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QLogic claims FCoE queue lead

Fills InfiniBand niche

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InfiniBand

QLogic also makes InfiniBand Host Channel Adapters (HCAs) but there's no intention to build a a converged HCA and CNA: "There isn't the demand in the market for it."

However, QLogic will carry on shipping and developing InfiniBand products. Hansen laid out three InfiniBand niche markets: High-Performance Computing (HPC); connecting storage arrays in a cluster (think Isilon and the HP Oracle Database Machine); and connecting blade servers inside an infrastructure. These, Hansen reckons, are stable niches.

There is the possibility of a VLAN-like concept coming to InfiniBand so that parts of an InfiniBand fabric could be sub-divided and isolated from each other, with routing of data between segments. Another possibility is virtualising an HCA so that multiple virtual machines could share one in a virtualised server environment.

He's not seeing any activities along the line of shrinking an HCA to a chip so that it could fit on server motherboards. Again, it seems, the market is too small to justify such an effort. There could be, he says, 2m CNA ports by 2013 but the number of InfiniBand ports will be much, much less.

Altogether Hansen is very bullish about FCoE and implies that the take-up will be rapid. Of course, customers will also need to be convinced that their Ethernet suppliers are shipping standard data centre Ethernet and that is not likely to happen until late 2010/early 2011, meaning plenty of time for QLogic's CNA competitors to get their FCoE ducks lined up as well. ®

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