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Emulex pins adapter future to Ethernet and encryption

Adapter maker goes for FCoE

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Emulex has announced a second generation Ethernet Fibre Channel adapter and added encryption to its Fibre Channel adapter range using RSA technology.

Emulex supplies Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) with virtualisation capabilities so that physical servers can access Fibre Channel SANs, and virtual machines share their physical server host's HBA. It is supporting the layering of the Fibre Channel protocol over Ethernet (FCoE) and has already produced a converged network adapter (CNA) that combines Ethernet NIC and HBA functionality.

It describes the OneConneX, its second generation CNA, as a universal CNA and positions it for use in a data centre world currently using up to three networks: Ethernet; InfiniBand; and Fibre Channel. Emulex believes that Ethernet has the installed base and market momentum to become the dominant data centre networking fabric, in its 10gigE form, and that OneConneX is 'universal' in that it converges Fibre Channel onto Ethernet. There is no support for InfiniBand Host Channel Adapter (HCA) functionality and no intention of providing it.

FCoE takeup depends upon there being a loss-less and reliably low latency Ethernet connection to a SAN. This will depend upon the formal standardisation of Data Centre Ethernet, expected in early 2010. That means OneConneX will mostly be used in trial FCoE installations for now.

The product offloads the host physical server CPU in that iSCSi TCP/IP and FCoE stack processing are carried out on the card, which also performs RDMA (Remote Dynamic Memory Access) processing for linking servers in an Ethernet cluster. RDMA, says Sean Walsh, Emulex' corporate marketing VP, gives Ethernet InfiniBand's low latency.

SecureConneX is an 8Gbit/s HBA with added RSA encryption and key management. All traffic passing through the HBA can be encrypted meaning that sysadms can manage encryption at the server edge of the network instead of at the SAN fabric director, individual encrypting storage product or component level and do so on a key-per-virtual machine level with support for VMotion. Walsh said that not using RSA, going it alone, "would be an absolute nightmare."

He also said: "I would expect to see convergence of HBA encryption and the CNA technology over time."

There is a new OneCommand management package, a development of the existing HBAnywhere software. Emulex has also revamped its partner program, calling it EmulexConneX. Lastly there is a calculator capability of Emulex' which can, the company says, show how much you can save by moving from separate adapters to the new CNA.

No product pricing and availability information was supplied. ®

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