HP FlexFabric Gets Raves from Storage Networking Vendors

HP (NYSE: HPQ) has developed new multiprotocol technology that can connect servers to any network, and two storage networking vendors who are contributing to the effort say the technology could be a watershed moment in the adoption of converged data center networks.

The new 24-port HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric module connects servers to any Fibre Channel, Ethernet or iSCSI network, and connectivity can be changed on the fly to meet demands. HP says the FlexFabric technology, also built into ProLiant G7 server blades, can reduce network equipment by as much as 95 percent by saving on cables, switches, adapters, power and cooling and other costs.

HP Virtual Connect technology “lets clients rapidly reconfigure connections to LANs and SANs transparently by moving workloads or adding and replacing servers on the fly,” according to an HP press release.

QLogic (NASDAQ: QLGC) is providing a multiprotocol ASIC that is used in the HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric module, while Emulex (NYSE: ELX) OneConnect technology is used in HP’s FlexFabric adapters on the G7 blade server motherboards. An HP spokesperson stressed that the devices are “heavily HP IP and different than what others can buy.”

QLogic and Emulex officials say the new technology from HP is groundbreaking.

Emulex corporate marketing vice president Shaun Walsh called the 10GbE LAN on motherboard (LOM) capabilities “a once in a decade milestone. … We’ll look back on this in five years and see that this is really where the data center started to change.”

Jesse Parker, general manager and vice president of QLogic’s Network Storage Solutions Group, said the technology gives “complete flexibility to the customer,” while Steve Zivanic, QLogic’s senior director of corporate communications, said it offers “data mobility across any protocol.”

Zivanic said QLogic’s “Bullet” ASIC could also be used as the basis for a switch, and he said the technology is ahead of storage switch market leaders Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO).

HP Virtual Connect Flex Fabric modules will be available in third quarter,
with pricing starting at $18,500.

HP Unveils New Dedupe, SAN Offerings

HP also had a number of data storage hardware announcements at this week’s HP Tech Forum in Las Vegas.

Among the announcements were a new data deduplication technology, HP StoreOnce, that HP claims offers twice the price/performance of competitive offerings. It will ship as part of HP’s D2D backup appliances.

HP also unveiled a bladed SAN, the StorageWorks P4800 BladeSystem SAN, aimed at virtual desktop implementations and an EVA cluster option.

HP is also selling new SAN Starter Kits for small businesses, using 8Gb Fibre Channel technology from Brocade and QLogic.

For more on the storage announcements, see Storage highlights from HP Tech Forum and Brocade, HP debut 8Gbps SAN starter bundles at InfoStor.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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