Deep Dive: Assessing Virtual CNAs for 2010

Wikibon compared two leading choices that server & blade manufacturers currently have for CNA technologies– QLogic and Emulex. These technologies are used in host bus adaptors, (HBAs), top-of-rack (ToR) switches and enterprise switches. Other suppliers such as Brocade have announced their intention to supply CNA technology and began shipping single chip CNAs late in 2009; however their presence in the adapter market is limited and therefore are not included in this analysis.


A strong trend in the 2010’s will be the adoption of virtual Converged Network Adapters (CNAs), which virtualize the IO. Wikibon has discussed this virtual IO trend in depth. The business drivers are simple, enabled by the integration of Fibre Channel and Ethernet HBA cards onto a single virtual CNA card. The results are fewer cards, less power, fewer cables and simpler connection of servers and server blades to the computing infrastructure. In the long term it enables the use of a single Ethernet backbone to carry multiple protocols, including Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), which will significantly reduce cabling, switching and transmission costs for enterprise networks.

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