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QLogic delves in trousers, whips out impressive tool

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QLogic has a new FlexSuite adapter that can function as either 10 gig Ethernet or 16 gig Fibre Channel.

The card is an Ethernet NIC, a Converged Network Adapter (CNA) and a Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter (FC HBA) in one, with a single controller capable of linking servers to a filer, an iSCSI SAN or a Fibre Channel SAN via Fibre Channel or Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). It is a PCIe 3.0 platform and supports 10Gbit/s data centre Ethernet (DCE).

It is QLogic's first 16Gbit/s HBA functionality, and follows on from Brocade introducing that level of speed.

The FlexSuite platform can deal with native FC, TCP/IP, FCoE and iSCSI protocols simultaneously from the same hardware. QLogic says it do up to 1 million FC or FCoE IOPS.

QLogic says this is part of its Adaptive Convergence strategy and that it is extending its products range to use this combined FC and Ethernet – including adapters, switches, and routers. It says companies can then use TCP/IP, iSCSI, FC, or FCoE as they wish and transition from one to the other at their own pace, and without having to worry about future migration paths.

The top-of-rack (TOR) switches are branded Universal Access Points and the routers intelligent Storage Routers (iSRs). The switches will allow "customers to connect Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) or iSCSI devices to any port." The SAN-over-WAN routers "will allow cross-protocol routing for 16Gbit/s Fibre Channel, 10GbitE/1GbitE iSCSI and 10GitbE FCoE, multi-protocol host connectivity to storage systems, SAN-over-WAN connectivity for business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as … data migration."

The UA5900, the world's highest-density FC/FCoE switch QLogic claims, can be deployed as a Fibre Channel switch, with entry-level configurations starting with 24 small form factor pluggable (SFP) device ports and growing to 68 device ports per U, via “pay-as-you-grow” port licenses. Four optional quad SFP ports can be initially used as 64Gb Fibre Channel trunking ports. Customers can toggle between 16Gbit/s Fibre Channel and 10GbitE on any of the 68 SFP ports, enabling deployment of converged network adapters (CNAs) within a traditional Fibre Channel fabric.

Stacking these switches provides up to 300 device ports.

A Converged Networking (CVN) license option converts the UA5900 into a full-function FCoE switch attached to the LAN. It means switch-wide access to a datacenter bridging, Fibre Channel forwarding and 40Gb Ethernet transit ports, and the UA5900 can be deployed as an edge or TOR switch in any Ethernet topology.

Hybrid Switch functionality lets users partition the switch to load balance NPIV-standard transparent traffic on a designated subset of ports, while simultaneously delivering fabric services on the remaining ports. There will be a variety of form factors and QLogic is sampling adapters to tier-1 server and storage OEMs now.

These are the first CNAs which can run native Fibre Channel as well as FCoE, iSCSI and general Ethernet. They equip QLogic customers to play better in virtualised data centres with the adapters being able to assume different personalities as required, ditto the switches. The routers will help in this regard too. QLogic is staking its claim to be a networking device provider to customers virtualising their data centres and, of course, developing private, public or hybrid cloud services. ®

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