using a single Ethernet port.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers called the announcement "a negative headline for both Emulex and QLogic," but added that "server vendor qualifications will be the more important event competitively going forward."

The analyst views QLogic as "better positioned given its relative positioning in the Intel-based (x86) server market."

Emulex announced last week that Verari Systems had selected its FCoE UCNAs, but Verari has since announced a massive layoff and restructuring. Emulex has been slow to market with its single-chip CNAs, but has nonetheless posted strong CNA sales, and Rakers noted that he doesn't expect the CNA market to materialize until 2011.

Storage and network switch maker Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) has also developed CNAs.

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