QLogic releases new 10GbE converged network adaptors

All three of the adapters encrypt data in flight

QLogic today released three new storage network adapters, including a card that offers the ability to run Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), iSCSI and straight Ethernet traffic concurrently.

QLogic said it's now shipping its third generation of converged network adapters (CNAs), including the 8200 Series 10GbE CNA, the 3200 Series 10GbE intelligent Ethernet adapter and a converged LAN-on-motherboard (cLOM) product.

The cards offload the Fibre Channel and TCP/IP processing, freeing up servers CPU cycles, said John Spencer, product marketing manager for QLogic's host solutions group.

John Webster, senior analyst with market research firm Evaluator Group, said the new CNAs will allow storage or network administrators to shift server workloads from an iSCSI SAN to an FCoE SAN without rebooting servers or waiting for an outage window.

"This represents a level of network convergence above and beyond anything else in the marketplace today," he said.

The products offer a number of new capabilities including performing switch-agnostic virtual machine (VM)-to-VM communication within physical machines, and the ability to deploy quad 1Gbit/sec Ethernet (10GbE) and dual 10GbE ports from a single chip.

"These products are ready for any cloud deployment, public or private," said Steve Zivanic, director of corporate communications at QLogic.

Spenser said new products are designed to address the increasingly complex requirements of virtualized data centers, cloud service providers and the converged data center networks, all of which require 10GbE throughput for increased traffic.

Spencer said QLogic's VMflex firmware now allows all three adapters to carve up each physical port into four virtual ports, allowing each to be separately managed to allow administrators to adjust bandwidth depending on VM application requirements.

"In the past, you needed to install multiple [Ethernet] NICs with VM traffic confined to one NIC at a time, then you needed another NIC to support [VMware's] vMotion, and yet another NIC for management traffic," Spencer said.

"The new CNAs also offer better security because you're not mixing traffic with other VMs," he added. "So you have guaranteed bandwidth."

Bob Laliberte, an analyst with research firm Enterprise Strategy Group, said QLogic's flex ports technology for converged network switches allows users to shift protocol support on-the-fly, "making protocol-agnostic data mobility a reality."

"Shifting protocol support on-the-fly will be important to those organizations needing to dynamically support a multitude of different workloads without disruption," he said. "Service providers and large enterprises should especially benefit from this adaptive design that enables them to deploy variable connectivity options in a dynamic way across the data center."

Zivanic said all three network adapters can be managed through single interface on a single console, and all three come with the company's SecureFlex firmware, which encrypts data in flight.

"Others vendors think the adapter's responsibility is to encrypt for data at rest, but that leads to vendor lock in," he said. "If the data's already encrypted through one adapter, you can't switch to another vendor's adapter."

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 e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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