Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Emulex Aims to Converge LANs & SANs in Data Centers

Storage and networking vendors are pushing hard to merge and converge local-area networks (LANs) and storage-area networks (SANs) in the data center to reduce the complexity and cost caused by operating and managing separate networks and their associated switches, routers, cables, and other gear. Different vendors are taking different approaches, but many of the major vendors are focusing on developing some form of Ethernet to handle storage traffic, with Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) seemingly gaining the most support.

Emulex, perhaps best known for its Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters, today celebrated its 30th anniversary by ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and rolling out a wave of new products, including a Universal Converged Network Adapter (CNA) called OneConnect that will be delivered later this year. It is designed to handle a variety of protocols over a 10-Gbit/s Ethernet network. The company also introduced host-based 8-Gbit/s encryption, a centralized and automated management framework for its CNAs, and a partner program to get its technology into the field.

The rollout comes as network vendors like Cisco and others are developing an enhanced version of Ethernet and FCoE gear to let IT departments consolidate their SANs and LANs onto a single network. CNAs from Emulex and rival QLogic are another piece of the overall ecosystem of products that are required to enable that convergence, which also will be supported by major storage companies like EMC, NetApp, and others. Rivals are pushing a similar convergence strategy using InfiniBand, which was touted in product announcements earlier this week by Mellanox Technologies.

"IT managers can consolidate servers and storage, and they need a way to consolidate their networks," says Shaun Walsh, vice president of corporate marketing for Emulex. "The Universal CNA is a single card and a single connection that lets you run NAS, iSCSI, IP, FCoE, and enhanced RDMA, and you can use any port for any of those protocols and optimize connectivity on the back of the server."

Emulex is betting that the bad economy and the effort to cut costs will prompt businesses to practice what it calls "convergonomics" and try to save money by consolidating data center infrastructure and boosting utilization rates. The growth of server virtualization is causing major changes in network traffic flow within data centers, and IT managers have the opportunity to reduce expenditures on switches, adapters, network directors, power, and cooling through consolidation, Walsh argues.

  • 1