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QLogic's 3G CNA does three things at once

FCoE, iSCSI and IP at same time

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QLogic now has a third-generation network adapter that can run three network protocols at once, do virtual machine commas in a server, and deploy 1gigabit and 10 gigabit Ethernet ports from its single chip.

This chip with the chops is its third generation CNA (Converged Network Adaptor), built to handle both storage and Ethernet traffic travelling along a ten gigabit Ethernet cable. OT comes as a so-called cLOM (converged LAN on Motherboard) ASIC, an 8200 10GBe CNA card or a 3200 10GbitE Ethernet NIC (network interface card).

The 8200 product can be configured either as a quad-port 1gigE or dual-port 10gigE device.

All three products use the same ASIC chip, and the 3200 can be upgraded to an 8200 with a software key. This chip can run iSCSI storage traffic, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) traffic, and ordinary internet traffic simultaneously. Unlike the previous generation product, it has a built-in TCP/IP offload engine which does TCP/IP processing in hardware, relieving the host CPU of the job and boosting iSCSI traffic speed by around 100 per cent.

QLogic understands that its bête noir, Emulex, cannot run three protocols at once on its universal CNA product.

With the 3G product, two virtual machines (VMs) in the host server can send messages to each other via Ethernet - which never actually leave the server. EMEA Marketing head for QLogic, Henrik Hansen, said: "Within the ASIC we have embedded a layer 2 Ethernet switch [and] can carve up the two physical ports into 4 NIC partitions or NPARs, which can each be assigned to a specific VM. There can be eight of them with dual-port product."

An Ethernet message from one VM to another in the same server goes to the QLogic ASIC and is switched back to the target VM. This is reminiscent of Emulex' VNIC feature.

The embedded switch makes the QLogic product switch-agnostic.

The new product technology supports a veritable alphabet soup of virtualisation standards: SR-IOV for Ethernet I/O virtualisation, NIV (Network I/O Virtualisation for Cisco), EVP (HP's virtualisation feature), VEPA - a top-of-rack virtualisation initiative, MP/IV inside FCoE, and RDMA for people using Ethernet in HPC environment.

Hansen said: "Encryption is also part of our 3G feature set. We do in-flight encryption between host and target, and work with the main key management systems."

The 3G CNA product is orderable now and ships in the second half of November. ®

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