QLogic unveils upgrades to converged network products

Firm also rolls out a new switch and a router that can consolidate LAN traffic; most new offerings will ship next year

In an effort to address the industry trend of consolidating data center networks, QLogic today unveiled a network adapter and switch that allow users to send 16Gbps Fibre Channel and 10 Gigbit Ethernet traffic over the same wire, while offloading protocol traffic from servers.

Craig Alesso, director product marketing at QLogic, said most of the new offerings are slated to ship in 2012. One, a new intelligent Storage Router, will ship in about a year, according to Alesso.

QLogic's new network adapter card

QLogic's new 8300 and 2600 series Converged Network Adapters (CNA) are an upgrade to its PCI Express-based product. The 8300 and 2600 offerings each support all network protocols concurrently over a single port. They also support virtual switch ports, provide data security through IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) and can offload all network protocols from native Fibre Channel, iSCSI or TCP/IP servers. Both CNAs are based on the same hardware, but the 8300 supports 10Gbps Ethernet and the 2600 supports 16Gbps Fibre Channel.

QLogic's new top-of-rack, multiprotocol Universal Access Point switch, called the UA5900, offers administrators the choice of using multiple protocols for typical LAN and storage traffic, including Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI.

QLogic's UA5900 top-of-rack switch

The UA5900 switch can start with as few as 24 device ports that can operate in 4Gbps, 8Gbps or 16Gbps Fibre Channel mode, or they can be used as 10GbE ports, according to Alesso. The switch can grow to 68 device ports.

"Also, they can act as 40Gbit Ethernet ports," Alesso said. "With converged everything running over Ethernet ... we can separate that traffic or have the ability to aggregate it from multiple sources and put it over one high-speed link."

The switch has four optional quad small-form-factor pluggable ports that can be initially used as 64Gbps Fibre Channel trunking ports. Standard QLogic flex port capabilities allow users to toggle between 16Gbps Fibre Channel and 10GbE on any of the 68 device ports, enabling deployment of CNAs within a traditional Fibre Channel fabric, the company said.

"You don't have to replace directors or core storage adapters right away. You can migrate away from them over time. For example, if you're running FCoE, the [UA5900] switch will strip off Ethernet packets and just forward the Fibre Channel packets," Alesso said.

The company also unveiled its next-generation Intelligent Storage Router, which is designed to provide SAN-over-WAN connectivity for business continuity and disaster recovery, and offer a flexible data migration solution for enterprise-class data centers.

"We believe these are almost a new category of products," Alesso said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His email address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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