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Emulex Goes Elephant Hunting

On October 27th, 2009, Emulex announced that its OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapters and OneCommand Manager are now generally available through the commercial distribution channel. Emulex also announced that it has entered into a technology agreement with IBM to deliver 10Gb/s Ethernet Network Interface Cards (NICs) and 16Gb/s Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) for the entire IBM Power Systems product line.

The announcements represent important milestones for the data center network adapter market where approximately 98 percent of server ports are Ethernet NICs or LOM and the remaining 2 percent are Fibre Channel HBAs or InfiniBand Host Channel Adapters (HCAs).

For the huge base of servers that need Ethernet connectivity, OneConnect universal CNAs are the first in a new class of 10Gb Data Center Ethernet (DCE) adapters with OEM validation of NIC functionality rich enough for the data center. This means data center managers for the first time have a platform for the vast majority of their server ports upon which they can build-out additional converged networking capabilities in the future.

Current adapters from NIC manufacturers Broadcom and Intel support traditional LAN/WAN and iSCSI storage networking with "lossy" 10Gb Ethernet, but do not support unified networking based on DCE and FCoE. Current adapters from Fibre Channel HBA manufacturer QLogic are built on DCE but are validated by OEMs only for FCoE storage networking.

For storage administrators and architects, Emulex and IBM publicly confirmed to their customers there will be a race to deliver storage solutions based on 16Gb Fibre Channel - and they intend to win.

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