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Emulex finally gets IBM design win

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IBM's BladeCenter HS22 blade servers will use Emulex 10gig E interface cards that can be software key upgraded to Fibre Channel over Ethernet adapters.

Up until now Emulex had no public design wins for its FCoE Converged Network Adapters (CNAs) whereas QLogic and Brocade had NetApp and IBM wins in their pockets. Emulex' IBM win is for Ethernet, but the software key upgradability makes it a design win for its CNA as well.

The Emulex card, called a OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapter, is a single chip card that offers 10Gbit/s Ethernet with software key upgradability to iSCSI and FCoE. It offers a full server hardware offload capability, including a TCP/IP offload engine, something Emulex says its competitors' cards don't.

The IBM version of it is called the Virtual Fabric Adapter CFFh, and IBM and Emulex claim it "provides the fastest and most flexible blade server Ethernet connections in the industry, offering two physical 10Gbit/s Ethernet ports, supporting 1Gbit/s or 10Gbit/s that can be configured into up to eight virtual ports with bandwidth allocation in 100Mbit/s increments." Customers can have multiple virtual NIC (network interface card) and FCoE ports on the same adapter

The card works with Blade Network Technologies' BNT 10-port 10G Ethernet Switch Module for the IBM BladeCenter.

Emulex will be showing the card at VMworld in San Francisco next week. This announcement and demonstration should put a stop to rumours implying that Emulex's one-chip CNA is a virtual chip that doesn't in fact exist. It clearly does and IBM has adopted it. ®

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