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HP Hitches Servers to Storage

Boosting performance across servers and storage with specialist network interface cards: Could this be the shape of things to come? Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) clearly thinks so and has launched an all-singing, all-dancing network adapter in an attempt to link different data center technologies (see HP Unveils Multifunction Adapters).

Based on 5706 networking silicon from Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), the adapter comes in two flavors -- the NC370F fiber version and the NC370T twisted-pair version. Both use the PCI-X bus architecture.

iSCSI connectivity for storage devices can be added to the adapter, as can Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) connectivity for servers and a TCP/IP offload engine (TOE), which aims to reduce the strain on servers by offloading network and storage protocol stacks from overburdened processors.

RDMA is generating buzz at the moment because it enables data to move directly from the memory of one server to the memory of another, without using the machines operating systems. Since this reduces CPU usage, RDMA is being touted as an efficient, high-speed option for high-performance computing.

HP says the adapters give IT managers a consolidated approach to the various technologies within their data centers, from servers and storage right through to clusters. It's part of an HP campaign called Adaptive Enterprise that encompasses a range of servers and storage devices.

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